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First Grade

Grade Level Standards For First Grade

Characteristics of the First Grade Student
Every child is an individual who grows and develops at his/her own rate. Children in the same grade may be expected to differ widely from others in their group. There are, however, general characteristics which apply to most of the children at a certain age.

The first grade child may:
Be active – climbing, running jumping, and experiencing pride in newly-developed motor skills.
• Be more interested in playing than in eating.
• Experience extremes of behavior. There may be periods of laughter and tears in quick succession, periods of deep thinking, and periods of inattention.
• Be learning social behaviors such as how to make friends and solve problems independently.
• Have a strong sense of fairness.
• Be learning to organize his/her own belongings.
• Become more independent in his/her self-help abilities (washing, dressing, cleaning up, etc.).
• Be interested in helping with household chores.
• Be losing baby teeth.
• Be growing rapidly.

The first grade child needs:
• A sense of being loved, no matter what he/she does.
• Generous praise and not too much criticism of errors.
• Opportunities to show what he/she can do and to talk about him/herself and his/her interests.
• Broadening experiences to satisfy his/her growing interests.
• To have frequent periods of rest and relaxation.
• Structure in family life to provide a sense of security.
• Good nutrition habits.
• A vision and hearing screening.
• Nine or more hours of sleep each night.

As parents, you can help by:
• Providing encouragement, regular study time, and a place with no distractions for homework.
• Monitoring your child’s progress by maintaining close contact with the teacher, and having knowledge of the school and classroom program.
• Being supportive and positive when working with your child. Accept errors.
• Showing your child how to use telephone emergency response systems, such as 911.
• Discussing that medicines should be taken only under supervision of responsible adults.
• Teaching the potential harmful effects of some medicines and substances on his/her body.
• Choosing limits that fit your child’s age and establishing behavior consequences and rewards.
• Talking with your child about his/her interests.
• Notifying the teacher about problems in the home that could cause emotional stress for the child (i.e., divorce, death in the family, a parent being away for an extended amount of time).
• Providing opportunities to extend and apply learning at home.
• Providing reading, writing, and art materials at home.
• Limiting television viewing and encourage active creative play.
• Asking the teacher for suggested ways to help your child.
• Ensuring that your child knows their complete address and phone number.
• Working in partnership with your child’s teacher.
• Expressing positive feelings toward learning, school and the teacher.
• Providing opportunities to reinforce directionality – top, bottom, to the right, to the left, etc.

English/Language Arts

The English-Language Arts curriculum provides students, through their study and understanding of literature, with intensive experiences in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students progress at their own individual pace through levels of mastery. In grade one, the major focus will on be developing “learning to read” strategies.

The first grade student will…


Word Analysis, Fluency, and Vocabulary Development
• Match oral words to printed words.
• Identify the title and author of a reading selection.
• Identify letters, words and sentences.
• Distinguish initial, medial and final sounds in single-syllable words.
• Create and state a series of rhyming words, including consonant blends.
• Add, delete or change target sounds to change words.
• Blend one to four sounds stated orally into one word, including consonant blends and digraphs.
• Segment words of two to five sounds into their individual sounds, including consonant blends.
• Generate the sounds from all the letters and letter patterns, including consonant blends and long- and short-vowel patterns, and combine those sounds into recognizable words.
• Read common, irregular sight words (e.g., the, have, said, come, give, of).
• Use knowledge of vowel digraphs and r-controlled letter-sound associations to read words.
• Read inflectional forms (-s, -ed, -ing) and root words (look, looked, looking).
• Read common word families (-ite, -ill, -ate).
• Read aloud with fluency in a manner that sounds like natural speech.
• Classify grade-appropriate categories of words (animals, foods, etc.).

Reading Comprehension
• Respond to who, what, where, when and how questions.
• Follow simple written instructions.
• Use context to resolve ambiguities about word and sentence meanings.
• Confirm predictions about what will happen next in text by "reading the part that tells."
• Relate prior knowledge to textual information.
• Retell the central ideas of simple expository or narrative passages.
• Note comprehension breakdown and use needed strategies to re-establish it.

Literary Response and Analysis
• Identify and describe the story elements of plot, setting and characters, including the beginnings, middles and endings of stories.
• Describe the role and contribution of authors and illustrators to print materials.
• Recollect, talk and write about books read during the year.


Writing Strategies
• Select a focus when writing.
• Use descriptive words when writing.
• Write captions for pictures.
• Print legibly and space letters, words and sentences appropriately.


Listening and Speaking Applications
• Listen attentively by orienting self to speaker.
• Ask questions to clear up confusion about a topic.
• Give, restate and follow simple two-step directions.
• Select a focus when speaking.
• Use descriptive words when speaking about people, places, things and events.

Speaking Applications
• Recite poems, rhymes, songs and stories.
• Retell stories using basic story grammar, sequencing story events by answering who, what, when, where, how and why questions.
• Relate an important event in life using simple sequencing.
• Provide descriptions with careful attention to detail.


• Write and speak in complete, coherent sentences.
• Identify and correctly use singular and plural nouns.
• Identify and correctly use contractions and singular possessives in writing and speaking.
• Distinguish between declarative, exclamatory and interrogative sentences and correctly use period, exclamation mark or question mark at the end of sentences.
• Use knowledge of basic punctuation and capitalization when reading.
• Correctly capitalize the first word of a sentence, names of people and the pronoun “I”.
• Spell three and four letter short vowel words.
• Spell words belonging to the same word family.
• Spell common, simple sight words (the have, said).

As parents, you can help by:

Having your child read to you daily. Be supportive and positive, it’s OK if they memorize the words.
• Reading to your child daily.
• Discussing what you’ve seen or done when you’ve gone places together.
• Helping develop listening skills by giving your child opportunities to remember and follow two or three simple directions at a time.
• Encouraging writing (birthday invitations, valentine cards, notes, lists, letters, diaries) by providing materials and a place to write.
• Taking your child to the library to get a library card and visiting the library weekly.
• Discussing the books being read at school.
• Letting your child see you reading.
• Having 5 minutes of uninterrupted conversation with your child daily.



By the end of first grade, students understand and use the concept of "ones" and "tens" in the place value number system. They add and subtract small numbers with ease. They measure with simple units and locate objects in space. They describe data and analyze and solve simple problem situations.

The first grade student will…

Number Sense
• Understand and use numbers up to 100.
• Demonstrate the meaning of addition and subtraction and use these operations to solve problems.
• Use estimation strategies in computation and problem solving that involve numbers that use the ones, tens, and hundreds places.
• Count by fives and tens to 100

Algebra and Functions
• Use number sentences to solve problems.

Measurement and Geometry
• Use direct comparison and non-standard units to describe the measurements of objects.
• Identify common geometric figures, classify them by common attributes and describe their relative position/or their location in space.
• Use a calendar.
• Understand simple fractions (1/2, 1/3, etc.)

Statistics, Data Analysis, and Probability
• Organize, represent and compare categorical data on simple graphs, charts, and 2 way Venn diagrams.
• Sort objects, and create and describe patterns involving numbers, shape, size, rhythm, or color.

Mathematical Reasoning
• Make decisions about how to set up a problem.
• Solve problems and justify their reasoning.
• Note connections between one problem and another

As parents, you can help by:

Encouraging counting things around the house.
• Providing opportunities for your child to learn to count pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters.
• Letting your child make actual purchases.
• Helping your child to tell time (hour and half hour on the clock), and watching for times important to the child.
• Providing opportunities to measure and to weigh items around the house.
• Helping your child identify the day and the month.
• Playing math games.
• Helping your child become aware of math in all facets of daily life (cooking, shopping, sewing, etc.).
• Clapping patterns with your child.
• Playing dominoes and card games with your child.
• Providing the opportunity to use fractions in daily life (dividing a cookie, pizza, etc.).
• Monitoring daily work that is sent home.

History/Social Science

Students in grade one continue a more detailed treatment of the broad concepts of rights and responsibilities in the contemporary world. The classroom serves as a microcosm of society in which decisions are made with respect for individual responsibility, for other people and for the rules by which we all must live: fair play, good sportsmanship, respect for the rights and opinions of others. Students examine the geographic and economic aspects of life in their own neighborhoods and compare them to those of people long ago. Students explore the varied backgrounds of American citizens and learn about the symbols, and songs that reflect our common heritage.

The first grade student will…

• Describe the rights and individual responsibilities of citizenship.
• Compare and contrast the absolute and relative locations of people and places and describe the physical and human characteristics of places.
• Know and understand the symbols, icons, and traditions of the United States that provide continuity and a sense of community across time.
• Compare and contrast everyday life in different times and places around the world and recognize that some aspects of people, places, and things change over time and others stay the same.
• Describe the human characteristics of familiar places and the varied backgrounds of American citizens.
• Create and read a simple map using pictures, symbols and a key.
• Learn patriotic songs.

Historical and Social Sciences Analysis Skills
In addition to the standards for grades 1-5, students demonstrate the following intellectual, reasoning, reflection and research skills by the end of fifth grade.

Chronological and Spatial Thinking
• Students place key events and people of the historical era they are studying both in a chronological sequence and within a spatial context; they interpret timelines.
• Students apply terms related to time correctly, including past, present, future, decade, century, and generation.
• Students explain how the present is connected to the past, identifying both similarities and differences between the two, and how some things change over time and some things stay the same.
• Use map and globe skills to determine the absolute locations of places and interpret information available through the map’s legend, scale, and symbolic representations.
• Judge the significance of the relative location of a place and analyze how those relative advantages or disadvantages can change over time.

Research, Evidence and Point of View
Students differentiate between primary and secondary sources.
• Students pose relevant questions about events encountered in historical documents, eyewitness accounts, oral histories, letters, diaries, artifacts, photos, maps, art and architecture.
• Students distinguish fact from fiction by comparing documentary sources on historical figures and events with fictionalized characters and events.

Historical Interpretation
Students summarize the key events of the era they are studying and explain their historical contexts.
• Students identify the human and physical characteristics of the places they are studying.
• Students identify and interpret the multiple causes and effects of historical events.
• Students conduct benefit/cost analyses of historical and current events.

Character Education
The district’s character education program seeks to instill in students habits of the heart, mind and will that contribute the development of a “person of character.” Six core values have been adopted to guide and systematically address ethics in the instructional program, as well as in the school community.

• Trustworthiness
• Respect
• Responsibility
• Justice and Fairness
• Caring
• Citizenship

As parents, you can help by:

Discussing appropriate current events during dinner.
• Making your child aware of his/her own cultural heritage.
• Setting up special family times to discuss cultural issues.
• Encouraging your child to solve his/her own problems independently.
• Going on family outings to places of cultural or historical interest.
• Discussing places you’ve visited.
• Including folk tales, legends, and stories about different cultures and places in story-time selections.
• Helping your child become aware of directions: left, right, North, South, East and West.
• Sharing or creating simple maps.
• Discussing the importance of not judging people by how they look, speak, or dress.
• Encouraging your child to widen his/her circle of friends to include children of other cultural backgrounds.
• Being cognizant of your child’s TV viewing, video games, and music.
• Discussing anything that is disturbing to your child on TV (i.e. a news story).


The district science program encourages children to comprehend the nature of the physical universe (the interdependence and the connection) in a laboratory setting. Major science themes (Energy, Evolution, Patterns of Change, Scale and Structure, Stability, and Systems and Interactions) and the scientific thinking processes (observing, communicating, comparing, ordering, categorizing, relating, inferring, and applying) are crucial to the sciences.

The first grade student will demonstrate an understanding that…

Earth Science
The earth and its land, water, and air undergo change, producing weather and seasons.

• The sun provides light and heat.
• The four seasons and the moon’s shape occur in patterns.
• Different kinds of weather can change and affect what people do and wear.
• Wind and water can break down rocks into soil.

Life Sciences
Living and non-living things have characteristics that can be classified.

• Living and non-living things have likenesses and differences which can be observed and compared.
• All living things have the same basic needs.
• Plants have different parts; they grow and are used in many ways.
• Animals differ in characteristics and are suited to their environment.

Physical Sciences
Matter has properties which can be affected by different forms of energy.

• Properties of matter can be observed and described.
• Energy moves and changes matter.
• Forces can move objects.

As parents, you can help by:

• Donating consumable items requested by the classroom teacher.
• Starting a rock collection.
• Attending family science nights.
• Read science-based literature at home.
• Visit science-themed sites during family outings (Aquarium, zoo, Sea World, the beach, a farm)
• Watch nature programs on television and discuss afterward.
• Sharing care of family pets.

Phyical Education Standards

The physical education program provides students with opportunities to achieve motor skills and movement knowledge, develop a positive self-image and recognize personal achievement, and develop social skills of respect and acceptance of others.

The first grade student will…

• Demonstrate the ability to throw, catch, kick and strike objects.
• Perform a variety of fundamental locomotor skills.
• Follow playground rules when using playground equipment and playing games during recess and lunch.
• State how to increase balance while moving (lowering the center of gravity to stop quickly).
• Explain that good nutrition, exercise, and rest lead to a healthy body.
• Associate enjoyment with movement activities.
• Explore the shapes, sounds and motions of their environment through interpretive play.
• Know consistent patterns of expected behaviors and time intervals on the playground.

As parents, you can help by:

• Setting a healthy example.
• Taking walks with your child.
• Providing opportunities for your child to participate and engage in age-appropriate physical activities and games.
• Engaging child in psychomotor activities such as throwing, catching, kicking, rope skipping, etc

Health Education

The health curriculum provides students with opportunities to explore concepts in depth, analyze and solve real-life problems, and work cooperatively on tasks that develop and enhance their conceptual understanding. It also provides students with the knowledge and skills that can lead to lifelong positive attitudes related to health.

The first grade student will…

• accept personal responsibility.
• demonstrate respect for, and promotion of, the health of others.
• understand the processes of growth and development.
• use health-related information, products, and services.

As parents, you can help by:

Planning nutritious meals together.
• Providing nutritious meals and snacks.
• Acting as a healthy role model.
• Establishing healthy eating and sleeping habits.
• Making sure students dress appropriately for the weather.
• Keeping sick children at home.

Visual and Performing Arts

Dance, music, drama, and visual arts are a means to develop personal dimensions within the learning process; thus, they provide the necessary curriculum balance in developing the whole person. They are integrated throughout the curriculum, though at times become subject-centered fine arts classes.

The first grade student will…

• Communicate an understanding of dance through creative expression, aesthetic perception and valuing, and dance theater heritage.
• Create a simple repeatable dance
• Engage in rhythmic movement
• Experience the creative process of dance
• Attend or participate in a school production

Express and communicate an understanding of music by creative expression, aesthetic perception, and valuing.
• Sing songs with limited range
• Experience playing with percussion instruments
• Become aware of differences in pitch
• Distinguish between singing and speaking
• Experience music of various cultures

• Communicate an understanding of drama through creative expression, aesthetic perception and valuing, and drama theater heritage.
• Begin to participate in story dramatization
• Move as an object or storybook animal
• Reproduce sounds individually or with others (rain, wind, thunder, wind, etc.)
• Begin to acquire a sense of drama through storytelling and improvisation

Visual Arts
• Express and communicate an understanding of visual arts by creative expression and aesthetic perception and valuing.
• maintain a portfolio with art work produced throughout the year
• create a number of products that represent an initial understanding of the design elements: line and color
• be introduced to drawing, painting, and constructing techniques using pens, tempera, crayon, and watercolor

As parents, you can help by:

Providing materials so your child can explore art through the use of various media.
• Visiting art museums and attending cultural exhibits and/or festivals.
• Experiencing theater, dance, concerts and other forms of artistic expression.


Our vision is to prepare students for a changing future through the expanding use of technology that serves as a catalyst for learning. To this end, students will regularly use computers and other educational technologies. Through a district network, teachers have access to electronic mail and both teachers and students have access to selected educational sites on the Internet. In first grade, the major focus is on beginning computer skills.

The first grade student will…

Computer Hardware and Software
• identify system components
• use software independently

Technology Etiquette
• follow district policies
• obey copyright laws
• demonstrate proper care of equipment

Technology Skills That Improve Learning
• use curriculum software appropriately
• participate in technology-based class projects
• begin text editing

As parents, you can help by:

• Assisting child in selecting and using appropriate software programs.

The Move to Common Core Standards

Educational standards describe what students should know and be able to do in each subject in each grade. In California, the State Board of Education decides on the standards for all students, from kindergarten through high school.

Since 2010, 45 states have adopted the same standards for English and math. These standards are called the Common Core State Standards. Having the same standards helps all students get a good education, even if they change schools or move to a different state. Teachers, parents, and education experts designed the standards to prepare students for success in college and the workplace.

The California Department of Education helps schools make sure that all students are meeting the standards.

  • Students and families who are looking for more information may visit the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Web page for Students, Parents, and Guardians.
  • Education professionals who want to learn more about the standards and find resources to support student attainment of the standards should visit the CCSS and Educators Web page.
  • Below you will find information about the standards and the CCSS-related activities taking place in California.

The Standards