A day in the life of a first grader at Pacelli

Published 7:01 am Sunday, October 30, 2016

By Kathy Neve

Pacelli First Grade Teacher

Pacelli Catholic Schools has two classrooms of first grade.

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This allows for small class sizes, which provides more individualized attention that will help students achieve their fullest potential. A typical day in the life of a Pacelli Catholic Schools first grader is full of learning, friendship and fun.

A first grader can arrive and enjoy a delicious breakfast and/or morning recess between 7:30 and 8 a.m. each morning. The school day begins with a Language Arts block. During this time first graders work in whole group, small groups and independently using the SuperKids Reading Program. They continue to develop language skills using encoding and decoding to read longer text, building fluency and comprehension. They also practice spelling words and begin the writing process, sharing opinions, narratives and more. Students then take a short brain break which includes movement, snack, and a bathroom break.

They can enjoy a healthy snack brought from home and take some time to get up, stretch and dance to get their brains and bodies ready to continue learning.

Following break, students begin math time, using whole group and small group instruction. First grade uses the Singapore Math curriculum. First graders will learn addition and subtraction using number-bonds and word problems. They learn new skills during whole group which are reinforced continually throughout the year with increased difficulty. Small group instruction, manipulatives and math games are also used to reinforce skills and meet individual needs.

After a full morning of reading and math instruction, first graders go to recess and lunch. Following recess and lunch, they have 45 minutes of art, music or physical education daily. First graders receive weekly Latin instruction. They also have weekly technology time in the computer lab where they practice spelling words, reading, math and basic keyboarding using educational activities and games. First graders go to the school library once a week, where they can choose a book to take home to share with family.

When students are not in the computer lab or library, they spend time doing creative writing and activities to support science, social studies or character education learning that is embedded in language arts time and weekly Scholastic News magazines.

Religious education is woven throughout the day in various ways. First graders have daily time where they focus on their faith. They read Bible stories, and use their We Believe books to learn new prayers and more about how we can live our Catholic faith. They attend weekly Mass and have the opportunity to lead Mass several times during the year.

Pacelli first graders enjoy many field trips and service opportunities throughout the year. They attend performances at Matchbox Children’s Theater three times per year, and visit the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center and Oxbow Park. Students participate in a Halloween parade and enjoy various classroom celebrations. They also spread happiness by visiting Sacred Heart Care Center to sing for the residents during the Christmas season.

Along with all that Pacelli has to offer, we know that parent support plays an important role in student success. First grade students will make amazing growth in reading and math skills this year.

We can’t do it alone. It is important for family to take time to read with their first grade child. Allow time to practice reading skills. Ask your child questions about the story during and after reading to strengthen their ability to comprehend, or understand, what they read. Allow your child to help make a meal or play simple board or card games to build math skills.

If you are interested in learning more about Pacelli Catholic Schools visit our website at www.pacellischools.org, email admin@pacellischools.org or call 507-437-3278.