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Grade 1 Language Arts

In Grade 1, Westerly students learn within a thematic approach that captures students’ imaginations and builds upon their curiosities and inquisitive nature. Through this interdisciplinary model, students practice reading and writing across multiple genres, structures, and purposes along with orally presenting their writing projects. Throughout first grade, students are engaged in independent and collaborative research projects that involve multiple perspectives and experiences.  Through thematic units including the “Ocean Unit,” “Rainforest Unit,” “Patriotic Unit,” and “Fairytale Unit,” students explore the world through fun, creative, and alternative lenses while building skills.

Skills we focus on include the following:
  • Research
  • Reading & Comprehension
  • Writing
  • Phonics & Grammar
  • Vocabulary Acquisition & Use
  • Listening & Speaking
  • Engage in collaborative small group and independent research and writing projects
  • Utilize multiple sources for research
  • Utilize research strategies including interviewing family members or other sources
  • Consider reliable sources
  • Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question
  • Create a brainstorm from research findings
  • Present research findings in creative, engaging ways, including digital tools or three dimensional models
  • Read across multiple genres, structures, and purposes through thematic lenses that are age appropriate
  • Read diagrams, captions, and other visuals
  • Partner share to express understandings and interpretations
  • Use expression and intonation to develop reading fluency
  • Practice reading aloud to modulate voice and convey tone in text
  • Practice visualization and use of imagery to enhance comprehension of vocabulary
  • Retell stories, including key details
  • Demonstrate understanding of the central message or lesson in a story
  • Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details
  • Explain major differences between books that tell stories and books that give information, drawing on a wide reading of a range of text types and genres
  • Identify the narrator of a story at various points in a text
  • Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events
  • Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.
  • Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events
  • Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories.
  • With prompting and support, read prose and poetry of appropriate complexity for 1st grade

Through the Writers Workshop Model, students will study the following units: personal narratives, nonfiction informational texts and chapter books, realistic fiction, research process, fictional writing, and poetry writing.  

Throughout these units, students will:

  • Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure
  • Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.
  • Write narratives in which they recount three or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use transition words to signal event order, temporal to add key details, and provide some sense of closure.
  • With guidance and support from adults, focus on a topic, respond to questions and suggestions from peers, and add details to strengthen writing as needed.
  • With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including collaboration with peers and mentors
  • Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., explore a number of expert books on a given topic, which may include “how to” books or an expert book utilizing prior knowledge).
  • With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
  • Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking
  • Print all upper- and lowercase letters
  • Use common, proper, and possessive nouns
  • Use singular and plural nouns with matching verbs in basic sentences 
  • Use personal, possessive, and indefinite pronouns 
  • Use verbs to convey a sense of past, present, and future 
  • Use frequently occurring adjectives
  • Use frequently occurring conjunctions 
  • Use determiners (e.g., articles, demonstratives)
  • Use frequently occurring prepositions (e.g., to, under, over, through).
  • Produce and expand complete simple and compound declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sentences in response to prompts.
  • Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing
  • Capitalize dates and names of people and places
  • Use end punctuation for sentences
  • Use commas in dates and to separate single words in a series
  • Use conventional spelling for words with common spelling patterns and for frequently occurring irregular words
  • Spell untaught words phonetically, drawing on phonemic awareness and spelling conventions.
  • Read, spell, and understand differentiated vocabulary in isolation and in text. 
  • Increase facility with sight words.
  • Hone decoding skills at individual level
  • Understand syllables and syllable ­decoding
  • Recognize grade-­appropriate regularly misspelled words
  • Practice the kinesthetic aspects of sounds
  • Review short and long vowel patterns (including the silent “e”, ou, ow, oi, oy)
  • Practice with blends and digraphs (th, sh, ch, -ck, ing, -all)
  • Recognize and utilize onomatopoeia (e.g. splat, bang, sizzle, drip) 

Vocabulary is most often learned in context from the Ocean, Holidays, Patriotic, Rainforest and Fairy Tale themes. As research suggests and practice reinforces, learning vocabulary in context enables students to: learn HOW to use a word properly, retain new vocabulary longer, learn common phrases through word groupings, understand varying word nuances, deduce meanings of words even though they may be unfamiliar, and utilize inquiry and curiosity to learn new vocabulary in an active way.

  • Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 1 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.
  • Use sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
  • Use frequently occurring affixes as a clue to the meaning of a word.
  • Identify frequently occurring root words (e.g., look) and their inflectional forms (e.g., looks, looked, looking).
  • With guidance and support from adults, demonstrate an understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings.
  • Sort words into categories (e.g., colors, clothing) to gain a sense of the concepts the categories represent.
  • Define words by category and by one or more key attributes (e.g., a duck is a bird that swims; a tiger is a large cat with stripes).
  • Identify real-life connections between words and their use (e.g., note places at home that are cozy)
  • Distinguish shades of meaning among verbs differing in manner (e.g., look, peek, glance, stare, glare, scowl) and adjectives differing in intensity (e.g., large, gigantic) by defining or choosing them or by acting out the meanings
  • Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using frequently occurring conjunctions to signal simple relationships (e.g., because)
  • Utilize similar words to help deduce meaning for new vocabulary

Throughout first grade students are working on giving oral presentations in front of audiences.  Whether it be in front of a partner, a group of peers, their mentors, parents, or school community as a whole, the first grade class has significant practice with oratory and verbal expression including through their Ocean Open House presentation, Winter Holiday Celebration, Persuasive Writing Election Speech, Dress Like a President Day Presentation, and their Fairytale presentation.

Throughout the units, students will:

  • Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
  • Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion)
  • Build on ideas in conversations by responding to the comments of others 
  • Ask questions to clear up any confusion about the topics and texts under discussion
  • Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media
  • Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to gather additional information or clarify something that is not understood
  • Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly
  • Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings
  • Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation. (See grade 1 Language standards 1 and 3 here for specific expectations.)
  • Practice eye contact, enunciation, emphasis, pitch, and volume for oral presentations