our everyday life

Everyday Math Skills for First Grade

by Dana Rongione, studioD

Everyday Math is an approach to teaching mathematics that focuses on the base concepts and how those concepts relate to everyday life. Everyday Math makes use of manipulatives such as games, blocks, coins and other physical objects, including calculators, and discourages the practice of rote learning. The approach exposes the students to each mathematical concept several times throughout each school year, each time building up to new level. Though the controversial curriculum still faces opposition, it is being used in more than 220,000 classrooms as of 2013.


The first thing your first grader will need to master is basic number recognition and counting. By the end of the year, first graders using the Everyday Math curriculum should be able to recognize numbers through 100, count by ones, twos, fives and tens, count backward and also exhibit superior rational counting skills, which involves counting objects and beginning to understand estimation. Additionally, they should understand place value through the thousands' place, have a grasp of basic fractions, distinguish between odd and even numbers and recognize number words through twenty.


First grade operations in Everyday Math include addition and subtraction through 20, counting and combining coins and bills, and recognition of the basic operational terms and their signs, such as plus, minus, equals, greater than and less than. Beginning early in the school year, the students also learn how to estimate and solve story problems (aka word problems).

Data and Measurement

Everyday Math students in the first grade are often required to collect mathematical data and organize it with the use of a bar graph, tally marks, charts or tables. They are also taught to understand basic measurements such as height and weight. They are to become skilled in reading temperature, identifying the parts of a calendar and telling time, to the nearest half hour or quarter mark, on an analog clock.


Lastly, the teacher will introduce basic two and three-dimensional geometric shapes for the students to recognize and identify. Students are encouraged to seek out these shapes as they go from place to place throughout their day. Exposing them to these shapes outside of the classroom helps to establish the “real-world essence” of the concepts being taught.


A large part of the Everyday Math curriculum involves the aid of the parents, who are encouraged to help their children with their math homework by using everyday activities such as sewing, cooking or paying the bills to teach the assigned concepts. Parents of first graders can practice some of the more basic skills through activities such as graphing the weekly weather, telling time or estimating the number of cookies in the cookie jar.

About the Author

Dana Rongione has been writing since 2004. Her articles have appeared in "Teacher's Interaction" magazine, "Teachers of Vision" magazine and "Devo'zine." She is also the author of nine books. Rongione received two certificates of completion from The Institute of Children's Literature. She holds a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Tabernacle Baptist Bible College.

Photo Credits

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