School District of Clayton

First Grade Learning Objectives

A major goal in the first-grade classroom is to extend students’ abilities to work independently and in groups. These important life skills are taught in the context of the classroom community as children are working independently, learning in new ways, organizing their daily work and assuming initiative to seek help when needed.

First grade is the gateway to literacy. As the year progresses, first graders read with more fluency and write with more confidence, moving into conventional spelling as they gain experience as readers and writers. During this year of exploration, first graders also develop a mathematical number sense, an understanding of the scientific process and an appreciation of the culture of the world around them.

Language Literacy

The Language Literacy curriculum focuses on developing skilled and enthusiastic readers and writers. Elementary students learn to be active and capable readers of both fiction and nonfiction, including a variety of print and nonprint texts, who enjoy talking about their reading with others. As a result, students engage in a wide range of comprehension activities designed to support both critical reading and continued growth as readers. Elementary students learn to write and to use writing to learn. Students write in a variety of genres, thus developing their ability to express ideas, emotions and beliefs while acquiring a firm, yet developmentally appropriate, foundation in the fundamentals of writing. Moreover, the District strives to develop students who enjoy reading and writing and who value reading and writing as a means for exploring their imagination, for learning about themselves and the world and for communicating with others.
The first-grade student:
Reads with Accuracy
  • Knows basic sight vocabulary.
  • Uses phonics, grammar and meaning to read unknown words.
  • Reads with fluency.

Uses Comprehension Strategies
  • Recalls facts and information.
  • Uses higher-level strategies: Predicting, Identifying Main Idea, Making Inferences and Drawing Conclusions.
  • Makes personal responses to books and stories.
  • Reads independently for pleasure and information.
  • Reads grade level text.

  • Uses steps of the writing process: Prewriting, Drafting, Revising, Editing and Sharing.
  • Uses traits of writing: Ideas, Organization, Conventions (Spelling, Capitalization and Punctuation).
  • Tries different forms of writing: Personal Narrative, Nonfiction and Opinion Writing.
  • Demonstrates growing independence and confidence as a writer.

  • Uses research skills to gather information and ideas.



The amount of information available today necessitates that students acquire the skills to select, evaluate and use information appropriately and effectively.  School District of Clayton libraries provide access to print and digital resources for both learning and enjoyment. Librarians provide instruction in accessing and using library resources, facilitating research and appreciating literature.
First-Grade Objectives
  •  Student will be able to identify a preselected topic for research.
  •  Student will know we make connections (text to self, text to text and text to world).
  •  Student will recognize realistic fiction, fairy tales and fantasies when a book in one of these genres is read to them.
  •  Student will understand what a book spine is and why a shelf marker is necessary.
  •  Student will use a shelf marker.
  •  Student will follow the norms and procedures that are in place for the library, such as check in and check out.
  •  Student will begin to sort and locate books to the first letter using the author’s last name.



Creation is at the heart of the visual arts curriculum. Students learn to work with various tools, processes and media. They learn to make choices that enhance the communication of their ideas. Students learn to make critical judgments as they develop aesthetic perception by interacting with works of art and becoming knowledgeable about history and world culture.
Media, Tools, Methods
  •  Use various controlled brush techniques.

Principles and Elements
  •  Identify both organic and geometric shapes.
  •  Combine primary colors to create secondary colors.
  •  Make colors darker and lighter.
  •  Recognize and describe differences in textures that are touched and seen.
  •  Recognize the differences between two-dimensional and three-dimensional works.
  •  Recognize positive and negative shapes.
  •  Use shapes to develop an overall pattern.
  •  Differentiate between tint and shade.
  •  Describe how color is affected by atmosphere.
  •  Emphasize textures in various three-dimensional objects.

  • Describe general subjects, categories and motifs found in works of art (e.g. landscape, still life, portraits, shelters and seasons).

Social Context
  • Identify and discuss visual images in society that are used as means of communication.
  • Examine the visual qualities of constructed products.

  • Describe and identify the effects works of art may have on people.
  • Illustrate how responses to artworks can be both positive and negative.



The mission of the kindergarten through second-grade health curriculum is to provide learning experiences that are relevant to students’ current lives and builds a foundation for future health decisions. It impacts the development of the whole child: physical, emotional, mental and social. Such a curriculum requires a partnership among professional educators, parents and members of the broader community. An effective comprehensive health curriculum equips students with information, resources and skills. Additionally, it helps them develop attitudes necessary to choose healthy lifestyles, to become discriminating consumers of health information and products, and to empower themselves for a lifetime of wellness and productivity.
Personal Health and Safety (taught each year)
Play Safe-Stay Safe I
  • Safety at school, home and on the playground

Healthy Living I
  •     Hygiene
  •     Self care techniques
  •     Personal responsibility

Body Systems (taught biannually)
Body Sense
  • Major organs
  • Five senses

All Systems Grow I
  • Skeletal, muscular, circulatory and respiratory systems

Nutrition (taught biannually)

Let’s Eat Healthy I
  • Benefits of a balanced diet
  • Food plate


Physical Education

The mission of the kindergarten through second-grade physical education program is to develop knowledge and understanding, attitudes and behaviors, and skills that will enable each student to develop a lifestyle in which regular vigorous physical activity is practiced. Goals and objectives reflect the view that there are important learning’s in the psychomotor, cognitive and affective domains that lead to optimal development of the whole person. All students should have the opportunity to develop and exhibit desirable behaviors in each of the domains.
Fundamental Movement Skills
  • Locomotor, non-locomotor, manipulatives, body management, movement concepts and developmental games
Personal Fitness/Healthy Lifestyles
  • Health and skill related fitness, wellness and fitness principles

Rhythms and Dance 
  • Essential elements of rhythm, creative/interpretive dance, rhythmic activities, forms of dance and social/cultural aspects of dance
Sport Skills and Lifetime Activities
  • Skill techniques, individual/dual/team sports, and specialized activities
Outdoor Education/Team Building
  • Cooperation/Team building activities



In first grade, instructional time should focus on four critical areas: (1) developing understanding of addition, subtraction and strategies for addition and subtraction within 20; (2) developing understanding of whole number relationships and place value, including grouping in tens and ones; (3) developing understanding of linear measurement and measuring lengths as iterating length units; and (4) reasoning about attributes of and composing and decomposing geometric shapes.
Operations and Algebraic Thinking
  • Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction.
  • Understand and apply properties of operations and the relationship between addition and subtraction.
  • Add and subtract within 20.
  • Work with addition and subtraction equations.

Number and Operations in Base Ten
  • Extend the counting sequence.
  • Understand place value.
  • Use place value understanding and properties of operations to add and subtract.

Measurement and Data
  • Measure lengths indirectly and by iterating length units.
  • Tell and write time.
  • Represent and interpret data.
  • Work with money.

  • Reason with shapes and their attributes.



Science education should encourage an attitude of inquiry in the world around us, excite an interest in the nature and process of science and explore the relationship of science to society, technology, mathematics and other disciplines. Through the science curriculum, students gain a foundation of process skills, leading to organized reasoning, analytical thinking and problem solving abilities.
First-grade students will complete the following FOSS (Full Option Science System) units:
Air and Weather
The Air and Weather Module provides experiences that heighten primary students’ awareness, curiosity, and understanding of Earth’s dynamic atmosphere and provides opportunities for young students to engage in scientific and engineering practices. Students explore the natural world by using simple instruments to observe and monitor change. In this module, students will:
  • discover properties of air by observing interactions of air with objects.
  • demonstrate that compressed air can be used to make things move.
  • construct parachutes, pinwheels, and kites, and observe how they interact with air.
  • use weather instruments, including a thermometer, an anemometer, and a wind vane, to measure air conditions.
  • observe and describe daily weather on a calendar; record observations using pictures, words, and data.
  • graph weather observations to look for patterns in local weather conditions, precipitation, and temperature throughout the seasons.
  • monitor and record the changing appearance of the Moon over a month.

Insects and Plants

The Insects and Plants Module provides experiences that heighten students’ awareness of the living world. They come to know firsthand the life cycles of a number of insects. Students see the life cycles of insects unfold in real time and compare the stages exhibited by each species. At the same time, students grow one type of plant from seed and observe it through its life cycle to produce new seeds. In this module, students will:
  • provide for the needs of living and growing insects.
  • observe beetles, moths, and butterflies change from larvae to pupae to adult
  • observe insect mating and egg laying.
  • compare structures on milkweed bugs to other kinds of insects.
  • observe incomplete and complete metamorphosis.
  • compare plant and animal life cycles.
  • make predictions about the moth and butterfly life cycles, based on observations of other insects.
  • communicate observations of the life cycle of plants and the structure, behavior, and life cycle of insects in words and drawings.

Solids and Liquids
The Solids and Liquids Module provides experiences that heighten primary students’ awareness, curiosity, and understanding of the physical world and provides opportunities for young students to engage in scientific and engineering practices. Matter with which we interact exists in three fundamental states: solid, liquid, and gas. In this module, students will:
  • investigate and sort objects based on their properties.
  • observe, describe and compare the properties and behaviors of solids and liquids. Record observations with pictures, numbers and words.
  • recognize the properties of solid materials that make them appropriate for tower construction; build towers.
  • combine and separate solid materials of different particle sizes using tools.
  • observe, describe, and record what happens when solids and water are mixed and when liquids and water are mixed.
  • use knowledge to conduct an investigation on an unknown material (toothpaste).


Social Studies

Social studies is a multi-disciplinary, integrated approach to the study of people, their physical environment, traditions, leadership and cultures. The K-3 social studies program introduces geography, civics, economics and history. Students study people and cultures, past and present, from our own community and all over the world. They learn how the physical environment shapes cultures, why governments are important and the ways in which our needs are served in the economy.
  • Explain sources of conflict between and among people.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the various elements of a culture including: family, food, clothing, shelter, language, shelter, beliefs, art, music, traditions and recreation.
  • Explore the various ways in which culture influences our lives.
  • Identify traditions within our society and one’s own family.

  • Begin to identify our own personal history and the history of one’s own family.
  • Begin to understand the relationship between past and present using objects and experiences in our everyday lives.

  • Identify reasons for the locations of places.
  • Demonstrate awareness of movement from place to place of people, materials and ideas.

Contemporary Applications
  • Appreciate similarities and differences among cultures in our country and around the world.

  • Demonstrate understanding of the importance of rules in a community.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the various roles leaders have in a community.



Technology motivates and empowers all members of our learning community to explore, experiment and connect with the larger global community. Technology is integrated throughout the curriculum to expand resources for learners, improve communication and provide greater versatility in the curriculum. Students learn how to use many technology tools to gather, interpret and share information and to choose appropriate technologies to complete their work. Prior to completion of second grade, students will:
  • use input devices (e.g. mouse and keyboard) and output devices (e.g. monitor and printer) to successfully operate computers and other technologies.
  • use a variety of media and technology resources for directed and independent learning activities.
  • use developmentally appropriate multimedia resources (e.g. interactive books, educational software and elementary multimedia encyclopedias) to support learning.
  • demonstrate positive social and ethical behaviors when using technology.
  • practice responsible use and care of technology systems and software.
  • create developmentally appropriate multimedia products with support from teachers, family members or student partners.
  • use available technology for problem solving, communication and illustration of thoughts, ideas and stories.
  • communicate about technology using developmentally appropriate and accurate terminology (e.g., login, shut down, files, etc.).



The Spanish curriculum is based on the belief that anyone who can learn his or her native language can learn a second language. The curriculum is designed for all learners and addresses a variety of learning styles. Students are given frequent opportunities to interact and use the language. Grammar is presented through and for usage, not as the object of instruction. Teachers emphasize task-oriented, hands-on, concrete activities, which integrate all five language skills (listening, reading, writing, speaking and culture) In first grade, students will learn to:
  • respond correctly to the question “What is your name?”
  • identify body parts by pointing.
  • use color and size words to describe objects.
  • respond correctly to the question “How are you?”
  • identify family members.
  • identify and describe animals and insects.
  • identify and state preferences for foods.
  • demonstrate knowledge of Day of the Dead.
  • identify places in the world where Spanish is spoken.



Communication and expression through music and movement is an important part of growth and brain development. Students in music learn, develop and improve motor skills. The music curriculum provides all students the musical opportunities and experiences necessary to become informed consumers, creators and/or performers of music.
Melody (singing)
  • Perform and recognize upward and downward movement.
  • High and low pitches in melodies

  • Recognize and perform quarter note/rest and eighth notes.
  • Recognize and perform music in sets of two and three.

  • Call and response songs

  • Identify and demonstrate fast and slow.

  • Perform spoken ostinato.