Grade 1

Whiting Lane's Grade 1 Teachers

Lisa Mazzarella

Kelly Pierce


Dear Families,

It is a pleasure to share our Curriculum in A Nutshell, a brief overview of all areas of the Kindergarten through Grade 5 West Hartford Curriculum. This brochure outlines the curriculum for your child’s respective grade in school. West Hartford’s comprehensive program is based on the Connecticut Core Standards and provides instruction on the essential literacy and mathematics skills and understandings necessary for success on both district and state assessments. The West Hartford curriculum also includes integration of visual and performing arts, science, social studies, physical education, world language (grades 3-5) and library media services.

This curriculum comes alive in the hands of our talented teachers who are committed to ensuring that our students reach their highest potential. We are dedicated to accommodating children’s diverse needs, the way they learn, their experiences and interests, and to facilitating continuous educational growth. If you should have any questions about your child’s curriculum, your classroom teacher is the best source of information.

No single document can fully explain the rich and complex nature of the school curriculum and instructional goals. We know that learning is optimized in a partnership with families, teachers, and schools. Working together, we can use your experiences as a family and our work in the classroom to create a respectful climate of academic success and joy for lifelong learning.


Paul W. Vicinus, Jr.
Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment


Language Arts

This year your child will be working to develop his or her understanding and mastery of Grade 1 Connecticut Core Standards for English-Language Arts. These standards integrate all aspects of Language Arts development and are categorized under Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening, and Language. Your child’s teacher will use a wide variety of instructional strategies and formats to help your child learn and progress toward mastery of these standards by the end of the school year.


  • Apply Phonics and Word Recognition Skills
    • Know and apply grade level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
    • Know spelling sound correspondence (e.g. ,mop, back, drip).
    • Decode regularly spelled one syllable words (e.g., ship, went, cold, cart).
    • Know final -e and common vowel team conventions for representing long vowel sounds (e.g., note and cape as well as words that contain the vowel teams: /oa/, /ay/, /ai/, / oe/, /ee/, /ae/.
    • Use knowledge that every syllable must have a vowel sound (e.g., o/ pen, kick/ing, mar/ket, moth/er, clo/set).
    • Decode two-syllable words following basic patterns (e.g., open syllable words such as: began, human, tiger and closed syllable words such as submit, insect, kitten).
    • Read words with inflectional endings (e.g., looks, looked, looking, longer, longest).
  • Read with Fluency
    • Read on level text with appropriate accuracy, rate and expression.
  • Identify Key Ideas and Details
    • Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
    • Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of central message or lesson.
    • Describe characters, settings, and major events using key details.
    • Identify the main topic and retell key details in an informational text.
    • Describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text.
  • Understand the Structure of Texts
    • Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.
    • Explain major differences between books that tell stories and books that give information.
    • Identify who is telling the story at various points in a text.
    • Ask and answer questions to clarify the meaning of words in informational text.
    • Know and use various text features (e.g., headings, tables of contents, glossaries, etc.) to locate key facts.
    • Distinguish between information provided by pictures and information provided by words in a text.
  • Integrate Knowledge and Ideas Within and Across Texts
    • Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.
    • Compare and contrast the experiences of characters in stories.
    • Use illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.
    • Identify the reasons an author gives to support points in a text.
    • Identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic.
  • Read and Comprehend a Range of Texts with Appropriate Grade Level Complexity
    • Read prose and poetry of grade 1 text complexity with prompting and support.

Print Concepts

  • Demonstrate understanding of the basic features of print.
    • Recognize the distinguishing features of a sentence (e.g., firstword, capitalization, ending punctuation).

Phonological Awareness

  • Demonstrate understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds (phonemes).
  • Distinguish long from short vowel sounds in spoken single-syllable words.

  • Orally produce single-syllable words by blending sounds.

  • Isolate and pronounce initial, medial vowel, and final sounds in spoken single–syllable words.

  • Segment spoken single-syllable words into their individual sounds.


  • Demonstrate Command of Conventions of Standard English
    • Print all upper and lower case letters.
    • Apply parts of speech correctly when writing and speaking.
    • Produce and expand complete simple and compound declarative, interrogative, imperative, and ex- clamatory sentences in response to prompts.
    • Apply capitalization, punctuation and spelling when writing.
  • Understand and Use Grade Appropriate Vocabulary
    • Determine and clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases using a variety of strategies.
    • Demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings with guidance and support from adults.
    • Apply words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and responding to texts.


Teachers use the Writers’ Workshop model to plan the following narrative, information, and opinion writing units:

Teachers use the Writers’ Workshop model to plan the following narrative, information, and opinion writing units:

Narrative: Small Moments Information: Nonfiction

Chapter Books Opinion: Writing Reviews

Each writing block includes a short mini-lesson focusing on the writing process, writing conventions, and/or craft. Students then work on assigned or self-selected writing pieces as teachers confer with students either individually or in small groups. The workshop lesson closes with sharing time during which students celebrate and reflect on their writing and the writing process.


Teachers use Fundations to teach the following skills:

  • Correct posture, paper position, and pencil grip.
  • Engage in a variety of fine motor activities using pencils, markers, crayons, playdough, and scissors.
  • Write the upper- and lower-case manuscript alphabet with proper letter formation.
  • Write name using upper- and lower-case letters.


Keyboarding in grades PreK-1 focuses on keyboarding awareness skills such as left and right hand keys, and the location of alphabetic keys as well as the operation of the space bar, enter, and backspace keys. Proper technique and posture are emphasized at all grade levels.

Speaking And Listening

  • Participate in Collaborative Conversations with Understanding
    • Build on others talk and conversations with diverse partners, follow agreed upon rules for discussions and ask questions to clear up questions about the topic under discussion.
    • Ask and answer questions about key ideas from a read aloud or oral presentation.
    • Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to gather additional information or clarify something that is not understood.
  • Present Knowledge and Ideas Clearly
    • Describe people, places, things and events with relevant details and express 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.



Our mathematics curriculum is based on the Connecticut Core Standards for Mathematics (CCSS-M) that define what students should understand and be able to do by the end of the year at each grade level. The Connecticut Core Standards for Mathematics have two key components:

  1. Standards for Mathematical Practice – eight practices in which students engage at all grade levels
  2. Standards for Mathematical Content – conceptual understandings and procedural knowledge and skills

The Content Standards at each grade level are grouped into domains (e.g. Geometry) and clusters within each domain.

Our instructional focus in Grade 1 is 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 as repeating length units; and (4) reasoning about attributes of, and composing and decomposing geometric shapes. To provide you with an understanding of your child’s mathematics learning this year, we have highlighted domains and clusters of standards for Grade 1 below. A comprehensive description of the Connecticut Core Standards for Mathematics is available at

Mathematical Practices

  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
  • Model with mathematics.
  • Use appropriate tools strategically.
  • Attend to precision.
  • Look for and make use of structure.
  • Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

Key Fluency

  • Add/subtract within 10.

Operations and Algebraic Thinking

  • Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction within 20.
  • Understand and apply properties of operations and the relationship between addition and subtraction, i.e., commutative property: 4 + 2 = 2 + 4, associative property: (4 + 2) + 3 = 4 + (2 + 3).
  • Add and subtract within 20.
  • Work with addition and subtraction equations.

Number and Operations in Base Ten

  • Extend the counting sequence from any number, up to 120.
  • Understand place value.
    • Understand two-digit numbers as representing amounts of tens and ones.
    • Compare two-digit numbers based on the meaning of tens and ones and record using >, <, = symbols.
  • Use place value understanding and properties of operations to add and subtract
    • Add within 100, including adding a two-digit number and one-digit number and adding a two-digit number and a multiple of ten, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.
    • Find ten more or ten less than a given two-digit number without having to count and explain reasoning.
    • Subtract multiples of 10 in the 10-90 range using concrete models and relate to a written method and explanation

Measurement and Data

  • Measure and compare length of three objects using standard and non-standard units of measurement.
  • Tell and write time to the hour and 1/2 hour.
  • Represent and interpret data by organizing and representing data with up to three categories; ask and answer questions about the total number of data points and how many more or less in each category.


  • Reason with shapes and their attributes.
    • Distinguish between shape-defining attributes (triangles have three sides) versus non-defining attributes (e.g., color, size).
    • Compose two and three-dimensional shapes and create new shapes from the composite shapes.
    • Partition shapes into two and four equal shares; describe the shares using words (e.g., halves) and the whole as two halves, four fourths.

Social Studies

The Social Studies curriculum was developed with guidance from the Connecticut Social Studies Framework passed by the State Board of Education in February 2015. This Connecticut framework provides a foundation for teaching history, civics and government, geography, and economics in all grade levels. A summary of the Civics and Geography skills studied in Grade 1 are below:


  • Develop an understanding of self, social standards and rules, along with the rights and responsibilities of citizens.

    • Develop a positive self-concept.

    • Develop an understanding of rules and responsibilities within communities.

  • Determine ways one can address problems individually and collectively to improve the communities to which we belong.

    • Identify, understand, and regulate emotions of self and others.

    • Develop positive interpersonal relationships.

  • Instruction about Religion: Recognize that individuals, families, and communities pass down cultural practices and ideas, which may change within families over time.


  • Explore maps and their purpose.

  • Identify where one lives and locate important places on current and historical maps.

  • Use maps to identify important information using symbols, legends, and keys.

  • Give and follow directions.

  • Create a variety of maps.

In addition, as part of the English/Language Arts curriculum, students will participate in two Social Studies units. Students will explore the question How would our lives be different if we lived in a different kind of community? by reading a variety of fictional books set in urban, rural, and suburban communities. Students consider how the characters’ lives are different based on where they live. Students also explore the question, How can time and place affect a person’s life? Students will read a variety of books summarizing how things change over time (i.e. toys and games long ago and today) and how the place in which a person lives changes his/her experience (i.e. the foods you eat are different around the world).


The newly re-designed Grade 1 Science curriculum is based on the K-12 Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) passed by the CT State Board of Education in November 2015. This standards-based framework emphasizes learning experiences that provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to be well-informed citizens, to be prepared for college and careers, and to understand and appreciate the essential role of science in our community and our world.
In first grade, students develop an understanding of the relationship between sound and vibrating materials as well as between the availability of light and the ability to see objects. They learn how plants and animals use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs as well as explore the effect of behavior upon survival. Grade 1 students are also able to observe, describe, and predict some patterns of the movement of objects in the night sky.
To demonstrate their understanding of the core ideas indicated above, first grade students engage in the following science and engineering practices:
  • Asking questions and defining problems
  • Developing and using models
  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Analyzing and interpreting data 
  • Using mathematics and computational thinking
  • Constructing explanations and designing solutions
  • Engaging in argument from evidence
  • Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information

Visual Arts

The Visual Arts Department promotes artistic development, fosters development of visual literacy, critical thinking skills, intellectual risktaking and lifelong learning. The curriculum is currently being revised using the National Core Arts Standards (NCAS) as a foundation. The program is grounded in developing student-centered experiences that promote meaningful discourse.

Understanding The Creative Process through the Visual Arts

Connecting / Exploring Culture through Concept and Skill

  • Learn about portraits and self-portraits; creating space
  • Learn about the elements and principles of art such as shape, line and color as well as color theory and line directionality
  • Explore author/illustrator, connecting to literacy and images
  • Learn about landscape, still life and creating space ( foreground, middleground, background)
  • Exploration of a wide variety of cultures drawing from art history as well as current artists
  • Discover connections to other subject matters such as science, math, history


  • Exploration of a variety of mediums in creative expression
  • Drawing: a variety of techniques introduced in use of crayon, oil pastel, and watercolor pencils
  • Painting: possible exploration of resist, watercolor, acrylic, tempera
  • Three dimensional art: introduction of techniques used in sculpture such as relief, paper sculpture, found objects and clay

Responding / Critique and Aesthetic Discourse

  • Participate in collaborative discussion about art using appropriate vocabulary; develop opinions and judgments about art
  • Develop Visual Literacy skills about art and process in written artist’s intent, journal, or creative writing (poetry, story)


Vocal Music

Singing is the foundation of all music skills in the elementary vocal music curriculum. Music skills are sequentially taught and divided into five content areas: melody, rhythm, reading and writing, part work and form, using grade appropriate songs, singing games and rounds.


  • Sing in tune, clearly, alone and with others, e.g., greeting songs.


  • Perform simple rhythmic and melodic patterns, alone and with others.
  • Move to and keep a steady beat while singing.


  • Read and write simple rhythmic and melodic patterns, e.g., quarter and eighth notes; sol, mi.


  • Listen to music with focused attention.
  • Respond to music with movement.
  • Use terminology in describing music, e.g., high/low.

Understanding Culture/History

  • Identify ways in which other disciplines are interrelated with music.
  • Sing songs and play games that explore cultural diversity, e.g., Kenya.
  • Identify simple form, e.g., repeat.

Physical Education

The Elementary Physical Education department strives to create physically literate students. At the elementary level, we ensure that students are exposed to foundational skills that they will build upon throughout their Physical Education experience in West Hartford Public Schools. Our curriculum is aligned to SHAPE AMERICA’s National Standards. Concepts that students will be engaged in are:

  • Demonstrate good body control when performing locomotor and non-locomotor skills.
  • Demonstrate developmentally appropriate manipulative skills using a variety of implements and different body parts.
  • Apply movement concepts (e.g., space, speed) to movements.
  • Perform simple rhythmic patterns involving creative or cultural dance movement.
  • Participate in a variety of moderate to vigorous physical activities that promote fitness.
  • Perform movement tasks (both on the floor and on the apparatus) that require creative or critical thinking.
  • Demonstrate the physical, cognitive, and effective skills to participate in cooperative adventure activities.

Library Media Services

The library media program in the elementary school provides the foundation skills for students to become critical users of information, and readers for lifelong learning. Standards for the 21st-Century Learner published by the American Association of School Librarians provides the framework for instruction. By the end of grade 5 students will:

Standard 1—Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge.

  • Find, evaluate, and select appropriate sources to answer questions.
  • Read, view, and listen for information presented in any format (e.g., textual, visual, media, digital) in order to make inferences and gather meaning.
  • Make sense of information gathered from diverse sources by identifying misconceptions, main and supporting ideas, conflicting information and point of view or bias.
  • Demonstrate mastery of technology tools to access information and pursue inquiry.

Standard 2—Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge.

  • Continue an inquiry-based research process by applying critical thinking skills (analysis, synthesis, evaluation, organization) to information and knowledge in order to construct new understandings, draw conclusions, and create new knowledge.
  • Use technology and other information tools to analyze and organize information.
  • Use the writing process, media and visual literacy, and technology skills to create products that express new understandings.

Standard 3—Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society.

  • Conclude an inquiry-based research process by sharing new understandings and reflecting on the learning.
  • Use information and technology ethically and responsibly.
  • Contribute to the exchange of ideas within and beyond the learning community

Standard 4—Pursue personal and aesthetic growth.

  • Respond to literature and creative expressions of ideas in various formats and genres.
  • Show an appreciation for literature by electing to read for pleasure and expressing interest in various literary genres.


  • Demonstrate how to respond to emergency or unsafe situations, including how to make a 911 call. 
  • Identify trusted adults who can help them.
  • Explain potential dangers of touching, playing with, ingesting or smelling any substance, including medicines.
  • Discuss how to use the Internet safely.
  • Recognize and respect differences and similarities in ways people and families think, act, learn, look and live.
  • Make healthy eating choices, including eating enough fruits and vegetables daily.
  • Recognize their own feelings and others’ feelings, including impulsive behaviors.
  • Practice effective communication skills, including ways to interrupt conversations politely and ways to share and take turns.
  • Practice ways to deal with name-calling and teasing.
  • Demonstrate self-regulation techniques.

West Hartford Community Relations police officers assist in teaching some of these objectives.