In First Grade, a supportive and engaging learning experience is fostered, which is full of different approaches to learning. The classroom is designed to meet the needs and learning styles of each child. There is a strong belief in hands-on learning, which involves the active participation of the students. When the students are able to experience the subject matter, they are more likely to grasp the material. The classroom is designed to be focused around instruction, independent work, cooperative group work and learning centers.
Reading & Language Arts
Reading is a very important part of First Grade. Some students come into First Grade knowing how to read, while others are still working on letter sounds. Through learning centers, we are able to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all of our students. TheTreasures program is used for phonics, reading, and writing instruction. A variety of genres are explored and help students develop a large sight word vocabulary. Re-reading texts is encouraged to promote fluency and comprehension.
For math instruction, the Saxon math program is used, which spirals our math curriculum. A focus is made on basic math facts, as well as strategies to help with math facts. Students begin solving word problems, pulling out important information and disregarding unnecessary information. Skip counting is reviewed to help with counting money and telling time, as well as to help with the introduction of multiplication. Math tools, like rulers, unifix cubes, tangrams, dice, and geoboards are used to create a hands-on experience.
In Science, students learn how to sort and classify plants, animals, and items based on different characteristics like shape, size, texture, and color. In the classroom, Harcourt’s science textbook is used to help with instruction. Students also study animals and see animal habitats first hand at the Smithsonian National Zoo.
In Social Studies, students compare schools from the past to the present using Harcourt’s Horizon text. The class also looks at their role in the community, as well as the role that certain professions play in the community. Students discover their responsibilities as members of their city, state, and country and further explain what they can do to make their home a better place. The class uses Time for Kids to discuss current events.
First Grade uses Loyola Press’s Christ Our Life religion textbook to guide discussions about how God is our Father and how He sent us His Son, Jesus. Students learn about ways Jesus shows us His love and how God is good. Students learn that they are all members of God’s Church and how they can be be more like Jesus. Lastly, students learn about the Golden Rule and the importance of treating others with respect.
Teacher: Kelly Weeks
Kelly Weeks earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Mount Saint Mary’s University in Elementary and Special Education. She earned her Master of Education Degree from the Mount as well, and is a certified Reading Specialist. Mrs. Weeks continued her education at Notre Dame of Maryland and earned a Post-Master’s Certification in Administration. She began teaching First Grade at Holy Cross in 2009. Mrs. Weeks was awarded the Knights of Columbus Teacher of the Year Award in 2012.
Mrs. Weeks serves on the Student Assistance Team, as well as the school’s Leadership Team. She is also the Faculty Representative on the Home and School Association Board. Mrs. Weeks served on the Standards Based Report Card work group with the Catholic Schools Office and participated in the Catholic Schools Office Leadership Academy. It is her goal to meet the needs of all children in First Grade by differentiating instruction in all subject areas. She brings her love for children and reading into the classroom every day!