Welcome to the First Grade

Teacher: Grace Gonzales



Welcome to First Grade!

2017-18 Student Council Representative Packet - Packet, Form, and Speech Template

Room Parent Announcements

B2SN -- I look forward to seeing everyone at back to School Night on Thursday.  The event starts in iMast at 7:00pm and then we will proceed to classrooms after the school-wide session.  We will get to talk about field trips, class parties, and other parent volunteer opportunities in the classroom session.
Upcoming Important 1st Grade Dates:
Sept 21: Back to School Night 7pm (Early Dismissal -- 1:30pm)
Sept 21-Oct 13: Annual Fund Drive
Sept 26-28: School Photos
Oct 5: Family Bingo Night (6:30pm)
Oct 9-13: 1st Grade Lunch Duty
Oct 13: Coffee on the Quad
Oct 18: Field Trip to Fog Willow Farm (11:30am)
Oct 27: Fall Carnival
Oct 30: Change to Winter Uniform
Fall Carnival Volunteers Needed!
Want to knock out some parent volunteer hours early?  The Fall Carnival Committee needs your help! This wonderful event is set for Friday, October 27th from 5:30pm-8pm.  There are several opportunities for you to help with planning various aspects of the event (i.e.-food, bar/drinks, decorations etc…) as a Fall Carnival Planning Committee member.
Aside from planning the event, we also need help with setting up, working during the carnival and cleaning up after the event.  You can sign-up for Fall Carnival Planning Committee positions or to be a Fall Carnival Volunteer during a time slot via SignUpGenius.
In addition, each grade level will have an opportunity to run 2 carnival games as well as donate cupcakes and water.  You can earn 1 hour of credit for donating 1 flat of bottled water and 1 hour of credit for donating 1 dozen cupcakes.  Please sign up for donations or to work at a carnival game with your room parent.  Sign-up sheets will be available in your child’s classroom at Back to School Night this Thursday evening. Two volunteers are needed (one per game) at each time slot 5:15-6:15, 6:15-7:15, 7:15-8:15.

Thank you! If you have any questions or are interested in helping, feel free to contact our Fall Carnival Chairs, Rachel Henderson rleah2000@aol.com and Mari Turpen marisolturpen@gmail.com


2017-18 First Grade Schedule

Specialty Class Overviews


In science this year, first grade students will be participating in a program called Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Launch.  The goal of this program is to engage young minds in science, technology, engineering, and math  so that they will build confidence, explore interests, and set themselves up for success in middle school, high school, and beyond. PLTW Launch taps into the students’ natural curiosity and enthusiasm to empower them to become problem solvers. Students use structured approaches, like the engineering design process, and employ critical thinking. They apply STEM knowledge, skills, and habits of mind, while learning that it is okay to take risks and make mistakes. As teachers and students learn and discover together, education becomes far more exciting.

The curriculum is broken into modules that explore engineering, biomedical sciences, and computer programming.  During the first part of the year, students in first grade will be working through a module called “Light: Observing the Sun, Moon, and Stars.” In this module, students will begin by observing the sun, moon, and stars. After identifying and describing patterns in their recorded data, the students will apply their knowledge of the sun, moon and stars to a real-world design problem. Students will be tasked with creating a playground structure designed to protect students from ultraviolet radiation. Students utilize their knowledge of light to design, build, and test structures created to solve this problem. Students then evaluate their designs, share their findings, and explore ideas to improve their structures based on the testing data.

For more information on the PLTW program, please visit www.pltw.org.



PE with Mr. Buzzard

In Physical Education, we have the opportunity to meet four times a week (30 minute classes). This year, Mr. Buzzard is going to present a different format. It's going to be all about games. Each week, a game will be presented to the class. They will learn the rules on Mondayand play the game Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Each day there will be variations of the game presented as well as discussions. These discussions will be centered around values within a game including: teamwork, sportsmanship, honesty, integrity, kindness, leadership, etc. The class is divided into four teams with new leaders each week. We focus on our routine which includes running outside and cardio work inside. And, of course, we have a lot of fun.


This year first graders will review the basic components of a computer and adjoining systems. They’ll also use the web-based program Talking Fingers to review their alphabet while reviewing correct finger positioning. When they demonstrate proper finger positioning four class periods in a row, their nameplate baseball will be placed upon the Homerow Homers board. Since the Talking Fingers program is accessible via the internet students are encouraged to also work and complete levels at home, www.talkingfingers.com. After completing Talking Fingers students will improve their typing on the sites Dance Mat Typing and Typing Club. Students will also take on  various block coding tasks on code.org.




First graders go to the library every Friday afternoon for a thematic storytime, an introduction to engaging books, library skills, and checking out books. Stories for storytime are selected to support the unit themes of Imagine It, social studies, holidays, and other curriculum themes.

Visit the St. Michael's Library Website at
Martha Rowland, Librarian

1st Grade Spanish
Mrs. Kearns

The First Grade Class will meet for Spanish on Monday and Thursday. We will begin the year practicing greetings, naming classroom objects by color, shape, and size. The class will play a new game “Veo Veo” ( I Spy) naming objects in the classroom and shapes and colors around the school. During the fall season we’ll study the fall seasons colors, foods, and Halloween vocabulary. In the winter months we’ll study the holiday season’s family traditions, meals, and songs in Spanish.  In the spring season we’ll study farm and domestic animals, our families, Easter, and Cinco de Mayo festivities and traditions. 


What is in the Homework?

Homework is sent home weekly.  A folder will come home with your child on Monday and will be returned on Friday  The homework will have an agenda and reflect the learning within our week.

How Should Homework be Completed?

In First Grade, homework should only be 20 minutes per day. Each night, your student should read and complete one page of Language Arts and one page of Math.  The homework should not be challenging for the student, but should reinforce content skills and confidence in their academic learning.

Looking for Support or Enrichment?

Inside of your child’s homework folder will be login information for our Language Arts & Math curriculum.  Please access these resources as support to your child’s learning.



Reading Fluency

What is Reading Fluency?

Fluency is often defined as the rate (words per minute) and accuracy (number of words correctly identified) with which students perform reading tasks.

An additional dimension to fluency is known as prosody, or the rhythms and tones of spoken language. Where text is being read silently or aloud, much of its meaning comes from the way it sounds. Students who read with expression are able to segment text into meaningful units, marking phrase and sentence boundaries with pauses, vowel lengthening and changes in pitch and emphasis.

When students have learned to decode and automatically recognize many words by sight, they begin to read simple text aloud in a way that sounds like natural speech. By second grade, fluent reading is generally expected, yet a great deal of foundation building must occur in order to make it happen. Students in the upper grades who read aloud word by word or with little attention to commas or periods require intervention.

High Frequency Words

Why are decodable books so important for beginning readers? When a child is expected to read books that are not decodable, he/she often becomes frustrated and starts http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/break-the-word-guessing-habit/&;source=gmail&ust=1480559949379000&usg=AFQjCNHi8tsROjJavVgLQdyMgkUL8EJKRQ">guessing at words, thereby developing poor reading strategies. In the process, the child loses the direct connection between the phonics and word analysis skills he/she is learning and the actual text he/she is expected to read.  On the other hand, when a child reads a fully decodable book, he/she can use his knowledge of phonics and his/her word analysis skills to decode unfamiliar words. Since the child can figure out every word in the book, he/she feels successful, which in turn helps him/her build fluency and develop good reading strategies.

These short books were written with a heavy focus on the letter sounds introduced throughout the Imagine It! units. They are especially useful for children who need extra practice reading sight words in context. They also can provide extra practice in "sounding out" words. They are great for emergent readers!  They are great for reading and rereading and rereading!!

Scholastic Book Orders and Curriculum Codes

Scholastic Book Orders

The class code to order online is N3LXD.  You can order by going to scholastic.com/newparent.  You can enter the class code and follow instructions to place your order.

Curriculum Codes

Curriculum: Scholastic News Magazines
Class Code: 1Gonzales


Key Dates

First Grade Chapel Dates:

  • February 8
  • April 19
  • June 5

Service Project




  • Fog Willow Pumpkin Farm - October 18 at 11:30A.M.
  • Crest Theater - March 20 at 12:00P.M.


If you are driving a field trip, please be sure you have turned in the Volunteer Driver form below to the office and have read the first grade field trip policy.


Class Parties

Christmas Party


Valentine Party


End of Year Party


Lunch Room and Volunteers



Fall Carnival


Community Service Project




Garden Dates

Garden on Fridays from 12:30-1:30pm.


  • September 15
  • September 29
  • October 13
  • October 27
  • November 17
  • December 1
  • December 15
  • January 12
  • January 26
  • February 9
  • March 2
  • March 16
  • April 13
  • April 27
  • May 11
  • June 1




Helpful Websites

Imagine It:

Children's Progress Academic Assessment

cp-header logo


Children's Progress is computer-delivered formative assessments, with tailored reports and recommended activities are the ULTIMATE TEACHING TOOL – simplifying the process of learning advancement for every one of the students.

Children's Progress was founded with the mission of bringing leading technology and assessment tools to your classrooms. Our company grew out of decades of academic research at Columbia University and our patented software was developed in collaboration with MIT.

Today, Children's Progress Academic Assessment products are used by public and independent schools in 39 states.

The Children's Progress Academic Assessment (CPAA) is an early childhood assessment system that helps teachers focus classroom instruction to achieve the greatest learning gains for each child. The software is linked to immediately generated reports and helps teachers and administrators gain essential insights about each child's understanding of Language Arts and Mathematics concepts.

For students in Pre-K through Grade 2, the reports help teachers individualize instruction to maximize learning for each child. In designing the Independent School version of the assessments, CPAA consulted with the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) to establish Language Arts and Mathematics benchmarks which ensure that students reach high levels of achievement. CPAA worked closely with independent school teachers and administrators to design appropriate and targeted questions. Each item has been rigorously evaluated through an analysis of student responses and performance data.

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First Grade Teachers

Ms. Grace Gonzales
First Grade Teacher
(916) 485-3418 x111

Ms. Anne Hamilton
Associate First Grade Teacher

Mrs. Chloe Banks

Mr. Jeremy Bolt

Mr. Steve Buzzard

Ms. Kami Davis

Mrs. Jessica Drissi

Mr. Rick Hauch

Mrs. Geri Kearns

Mrs. Heidi Landis

Mrs. Cindy Martin

Ms. Martha Rowland

Accreditations and Memberships