First Grade


A large emphasis of first grade is developing and enriching reading and writing skills.

Reader’s and Writer’s Workshops encourages readers to be challenged at their reading level through small group work and individual conferencing. Our phonics program, Fundations, supports our reading program by providing  daily systematic and explicit lessons that focus on word and sentence structure.

In math, our major focus is on addition and subtractions skills.  We also incorporate telling time, money, fractions, geometry, and problem solving. First graders focus on building a classroom community by following in the footsteps of Jesus. In Religion, we study Baptism as well as the Holy Trinity. We pray together several times a day and spend time in the chapel every week.

Curriculum Highlights

  • Through Creative Arts, every first grader has a starring role in the Christmas Program.  During our Creative Arts classes, we learn songs and lines for the show.
  • Academics include Spanish, Science, Social Studies, Creative Arts, Gym, Art and Library.
  • First graders have access to technology including iPads, Promethean whiteboards, document cameras and a computer lab.
  • Field trips include a Christmas play, Science Museum, Mill City Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and Pine Haven Farm.
  • A highlight for first graders is pairing up with our 8th grade buddies. We attend Mass, read together, and do art projects throughout the year.

IB Themes for First Grade

Who We Are
  • An inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities, and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human.
    • Central Idea:  Communities work better when members share their personal strengths.
      • An iquiry into:
        • Personal strengths
        • The Learner Profile, Responsibilities of being a citizen
        • Rules and Agreements.   
Where We Are in Place & Time
  • An inquiry into orientation in place and time; personal histories; homes and journeys; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind; the relationships between and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations, from local and global perspectives.  
    • Central Idea:  The past shapes the present.    
      • An inquiry into:
        • Personal and family histories
        • The history of our community
        • The evolution of ideas over time
How We Express Ourselves
  • An inquiry into the ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs and values; the ways in which we reflect on, extend and enjoy our creativity; our appreciation of the aesthetic.
    • Central Idea:  People use the arts to connect to the world around them.       
      • An inquiry into:
        • Art forms
        • How art connects people
        • Creating representations of a country through mapmaking   
How the World Works
  • An inquiry into the natural world and its laws; the interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human societies; how humans use their understanding of scientific principles; the impact of scientific and technological advances on society and on the environment.
    • Central Idea:  Scientists observe, use tools, and share ideas to understand the earth.
      • An inquiry into:
        • Tools scientists use
        • How scientists make and share observations
        • Types of rocks
        • Classifying rocks based on characteristics 
How We Organize Ourselves
  • An inquiry into the inter connectedness of human-made systems and communities; the structure and function or organizations; societal decision-making; economic activities and their impact on humankind and the environment.
    • Central Idea:  People make decisions based on opportunities, resources, and priorities.
      • An inquiry into:
        • Needs and wants
        • Goods and services
        • Scarcity and abundance
        • Group decision-making
Sharing the Planet
  • An inquiry into the rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and with other living things; communities and the relationships within and between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict resolution.
    • Central Idea:  Communities of living things depend on their environment. 
      • An inquiry into:
        • Characteristics of animals
        • Basic needs for survival
        • Life cycles
        • Connections within and between animal communities