We use the Loyola Press religion series: Christ Our Life. During first grade, the children will learn about God's special gifts, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They will also learn what it means to be a Christian and belong to the Catholic Church. Throughout the year, Old and New Testament Bible stories will be presented. Prayer services and liturgies will also be experienced. Religion is integrated throughout the curriculum each day.
All students are tested using Fountas and Pinnell to determine their reading level. Students are then grouped into guided reading groups. Students work in small groups with the teacher to receive instruction tailored to their needs. When students are not working with the teacher they are moving through various literacy stations. Each station explores different topics such as, but not limited to, reading to self, partner reading, word work and writing. All students will visit each literacy station, including working with the teacher multiple times each week. These groups are quite flexible. It is possible that your child may move from one group to another throughout the year.
All first-graders will also be using pieces of the Harcourt Storytown series which focuses on decoding and phonemic reading skills. There will be daily work that will be done together in class. Focus skills and phonics skill-of-the-week may be sent home for homework.
Each class has a daily storytime and during the year, all of the children will be exposed to chapter books. All first-graders have an opportunity to participate in a monthly reading incentive program.
The First Grade math series is Math in Focus. The series is aligned to meet the Common Core Standards and the practices established by the National Council of Mathematics Teachers. Students will build a conceptual understanding through hands-on activities and throughout the lessons build to deeper levels of mathematical thinking. Typically, one or two math workbook pages will be sent home for homework throughout the week.
Students use the Storytown grammar workbook. The curriculum covers sentence structure, punctuation and basic parts of speech. Writing skills are emphasized. Part of the morning seatwork often consists of a sentence reviewing these skills.
Students will use the Harcourt Social Studies series. The children will study the family and the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter. They will learn about communities, not only in our country, but in other cultures as well. During October and November, they will focus on Native American cultures. Significant events and people in our country's history will be discussed. The continents and oceans are taught including map and globe skills.
First Grade Science is a basic introduction to the scientific process. The topics covered include matter, plants, animals, the earth and sky, weather, force and motion and health and safety.
First graders use the Words Their Way word pattern study program.
Words Their Way focuses less on memorization and more on allowing students to work with words to learn the spelling pattern. I will be sending home another letter when we begin spelling to further explain this program.
The main benefit of Words Their Way is that it differentiates instruction; allowing each child to work at his or her instructional level. Students have been given an initial spelling inventory to help guide in placing each student into a group of words. Students will be assigned a different group of words every two weeks. Words Their Way focuses less on memorization and more on allowing students to work with words to learn the spelling pattern. I will be sending home another letter when we begin spelling to further explain this program.
On the day they have Gym, students should wear the standard school Gym uniform. Mrs. Ufheil is the Physical Education teacher.
In First grade, the students will be introduced to music through singing of songs and playing of classroom instruments. They will learn to sing songs that are fundamental to the American classroom song repertoire, as well as songs from around the world. Musical notation will be introduced in the first grade. The students will do dictations and create basic compositions to demonstrate their understanding of rhythmic and melodic notation. The students will also focus on learning how to keep a steady beat, a concept that develops quite strongly around the first grade. Ms. Elko is the Music teacher.
Library Media Center (LMC)
Today’s library is no longer a place to just check out books. Matter-of-fact, the library is no longer an entity onto itself. During First Grade, students will use the LMC to borrow books, listen to stories, learn basic computer skills, use chromebooks to communicate ideas, and explore the Internet. Ms. Kelly is the teacher in the LMC.
The art program at St. Paul of the Cross School is designed for students to perceive, create, and appreciate the visual arts. Students will gain an understanding of the variety of ways that artists function in society. In First Grade, art projects are designed to increase fine motor skills. Students will work with a variety of two and three dimensional media; art history which includes but is not limited to Romore Bearden, Winslow Homer, Wassily Kandinsky, Gustav Klimit, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, and cultural art. Ms. Kelly is the Art teacher.
The Spanish program at St. Paul of the Cross School is designed to develop basic communication skills with a final goal of confidently communicating in Spanish. Thematic units integrate both culture and vocabulary. First Grade themes include feelings, colors, numbers, weather, days and month, pets, animals, the classroom, foods, body parts, Holy Days and traditions of Latin America. Stories, games, music and songs are related to these themes.