In first grade, students recognize that God is the creator all things. We talk about how Jesus is the Son of God, Mary is his mother, and that The Holy Spirit is a gift that Jesus has sent to be with us always. During class we reverence the Bible as the Word of God. The students demonstrate knowledge that the readings at Mass come from the Bible and are able to retell the Bible stories of Creation, the birth of Jesus, and the Easter Story. At St. John’s the students know that Baptism makes us children of God and that God welcomes us into the Christian family as followers of Jesus. We talk a lot about our religious community and how being part of a community helps us to be closer to God. first graders know that Jesus teaches and shows us how to love God and to love our neighbor. They also know that how they treat others can really affect how people feel. We spend time discussing how we should take care of ourselves because we are gifts from God. The first grade says and knows their prayers and uses time to talk and listen to God. During the school year we do a project to help others (i.e. Animal shelter visit) because we want to care for and respect God’s gift of creation.
During the first grade school year, students increase their knowledge of reading by knowing the sounds that letters make, using letter sounds and blending, reading rhyming words, and recognizing word families. We work on our comprehension skills all year. We understand what the author of a story or selection is trying to say, ask questions, recall facts and details, give examples of cause and effect, follow two-step directions, and can pick out the characters, setting, beginning, middle, and end of a story. The first graders can compare stories by different authors, and can tell the difference between fiction and nonfiction stories. We write everyday in our personal journals. In these journals we write sentences, we use a writing process, we focus on a topic, we use nice handwriting, and we learn and use editing skills to edit ourselves and our peers. We write narratives, opinion pieces, and we write to inform or explain. We learn to use grammar skills in the first grade. The students can recognize complete and incomplete sentences, nouns, verbs, and adjectives, and putting words in the correct order in a sentence. The first graders are good listeners. They understand that listening is important and they are able to ask good questions to understand stories and ideas. They can recall information from stories and follow 3 and 4 step oral instructions.
My students learn all about number sense during the school year. They can count, read, and write numbers to one hundred and can count by 2s, 5s, and 10s, they compare numbers, write number sentences, and can add and subtract numbers up to 20. They can also tell if a number is odd or even, can show one more, one less, ten more, ten less, they can add three one digit numbers, make estimates and recognize simple fractions. They also have some knowledge of algebra. They can solve problems using the correct addition or subtraction equation, and use charts, graphs, and number sentences. During the school year we learn all about measurement and geometry. We learn about plane and solid shapes and their attributes, and create a geometric castle project along with a Google Slides presentation. We learn to measure objects with standard and nonstandard units, and telling time to the hour and half hour. We learn about statistics, data, and probability. We also learn about mathematical reasoning ,problem solving, and communicating all year long in the first grade.
First grade students are able to describe the rights and individual responsibilities of citizens in the United States. We talk about and look at pictures of people from the past and different groups of people to see how they are similar and different from us. The first grade uses maps and globes to find and describe locations around the world and in our own state. We identify and understand the symbols, icons, and traditions that we have in the United States. We understand basic economic concepts.
Students begin to learn about the different states of matter and understand that they may change when the substances are mixed, cooled, or heated. Students learn that plants and animals need food and water to survive. They will understand that different plants and animals inhabit different environments. St. John first graders also learn all about weather and different ways to check the weather. We learn and use the scientific method to perform experiments.
The first graders have an active participation in the visual and performing arts. They go to music class once a week to learn and sing songs as well as use boom whackers. In class we use various media to create different art pieces.
Our class is fortunate enough to have a parent volunteer to teach basic Spanish skills one day a week during the school year. We learn all about the letters, numbers, and colors, and animals. We also learn the days of the week, seasons, and months. During the year we complete a Spanish workbook and play games like Bingo to help the students remember vocabulary in a fun way. Senora reads books to us and helps us to understand simple Spanish sentences.
The first graders work really hard at improving their technology skills during the school year. We use many on-line tools like Dance Mat Typing and Typing.com to work on keyboarding skills. The students receive homework that involves using technology on a daily basis such as Raz-kids.com, Mathletics.com, Spellingcity.com, and mystorybook.com to name a few. We have learned how to use applications like Google Docs and Google Slides and have infused them into our classroom and home projects. We use Chromebooks and iPads in our daily learning and rotations.
Second grade focuses on Christian Living, the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist, the Ten Commandments, the story of the Prodigal Son, and the Rosary.
Second grade reads both literature and informational text from fiction to social studies, science and technical texts. Students focus on key ideas, details, structure, and integration of knowledge including finding information from illustrations and diagrams, comparing and contrasting from text. Second graders write informative and narrative texts. They practice the process of revising and editing as well as sharing their writing with their peers. Second grade writing becomes more expressive and includes a topic, details, sequence and a conclusion.
Mathematics concepts become more complex in second grade. They’ll learn to add and subtract two-digit numbers, and to understand the meaning of multiplication and division.
Second graders learn about motion, plants and animals, earth’s properties and investigation and experimentation. Students will learn to use the Scientific Method to do hands-on experiments using the.
Students learn about government, economy and geography including learning to locate places on a map. Activities and lessons introduce history by helping students understand the difference between life long ago and today.
In third grade, the students learn about how God sent his only Son to become one of us. We learn about how Jesus teaches about the gift of faith and how Jesus continues to spread the good news of God’s love through the Church. Third graders bring this learning to life through such activities as group prayer, skits, and art. We learn about the role of the Apostles and the disciples and how we can act as disciples and share the good news about Jesus. Two of the most important things we learn is about the Church Year and the Four Marks of the church. We learn the prayers that are most important to our faith and the many ways we can pray. As Catholics, we learn that the parish we attend is our home. Now that we have received the Sacrament of Eucharist, we learn that we are all God’s People and that we are the light of the world. We also do service for others. As an example, this year the third grade held a candy jar fundraiser and the profits were sent to mothers and babies in need of help.
Language Arts is a very exciting part of third grade curriculum. We follow the common core standards in our curriculum. We read a variety of literature; both fiction and non-fiction. We analyze more thoroughly what we have read, compare and contrast characters, investigate new vocabulary and decode harder words and focus on comprehension. We also use a variety of technology to help guide our reading at our own independent level. Programs like RAZ-Kids and Scoot Pad are very beneficial in supporting our growth. We read in groups, independently and have guided reading discussions with our teacher. Our grammar series supports our writing, which is now more sophisticated as we put paragraphs together to eventually form a short story or report. Because language arts is cross- curricular, it is important that we practice our skills in every subject we learn. We have both science and social studies journals that we write in to collect information and write summaries.
In third grade math, we follow the common core standards and learn to represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction. We also learn the concepts of multiplication through 12. We learn to understand the relationship between addition and subtraction as well as adding and subtracting up to 100. We learn the importance of place value in numbers. We learn measurement and data. We also learn geometry and concepts like perimeter, diameter and circumference. We support our common core learning by using websites like Scoot Pad Math and Multiplication.com. Math class includes games, technology, and manipulatives to ensure that each learner has their individual modality addressed.
Students in grade three learn more about our connections to the past and the ways in which particularly local, but also regional and national, government and traditions have developed and left their marks on current society, providing common memories. Emphasis is on the physical and cultural landscape of California, including the study of American Indians, the subsequent arrival of immigrants, and the impact they have had in forming the character of our contemporary society. We practice with maps and learn about how the explorers came to California and how the settlers stayed here through the creation of a journal and year-long bulletin board activity. All this work prepares third graders for learning even more in-depth about California and its missions in fourth grade.
As children naturally want to learn through exploration, the third grade follows the NGSS as a roadmap for a superior science program. The main topics we explore are Motion and Stability, Molecules to Organisms, Ecosystems, Heredity, Biological Evolution, the Earth’s Systems, the Earth and Human Activity and Engineering Design. One of the highlights of our program is the Unit ending activity we call the “Martin 500.” After exploring force, motion, gravity, friction, weights and aerodynamics, we hold a pinewood derby race on a track and try to find the fastest car and discuss what made it so fast! We have access to our STEM lab which makes planning and implementation of labs possible. As you can see, science and third graders go hand in hand.
Because technology is readily available to students at St. John’s School, we have the ability to use it in many ways as it applies to the fine arts. We learn to interpret art that we find in our stories, in our social studies, in religion and every other subject. Students are given many opportunities to get involved in singing, acting, sketching and using clay to represent their interpretations of objects. Discussion about careers in art are also encouraged.
Students in third grade have the opportunity to use Chromebooks within our classroom daily. We use programs like Scoot Pad Math/Language, RAZ-Kids and Multiplication.com and ways to type text on a word document. We are also learning about appropriate student use policies to keep us safe while using ever changing technology.
Fourth grade students use the Step Up to Writing program to focus on reading, writing and grammar. Furthermore, students are able to analyze both fiction and non-fiction text. Speaking and listening are activities intertwined with writing assignments.
Students learn about California’s state history, geography, and physical features. Also, students learn about the Gold Rush, California Native Americans and the colonial/settlement period. They engage in discussions regarding local, state, and federal government.
Students learn fractions, decimals, & whole numbers. There is a strong emphasis on algebraic thinking, such as rounding, estimating, number patterns, and solving multi-step word problems. Fourth graders are able to discuss differing strategies as they learn basic geometry- measure and interpret angles.
Investigation and experimental skills are explored. In physical sciences, students study electricity, magnetism, and circuits. In earth sciences, rock & mineral cycles are analyzed. In addition, students study how waves, water, and wind help shape the earth's surface through erosion and weathering. In life sciences, students focus on food chains, energy sources, and animal/plant structures. There is an emphasis on ecological connections and cycles.
Fourth graders are able to reflect on the importance of the Ten Commandments in their daily lives. Moreover, they learn about and participate in liturgical celebrations. This course will give an introduction to Family life- God's gift of family, self, love, and community.
The students learn more deeply the origin and significance of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. They reflect on the content and make it part of their daily life in response to the call of Jesus Christ to become his disciple. To deepen their understanding and to make learning more meaningful, students are partnered or divided into groups to talk together, write a story, draw a picture, act out a story or situation, sing a song together or make one up, or work together on a special project like making slide show or recording a video on a specific topic. There are all kinds of activities that the students do during the school year to develop their skills and full potential as human beings created with so many gifts from God.
In grade five, instructional time will focus on three critical areas. In one major area, students will develop fluency with addition and subtraction of fractions, and develop understanding of the multiplication of fractions and of division of fractions in limited cases. A second area of focus is extending division to two-digit divisors, integrating decimal fractions into the place value system, developing understanding of operations with decimals to hundredths, and developing fluency with whole number and decimal operations. A third area of focus is developing understanding of volume. All exercises such as math drills classwork, homework, quizzes, and unit tests are done online using ALEKS, an adaptive math program which allows students to learn on their most appropriate path and pace.
In 5th grade, students learn that elements and their combinations account for all the varied types of matter in the world. Students know that during chemical reactions the atoms in the reactants rearrange to form products with different properties. Students also learn how all matter is made of atoms, which may combine to form molecules. Fifth graders also learn how plant and animals have structures for respiration, digestion, waste disposal, and transport of materials. Students explore how blood circulates through the heart chambers, lungs, and body and how carbon dioxide(CO2 ) and oxygen(O2 ) are exchanged in the lungs and tissues. Fifth graders also investigate how water on Earth moves between the oceans and land through the processes of evaporation and condensation.
United States History and Geography: Making a New Nation Students in grade five study the development of the United States up to 1850, with an emphasis on the people who were already here, when and from where others arrived, and why they came. Students learn about the colonial government founded on Judeo-Christian principles, the ideals of the Enlightenment, and the English traditions of self-government. They recognize that ours is a nation that has a Constitution that derives its power from the people; that has gone through a revolution; that once sanctioned slavery; that experienced conflict over land with the original inhabitants; and that experienced a westward movement that took its people across the continent. Studying the cause, course, and consequences of the early explorations through the War for Independence and western expansion is central to students’ fundamental understanding of how the principles of the American republic form the basis of a pluralistic society in which individual rights are secured.
Fifth grade students must gain control over many conventions of standard English grammar, usage, and mechanics as well as learn other ways to use language to convey meaning effectively. They must also be able to determine or clarify the meaning of grade-appropriate words encountered through listening, reading, and media use; come to appreciate that words have nonliteral meanings, shades of meaning, and relationships to other words; and expand their vocabulary in the course of studying content. The inclusion of language standards in their own strand should not be taken as an indication that skills related to conventions, effective language use, and vocabulary are unimportant to reading, writing, speaking, and listening; indeed, they are inseparable from such contexts.
Students must read widely and deeply from a broad range of high-quality, increasingly challenging literary and informational texts. Through extensive reading of stories, dramas, poems, and myths from diverse cultures and different time periods, students gain literary and cultural knowledge as well as familiarity with various text structures and elements. By reading texts in history/social studies, science, and other disciplines, students build a foundation of knowledge in those fields that will also give them the background to be better readers in all content areas. Students also acquire the habits of reading independently and closely, which are essential to future success. The Reading A to Z computer program helps students to develop critical reading skills on their own path and pace.
Students must have ample opportunities to take part in a variety of rich, structured conversations— as part of a whole class, in small groups, and with a partner. Being productive members of these conversations requires that students contribute accurate, relevant information; respond to and develop what others have said; make comparisons and contrasts; and analyze and synthesize a multitude of ideas in various domains. New technologies have broadened and expanded the role that speaking and listening play in acquiring and sharing knowledge and have tightened their link to other forms of communication.
Students need to learn to use writing as a way of offering and supporting opinions, demonstrating understanding of the subjects they are studying, and conveying real and imagined experiences and events. They develop the capacity to build knowledge on a subject through research projects and to respond analytically to literary and informational sources. To meet these goals, students must devote significant time and effort to writing, producing numerous pieces over short and extended time frames throughout the year.
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