Skills and Concepts for 1st Grade

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Skills to Teach and Concepts to Introduce in 1st Grade

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  • Recognizes the features of a sentence. (For example: first words, capitalization, and ending punctuation.) – sentence structure
  • Apply appropriate capitalization - first word in sentence, names of people
  • Apply appropriate punctuation: end punctuation
  • Apply knowledge of revision skills
  • Recognizes the spelling and sound of two letters that represent one sound. For example, th, ch, wh. (These are also known as digraphs.)
  • Apply phonics skills to read/understand words/text.
  • Learns to read regularly spelled one-syllable words.
  • Understands how an “e” at the end of a word changes a vowel within the word.
  • Breaks up longer words into syllables in order to read them.
  • Reads grade-level words that have “irregular” spellings.
  • Knows the difference between and reads fiction and non-fiction texts with purpose and an understanding of the plot and important ideas and characters.
  • Talks about and answer questions about the text he reads.
  • Reads texts aloud at an appropriate speed and with expression.
  • Compares different characters, events or texts.
  • Understands the purpose of and uses common features in a book, such as headings, tables of contents and glossaries.
  • Begins to read (grade appropriate) poetry and identifies words and phrases that relate to emotions and the senses.
  • Begins to show literacy appreciation
  • Writes a variety of texts including, opinion pieces, narratives, and explanatory/informational pieces.
  • Writes with structure including an introductory sentence, supporting or accurate details and some sense of closure.
  • Begins to use digital tools, including computers, to practice and “publish” writing. 
Sample Activities
  • Play Time: Read aloud a favorite story or poem as though it is a play or using different voices for the character and the narrator, to help your child practice her pacing and expression. Your child can also read a book to you!
  • Read and Draw: Ask your child to draw a picture of her favorite scene, character or page from a book. She can then write a description of what she drew and why she chose to draw it.
  • Become Poets: Find small and simple poems. Read them together and talk about the feelings they convey. Try making up your own poems together about objects, people you know or anything you like!
  • Word Games: Use magnetic letters, letter tiles or cards from games to create both real and silly words. Practice building longer words by putting together shorter sounds and words.
  • Create Your Own Dictionary: As your child learns to read new words and learns the meaning of new words, keep track of them in your own dictionary. Your child can write them down, draw a picture to illustrate the word and or its definition, or write a sentence with the word. 
  • Write Your Own Stories: After you experience something together or your child has an important moment or event, he can write a about it and illustrate it as though it is a story and share it with your family and friends.
  • Answer a Question: When your child asks a question, research the answer together using books or computers (under your supervision). Then create an informative poster or collage which tells the question the answer and uses both texts and illustrations to show what you learned.
  • Make a Family Magazine or Book: Your child can illustrate a book using drawings and text to describe different family members or friends. Each person can have their own page.
  • Write Cards and Letters for Special Events: On birthdays and holidays your child can send people cards or letters he writes.
  • Adds and subtracts numbers 1-20, solves word problems by using objects, drawings and traditional equations with the plus and minus signs.
  • Adds 3 numbers that add to a number up to 20.
  • Solves addition and subtraction problems by adding up or subtracting smaller numbers, for example 10+4 = 10+2+2 and 15-6= 15-2-2-2.
  • Learns the relationship between addition and subtraction, for example 2+3=5 and 5-3=2.
  • Counts out and groups objects in order to solve single digit addition and subtraction problems.   
  • Counts and writes the numbers 1 to 120, starting from any number less than 120.
  • Understands and creates numbers using 10 as a base, for example, 12 = 1 ten and 2 1’s. 
  • Compares two 2 digit numbers using the <, >, and = signs.
  • Adds up to100 using objects and the concept of 10’s.
  • Subtracts or adds 10 to a 2 digit number in her mind, without counting, and subtracts by 10 from numbers 1-90, using concrete objects or tools.
  • Orders three objects by length.
  • Begins to tell and write time using both digital and analog clocks.
  • Understands data, specifically, the total number of data points, how many are in each category and how many more or less there are in a category.
  • Understands the definition of and difference between shapes and creates shapes using this knowledge.
  • Creates 2 and 3 dimensional shapes.
  • Breaks up circles and rectangles into two and four equal parts, and understands that the parts are halves, fourths, and quarters, and that smaller parts make up larger ones.      
  • Name, model, write, compare, and order numbers to 200; identify place value and odd/even; skip count.
  • Identify and model fractions (halves, thirds, fourths) as parts of wholes/groups.
  • Identify coins and $1 bills; find value of collection of coins.
  • Know addition and subtraction facts through 10; model, create, and solve addition and subtraction problems.
  • Identify, create, describe, and extend simple rhythmic, shape, size, number, color, and letter patterns; skip count by 2s, 5s, 10s .
  • Construct and solve addition and subtraction sentences.
  • Identify, draw, describe, and compare 2-D and 3-D shapes.
  • Identify parts of the day, week, and month; tell time to half hour.
  • Measure objects and use appropriate measurement tools; make and use estimates.
  • Compare and order objects by length and weight
  • Gather, organize, represent, and interpret data using tallies, charts, pictographs, and bar graphs.
  • Decide most likely outcomes.
Sample Activities
  • Add It Up and Shop: When you are in the store together, ask your child to add together different things, for example, how many fruits you bought, how many boxes of something or how many different types of fruit and vegetables.
  • Greater or Less Than? Make three cards, one with the <, one with > sign and one with an = sign. Then play a game in which you put down 2 numbers (also on papers). Ask your child to put the correct sign between the numbers and do this is as fast as possible, seeing how many rounds he can get correct in a certain amount of time. Track how many your child got right and ask him to beat his record another time in the future.
  • Build Things: Use blocks or other building toys to construct houses, towers, vehicles etc. As you build, count pieces by tens, add and subtract pieces and pay attention to the different shapes you use.
  • Take a Poll: Ask family members a question and create a graph of the answers using numbers and pictures. Ask your child questions about the different “data” you collected.
  • Order Up: Compare the sizes of different objects. Ask your child which object is larger, smaller and smallest. Ask your child to order some of his toys in size order. Time him to see how fast he can do this!
  • Set the Table: Setting the table for meals can include lots of math as you and your child add the total numbers of utensils, plates, chairs, etc. 
  • Explores and experiments with the world around him/her and with objects provided by the teacher.
  • Learns new facts about a variety of topics including: the human body, ocean and sea life, animals, measurement, electricity and magnetism and sound and matter (the difference between solids, gases and liquids.)
  • Makes observations and records what he/she sees and learns using graphs, pictures and words.
  • Uses his/her 5 senses to observe and learn about objects. 
  • Recognize that living organisms are found on the earth’s surface.
  • Describe air as a mixture of gases and wind as moving air.
  • Describe weather changes from day to day and over the seasons; identify factors that affect weather; describe how plants and animals adjust to seasonal weather changes.
  • Differentiate between plants and animals; classify and group plants and animals by one characteristic; identify similar parts of different plants.
  • Identify what plants and animals need to survive; identify ways their habitats provide for their basic needs.
  • Describe animal interactions with the environment.
  • Classify solids and liquids by using the sense.
  • Classify and sort objects that re attracted by and not attracted by magnets.
  • Understand that matter can change (e.g. water as a va- por, liquid, or solid).
  • Describe how a magnetic force makes objects move.
  • Identify tools/machines used for specific purpose (e.g. magnetic compass).
Sample Activities
  • Experiment with Water: Put different objects in water and see what floats and sinks. Heat water up (under your supervision) and see what happens when water boils. Put cups of water in the freezer and refrigerator and compare what happens. Ask your child what he thinks will happen before you do each of these things and talk about what he learns.  Make ice cubes out of water and then watch them melt, focusing on how different matter can change from one thing to another.
  • Observe Your World: Observe things around you -- your pet, a rainstorm, a bug outside or anything else in nature. Together, write down and draw pictures of what you notice. Use this to further your child’s interest. Ask her what else she wants to learn about a topic, then read books or look up facts online about that topic. Try to find answers to your child’s questions about an object.
  • Use Your Senses: Help your child use his senses. Blindfold your child and have him taste, touch and smell different objects. Ask him to guess what the object is or talk about how the object tastes, feels and smells. 

Social Studies
  • Learns and talks about his own family, different types of families in the present and in history, and his community.
  • Uses and studies maps to locate his own community as well as others.
  • Develops communication and conversation skills.
  • Creates both group and individual work to represent what he has learned, using writing, illustrations and graphic organizers such as Venn diagrams and T-charts.
  • Begins to explore the role of technology and media.
  • Gains an understanding of the importance of rules, citizenship and democracy in the classroom and in his community.
  • Learns about national holidays and important events and days.
  • Discuss events with a basic understanding of chronology
  • Identify and discuss basic needs for goods and services
  • Identify the symbols, icons, and traditions of the United States
  • Describe the life stories of notable individuals in United States History
  • Identify and discuss the concepts of direction and basic geographic landforms
Sample Activities
  • Study Your Community: Walk around your local neighborhood and take pictures of, draw pictures of and help your child write about what she notices. Encourage your child to talk to different people in the community and ask them questions. Then make a poster or short book about your town. Your child can then send this info to a friend or family member who lives somewhere else.
  • Take a trip: Compare your own town and community to ones around you. If you live in a city, visit a more rural or suburban area. If you live in a rural area or suburb, visit a city. Talk about the differences and similarities or make a chart of them.
  • Act it Out: Use role play to help your child work on his conflict resolution skills. Act out small situations of conflict such as: what happens if someone is playing with a toy you want or what happens if you don’t agree with someone about something. Help your child figure out specific strategies he can use in different situations.
  • Make a Group Plan: Work with other family members or friends on a specific task such as cleaning up a yard or room, or cooking or setting up a meal or party. Assign everyone specific roles and figure out how to work together in the best way possible. 


Published:Apr 4th 2017
Modified:Apr 7th 2017


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