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First Grade News for the Week of August 28th

First Grade News for the Week of August 28th

We had a great first full week of school learning and practicing new routines. Each week I will highlight what we have been focusing on in each subject area. I will also post new vocabulary and spelling words in this blog.

I was the "Big Cheese" this week. I shared my UNI hat, my favorite movie and my stuffed dog named Scooter. I read one of my favorite books to the class, Corduroy by Don Freeman.

Important dates to remember in September:

September 4th- NO SCHOOL

September 7th- DRESS DOWN DAY

September 8th- Bus Safety

September 12th- Family picnic/Home and School Meeting at 6:30

September 15th- SPIRIT DAY (Bring $1 to wear your favorite team shirt)

September 21st- DRESS DOWN FOR MISSIONS (bring $1 to be out of uniform)

September 27th- Buddy Activity (we are buddies with 6th grade)

September 29th- Movie under the stars at 8p.m.

Math: We worked on graphing to show information. We do two graphs daily in our math meeting time. We do a weather graph and a lunch count graph. We are learning how to read a pictograph and a bar graph. We identified the sides and angles of a circle and a square. We are learning mathematician words such as fewest, least, most, and greatest. We had our first test on Friday. We will have a written assessment every 5 lessons.

RLA (Reading and Language Arts): Our first unit in reading is called Back to School. We are reviewing important skills learned in kindergarten. We read Jack's Talent. Jack didn't think he had a talent until his teacher showed him that he was good at remembering.We will begin Unit 1 next Wednesday. I will be posting our spelling words and new vocabulary then. Students will write their spelling words in their planners. Please make sure to sign up on Think Central as I will be assigning rereads of our stories read in class. We learned that nouns are words that name people, places, animals, and things. We labeled nouns in Jack's Talent. We have been working in our literacy center rotations. Students will have 3 twenty minute rotations. They will work with me during one of their rotations, reading new text and practicing skills. The other two rotations will be independent work, practicing our skills and strategies. We are working on our stamina to focus on our work for the whole 20 minutes!

Science: We brainstormed ideas about what scientists do. We read about one scientist, Jane Goodall, who studied chimpanzees in Africa. We learned that scientists use tools to help them observe, experiment, and explore. We will begin our first unit, Pebbles, Sand, and Silt next week.

Social Studies: Our first unit is People Everywhere. In the first lesson we identified the roles of family members. We learned that a family is a group of people that love and care for each other. We all learn from our families, our schools, and our communities.

Writer's Workshop: We reviewed that a sentence is a group of words that tell a complete idea. Sentences always begin with a capital letter and end with appropriate punctuation. We practiced writing sentences about a picture. We used the text pattern from Jack's Talent to write about our own talents.

Religion: We belong to many groups including our family, our school, and the Catholic Church. Each lesson focuses on scripture. We are learning that scripture is the Good News. We read the story of The Good Shepherd. Jesus is like the shepherd because he will always love and care for us.

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First Grade News for the Week of October 24th

​First Grade News for the Week of October 24th October Dates to Remember: October 31st- Halloween party at 2:00 November 1st: Mass (instead of Wednesday) November 2nd- All Saints prayer service at 2:30 November 3rd- Dress Down Day (no money needed) November 8th- Home and School Meeting at 6:30 November 11th- Spirit Day (bring $1 to be out of uniform in jeans and a team shirt) November 17th- Dress Down Day for Missions (bring $1 to be out of uniform) November 22nd- Buddy Activity at 2:00 November 23-25- Thanksgiving break November 30th- Advent prayer service at 2:40 Lesson 7 Spelling Words: in, will, did, sit, six, big, grin, trip Lesson 7 HFW (high frequency words): animal, of, how, some, make, why Ali was the "Big Cheese" this week. She shared her stuffed penguin, the ceramic cats she painted. And the Beanie Baby cat she got from her grandma. We read one of her favorite ABC books. Here is what we did this week: Math: We wrote number sentences for "some, some went away" stories. These are subtraction story problems. We practiced counting backwards from 10-1. We identified morning, afternoon, evening, and night. We used magazine pictures to create a collage showing what we do during these time periods. We estimated and measured the length and width of our tables using a nonstandard unit of measure. We used our linking cubes to measure. We worked with our adding 1 addition facts. Grammar: We differentiated complete from incomplete sentences. We identified the subject of the sentence as the part that tells who or what. The predicate tells what someone or something does. We are learning how to identify and use commas in a series. Writer's Workshop: We used our five senses to describe the beach. We wrote our ideas on our planning sheet and then used our ideas in complete sentences. Our new lesson is poetry and we are learning how to generate rhyming words to use in our poems. Science: We painted our clay beads that we made last week. We worked with sand to create sand sculptures. We used a binding agent to hold the sand in place. Our final investigation will be soil explorations. Social Studies: We began our new unit, Everything Changes. In our first lesson we used the words past, present, and future to describe changes that happen in our lives. We learned that a timeline can show information about events in order. Reading: We played "I Have, Who Has?" to practice fluency with our spelling and vocabulary words. We practiced decoding words with the short a sound. We also decoded words with a –ck ending and double consonant endings such as add, pass, and hill. We read the fairy tale, The Three Pigs. We compared the wolf in that story to the wolf in Jack and the Wolf. We are reading an informational text, How Animals Communicate. We will focus on the main idea and details in an informational text. Our spelling focus is words with the short I sound. We now have 8 words on our list. We are also learning about words with blends with r such as trip and grin. Religion: We learned that the rosary is a form of prayer. We colored the beads on a rosary to align with the prayers that we say. We learned that the mysteries of the rosary are stories about Mary and Jesus. We learned that God created everything in the world out of nothing. God made everything for all of us.

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First Grade News for the Week of October 17th

October Dates to Remember:


October 23rd- St. Joseph Parish Halloween party 4-7pm

October 27th- Out of Uniform for Missions (bring $1)

October 31st- Halloween party at 2:00

Thanks to everyone for your attendance at parent-teacher conferences last week! I enjoyed sharing your child's progress with you.

The St. Joseph community was saddened by the sudden loss of Heidi Allen last week. I had the pleasure to get to know her while teaching her children, Emily and Chase. She was a wonderful, loving woman who will be greatly missed. The first graders made cards for Emily and Chase on Tuesday. Please continue to keep the Allen family in your prayers.

Lesson 6 Spelling Words: an, bad, can, had, cat, ran
Lesson 6 HFW (high frequency words): away, call, come, every, hear, said

Here is what we did this week:

Math: We added doubles facts to 18. We looked for a pattern to solve a problem. We covered designs with pattern blocks. We learned there are different ways to cover the same design based on the pattern blocks we chose. We wrote subtraction sentences. We created subtraction problem situations.

Grammar: We identified a complete sentence as a group of words that tells a complete thought. Sentences begin with capital letters and end with correct punctuation. We differentiated between complete and incomplete sentences.

Writer's Workshop: We listed and used words to describe how things look, sound, feel, taste, and smell. We are learning how to use adjectives such as spicy, soft, fresh, and sour.

Science: We observed fine, medium, and coarse sandpaper. We discussed how we use sandpaper. We made rubbings of each type. We learned that you can make things out of different rock materials. We made beads out of clay. We etched designs into the clay and used a straw to make a whole. We will let our beads dry over the weekend and paint them next week.

Social Studies: We used our interactive notebooks to review for our assessment over the vocabulary and concepts learned in our unit, People Everywhere.

Reading, Spelling, and Phonics: We began lesson 6 this week. Our spelling focus is words with the short a sound. Our phonics focus is words with double ending consonants and words that end with –ck such as miss, hill, and back. Our anchor text is a fable called Jack and the Wolf. In this story, Jack is bored and does something that causes him to learn a valuable lesson. Our comprehension focus is understanding characters. We are learning that the words and actions of the characters help us to know more about them.

Religion: The first graders did a wonderful job at mass this week. Father Ross praised our readers for being so prepared. Thanks so much for helping at home! We discovered how people in the Bible praised God for the wonderful gifts he has given us. We discussed ways that Catholics praise God during mass. We participate in the mass by singing and responding. We show respect by kneeling, sitting, and standing appropriately during the mass.

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First Grade News for the Week of October 3rd

September Dates to Remember:


October 10th- Parent/Teacher conferences from 4:00-7:00

October 11th- Parent/Teacher conferences from 4:00-7:00

October 13th- Parent/Teacher conferences from 1:00-8:00

October 13th and 14th – NO SCHOOL

October 17th- NO SCHOOL (Staff professional development)

October 18th- Home and School Meeting at 6:30

October 19th- Mass by first grade

October 21st- Spirit Day! (Wear a team shirt for $1)

October 27th- Out of Uniform for Missions (bring $1)

October 31st- Halloween party at 2:00 Lesson 1 Spelling Words: up, bug, mud, nut, hug, tubLesson 1 High Frequency Words (HFW): many, friend, full, pull, hold, goodTest will be on October 12th


Jules was the "Big Cheese" this week. We read one of her favorite books, The Book With No Pictures. She shared her stuffed dog named Cotton Candy, the cover of her favorite CD by Taylor Swift, her Minnie Mouse ears from Florida and her baby monkey named Bananas.

Here is what we did this week:

Math: We added doubles with sums of 10. Examples of doubles facts are 4+4 and 2+2. We identified a rectangle as a shape with 4 sides and 4 angles. We wrote number sentences for "some, some more" stories. These are addition facts. We identified the attributes of pattern blocks. We worked with triangles, squares, trapezoids, hexagons, and parallelograms. We used our pattern blocks to create and read a repeating pattern.

Science: We learned that clay particles are earth materials smaller than silt. We investigated what happens when we add water to our vial with clay. We shook the vials and let them set overnight. We recorded our findings the next day.

Social Studies: We learned that people move from one place to another for various reasons. Some people move when they get a new job. Some people move for a better life. We are working on a study guide to prepare for our unit test.

Writer's Workshop: We finished our class story. We worked together to write about our recent buddy activity. We are now working on revising our story by adding details.

Reading and Language Arts: We decoded words with the consonants k, v, and j and the vowels e and o. We read the fable, City Mouse and Country Mouse. This story was in the form of a reader's theater. We worked on putting words in alphabetical order. Our anchor text for lesson 5 is a fantasy story called Gus Takes the Train. Our phonics and spelling focus is words with the short u sound as in Gus and tub. We will focus on story elements such as character, setting, and plot. We are learning about adjectives for color and number such as green and three.

Religion: We shared our prayer service in honor of St. Francis with the whole school on Tuesday. The first graders did an excellent job! We made a St. Francis statue to take home.

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First Grade News for the Week of September 26th

September Dates to Remember:


October 4th- St Francis prayer service by first grade at 2:30

October 4th- Picture Day

October 6th- Dress Down Day

October 7th- Track and Fun (1:00-3:00)

October 10th- Parent/Teacher conferences from 4:00-7:00

October 11th- Parent/Teacher conferences from 4:00-7:00

October 13th- Parent/Teacher conferences from 1:00-8:00

October 13th and 14th – NO SCHOOL

October 17th- NO SCHOOL (Staff professional development)

October 18th- Home and School Meeting at 6:30

October 19th- Mass by first grade

October 21st- Spirit Day! (Wear a team shirt for $1)

October 27th- Out of Uniform for Missions (bring $1)

October 31st- Halloween party at 2:00Lesson 1 Spelling Words: yet, web, pen, wet, leg, henLesson 1 High Frequency Words (HFW): all, does, here, me, my, whoTest will be on October 5th


Avella was the "Big Cheese" this week. We read one of her favorite books, Skippy Jon Jones. She shared her Wonder Woman doll, her stuffed bunny, and her Minion named Kevin.

The phonics part of our last reading test was a bit rough for some students. Tests are coming home today. Please go over this section with your child. We will be revisiting this concept for better understanding. There was also a "skills in context" portion of our test. We did this together so students would have a better understanding of how to use text evidence and picture clues to find the answers to the comprehension questions.

Information about the Pizza Hut Book-It program is coming home today. The program begins in October and ends in March.

Here is what we did this week:

Math: We pictured and combined sets. We counted the seeds from our apple lesson last week and created a pictograph. We counted from 0-23 using our Wrap-Ups. This tool helps us to practice our counting and math facts. We made an organized list to problem solve. We wrote addition number sentences. We identified the ordinal numbers to the sixth position.

Writer's Workshop: We worked on writing complete sentences. We know that a sentence must begin with a capital letter and end with the correct end mark. The words in the sentence need to be in order and make sense. We wrote sentences about a Halloween picture. We are now focusing on writing a class story about an event we participated in.

Science: We learned that there is an earth material smaller than silt. We investigated clay as this earth material. Rocks we have investigated in class are clay, silt, sand, gravel, and pebbles. We learned that cobbles and boulders are larger rocks.

Social Studies: We identified community helpers as people whose jobs enable them to help others. We read about Fire Chief Cloud, the first African-American female fire chief.

Reading and Language Arts: We practice reading words with the –s ending. We learned that some words have more than one meaning. We need to read the whole sentence to find clues as to the meaning of the word. We read an informational text about schools long ago. We identified verbs in the present tense. Our spelling/phonics focus for Lesson 4 is words with the short e sound. Our anchor text is Lucia's Neighborhood. In this story, Lucia takes us around her neighborhood and shows us places where people live and work. Our comprehension focus is identifying text and graphic features. We are learning about adjectives in our grammar lessons.

Religion: We watched a short video about St. Francis. We found out that he was once a wealthy man but gave that all up to be like Jesus. We practiced our prayer service to be ready for October 4th. Readings are coming home today in student folders. Please have your child practice their parts. Join us at 2:30 on Tuesday, October 4th for our prayer service!

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First Grade News for the Week of September 19th

September Dates to Remember:


September 27- Living Rosary at 2:40 by 3rd grade

September 28- Buddy Activity at 2:00

September 29- SPIRIT DAY- bring $1 to wear a team shirt and be out of uniformLesson 1 Spelling Words: log, dot, top, hot, ox, lotLesson 1 High Frequency Words (HFW): do, find, funny, no, sing, theyTest will be on September 28th


Waikeli was the "Big Cheese" this week. She shared her favorite stuffed puppy, her Cabbage Patch baby, and her stuffed crab named Shine. We read one of her favorite books, Ten Apples Up On Top.

Lots of fun and learning this week! This is what we did:

Math: We sorted by one attribute. An attribute is a quality or characteristic given to a person, group, or some other thing. For example, children wearing yellow shirts were in one group and the rest were not because they did not have yellow shirts. We identified and counted pennies. We used our number cards to identify a number between two numbers. We used apples to learn about dividing a solid in half.

Writer's Workshop: We finished up our books of captions. We wrote captions for various pictures using the picture details. Our new focus is writing complete sentences. We know that a sentence must begin with a capital letter and end with the appropriate end mark such as a period, question mark or exclamation mark.

Science: We learned that cobbles and boulders are rocks that are much larger than sand, gravel, and pebbles. We identified silt as a smaller rock material than sand.

Social Studies: We identified a community as a place where people live and work. We named places we see in our communities such as schools, stores, parks, and fire stations. We identified community helpers such as doctors, police officers, and trash collectors.

Reading and Language Arts: We used context clues to help better understand the meaning of a word. For example, if we don't know what a bin is we look at the rest of the words in the sentence. I put the trash in the bin. The word trash gives me a clue to help me figure out that a bin is a container like a trash can. We read an informational text on storms. We learned that meteorologists use tools such as a rain gage and a wind sock to learn about the weather. We reviewed possessive nouns and common nouns. The anchor text for lesson 3 is a fantasy story with a familiar character. We are reading Curious George at School. This curious monkey gets into trouble by making a big mess! Our spelling focus is words with the short o sound. We are working on sequencing story events as our comprehension skill. Our grammar focus is verbs, specifically action verbs such as jump, hop, and swim.

Religion: We discussed how we learn in different ways. We know that the readings at Mass come from a special book called the Bible. The Bible is the written Word of God. We learn how God wants us to live our lives by listening to scripture. The Word of God can help us follow Jesus.

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First Grade News for the Week of September 12th

September Dates to Remember:


September 21- NOON DISMISSAL

September 27- Living Rosary at 2:40 by 3rd grade

September 28- Buddy Activity at 2:00

September 29- SPIRIT DAY- bring $1 to wear a team shirt and be out of uniformLesson 1 Spelling Words: rip, him, if, is, pin, fitLesson 1 High Frequency Words (HFW): for, what, have, he, look, tooTest will be on September 21st.


We had our first spelling and reading tests this week. Those are coming home in your child's folder today. Everyone did pretty well for our first time! Please go over the tests with your child. Let me know if you have any questions.

I will be assigning a reread of this week's anchor text, The Storm, on ThinkCentral. Please have your child reread the story for fluency and comprehension. We will have a comprehension test over this story next Wednesday. I will send home some study questions on Monday to use when rereading.

Cohen was the "Big Cheese" this week. He shared his stuffed animal and his Batman and Robin figurines. We read one of his favorite stories about Batman.

Here is what we did this week:

Math: We identified morning and afternoon. We also identified first, second, third, last, between, and middle. We acted out "some, some more" and "some, some went away" stories. We used seeds from apples to act out stories. These are addition and subtraction stories. We identified a triangle as a shape with 3 sides and 3 angles. We used geobands to create shapes on our geoboards. We identified the inside and outside of a shape.

Science: We used screens to sort various sizes of earth materials. We identified sand, gravel, and pebbles as river rocks. We labeled our rocks after sorting them.

Social Studies: We watched a short documentary about the events of September 11, 2001. We read a story written by first graders in 2002 called, September 12th, We Knew Everything Would Be All Right. We discussed how the many people who helped that day are American heroes. Some of them survived and some of them died but they were all heroes because they were brave and helped people. We discussed how rules are important. Leaders make rules to keep people safe and happy. We used a map key and its symbols to locate and identify points or areas on a map.

Writer's Workshop: We named details and used labels to give information about a picture. We are now learning how to write captions for a picture.

Reading and Language Arts: We reviewed words with short a and consonants n, d, p, and f. We sorted words into categories. Red, blue, and yellow all go together because they are all colors. Run, skip, and fly all go together because they are action words. We reviewed proper nouns as names for special people and pets. We began lesson 2 on Thursday. Our anchor text is The Storm. This realistic fiction story is about a boy and his grandpa. Grandpa, or Pop as he is called in the story comes to babysit. A storm hits and Pop helps to calm Tim and his dog Rip. Our spelling focus is words with the short i sound. We will practice our spelling words and other words with the short i sound in our daily lessons. Our grammar focus is identifying possessive nouns that name one person or animal. Possessive nouns name people or animals who have or own things. For example; The man's hat is red. In this sentence, the possessive noun is the man's. He owns or has the hat.

Religion: We discussed how Jesus is with us when we pray with our church community. We named some of the holy objects we see in a Catholic church. We had a church tour with Fr. Ross on Friday. He explained more about the holy objects that we see.

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First Grade News for the Week of September 5th

​First Grade News for the Week of September 5th September Dates to Remember: September 13- Mag Booklet Assembly at 2:00; K-8 Family Picnic September 15- Dress Down Day for missions (bring $1 to be out of uniform) September 21- NOON DISMISSAL September 27- Living Rosary at 2:40 by 3rd grade September 28- Buddy Activity at 2:00 September 29- SPIRIT DAY- bring $1 to wear a team shirt and be out of uniform Lesson 1 Spelling Words: at, am, dad, man, sat, mat Lesson 1 High Frequency Words (HFW): and, you, be, play, help, with We had an anti-bullying assembly this week. We learned that we are all stars and should be treated with respect. We had bus safety lessons on Friday so we are prepared when we ride the bus. We had a slight change in our daily schedule. I switched our science/social studies times with writer's workshop. We have writer's workshop M, T, TH, and F from 9:20-10:00. We then have science or social studies from 10:00-10:40. We have an extra day of social studies at 2:30 on Wednesday. This is what we did this week: Math: We wrote the numbers 0, 6, 8, and 9. We ordered sets from smallest to largest. We are using mathematician words such as most, fewest, least, and greatest. We matched a number to a set. We collected and sorted data. We used our data to construct a bar-type graph. We had our first math assessment on Friday. We will continue to have assessments every 5 lessons. We used logical reasoning to problem solve. We will be working on problem solving strategies on our testing days. Science: We recorded information about our volcano rocks in our science notebook, just like a geologist would do. We used our five senses to describe the rocks. Social Studies: We discussed why it is important to respect others. We gave examples of classroom duties. We read The Pledge of Allegiance. We learned what the words in the pledge mean. We identified a map as a picture of a place as seen from above. Writer's Workshop: We used our kindergarten sight words in sentences to practice spacing, capitalization, and end punctuation. We listened as classmates shared their sentences in the author's chair. We are now focusing on using labels to describe a picture. Reading and Language Arts: We reviewed center expectations to prepare for our first lesson in reading. Our anchor text for lesson 1 is What is a Pal? This informational text is all about friendship. Our comprehension focus is identifying the main idea and key details as we read. The main idea is the most important idea in the story. Details tell us more about the main idea. Our spelling focus is words with the short a sound. We are also focusing on words with the consonants n and d. We are learning that nouns are words that name people, things, animals, and places. Religion: We understand that the cross on the church is a sign of Jesus' love for us. We practiced praying the Sigh of the Cross properly. We know that a Catholic community gathers in church to celebrate Mass. We are learning more about the mass and what we see at church.

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First Grade News for the Week of August 29th

September Dates to Remember:

September 5- NO SCHOOL- Labor Day

September 7- Assembly on bullying

September9- School bus safety lessons

September 13- Mag Booklet Assembly at 2:00; K-8 Family Picnic

September 15- Dress Down Day for missions (bring $1 to be out of uniform)

September 21- NOON DISMISSAL

September 27- Living Rosary at 2:40 by 3rd grade

September 28- Buddy Activity at 2:00

September 29- SPIRIT DAY- bring $1 to wear a team shirt and be out of uniform

We have been busy learning new routines and expectations.

This is what we did this week:

Math: We used linking cubes to make towers to show the numbers 0-9. We learned how to place an object on a graph. We made a graph of what we have for lunch each day. We identified a circle and a square. We learned a square has 4 sides and angles. We graphed a picture on a pictograph. We used our pictograph to identify most and fewest. We identified left and right.

Science: We began our first module, Pebbles, Plants, and Silt. In our first lesson we investigated 3 rocks. We learned that these rocks are volcano rocks. They are scoria, basalt, and tuff rocks. We rubbed the rocks together to create dust. We put our rocks in water and discussed the properties that we observed with our hand lens. We read Peter and the Rocks to understand that rocks can be sorted by a variety of properties. We worked with a partner to sort pebbles.

Social Studies: Our first unit is People Everywhere. We identified the roles of family members. We discussed how families help each other and learn from each other. We learned how to read a calendar.

Reading and Language Arts: We reviewed skills from kindergarten including identifying sight words and beginning consonant sounds. We read and discussed Jack's Talent and Back to School. We began our small reading groups as we learn about center rotations. We are learning how to use our interactive notebooks as part of our independent centers. We read Chrysanthemum to learn about story characters and character traits. We will begin Journeys Reading Lesson 1 next Thursday. I will be sending home spelling and vocabulary words to practice at home. Our first spelling test will be on September 14th. We will also have our first reading comprehension, phonics, and vocabulary test on that day. I will send home more information as we get closer to that date.

Writer's Workshop: We worked on writing complete sentences. We wrote about our pals and what we like to do together. We are doing some "free writing" so I can see where each student is in the writing process. We will begin our formal writing lessons with Lesson 1 next week.

Religion: We discussed the times when families do things together. We read the story of the Good Shepherd. We know that Jesus calls us to be his followers. We identified the Church we belong to as the Catholic Church. We discussed how Catholics care, pray, listen and help. We are working on a class collage showing how people act as followers of Jesus.

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District Contact

Phone: 515-266-3433
Fax: 515-266-2860
Address:
2107 E. 33rd St
Des Moines IA 50317