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Students in first grade become confident at reading and comprehension by listening to the teacher read, guided reading, shared reading, and independent reading with leveled books. A love of reading is developed during fairy tale and author studies. The children have opportunities to show off their speaking skills through readers' theater, reciting and performing poems, retelling and summarizing stories, and reading buddies. Students learn phonics, spelling, sight words, and decoding skills during word study time. This is accomplished with STW Spelling Series, word ladders, making words and other engaging interactive activities. Students participate in many different types of writing such as journal, letter, narrative, expository, poetry, descriptive, persuasive, reports, and creative.


First graders investigate various forms of data collection such as counting, tallying, surveys, and observations. Students begin to interpret information from picture or object graphs using vocabulary words such as more than, fewer, greater than, less than, and equal to. They will begin to recognize, observe, and extend simple numeric patterns and shapes and analyze repeating patterns. First graders explore telling time to the hour, half-hour, quarter hours using analog and digital clocks, locate given dates on a calendar, and determine past and future dates. An emphasis is placed on developing a strong number sense and algebraic thinking. First Graders practice recognizing number patterns (counting by ones, twos, fives, and tens) to solve missing numbers in each sequence. They compare numbers and investigate place value to the hundreds. In geometry, students identify and sort both plane and 3-dimensional figures by number of sides, vertices, and right angles. They identify shapes within the environment. First graders investigate and write fractions such as halves, thirds, fourths, and wholes, compare fractions using models, and partition circles and rectangles into equal shares.


Students will create and solve 1-step story problems using addition and subtraction facts. They also begin to develop strategies such as using objects, drawings, equations, and key words to solve word problems. First graders identify pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters and determine the value of a collection of coins whose total value is less than one dollar. The children use both standard and nonstandard units to measure and compare length, weight/mass, and volume. They are introduced to both U.S. Customary and Metric units of measure. First graders work to recall basic addition and subtraction facts. They also apply properties of operations as strategies to add and subtract.


In first grade, the students are introduced to a variety of rocks and minerals on Earth. They discover the attributes of  sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks. The students begin to classify plants and animals according to different attributes. As they classify, the students understand how plants and animals continue to grow and change over time. During the Human Body Fair, first graders learn the parts of the digestive system and how they work. Students learn facts about the different planets in our solar system.  Various weather patterns are also discovered. Finally, students are introduced to the topics of matter, energy, and force.


First graders explore their country and community. They begin to see how the world around them works and how people’s needs have to be met in order to survive. Students begin to understand the importance of community leaders. As they explore the world around them, they are introduced to various customs and traditions as well as how different ethnic groups celebrate. They explore the past and present of our nation. First graders also enjoy learning about different countries through the school’s Passport Program.


Spanish in Lower School is done as a hands-on approach. It is lively and fun, and follows closely with the curriculum of the program and what the homeroom teacher is teaching at a particular time. Later on, students will continue to develop vocabulary and pronunciation skills and an understanding of the target cultures through hands-on and culturally stimulating ways.


Students begin keyboarding lessons in Lower School, and basic computer vocabulary and functions are emphasized. Projects in class are used to extend classroom lessons, whether it is building a presentation, writing a paper, creating a poster, etc. for a currently studied unit. Students are given assignments that continue to enhance and develop their technical skills and understanding by producing increasingly more sophisticated documents and presentations. Lower School students learn more abstract ideas and terms while being introduced to more challenging software and the structure of networks. Netsmartz and Digital Compass age appropriate areas are used to teach and engage students in conversation regarding a variety of topics in digital safety and citizenship.


​Kindergarten and first grade students will begin to learn about the elements of art: lines, shapes, colors, space, value, form, and texture. They will discover secondary and neutral colors and how to use them in creating art. Students will also begin to use patterns.  


​The Sullins model for music education is built upon each student progressing in their knowledge per annum. Beginning in Kindergarten, students at Sullins are introduced to music through beat (steady beat), voice (whisper, talk, shout), rhythm (discovering the difference between beat and rhythm), pitch, patterns, introduction to instruments, dynamics, duration, and listening.


As their year at Sullins progresses, students will learn to sing in tune and on pitch with more consistency, learn to demonstrate a steady beat with more consistency, identify and read rhythmic notation, coordinate movement with music in the form of dances, more complex circle games, and creative movement.


Students will sing in tune and on pitch with more consistency, will demonstrate a steady beat with more consistency at different tempo, and will learn to sing and play simple two-part songs. Students will also be introduced to the concept of harmony and will learn to identify the following musical symbols: staff, treble clef, bar line, measure, double bar line, repeat sign, quarter note, quarter rest, half note, half rest.


The children will coordinate movement with music in the form of more complex dances, circle games, and creative movement.


First grade students recognize the library as a place where they can find help in selecting books to meet their needs and interests. They also begin to view the library as a place to locate information about topics new to them.


Lower School curriculum focuses on team sports, cooperation, team-building, and individual skills. Sports include volleyball, soccer, baseball, tennis, football, basketball, and hockey. Students participate in bi-annual fitness testing, single and team jump ropes, and seasonal tag games. As a culmination of Heart Health Awareness month, students participate in the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart.



Each morning starts with a community gathering to focus on the value of the month and to prepare for the day ahead. Kindergartners then enjoy a balanced schedule combining Daily News, PE, reading, Spanish, music, math, science, art, Writing Workshop, social studies, Guided Discovery, and Library.

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