School Level


In first grade, students deepen their number sense to gain a solid understanding of the structure of the number system. They learn to recognize patterns, compare number values, and identify place value. Through hands-on experience, children work as a whole class and in small group settings, as well as focused math centers to master skills and reinforce learning. Problem solving strategies are explored daily through the use of class discussions, math journals, literature, and a wide variety of manipulatives.

In first grade, students focus on the building blocks needed to become independent, fluent readers. They work on phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension using systematic, sequential, and multi-sensory activities tailored to individual skill levels. Children also learn to select fiction and nonfiction “just right” books to support their growing skills.  Storytelling through writing is experienced by every student. Using mentor texts by published authors, first graders model their own writing to consist of a beginning, middle, and end, and they use labeled illustrations to elaborate on ideas. The process of creating and sharing their work allows children to improve their writing mechanics, including spelling and punctuation.

First graders learn about science through an integrated, hands-on approach as they further develop an appreciation for the environment. From watching an apple rot over time to imagining and creating a building challenge, students make predictions, solve problems, and record data with simple instruments. Students sharpen their skills for scientific observations through dialogue, writing and illustration. Children are introduced to STEM and the Engineering Design Process, supporting them to imagine, plan, create and improve construction and robotics projects. They are encouraged to ask questions as they explore and describe the characteristics and properties of what they see.

The first grade social studies curriculum takes an in-depth look at the basic human need for shelter and clothing. Children learn about historical and contemporary methods for creating shelter and clothing through hands-on activities, making personal connections in their own lives. Supported by literature and art projects, first graders also expand their geography skills to understand the features of maps, with a focus on the U.S. and Israel. Students work cooperatively to create a giant map of Israel while locating/labeling the capital, cities, and bodies of water and points of interest while learning about the land.

The study of Hebrew at Rashi gives our students the ability and confidence to speak, understand, read, and write Hebrew. The focus of our curriculum is Modern Hebrew. In addition to the acquisition of academic knowledge, Hebrew classes are intended to connect students to the land and people of Israel, including how Jewish people around the world celebrate holidays.

In first grade, students expand their knowledge of Hebrew by adding vowels and learning to read words. As their decoding and fluency advance, children meet daily in small groups to practice reading, writing, and speaking skills. Target vocabulary includes words related to animals, clothing, and parts of the body, all of which supports the science, social studies, and wellness curriculum. By the end of first grade, students are able to read short books, write simple sentences, and engage with basic dialogue.

In first grade, students learn about the symbols and stories of holidays. Children learn about the biblical and historical references for these celebrations. First graders concentrate each week on the Torah Parsha, learning about the heroes and heroines of our heritage along with the lessons learned from the Torah. Students develop a strong understanding of mitzvot through learning about Torah, stories, Midrash and practice.

In first grade, students progress towards mastering and adapting more complex manipulative and motor skills. The children learn the correct technique for fundamental skills and use them in performance. Students develop and practice sportsmanship, learning what it means to be a courteous winner or loser. They explore the twelve health and skill related components of physical fitness: cardiovascular strength, body composition, flexibility, muscular strength, muscular endurance, speed, agility, balance, coordination, reaction time, and power.

First Graders continue exploring the potential of different media, while expanding their repertoire of skills. They continue to focus on line and shape as elements of art, and they begin to explore color theory, observing the visual impacts of primary, secondary, and complementary colors. They continue to observe and discuss famous works of art as inspiration for their own collages, color wheels, and abstract drawings. Students make art from direct observation, such as self-portraits, as well as learning about cultural identity and family through the study of woven baskets from Ethiopia. Judaica projects include creating a polymer clay seder plate for Passover.

Grade 1 students expand upon what was learned in Kindergarten by exploring new realms of music theory. They also continue to focus on listening, movement, and playing instruments. Students will experiment with crescendo and decrescendo, learn how to place symbols on a music staff, and learn how to play a melody with a bass line accompaniment on the xylophones, like in the song Apple Tree. They will also learn about the various instruments of the orchestra, which will be reinforced during their study of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (Ode to Joy) and Bach’s Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor.

Department Faculty

Bonny Parlee

Theater Director

Jennifer Shaw

Fitness & Health Teacher

Ari Marcovski

Hebrew Teacher

Rabbi Sharon Clevenger

Dean of Jewish Learning

Janie Lubarsky

Grade 1 Lead Teacher

Corey Roberts

Grade 1 Lead Teacher

Melissa Rosenblatt

STEAM Educator

Michelle Bernstein

STEAM Educator

Fallon Katz

Mathematics Specialist

Julie Koven

Librarian/Technology Integration Specialist

Nicholas Linder

Director of Music

Hanna Crosby

Literacy Specialist

Stephanie Rotsky

Director of Social Justice

Erica Smiley

Director of Visual Arts

Rebecca Berwick

English Department Chair