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Family and Community Guide for 1st Grade

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Working Together: To support families, communities, and teachers in realizing the goals of the Colorado Academic Standards (CAS), this guide provides an overview of the learning expectations for 1st Grade. This guide offers some learning experiences students may engage in at school that may also be supported at home.

Why Standards? Created by Coloradans for Colorado students, the Colorado Academic Standards provide a grade-by-grade road map to help ensure students are successful in college, careers, and life. The standards aim to improve what students learn and how they learn in 12 content areas while emphasizing critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, collaboration, and communication as essential skills for life in the 21st century.

Download the full 1st Grade booklet here.

See all of the Family and Community Guides here.

Where can I learn more?

  • As always, the best place to learn about what your child is learning is from your child's teacher and school. The Colorado Academic Standards describe goals, but how those goals are met is a local decision.
  • The Colorado Academic Standards were written for an audience of professional educators, but parents and community members looking to dig deeper may want to read them for themselves. Visit the Standards and Instructional Support homepage for several options for reviewing the Colorado Academic Standards.
  • If you have further questions, please contact the content specialists in the Office of Standards and Instructional Support.

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Comprehensive Health (adopted 2018)

The comprehensive health standards in the elementary years focus on developing individual skills to enhance physical, emotional, and social wellness and using those individual skills in family, school, and community environments. In each grade, the standards ask students to investigate healthy eating and living habits, explore positive communication strategies, examine effective decision-making, and identify ways to ensure personal and community safety.

Expectations for 1st Grade Students:

  • Physical and Personal Wellness: Establish how eating a variety of foods from the different food groups is vital for good health; demonstrate health behaviors to prevent injury or illness.
  • Social and Emotional Wellness: Demonstrate how to express emotions in healthy ways; identify parents, guardians, and other trusted adults as resources for information about health.
  • Prevention and Risk Management: Demonstrate strategies to avoid hazards in the home and community.

Throughout 1st Grade You May Find Students:

  • Classifying healthy food options in each major food group; examining healthy foods and beverages.
  • Identifying how the taste, color, smells, and textures of foods provide sensory experiences that add or take away from enjoying what we eat.
  • Identifying ways to prevent germs.
  • Classifying types of wounds and infections.
  • Using effective listening and communication skills; practicing skills for cooperation and sharing with others; investigating problem-solving strategies.
  • Identifying trusted adults in home, school, and community.
  • Identifying potential hazards and appropriate responses.
  • Investigating places where help might be found in times of emergency; demonstrating how to use 911 and other emergency numbers; discussing safety procedures for various emergency situations.
  • Investigating internet safety.

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Computer Science (adopted 2018)

Computer science may be taught at all levels preschool through high school, but the State of Colorado only has standards for computer science in high school.

Read the high school computer science family and community guide.

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Dance (adopted 2022)

The dance standards in the preschool or elementary years focus on general dance knowledge and movement skills that build a strong foundation for more specialized dance studies in later years (i.e., Ballet, Hip Hop, social, or cultural dances, as well as common choreographic structures).  At each grade level students explore, discover, and perform various dances; discuss and create movement using a creative process; develop the ability to communicate, describe, and analyze personal dance preferences while providing constructive feedback about other dance performances.  Learning about dance and the creative process contributes to educating the whole child while helping to develop self-confidence.

Expectations for 1st Grade Students:

  • Movement, Technique, and Performance (Perform/Present): Students accurately demonstrate simple movement sequences using different tempos and rhythms; develop and apply safe movement habits.
  • Create, Compose and Choreograph (Create): With guidance from the teacher, students learn to use a creative process to improvise movement.
  • Historical and Cultural Context (Know/Comprehend): Students explore and perform simple dances from different time periods and various countries; begin to recognize and describe how dance represents different cultures.
  • Reflect, Connect, and Respond (Critique/Evaluate/Refine): Students begin to describe dance using basic movement vocabulary; recognize how dance connects to their daily lives.

Throughout 1st Grade You May Find Students:

  • Demonstrating various technical qualities in movement (i.e., changing direction, or tempo).
  • Using concentration skills while moving.
  • Developing simple movement phrases.
  • Solving simple movement problems.
  • Performing movements from various eras and cultures.
  • Recognizing and describing how dance represents different cultures and time periods.
  • Describing movements and gestures in various dances.
  • Finding similarities and comparisons in dance performances.
  • Demonstrating respectful behavior while viewing or performing dances.

 

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Drama and Theatre Arts (adopted 2022)

The Drama and Theatre Arts standards in the preschool and elementary years focus on general drama knowledge and skills that blend basic theatrical elements to ensure a solid foundation for more specialized studies in later grades.  Theatre studies may include technical theatre, stage movement, improvisation, acting, writing, directing, and film studies.  Students will discover acting techniques; create and perform theatrical works; explore various characters, plots, and themes; investigate dramatic texts; discover and describe personal theatrical preferences; explore constructive ways to reflect and respond about the creative process and dramatic works from the past and present.

Expectations for 1st Grade Students:

  • Create (Create): With prompting and support from the teacher, students use dialogue, facial expressions, gestures, and simple body movements to express thoughts and feelings about oneself, simple characters, environments, or to tell a story.
  • Perform (Perform/Present): With prompting and support from the teacher, students select, analyze, and interpret stories for dramatic presentations.
  • Critically Respond (Know/Comprehend and Critique/Evaluate/Refine): With prompting and support from the teacher, students relate artistic ideas to cultural and historical understandings; reflect on personal growth as a theatre artist; and analyze performance and production elements of dramatic presentations.

Throughout 1st Grade You May Find Students:

  • Talking about and enacting physical and emotional traits of storybook characters.
  • Creating human and animal characters in specific environments (the actions of an elephant in the jungle versus an elephant in a living room).
  • Acting out a teacher-narrated story by demonstrating the actions and events described.
  • Using body, voice, and imagination to act out various scenarios.

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Mathematics (adopted 2018)

The mathematics standards in the elementary years focus on number and operations. Ideas from measurement and geometry help students learn about numbers and quantities. In each grade, students make sense of problems, explain their thinking, and describe their world with mathematics.

Expectations for 1st Grade Students:

  • Number and Quantity: Fluently (consistently) add and subtract within 10; mentally add or subtract 10 to any number; break apart numbers into groups of tens and ones.
  • Algebra and Functions: Solve a variety of addition and subtraction word problems; use equations to show the relationship of numbers in a world problem (9 = ? + 4).
  • Data, Statistics, and Probability: Measure and compare the length of objects; tell time to the nearest hour and half-hour.
  • Geometry: Join and break apart shapes to create new shapes; find halves and fourths of shapes.

Throughout 1st Grade You May Find Students:

  • Exploring the meaning of the equal sign (Does 9 + 7 = 9 + 1 + 6?).
  • Using connections between addition and subtraction to solve problems (if 5 + 7 = 12 then what is 12 – ? = 5).
  • Mentally solving problems like 43 + 10 and 56 - 10.
  • Describing a number like 37 as three tens and seven ones.
  • Explaining the difference between seven, seventeen, and seventy.
  • Solving addition and subtraction involving lengths.

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Music (adopted 2022)

The music standards in the elementary years focus on general music knowledge and skills to ensure a solid foundation in music education, which can lead to the opportunity for more musical study in later years. In each elementary grade, students engage with and perform various music styles and genres, examine the language of music through identifying and writing simple music notation, consider simple musical creative processes, and develop the ability to describe their own musical preferences as well as critique the music of others.

Expectations for 1st Grade Students:

  • Expression of Music (Perform/Present): Sing and play or demonstrate simple songs and patterns; respond to teacher feedback to improve musical skills.
  • Creation of Music (Create): Create short patterns and phrases of music.
  • Theory of Music (Know/Comprehend): Recognize a variety of simple rhythmic patterns and simple musical notation; use musical vocabulary to discuss changes in music; identify patterns in simple musical selections such as beginning, middle, and end; recognize a wide variety of sounds and sound sources.
  • Response to Music (Appreciate and Understand): Describe moods/feelings portrayed in music; describe where and when music can be heard in peoples’ daily lives.

Throughout 1st Grade You May Find Students:

  • Moving while following the teacher’s hand gestures (walk with an arm wave, stop with an arm stop); singing simple pitches and following beats while the teacher points to musical notes.
  • Singing along with their teacher to a well-known song; singing or playing a song and adding something new (speeding up or slowing down the beat).
  • Clapping to rhythms in a song; describing musical selections using basic music vocabulary.
  • Discussing the sounds of a musical selection (“it sounds like a big bear” or “it sounds like a little mouse”); explaining personal likes and dislikes about styles of music; using movement to show the personal feelings a piece of music creates.

 

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Physical Education (adopted 2018)

The physical education standards in the elementary years focus on enhancing movement concepts and skills, understanding basic health-related components and skill-related components of fitness and how it relates to personal fitness, demonstrating respect, and the ability to follow directions. In each grade, students demonstrate various movement concepts; assess personal behaviors; connect fitness development to body systems; demonstrate respect for self, others, and various physical activity environments; and utilize safety procedures during physical activities.

Expectations for 1st Grade Students:

  • Movement Competence and Understanding: Demonstrate basic locomotor skills (e.g., walking, running, sliding) and non-locomotor skills (e.g., twisting, bending, stretching, turning), and rhythmic and cross-lateral movements; demonstrate fundamental manipulative skills (e.g., jumping rope, throwing, catching, kicking); establish a beginning movement vocabulary.
  • Physical and Personal Wellness: Identify the body’s normal reactions to moderate and vigorous physical activity.
  • Social and Emotional Wellness: Work independently and with others to complete work; follow the rules of an activity.
  • Prevention and Risk Management: Develop movement control for safe participation in games and physical activities.

Throughout 1st Grade You May Find Students:

  • Performing a simple dance step in keeping with a specific tempo.
  • Manipulating objects such as jump ropes, scarves, hoops, and balls.
  • Throwing an object with an overhand or underhand motion while stepping forward in opposition.
  • Kicking a stationary object using a simple kicking pattern.
  • Distinguishing between a jog and a run, a hop and a jump, and a gallop and a slide.
  • Identifying physical activities that require strong muscles.
  • Inviting others to use equipment before repeating a turn.
  • Developing rules for an activity with teacher assistance and participating in the activity while following the rules.
  • Recognizing appropriate safety practices in general space (e.g., throwing objects when appropriate, only throwing objects when others are not in the direct line of the throw).

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Reading, Writing, and Communicating (adopted 2018)

The reading, writing, and communicating standards move from developing skills in reading, writing, and communicating to applying these literacy skills to more complex texts through the elementary years. Standards at each grade emphasize skills related to speaking and collaborating with others as students work with literature and informational readings and participate in individual and group research projects.

Expectations for 1st Grade Students:

  • Oral Expression and Listening: Identify specific sounds in words and experiment with those sounds (changing ch- in chip to sh- to make ship, for example); expand their spoken vocabulary; demonstrate how words, gestures, and actions are used to give and receive information.
  • Reading for All Purposes: Apply letter sounds (short and long vowels) and letter combinations (sh-, ch-, -tion) to decode words (sound out and pronounce); understand word structure (how words are put together) and word families (words that contain–ack: attack, snack, black, for example); fluently read (with appropriate speed, accuracy, and expression) and comprehend (understand) a variety of stories, informational writing (“how to” books, instructions), and opinion pieces (favorite movies, foods).
  • Writing and Composition: Explore the writing process (plan, write, clean-up, share) to develop ideas for their own writing; use correct spelling and conventions (capital letters, punctuation) in their writing.
  • Research Inquiry and Design: Use different resources to locate information and answer questions; ask questions and gather information as part of a research process.

Throughout 1st Grade You May Find Students:

  • Applying phonics rules (sounds of letters) to decode (sound out and pronounce) one- and two-syllable words; reading with purpose, understanding, and fluency (the right speed, accuracy, and expression); recognizing punctuation and grammar in books and stories (end punctuation followed by capital letter); asking and answering questions about key ideas and details to understand stories and informational books; using text features (headings, captions, table of contents) to comprehend (understand) the reading.
  • Working with fellow students to discuss different readings and topics; responding to the ideas of others by asking/answering questions; actively listening by making eye contact and demonstrating positive body posture.
  • Comparing and contrasting the adventures of characters in stories; identifying similarities and differences between two texts on the same topic; explaining how illustrations and visuals work with the words in a book or story; identifying how an author supports ideas.
  • Writing a story with interesting details; writing to explain a topic; writing to state an opinion about a topic and using supporting details; talking about their writing with others to improve writing; using correct grammar and mechanics (complete sentences, end punctuation, correct upper- and lower-case letters).

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Science (adopted 2018)

Three-dimensional science standards in the elementary grades lay the foundation for students to work and think like scientists and engineers. We also see strong connections to skills students will use to be successful with reading, literacy, and mathematics. In elementary grades, we will explore disciplinary core ideas in physical, life, and Earth and space sciences via phenomena in the world around us. Learners in elementary grades develop and ask testable questions, collect, and analyze different types of evidence, and write and communicate our understanding. Mastery of these standards will result in young learners who have a deep understanding of how scientific knowledge can provide solutions to practical problems we see in our world.

Expectations for 1st Grade Students:

  • Physical Science: Understand that sound can make matter vibrate and vibrating matter can make sound; objects can be seen if light is available; and people use different devices to communicate.
  • Life Science: Explain that offspring have characteristics that are similar to but not exactly like their parents characteristics; understand that an organism is a living thing that has physical features that help it survive.
  • Earth Science: Understand that patterns of the motion of the sun, moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, and predicted.

Throughout 1st Grade You May Find Students:

  • Planning an investigation to provide evidence that vibrating materials make a sound.
  • Making observations about how we see objects based on the amount of light present.
  • Using tools to build a device that uses light or sound to communicate
  • Developing an understanding of how plants and animals use their external parts help them survive and grow.
  • Making observations and constructing explanations about how young plants and animals are like, but not exactly like, their parents.
  • Observing that the sun and moon appear to rise in one part of the sky, move across the sky, and set in a different part of the sky.
  • Making observations about the amount of light in the winter versus the summer.

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Social Studies (adopted 2018)

The social studies standards in the elementary years begin with individuals and families and move from there to explorations of neighborhoods, communities, the state of Colorado, and the United States. In each grade, students investigate historical events, examine geographic features and resources, consider economic decision-making processes, and define civic roles and responsibilities.

Expectations for 1st Grade Students:

  • History: Use words related to time, sequence and change; identify diverse perspectives and traditions of families, including their own, from many cultures that have shaped the United States; ask questions and discuss ideas about patterns and chronological order of events from the past.
  • Geography: Use maps and globes to represent the earth; understand the nature of a community and its relationship to the environment; identify how communities differ in both physical and cultural characteristics.
  • Economics: Discuss financial (money) responsibility; provide examples of the types of job choices available to people in their family and community. Personal Financial Literacy: Plan how to spend, share, and save money.
  • Civics: Identify and explain the meaning of holidays, symbols, and notable people and places representative of our diverse society.

Throughout 1st Grade You May Find Students:

  • Using vocabulary related to time, sequence and change, calendars, and the past; describing significant life events; discussing family and cultural traditions (holidays, celebrations) and comparing those with the traditions and cultures of others; exploring the meaning behind American symbols.
  • Using maps, globes and other geographic vocabulary (direction, distance, land, water); talking about directions (north, south, east, west) to describe how to get to a given location; reciting their personal address and explaining how to find places on a map.
  • Discussing short-term money goals (saving to buy something special) and providing examples of how to raise and save money to meet a goal; providing examples of community businesses and what they make and provide.
  • Demonstrating the ability to be a leader and team member; explaining some examples of family and school jobs (responsibilities); demonstrating what it means to be a responsible member of a community; discussing the characteristics of responsible leaders.

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Visual Arts (adopted 2022)

The visual arts standards in the elementary years focus on general art knowledge and skills to create a foundation for artistic study in later years. In each grade k-5, students explore techniques of various artistic styles, follow developmentally appropriate steps in the process of creating, learn how to talk about (critique) works of art using art vocabulary, identify art in the world and daily life, and discover ways that artwork helps people better understand each other throughout various times and cultures.


The Colorado Academic Standards in Visual Arts are organized by elements of the creative process taught in a cyclical, interconnected manner. Artists learn, connect, think, come up with ideas, experiment, plan, work, refine, share, and reflect in repetitive, spiraling ways.

Expectations for 1st Grade Students:

  • Observe and Learn to Comprehend (Know/Comprehend): Investigate how art and design can tell many stories of people, places, things, or ideas.
  • Envision and Critique to Reflect (Critique/Evaluate/Refine): Question and respond to stories told and feelings expressed in art.
  • Invent and Discover to Create (Create/Present): Plan a work of art to express something and use materials with intention and care.
  • Relate and Connect to Transfer (Connect/Apply/Transfer): Identify how artists and designers can use personal stories to make connections between people.

Throughout 1st Grade You May Find Students:

  • Noticing that an artist may use particular materials or aspects of art to tell a story, express feelings.
  • Identifying that people will have different points of view and different ways to represent an idea. 
  • Envisioning how a material or medium can lead to ideas for art.
  • Sharing and using art materials with care.
  • Identifying how stories in art and design can teach us about each other.

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World Languages (adopted 2018)

Instead of being organized by grade level, the world languages standards are organized into ranges that describe the progression of learning a student should experience as they grow from novice language learners to an advanced user.

Read the world languages family and community guide for elementary school here.

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