Curriculum Overview

First Grade Curriculum

School wide, we use the Benziger series, Blest Are We.  This will be a consumable text in first grade.  As we finish chapters, information will come home to familiarize you with the material introduced.
We will explore information centered on the Friday and Sunday Gospels so your child will be prepared for Mass.  We use Pflaum Gospel weekly publications.
We will attend a weekly Mass or Prayer Service.  Our class will have an opportunity to prepare three school Masses. Children will be encouraged to learn responses and songs so that they can participate fully in this Sacrament.
We have prayer time and religion instruction daily.  First graders are responsible for mastering several prayers.  Enclosed is a copy of the kindergarten and first grade prayers.  Please help your child practice these prayers at home.
We use the School-wide Learning Expectations and the seven Principles of Catholic Social Teaching to practice appropriate social skills and problem solving.  We will incorporate the Virtus and Touching Safety materials as mandated by the Arch Diocese of Seattle.
We participate in several Service Learning Projects.  We will participate in a school wide Cambodia project.  Our class will visit Saint Francis Care Center several times this year to spread joy through art and song.  We will also participate in any food and clothing drives offered by other classes.

The Scott Foresman reading series has 6 anthologies and additional readers.  It is a literature-based program, giving children opportunities to acquire strategies and skills they need to become lifelong readers.  We use additional resources to allow the children to read books at their own level.

The primary goal is to instill a love of reading and develop good reading strategies.  We want children to become independent readers.

Phonics is incorporated in both small and large group settings.  We use a variety of strategies and regularly use the Modern Curriculum Press Workbooks and Slingerland vowel chart.

Most reading work will be done in small groups supervised by a classroom literacy volunteer and the teacher.

Students should continue to listen to books at home, as well as read aloud nightly.  Both skills are important to beginning readers.

Children will be taught spelling strategies and phonic rules to decode spelling words they do not know.

In October, students will have a formal list of spelling words that will be tested at the end of each week.  These words are obtained from phonics, vocabulary and high frequency work lists.  Students will be expected to master 150 spelling words in first grade.

Children are encouraged to search for words they need in books, dictionaries and by looking around the room.  This way they become, “word detectives.”

Students are given writing opportunities daily.  Students will participate in written responses to listening center stories, literacy questions, story order and comprehension.  Students will also participate in Writer’s Workshop, journal writing, writing from a prompt and creative story format. In May, we will research and animal and write a 5-7 sentence research article.

Students will be introduced to the Six Trait Writing components.  Later in the year students will have Daily Oral Language lessons (DOL).

Writing is modeled for students and developed at individual levels.

We use the Manuscript method of handwriting.  Correct starting and stopping points of letters as well as letter size and spacing, will be reinforced.  Students are to write using correct letter formation.  No cursive is used in first grade.

We have structured lessons to practice correct formation.  We use the Slingerland Multi-sensory approach, which incorporates auditory, visual and kinesthetic learning.

When practicing at home and school, we want students to practice proper pencil grip and posture.  Quality, not quantity, is expected.

In first grade we cover units on animal and plant adaptations, animal classifications, habitats and families, seasonal light and weather patterns, light and sound waves and common star formations.

During Science, we question, explore, discover and problem solve.  We use the NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) formate and guidelines. We also have opportunities to work in collaborative groups.

We visit the school garden in the Autumn and Spring to incorporate specific hands on learning related to these units.  In the winter, we participate in  food preparation instruction.

We use Go Math from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publications. I will supplement the curriculum with techniques from Singapore and Discover Math.

We will implement parts of the Catholic Identity for Math document as it applies to number sense, addition and subtraction.

Lessons are taught in whole group or small group with opportunity for individual reinforcement.

Manipulatives are used when appropriate for the lesson.  Students may use manipulatives to help with problem solving unless it is mental math or MAD Minute Facts.

Emphasis is placed on number sense of numbers to 120, addition and subtraction to 20, problem solving, geometry, graph interpretation and communication of concepts and properties.  Time, money and basic measurement skills are introduced in first grade.

Social Studies:
Our units include Civics as it applies to the classroom and school. Economics, History and Social Studies as it applies to families.  We also study basic Geography.

We use the Harcourt text, A Child’s View and Scholastic News.   We also use outside resources as needed.

Social Study lessons incorporate the seven Principles of Catholic Social Teaching.

We have Music instruction every Monday and Friday  with Mrs. Liza Beshara.  We also integrate music in other subjects in our classroom.

Physical Education & Health:

We have Physical Education instruction on Tuesday and Thursday with Mrs. Regina Campbell.  Girls are to wear privacy shorts and have hair pulled back and out of the face.

Library/Computer Lab:
We have Library on Wednesday with Mrs. Smith.  Students are asked to check out one book at their appropriate reading level, the other may be an interest book.  Students must return library books in order to check out new books. Once books are checked out, they are sent home.

We have classroom supported computer instruction in the computer lab on Wednesday and Friday with Mrs. McClurg.  We will emphasize Literacy, Math and Educational Technology Standards.  We will sometimes have a print out of work done in computer lab.

We have Art on Thursday with Ms. Gottschalk. Art is integrated into many classroom subjects.  We use a variety of media and learn about many artistic elements. We study the styles of two masters.

We will have Spanish instruction on Monday and Wednesday with Maestra Pavon.

Other Items: 

  • Birthdays– We celebrate birthdays in first grade.  About two weeks before the day, I will send home a poster for your child to fill out to share with classmates.  On the chosen date, the birthday child will bring in the poster, a special treat to share with the class and a show and tell item.     
  •   Field Trips– We will attend 1 show at Mount Baker Theater with the Kindergarten and Second grade classes.  I will ask 2 or 3 parents to chaperone this show.  In the spring, we will visit the Bellingham Public Library.  There is no limit to the number of chaperones on this field trip.   
  •  Service Learning Project- We visit Saint Francis Care Center 2-3 times a year to sing songs, pass out cards and spread joy.  We do this project with the second-grade class.  There is no limit to the number of chaperones on the service learning trips.