We are so excited to be your child’s teacher this year. We cannot wait to meet all the new children and see some familiar faces. We’re eager to start the year with every single one of you!
Starting the school year with structure, routine, and consistency is essential. With your child coming to school every day, we can build a classroom community within the first few months of school, practice classroom expectations and procedures, build stamina, and increase our learning time. Through our experiences working with preschool and kindergarten students and through conversations with many experienced educators, we have seen the positive impact of all-day kindergarten. All-day kindergarten increases school readiness by better-preparing children for the primary grades. Teachers can meet the diverse needs of all students because there is more time in the day for whole group time, small group time, and one-on-one instruction. Full-day kindergarten has many other benefits, such as more time for children to interact with their peers socially, more time in a structured setting that benefits a child’s social and emotional needs, and more time focused on developing the “whole” child.
We know that sending your little one away every day will be hard at first. We, as educators, understand that your kindergartener will be tired during the first few months of school. We will try our best to accommodate their needs, especially during the first few months of school. We plan to make the mornings more instruction-based and the afternoons more developmental-based. In the first few months of school, we will have increased recess, free play, and relaxation to allow your child time to transition. Please do not hesitate to ask any questions; we would be happy to answer them.
Looking forward to a great year,
Mrs. Megan Johnson and Mrs. Jill Conroy
Parents receive a newsletter each week explaining what we will cover in class and other helpful information. Below is a list of the curriculum we will use daily or weekly (depending on subject) in our classroom. All of our curriculum standards can be found here: https://catholicschools4u.org/curriculumstandards
Virtues: Education in Virtue
Handwriting: Writing Our Catholic Faith
Writing Workshop: Schoolwide
Math: Big Ideas Math
Language Arts: Macmillan/McGraw-Hill- Wonders (2023) Series
Science: Amplify Science
Social Studies: Studies Weekly
2023-2024 Specials Schedule:
Monday – Spanish
Tuesday – Art
Wednesday – STEM
Thursday – Music
Friday – PE
Our routine will vary slightly daily due to our special area class schedules. Mornings will be spent working in our “Literacy Block” using The Treasure Series and The Daily Five. Students will rotate between five literacy centers: Read to Self, Computers, Listening, Work on Writing, & Word Work. These centers will help promote literacy independence in the lower elementary grades. Teachers can work with children one-on-one or in small groups during this time. We will also work on handwriting and hold our writing workshop in the morning. The afternoon portion of our day will consist of a read-aloud, math, religion, snack, recess, calendar, free choice centers, and either social studies or science, depending on the day and scheduled unit.
I am excited to be your child’s first-grade teacher this year. I look forward to getting to know your child, and I am eager to spend the year working with you to help your child learn and grow to their fullest potential.
I have taught First Grade at St. Mary’s since the 2022 – 2023 school year. Previously, I served as Preschool Director and Teacher starting in 2016. I graduated from Aquinas College, where I studied Elementary Education with a major in Language Arts and a minor in Math. I have a Master’s in Early Childhood Education Curriculum and Instruction from Grand Valley State University.
Mrs. Jan Bator will be our classroom paraprofessional, who will be with us every day in the morning. She previously taught at St. Mary’s for around 35 years. We are looking forward to year two together.
Please do not hesitate to ask any questions; we would be happy to answer them.
Looking forward to a great year,
Mrs. Kara Polega
Handwriting: Writing Our Catholic Faith
Math: Big Ideas Math
Students will learn to add and subtract two-digit numbers, count and write numbers to 120, compare two-digit numbers, money, length, time, 2D and 3D shapes, and equal shares.
Language Arts: Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Wonders Series
Monday-Thursday, the students will meet in small groups for guided reading. The groups will rotate to different stations during this reading block. The stations include Read to Self, Read to Teacher, Listen to Reading, Spelling, and Writing.
High-Frequency Words and Spelling List: Students will receive a list of high-frequency words and spelling words once a week on Fridays. We will do many weekly activities with these words to help them learn and retain them. However, it is still important that they practice reading the high-frequency words and spelling words at home. Each list will follow a phonics pattern. Please note that some lists may contain 2-3 sight words that do not follow the pattern but are essential to learn.
Spelling Tests are every Friday.
Science: Amplify Science Curriculum along with teacher-planned lessons guided by the Diocese of Grand Rapids Standards for First-Grade
Social Studies: Studies Weekly: The World Around Me – Yesterday and Today. Additionally, there will be teacher-planned lessons guided by the Diocese of Grand Rapids Standards for First Grade.
Religion: Sadlier We Believe God Loves Us and teacher planned lessons guided by the Diocese of Grand Rapids Standards for First Grade. Students will also study saints and monthly virtues.
Writing: Writing Fundamentals Curriculum along with teacher-planned lessons guided by the Diocese of Grand Rapids Standards for First Grade. Students will write in their journals 3-4 times a week.
Thank you for entrusting me with the honor of teaching your child every day. Please know that your child is safe, loved, and valued in my classroom. Teaching at St. Mary’s is a dream come true and evidence of God working in my life. I look forward to working together to support your student’s educational journey. I know we will have a fun-filled and successful year in 2nd grade!
Miss Meredith Skorupski
Through Dynamic Catholic’s Blessed series, Education in Virtue, Blest are We, and daily school culture, students will deepen their understanding of the Catholic faith. Concepts include prayer, the saints, sacraments, vocations, and stewardship. Students will attend Mass on Fridays.
English Language Arts:
Reading – Students will be reading and analyzing a variety of texts and genres.
Writing – I am excited to share that we are going to be using Schoolwide for our writing curriculum. Students will be challenged to see themselves as authors and interact with many forms of authentic writing.
Spelling – We will be working on our spelling throughout the week with a spelling test each Friday. An individualized spelling list for the following week’s test will be sent home on Fridays.
Handwriting – Students will practice their printing with the support of Writing Our Catholic Faith.
Students will continue to focus on addition and subtraction skills through BigIdeas Math. They will be challenged to add/subtract fluently to 20 and add/subtract two and three 2-digit numbers. They will also be working with money, shapes, data, fractions, and probability. Many of our math lessons will include hands-on activities and the opportunity to collaborate with our peers.
Students will study physical science (heating, cooling, properties of materials), life science (needs, habitats), earth and space sciences (movement of water and wind), and engineering design (define and solve a problem, function of objects). We will learn by participating in hands-on activities through Amplify Science.
Students will learn about our local community, needs and wants, cultures, maps, and democratic principles. We will learn with the help of our local Tri-Cities Historical Museum, Studies Weekly curriculum, and other community groups.
Fourth grade is an exciting year as students take their last step towards the middle school years. This year is full of growth and increasing responsibility so that our students become capable and responsible problem solvers.
During their fourth grade year, the students study the regions of the United States, the U.S. government, and the economy. They have a year-long hands-on classroom economy with jobs, bonuses, fines, rent, and taxes! This year-long experience culminates with a hands-on lesson in entrepreneurship as the fourth graders host their very own Market Day in the Spring!
In addition, the fourth-grade students get their first exposure to novel studies, writing essays, and writing to pen pals. They are challenged with multi-step problem-solving, fractions, decimals, long division, and more in math! In science, they learn about waves, energy, vision, and light with our hands-on curriculum. Another science highlight of this year is studying earth science and recreating the rock cycle with starburst candy.
Fourth grade is also an inspiring year for music. Every year, our fourth-grade class learns to play the recorder and participates in Songfest- a tradition of singing and performing with all of the fourth grades in the Diocese!
In religion, our students explore the lives of the Saints, use their student bibles regularly, and focus on drawing closer to God through a deeper understanding of the Mass.
Our fourth graders also learn about leading by example as they take their Kindergarten buddies to Mass weekly. They also have the honor of periodically leading our school Masses through reading scripture and taking on other active roles at Mass.
Mrs. Alissa Mullally