Mrs. Kelly Weeks
Ms. Bobbi Demma
In our first grade classroom we believe in fostering a supportive and engaging learning experience, full of different approaches to learning. The classroom is designed to meet the needs and learning styles of each child. We have a strong belief in hands-on learning, which involves the active participation of the students. We believe that when the students are able to experience the subject matter, they are more likely to grasp the material.
The classroom is designed to be focused around instruction, independent work, cooperative group work and learning centers. Throughout the school year the students will participate in academic learning experiences in Math, Phonics, Reading, Writing, Spelling, Religion, Science and Social Studies.
We begin our day with a morning meeting in which the students read a message from Miss Barrett that contains information about the day’s activities. Students also have a small task to complete based on the previous day’s instruction at the bottom of the message. We go over our daily schedule as well as have time to share something about ourselves, like something exciting from the weekend, our favorite animals or food, or when our birthdays are. We also greet each other to create a sense of friendship and community amongst our class.
We use Sadlier’s We Believe religion textbook to guide discussions about how God is our Father and how He sent us His Son, Jesus. We learn about ways Jesus shows us His love and how God is good. We learn that we are all members of God’s Church and we learn ways to be more like Jesus.
We do not only learn about God’s wonderful gifts during religion class. His teachings are incorporated throughout the day both in and out of the classroom. The students learn about the Golden Rule and the importance of treating others with respect.
Reading is a very important part of First Grade. Some students come into First Grade knowing how to read, while others are still working on letter sounds. Through learning centers, we are able to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all of our students. We are using the Treasures program for phonics and writing instruction. For reading, we use more of thematic approach in such a way that social studies and science are incorporated.
For math instruction, we use the Saxon math program which spirals our math curriculum. We work a great deal on basic math facts, as well as strategies to help with math facts. We begin solving word problems, pulling out important information and disregarding unnecessary information. We work on counting by 1’s, 2’s, 5’s, 10’s, and 100’s. We also use math tools, like rulers, unifix cubes, tangrams, dice, and geoboards to create a hands on experience.
As part of our morning meeting, we count the number of days of school. When we reach 100, we have a big celebration! We also make patterns on the calendar, keep track of the weather on a pictograph, count money, create and extend number patters, as well as problem solve.
In Science, we learn how to sort and classify plants, animals, and items based on different characteristics like shape, size, texture, and color. In the classroom, we use Harcourt’s science textbook to help with instruction. We also study animals and see animal habitats first hand at the National Zoo.
In Social Studies, we compare schools from the past to the present using Harcourt’s Horizon text. We also look at our role in the community, as well as the role that certain professions play in our community. We discover our responsibilities as members of our city, state, and country and further explain what we can do to make our home a better place. We use Time for Kids to discuss current events.
Children in first grade are still working on fine and gross motor skills. To help with this, we have small group handwriting instruction. We also encourage frequent movement between working at our desks and the carpet to keep students engaged.
We want our students to always feel comfortable in our classroom and we try to create an environment where students are free to learn and explore. School should be a place where students feel they can take risks and it is our goal to make students feel like they can try new things without feeling insecure.
Teacher Bio – Mrs. Kelly Weeks
I earned my undergraduate degree in Elementary and Special Education from Mount Saint Mary’s University. I am certified by the state of Maryland in both areas.
In May, I will graduate from Mount Saint Mary’s with a Master’s Degree in Education, with a concentrating in Reading. I will be a certified reading specialist.
- I am enjoying my fourth year of teaching at Holy Cross!
Teacher Bio – Ms. Bobbi Demma