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Our Mission is to inspire and prepare all students to realize their potential and enhance our global community.


95 Westminster Dr.
West Hartford, CT 06107
Phone: 860-521-0110
Fax: 860-561-1492

Kristi Laverty, Principal 

First Grade Teachers



Mr. Nilsen, Mrs. Lenik, Mrs. Veras, Mrs. Testerman



Curriculum Night 2017-2018




We are so excited to be teaching your children this year, and we look forward to a wonderful year together!




This year your first grader will participate in an active learning community and will develop:


  • Independence
  • Strong Academic Skills
  • Social Skills
  • Friendships
  • Problem Solving Skills
  • A Love of Learning




It’s an exciting year to be a first grader at Duffy School!


Get ready to watch your child GROW!





General Information

Please see the important information below to help the year run smoothly.



Recess ~ 11:55-12:25 Lunch ~ 12:35-1:05

We ask that students dress for the weather. Students go outside for recess if the temperature is above 20 degrees (including the wind chill factor). If there is snow on the ground, students must wear snow pants and boots in order to play in the snow, otherwise they will be limited to the paved areas. Please label all of your child’s belongings!



Please send a small, healthy snack to school with your child each day. Our classrooms are all nut free. Please be sure to check food labels to ensure that we are keeping all of our students safe. Thanks so much!


Change in Dismissal:


If there is a change in dismissal for your child, please send in a written note or email your child’s teacher at the start of the day. If there is a change after the day has started, please call the office to inform them of the change.



First grade literacy instruction and practice happens through:


Whole Group

Small Group

Guided Reading

Independent Practice

Independent Reading

Literacy Centers




Our balanced literacy curriculum includes:


Phonics- relationship between letters and sounds

Phonemic Awareness- blending, segmenting, and substituting sounds

Fluency - reading accurately and smoothly with expression

Spelling - core words, StoryTown skill words and word families

Robust Vocabulary- introduced through classroom read aloud stories

High Frequency Words- Sight words

Comprehension --Ask and answer questions

--Identify story elements (characters, setting, problem, solution)

-- Retell stories with details

--Identify main topic and details


Guided reading provides opportunities for:

  • Students to be exposed to a variety of appropriate texts
  • Students to practice their reading strategies
  • Teachers to provide differentiated small group instruction to meet the needs of all students
  • Teachers to monitor accuracy and fluency

When reading at home, encourage your first grader to practice using these reading strategies when he or she encounters unfamiliar words:

  • Look for picture clues
  • Get your mouth ready to make the first sound
  • Stretch words out
  • Look for familiar chunks
  • Reread
  • Skip the word, read on, and then try again

Writer's Workshop


Writer’s Workshop:


Direct Instruction (mini-lesson)

Independent Writing and Conferences

Sharing and Celebrating


Unit 1 - Creating a Community of Writers

Unit 2 - Opinion Writing: Writing Reviews

Unit 3 - Narrative Writing: Small Moments

Unit 4 - Information Writing: Nonfiction Chapter Books



  • Mini-lessons will focus on the writing process, conventions, and/or craft based on the needs of the students
  • Writer’s Workshop also provides opportunities for:
    • Handwriting
    • Spelling
    • Editing (capitalization, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure)
    • Grammar
    • Revising (rewriting, adding details)
    • Publishing


Handwriting - Zaner-Bloser Instructional Program


  • Please keep the Zaner Bloser packet of proper letter and number formation handy at home!
  • Encourage your child to form the letters and numbers correctly when your child is writing.
  • Use the arrows and correct language when helping your children.




In first grade, students will be engaged in mathematical problem solving in order to solve complex problems.

  • Mathematical thinking and reasoning (the process) will be stressed, instead of only the answer
  • Students will understand that problems can be solved in more than one way
  • Students will be expected to show their thinking through the use of manipulatives, pictures, numbers, and/or equations
  • Students will be expected to explain their solutions orally and in writing
  • Solutions will be discussed, compared and contrasted with peers


The first grade mathematics curriculum provides students with a solid foundation in:


Operations and Algebraic Reasoning

  • Story problems and equations
  • Fluency of addition and subtraction facts within 10

Number and Operations in Base Ten

  • Counting
  • Place Value

Measurement and Data

  • Measure lengths
  • Tell time to hour and half hour
  • Represent and interpret data


  • 2D and 3D shapes and their attributes

Social Studies, Science and Health

Social Studies:


-History – Famous Americans, Holidays (Grade 1 focuses on Easter and Passover)

-Geography – Map Skills

-Government and Civics – Communities, Current Events, Problem Solving





-Living Things and their Needs

-Pushes and Pulls

-Scientific Inquiry





-Healthy Heart Program (Nutrition and Wellness)

-Second Step (Skills for Learning, Empathy, Emotion Management, Problem Solving)





Assignments are meant to reinforce and review the skills we have learned in class in order to promote independence and responsibility.


Take Home Folder

  • It is important for your child to have his or her folder in school every day, and at home in the evenings.
  • The purpose of this folder is to hold homework, notes and papers.
  • Please remember to check your child’s folder every night!



Daily Reading

  • Please encourage your child to read every night!
  • Reading logs should be completed each month and returned on the last day of school of that month.
  • The reading should be a combination of you reading to your child, your child reading out loud to you, and as the year progresses, your child reading silently.


Additional Assignments


In addition to daily reading, your child will be asked to complete another assignment twice a week.


  • On Monday, your child’s homework will be connected to math.
  • On Wednesday, your child’s homework will be connected to literacy.


If you are looking for other ways to support our learning at home, try having your child:

  • Practice handwriting (letters and numbers)
  • Create a detailed illustration
  • Write in a journal
  • Write a letter, thank you note, e-mail, shopping list, etc.
  • Retell a favorite story (include the beginning, middle, and end)
  • Practice oral counting to 120 and beyond
  • Practice addition and subtraction facts


Occasionally, first graders will be asked to complete projects or longer assignments over the course of a week. More information on those types of assignments will be sent home as they occur.

Field Studies

Connecticut Science Center ~ Hartford, CT

This field study supports our physical science curriculum and promotes scientific inquiry. It correlates specifically to our Push and Pull unit.


Lupa Zoo ~ Ludlow, MA

This field study supports our life science curriculum, particularly our Living Things and Their Needs unit.



Helpful Websites

West Hartford Public Schools

50 South Main St, West Hartford, CT  06107

T: 860-561-6600

F: 860-561-6910

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