First Grade

Meet the classroom teachers:

Debra Walton-Strong has been teaching at Sharon Elementary school since 1990. Mrs. Walton-Strong graduated from University of Vermont with a degree in MEd in Early Education.

Debra Walton-Strong
First Grade Teacher


In First Grade, we are helping students become proficient in:
– Extend the counting sequence- 1
– Understand Place Value
– Use place value understanding to add and sub
– Represent and Solve Problems with Addition and Substraction
– Understand and Apply Properties
– Add and substract within 20
– Work with Addition and Sub equations
– Measure lengths indirectly and by length units
– Represent and interpret data
– Reason with shapes and their attributes, decomposing into more equal/smaller shares    
– Use graphing techniques to model and interpret situations.
– Compare mathematical models for a situation
– Measure and estimate lengths in non-standard units.
– Introduction to working with time and money.
– Recognize and Draw Shapes by Attributes

English & Language Arts

We place a strong emphasis on literacy in our classrooms – teaching and modeling the love of reading and writing is a critical piece of our curriculum. Our students take part in daily guided reading groups, practice independent reading, partner reading, confer with peers and teachers after reading, practice grade-appropriate word work skills, compose daily journal entries, and practice narrative, opinion, and informational writing. Children inherently love telling, reading, and listening to stories; we give them the opportunity to enhance and build upon their natural skills and abilities. When necessary, a full-time interventionist guides students through areas of difficulty in reading fluency. At Sharon Elementary and across the White River Valley SU, Fountas and Pinnell program is used in all classrooms as support for meeting proficiency. The classroom books and minilessons provide access to a variety of leveled texts geared for all readers. In terms of proficiency, we measure and focus on students being able to:
– Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details
– Recount stories, and determine their central message, lesson or moral
– With prompting and support identify the main topic and retell key details of a text
– Explain major differences between books that tell stories and books that give information drawing on a wide reading of a range of text types
– Know and use various text features to locate key facts of information in a text
– Identify the reasons an author gives to support points in a text
– Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences in stories
– Read grade level appropriate complex text
– Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print
– Demonstrate understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds
– Know and apply grade level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words


Outdoor education also plays an important role in our classrooms. Every week, we spend half of the day outdoors for Woods Wednesday. Much of our science curriculum is based on our outdoor time. Our learning includes, but is not limited to:
– plant and animal behaviors and habitats
– weather and solar observations
– the effects of heat and fire
– creating structures and STEM experimentation.

While outdoors, our students routinely demonstrate curiosity, grit, and determination, kindness for others, creativity and problem solving, and a passion for learning that is unrivaled.


In Art, the Second Grader meets the NCAS proficiency by studying the seven laws of drawing through famous artists exploration, develop a work of art based on observations of surroundings involving a range of medium.

In Music, the Second Grader meets the NCAS proficiency by working on cadence and rhythm. Students are able to generate musical ideas (such as rhythms and melodies) within a given tonality and/or meter. Students are introduced to the use of standard and/or iconic notation and/or recording technology to document personal rhythmic and melodic musical ideas. Students in Second Grade have two scheduled performances to the community (Holiday Concert and Spring Concert), as well as performances during the school year for special events/assembly.

In World Languages, the Second Grader builds on previously learned concepts, and is immersed in Spanish or Standard Mandarin Chinese (languages are both taught during the year). The focus is on exploring colors, counting, family through movements. Mrs. Meagher also brings cultural diversity to the classroom using food, cultural artifacts, and history to expose the Third Grader to context within their language exploration journey.