First Grade

Meet the Teacher

 My name is Elizabeth Gray. I was born and raised in Berkeley Ca. I attended St Joseph Elementary School and Presentation High School. I graduated from CSUH with a BA in Fine Art with a studio option.

I have four lovely children who also attended catholic elementary and high schools. I am a firm believer that strong catholic values and a solid education are the basis of a happy life.

I have enjoyed working at St. Paul School for eleven years. I have a Clear California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with a CLAD certification. I am constantly engaging in professional development to remain current in the field of education. 

 I enjoy introducing students to the world of books and reading. I believe learning should be fun and engaging.


My name is Maria Elena Mendoza. I am a native of Jalisco, Mexico. I've been married to my wonderful husband, Armando, for 21 years. We have two sons who have graduated from St. Paul School: Miguel Angel in 2006 and Alejandro in 2010. I have been part of St. Paul School since 1997 as a parent when my first son started in Kindergarten. I always enjoyed volunteering with the classrooms, library, hot lunch, field trips, etc. I just love to be at St. Paul's!

When my son Alejandro was in the 3rd grade, I had the privilege of being asked to be part of the wonderful faculty and staff at St. Paul School, working as a teacher assistant. This is a dream come true! I have been working here since 2005 and I am very blessed and proud to be a part of this wonderful school. God bless you all!

First Grade Curriculum



We are using the Open Court “Imagine It” series. This is a fairly new series for us. It includes language arts, grammar and mechanics, spelling, writing and inquiry. It is very comprehensive and will be very challenging for all students. There are 10 units of study and each takes three to five weeks. It will include many cross-curricular activities to keep the students engaged and excited about learning. With the language arts program I have incorporated the use of Mr. Wizard. He keeps the children laughing and enjoying all of our reading time. 


Spelling will be included in our Open Court program. Students will be asked many times during the week to sound out certain words that directly reflect our work with the sound spelling cards. Later in the year I will start having weekly spelling work and tests. You will know this when you receive a spelling packet for homework. Please know that I will be sending high frequency words in flash card form. These are words your child will have to be able to read by sight alone. They will not follow any sound spellings practiced yet. These are words like; the, and, like, this, his, her…


We are using the Walking by Faith text. In first grade we will have God as our main theme. Some of the topics that will be covered are: God’s gifts to Mary, The Holy Trinity, The Holy Family, and us. We will look at how we are invited to be part of the catholic community. Lessons will cover such topics as God as our creator, and God as a human, our own families, and how we show our love for each other. We will look at the ways that God shows His love for us as well as simple ways to answer His call. During the first part of the year we will study Old Testament stories and starting with Christmas we will study stories of Jesus’ life. (New Testament)


Our text is Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley Mathematics. We will be looking at number sense, number relationships, patterns, addition to twelve and subtraction from twelve, graphing, measurement, time and money. In addition to the regular course work I like to use the AIMS and Peaches theme units as they add enrichment. Some of these are Opossum, Penguins and Elephants, Treasure Boxes, and Eggs. These units use literature, math, writing, art and science to bring fun skills and concepts to the students. 

Social Studies

We will be looking at the community around us. Open Court gives us four comprehensive units: Our Neighborhood at Work, Home Sweet Home, North, South, East and West, and Weather.


We will be using D’Nealian handwriting. I will be sending home a paper that shows what each letter is supposed to look like. (When making all lower case letters the pencil is not lifted from the paper except to dot or cross.) Please help your child make the letters “live in their places.”


We use the Discovery Works texts. The units include Living things, Weather and Seasons, Solids liquids and Gases. I will be using the AIMS and Peaches theme units to help enrich the science experiences. I also will be tying them as closely as I can to the Open Court units as some of them fit very nicely together. It may not look like science as some of the concepts are very basic but we will be busy looking at the wonderful world around us.


I will be working in the computer lab to further the student’s knowledge of the computer and its parts. We have a reading program I hope to start using as soon as is possible. It is called Reading Eggs. I will keep you posted as we move forward with this program. In the classroom the use of technology is enhanced with the Elmo and the projector to show power point presentations and video clips to support our learning.  

P. E. /Health

We come dressed for Physical Education. If we have P.E. on a Mass day we will not be allowed to wear P.E. uniforms in church. Be sure to read the family newsletter to know when this applies. P.E. uniforms are blue sweatpants, polo shirts and a blue sweatshirt along with tennis shoes. If you choose not to wear the P.E. uniform you may just wear the everyday uniform.