English Language ArtsTop of Page


In first grade, students learn to read and to think and talk like a reader. We use read alouds, shared reading experiences, small group instruction (guided reading practice) and individual instruction to target reading strategies that range from sounding out words to responding to literature.

During Reader’s Workshop, students have independent reading time to practice a multitude of reading skills. Students are taught to select a variety of books at their reading and interest level, and to build reading stamina. They practice reading strategies that focus on meaning, context and visual cues. Students also work on identifying characters, setting, and plot,  make predictions and ask questions, gather information from books, and retell stories in sequence and in detail.

First grade has the support of reading specialist Suzanne Drysdale, who provides both Reading Discovery and Small Group Reading instruction for qualifying children.


Writer’s Workshop provides the students with a daily opportunity to express themselves in their writing and illustrations. Students self-select their topic based on the current unit of study. Units of study include personal narratives, informational and procedural writing, response to literature, and persuasive writing. Students are taught story structure and writing style through mini-lessons and student/teacher conferences. Students also spend time learning about the mechanics of writing, specifically capitalization, punctuation, spacing between words and sentences, and legibility.

In first grade, students review all upper case letters and practice all lower case letters. We emphasize attention to letter formation, as well as correct pencil grip.

Word Study

In first grade, students learn phonemic awareness and pre-spelling skills in order to lay a strong foundation for spelling. Our spelling program, created by Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell, consists of studying high frequency words and common word families.

MathematicsTop of Page

Common Core is the foundation of our math instruction. The four strands are:
  • Operations and Algebraic Thinking 
  • Numbers and Operations in Base Ten
  • Measurement and Data
  • Geometry

ScienceTop of Page

The First Grade bases our scientific explorations and investigations on the FOSS science first grade units of study:

  • Physical Science – Solids & Liquids
  • Earth Science – Air & Weather
  • Life Science – Sounds & Light

Students learn how to record their observations using both words and pictures and to collect data using graphs and journals.

We extend our learning with time in the school garden as well as field trips to Hiller Aviation Museum, San Francisco Zoo, and CuriOdyssey.

Social Studies
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Woodside Elementary School District adopted TCI’s (Teacher’s Curriculum Institute) Social Studies Alive! curriculum for grades K-8. TCI is located in Mountain View and has been supporting teachers for decades in making social studies come alive for students. Our approach includes Hands-On Activities that engage students in big questions, as well as inquiry-based lessons that help students develop critical thinking skills and master essential knowledge. 
For First Grade students, the textbook is Social Studies Alive! My School and Family.
Chapters include:
  • How Do We Get Along in School? (Civics)
  • Why Is it Important to Learn from Each Other? (Civics)
  • Who Works at Your School? (Economics)
  • What Do Good Neighbors Do? (Economics)
  • What Is a Map? (Geography) 
  • What was School Like Long Ago? (History) 

TechnologyTop of Page

First graders visit the computer lab to explore the Woodside School website and other educational websites and programs. Students are expected to gain a basic understanding of applications, and basic computer skills and vocabulary. Computer skills developed in the computer lab are later transferred to more independent computer time on classroom ipads to supplement math, reading, and writing instruction.

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)Top of Page

In first grade, we incorporate SEL throughout the academic day, to build class community and to maintain a nurturing learning environment for all. The three tenants we follow are: Know Yourself, Choose Yourself, Give Yourself. We review the use of I Statements, create opportunities for students to check in with themselves and their emotions, teach the children about personal boundaries, practice strategies to help calm us when we are feeling “escalated”, and begin to reflect on ourselves as a learner and member of a larger learning community.