First Grade

St. John the Baptist Catholic School’s curriculum is based on the school’s mission, philosophies, and Minnesota Standards.


In first grade, we attend Mass weekly. The focus of Religion (Sadlier We Believe - 2011) in first grade is that God loves us. This love is examined through the main topics of:

  • Jesus teaches us about God’s love
  • We are followers of Jesus
  • We belong to the church
  • We celebrate and live our faith

We also learn about the special times of the Church year, we learn about Saints, and each first grade class plans a Mass.

Language Arts

Our focus in first grade is to encourage and instill a love of reading. Much progress is made by all students as they learn to read and are exposed to phonics, grammar, writing, spelling, and vocabulary. We learn:

  • Phonemic awareness – short and long vowels, phonemes, syllables
  • Phonics – beginning sounds, middle sounds, final sounds, blend phonemes, possessives, concepts of print, contractions
  • Fluency – accuracy, punctuation, intonation, expression, rate
  • Comprehension – summarizing, main idea, inferring/predicting, sequence of events, text and graphic features, story structure, understanding characters, visualization, author’s purpose, drawing conclusions, comparing and contrasting
  • Vocabulary – classification/categorization of words, context clues, multiple-meaning words, ABC order, antonyms, synonyms, homophones, compound words
  • Spelling – spelling and vocabulary words assessed each week
  • Grammar – nouns, verbs, adjectives, pronouns, kinds of sentences
  • Writing – labels, captions, word choice, sentences, poetry, using description, writing personal narratives
  • How to choose and read books at the student’s reading level

Students have a wide variety of experiences in language arts including read alouds, poetry notebooks, Writer’s Workshop, and handwriting practice. We use Houghton Mifflin Journeys (2011) to support our literacy program.


First grade math uses Saxon Math (2008) to build upon the skills learned in kindergarten with hands-on activities, daily in-class practice, and practice at home. First grade skills include an emphasis on calendar skills and addition and subtraction facts.

Other skills taught in first grade include:

  • Counting by 1s, 2, 5s, 10s and 100s, comparing and ordering numbers, estimation
  • Mastering addition and subtraction facts to 18
  • Adding and subtracting two-digit numbers with and without regrouping
  • Identifying and extending patterns, writing and solving number patterns, using comparison symbols
  • Identifying time to the half-hour, days of the week and months of the year
  • Describing 2- and 3- dimensional shapes, identifying symmetry, identifying right and left, and other spatial relationships
  • Using length, weight, area, and capacity
  • Collecting and sorting data using graphs and tally charts, using probability
  • Developing skills for problem solving, classifying and categorizing information


First grade examines the physical, earth, and life science of the world around them using solids and liquids; pebbles, sand and silt; and insects and plants using the FOSS Science System (2012).

Throughout the year we:

  • Identify how scientists investigate the world and become scientists themselves
  • Record data in Science Notebooks as a scientist would.
  • Observe, describe, and compare the properties and behaviors of solids, liquids, rocks, and soils
  • Observe weather by using senses and simple tools.
  • Observe beetles, moths, and butterflies change from larvae to pupae to adult.
  • Observe incomplete and complete metamorphosis.
  • Compare plant and animal life cycles.

Social Studies

In first grade, we learn more about our community and world around us. Houghton Mifflin (2008) is the source used to support our curriculum. We explore:

  • People Everywhere – how families work and learn together, leaders and the rules they make to help people, and about community life
  • Where We live – about the water and land on Earth, weather, natural resources and season, about our country and our neighbors
  • World of Work – the difference between the things people need and want, about goods and services, and different kinds of jobs
  • Everything Changes – the difference between past, present, and future, about American Indians, and Pilgrims, how transportation and communication have changed over time
  • Good Citizens – about local, state, and national governments, the rights and responsibilities of citizens, and heroes and symbols of our country.


Major Focus:

  • Introduction to Computers
    • How to use a mouse
    • How to use scroll bar
    • How to open/close programs
  • Utilizing software that is math and reading focused.