1st Grade

In first grade, we have three classrooms with twenty-one students in each class. In first grade, students develop their social and communication skills. We offer rich, developmentally-appropriate activities that provide practice in important academic skills. We are a faith-centered community striving to inspire students to reach their potential.

In the Classroom

First grade at St. Joseph is full of learning and fun!! We believe that we are building the foundation in academic areas and also taking those first few steps towards becoming independent learners!! As you enter the classrooms, you will encounter our children engaged in multiple instructional and hands-on activities…whole group shared reading, literacy centers, small guided reading groups, independent reading, partner reading, computer activities, writing stories and journaling, math centers and games, science investigations, prayer circle and much more!

1st Grade Curriculum


Blest Are We by Silver Burdett Ginn is the religion curriculum we follow. This series introduces students to the Christian community and the Catholic Church. We attend mass on Holy Days and special feast days. Our school is very involved in outreach projects too. This last year we had a bake sale to raise funds for Agros International. We were able to buy goats, rabbits, and chickens for a village. We also collect items for Jubilee Women's Center, food for Northwest Harvest, and raise money for our sister school in Kenya.


The main goal of our reading program is to help students begin to develop into life long readers! Our emphasis is to teach the strategies and tools children need to independently process and understand text. The reading program helps students to advance their decoding skills, increase fluency, build vocabulary, and broaden their comprehension. As a supplement to the textbook, leveled readers, various class books, and big books are used. Children read in a whole group setting, guided reading groups, and with partners and individually. adsas

Houghton Mifflin's award-winning literature, including Big Books, Read Aloud's, and Audio CDs, engages our students with a variety of ways to learn. The collection of fiction and nonfiction leveled books link directly to anthology selections and reinforce key vocabulary while meeting a range of reading abilities.

Language Arts

Our writing program emphasizes the components of the writing process. In first grade, these include the pre-write, draft, edited piece, and published pieces. Students are introduced to various forms of writing including journals, friendly letters, lists, and story writing. To enhance writing, we focus on the writing traits: Conventions, Ideas, and Organization.

Our phonics program helps students master short and long vowel sounds, consonants, blends, endings, digraphs and contractions. Our spelling focus is on the study of high frequency words and common spelling patterns. We also practice developing phonological skills, building words and creating effective word study strategies. In all areas, we consistently practice proper letter formation using the Zaner-Bloser handwriting program.


The first grade math program covers addition, subtraction, place value, measurement, time, money, graphing, patterning and problem solving. We use manipulatives (unifix cubes, pattern blocks, number lines, tiles, etc) to make math concepts concrete. Students have math homework practicing various concepts learned in class.

Social Studies

Students explore real artifacts from Australia. We learn all about the geography, interesting animals, aborigines and compare and contrast the country to the United States of America.


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Incorporating technology in the classroom allows students to actively think about and interact with information as well as supports students in performing authentic learning tasks. In the first grade, the use of Smartboards, document cameras, and classroom computers supplement teacher instruction and enhance engaged student learning.


First graders learn about God’s call to service through participation in both local and global outreach projects. We collect donations for our neighborhood friends at St. Mary’s Food Bank throughout the year and often “adopt a family” for Christmas. On a global level, we raise money for Agros International and our friends in Africa and El Salvador through bake sales and other independent activities.

Field Trips

Field trips are an excellent way to foster higher-level thinking by having children focus on experiential learning opportunities. The year begins with an outdoor adventure at Camp Long in West Seattle where we go on a “Spider Walk” to explore the science of spiders. As a part of our Geology study, we visit the Burke Museum and discover fascinating information about rocks and minerals. Finally, we end the school year by spending a “Day at the Beach” where we enjoy the sunshine and sand! (Note: We generally go on one or two additional field trips each year that vary and are dependent upon the school theme or student interest.)

Elizabeth Chambers

Elizabeth Chambers

Titles: 1A
Juli Rangel

Juli Rangel

Titles: LRC Specialist, Grades 1 & 2
Kathleen Ross, '99

Kathleen Ross, '99

Titles: 1C