Grade 1

West Hartford Curriculum in Nutshell

This document outlines the Grade 1 curriculum. West Hartford’s comprehensive program is based on standards for teaching and learning adopted by the Connecticut Board of Education/State Department of Education including Connecticut Core Standards, Connecticut Social Studies Frameworks, and Next Generation Science Standards. The West Hartford curriculum also includes integration of state standards for visual and performing arts, physical education, and library media services. These standards guide development of curriculum and instruction to support student learning necessary for success on district and state assessments and for students to have the knowledge, skills and dispositions for future college and career readiness.


This year, your child will be working to develop an understanding of and mastery toward Grade 1 Connecticut Core Standards for Mathematics. Your first grader will engage in whole and small group lessons based on what they need. They will participate in weekly Number Talk lessons and routines that focus on mental math strategies, mathematical discourse, and building computational fluency.

Through seven units of study, your child will focus on both the content of Math Standards (WHAT they will learn) and Mathematical Practices (HOW students engage in learning of mathematics) that are both part the CT Core Mathematics Standards for Mathematics.

In Grade 1, instruction focuses on four critical areas of mathematics content learning:

  • understanding whole number relationships and place value including grouping tens and ones (Number & Operations in Base Ten)
  • understanding addition, subtraction and strategies for addition and subtraction within 20 (Operations & Algebraic Thinking)
  • understanding measurement and measuring lengths (Measurement & Data)
  • reasoning about attributes of and composing and decomposing shapes (Geometry)

Click here for some helpful resources that you can use to gain a better understanding of the elementary math curriculum as well as ways in which you can support your child in math at home.

Grade 1 Mathematics Learning Progression

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This year your child will be working to develop his or her understanding and mastery of the Next Generation Science Standards for Grade 1. Your child will participate in inquiry-based lessons that build science and engineering practices and engage in hands-on experiences that allow students to discover the following Grade 1 core ideas of science:

  • the relationship between the availability of light and the ability to see objects
  • how plants and animals use their external parts to help them survive, grow and meet their needs
  • the effect of animal behavior upon survival
  • movement patterns of objects in the night sky

Your child will demonstrate their understanding of these core ideas by engaging in eight science and engineering practices throughout their science units of study.

K-5 Science Units & Essential Questions

Click the blue banner above to view the Grade 1 units of study within the K-5 Science curriculum.


This year, your child will develop an understanding of and mastery toward Grade 1 Common Core Standards for English-Language Arts. These standards integrate all aspects of Language Arts development and are categorized under reading, language, and speaking & listening. Your child will participate in whole and small group reading lessons to support progress toward mastery of these standards. An outline of the year's units are included below.

Narrative/Fiction Units:

  • Identifying and Describing Story Elements (Story Elements)
  • Retelling (Retelling & Story Message)
  • Compare/Contrast Characters' Adventures and Experiences (Compare & Contrast Stories)


  • Main Topic and Key Details (Main Topic)
  • Locating Information (Using Text Features)
  • Sharing Information (Comparing Two Texts on the Same Topic)

Click here for some helpful resources that you can use to gain a better understanding of the elementary literacy curriculum as well as ways in which you can support your child with reading at home. Check out the "Where can I go to find book suggestions for my child?" section for websites to find books to read at home!

Grade 1 Language Arts Learning Progression

Click the blue banner above to view the Grade 1 literacy standards progression.


Wilson Fundations is a program used daily in every Grade 1 classroom. Your child will engage in systematic instruction in the following foundational literacy skills: phonemic awareness, phonics/word study, high frequency word study, reading fluency, vocabulary, comprehension strategies, and spelling.

Handwriting is a key component in the Fundations program. Your child will learn correct posture, paper position, and pencil grip. Children also learn to write the upper- and lower-case manuscript alphabet with proper letter formation.

Handwriting Practice Videos

Click the blue banner above to be directed to our WHPS developed handwriting practice videos.


Your child will engage in the following writing units this year:

  • Narrative Writing: Small Moments
  • Information Writing: Nonfiction Chapter Books
  • Opinion Writing: Writing Reviews

Teachers use the Writers’ Workshop model for their instruction. Each writing block includes a short mini-lesson focusing on the writing process, writing conventions, and/or craft. Your child will 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.

Click here for some helpful resources that you can use to gain a better understanding of the elementary writing curriculum as well as ways in which you can support your child with writing at home.

Kindergarten-Grade 5 Writing Learning Progression

Click the blue banner above to view the Kindergarten-Grade 5 writing progression.

Social-Emotional Learning

Your child will engage in weekly lessons from the Second Step social-emotional learning curriculum as well as a Morning Meeting structure (greeting, sharing, group activities) implemented in all Grade K-5 classrooms provide West Hartford students with a consistent social-emotional learning progression. As part of our WHPS commitment to equity and anti-racism, your child will also engage in lessons aligned to the four Learning for Justice social justice standards- identity, diversity, justice, and action. Students build the following social-emotional learning (SEL) concepts and skills throughout their WHPS elementary experience:

  • Self-Awareness: Develop a positive self-concept
  • Self-Management: Identify, understand, and regulate emotions of self and others
  • Responsible Decision-Making: Make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions
  • Relationship Skills: Develop positive interpersonal relationships
  • Social Awareness: Develop an understanding of rules and responsibilities within communities
PreK-Grade 5 Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum

Click the blue banner above to learn more about our Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum.

Social Studies

Your child will engage in social studies curriculum developed with guidance from the Connecticut Social Studies Framework passed by the State Board of Education in February 2015. The Connecticut framework provides a foundation for teaching history, civics and government, geography, and economics in all grade levels. In Grade 1, your child will explore the following concepts:


  • 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.


  • Develop an understanding of self, social standards and rules, along with the rights and responsibilities of citizens.
  • Determine ways one can address problems individually and collectively to improve the communities to which we belong.

Instruction about Religion:

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

History/Literacy Integration: As part of the English/Language Arts curriculum, your child will will participate in two integrated Social Studies units.

  1. How would our lives be different if we lived in a different kind of community? Your child will read a variety of fictional books set in urban, rural, and suburban communities and consider how the characters' lives are different based on where they live.
  2. How can time and place affect a person's life? Your child 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 their experience (i.e. foods you eat are different around the world).

Special Areas

All elementary students in West Hartford attend art, physical education, music, and library classes each week.

Visual Arts: The visual arts curriculum provides a sequential and meaningful focus on skills and concepts while emphasizing art production, art history, aesthetics and art criticism. Your child will engage in inquiry, exploration and development of visual literacy skills, technique and expression of personal style through child-centered experiences.

Physical Education: The department strives to help children create healthy, active lifestyles through a balance of activities in a positive, responsible and cooperative environment. Your child will engage in activities that include the movement areas of body management, use of manipulatives, educational gymnastics, dance, fitness and adventure/cooperative education.

Music: The study of music fosters artistic development, critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, and the pursuit of life-long learning. Through performing and responding to music, your child will develop individual skills, realize a sense of belonging, and establish connections to the community.

Library-Media: The library-media department provides instruction, resources and services necessary for students to become lifelong learners in a global community. Your child will engage in weekly sessions with the library-media specialist to develop a flexible set of skills throughout their elementary experience to prepare them to be independent knowledge-seekers, critical thinkers, and creative-problem-solvers.

Click on the pictures below to learn more about each department

Resources to Support Families

What does learning look like in Grade 1?

Click the blue banner above to learn more about reading, math, and writing (Source: