St. John Berchmans

First Grade

Welcome to our First Grade Classroom Website! Here you will find pictures and details about our learning and growth. Thanks for stopping by!

Ms. Faucher

Beginning of March

We started out the month of March with a focus on cause and effect. The First Graders learned that the cause is WHY something happened and the effect is WHAT happened. After working together to identify examples of cause and effect, students were paired with a partner to sort and match new examples.

We also had the March Mad Minutes Kick Off Party! We read the book Green Eggs and Ham and decorated hats to wear with our green, orange, and white outfits. What a fun way to celebrate Dr. Seuss and our love of reading!

We also attended a Pep Rally for the SJB basketball teams. The First Graders made signs and had a wonderful time cheering for all of the players. Stay tuned for more fun to come this month!


The First Graders spent most of February learning about measurement. We learned about length, height, and weight. We practiced using a scale and also created a list of things that are heavier or lighter than us. Students were then able to work independently and think of some of their own examples.

We had a combined celebration of Valentine's Day and Mardi Gras, and the First Graders had a blast at the party! We ate mini King Cake donuts, decorated bags to hold our valentines, played a fun dice game with conversation hearts, and listened to a sweet story.

Crazy to think that February is almost over. Looking forward to Spring weather and more learning and fun in Room 123 in the next month!

Catholic Schools Week

During Catholic Schools Week we had the chance to celebrate all the wonderful things about Catholic education. We kicked off the week with our school's Science Fair, where the First Graders were able to show off their creative and impressive habitat displays, along with the research they had completed. They made me so proud, and did an amazing job presenting their habitats to their classmates.

On Monday, the theme of the day was LEARN. Our class submitted questions for the teachers vs. 8th grade jeopardy game. The First Graders had a blast watching!

On Tuesday, the theme of the day was SERVE. The First Graders and their Faith Partners were in charge of dividing up and organizing every single blessing bag supply that was donated to the school. I saw so much teamwork from each set of Faith Partners, and the large task was completed in no time! After they were finished, each child was able to fill their own blessing bag with supplies and write a card to someone in need to place in the bag. This is always one of my favorite days, as the students are so happy and excited to make a bag for someone who needs some extra blessings in their life.

On Wednesday, the theme of the day was LEAD. We thought of things we have learned so far this year in First Grade, and wrote them down to create a fun door decoration. Later on that night, parents and students could come to visit our classroom after the Spaghetti Dinner to see what we wrote and learn a bit more about First Grade!

On Thursday, the theme of the day was SUCCEED. We celebrated 100 DAYS OF SCHOOL. The First Graders made 100th Day crowns, created 100th day trail mix, and predicted whether or not they could get to the center of a tootsie roll pop in 100 licks or less. The First Graders thought this experiment was pretty "sweet" :).

On Friday, the theme of the day was SPIRIT. We wore our green and white, celebrated Catholic Schools Week with a pizza lunch, and watched the teachers vs. 8th grade basketball game! What a fantastic week it was celebrating how lucky we are to attend a Catholic school. We love SJB!


In January the students were able to say goodbye and thank you to Ms. Miecia, whose service to St. John Berchmans will never be forgotten! Ms. Miecia even stopped by with a special treat for all of the First Graders- it was such a sweet surprise!

We also started out the new year by focusing on a new comprehension strategy, identifying the author's purpose. The First Graders learned about the three reasons an author writes a book, or P.I.E: persuade, inform, and entertain. To gain some practice with this, the class worked in groups to sort a variety of books into their appropriate categories. They showed off their learning even more when they completed a sorting activity independently.


December flew by in Room 123!

We started off the month by meeting our special visitor from the North Pole, Chippy. He was a silly elf, and we found him in a candy jar, on top of the promethean board, and even in our math cubes bin!

The First Graders had so much fun writing in their Diary of an Elf journal, in which they were able to describe and illustrate their own picture of each place Chippy landed back on each day when he returned from visiting Santa.

The First Graders worked very hard to prepare for the school Christmas Concert. They sang their hearts out and did such a fantastic job.

Before Christmas break we had a Polar Express Day! We were able to come to school in our pajamas while we read the story, talked about the what we would ask for if we received the first gift of Christmas, and worked on Polar Express themed centers. We ended the day watching the movie with the Second and Third Graders, complete with popcorn, hot chocolate, and candy canes.

Thanksgiving Feast and Faith Partners

The First Graders have been learning about the first Thanksgiving in Social Studies for the past few weeks. To celebrate and act out what they have learned, we decided to have a Thanksgiving Feast with the Second and Third Graders. Everyone had so much fun, and we are so grateful for all of the parents who coordinated the event, prepared dishes, set up, served the food, and cleaned up. It was a wonderful day and a fantastic way to wrap up our Long Ago and Today unit!

We also had the opportunity to meet up with our Faith Partners before the break. We had a "morning meeting" with them to get to know one another a little bit better, and we greeted one another and shared our favorite food to eat on Thanksgiving. Afterward, we wrote what we are thankful for with the help of the Seventh and Eighth Graders. It was so much fun, and we are looking forward to our upcoming Faith Partner Fun Day when we get to see them again!

Beginning of November

The First Graders had a busy start to November!

It started with a visit from Father Wayne. The students absolutely love asking him questions about himself and the church and discussing what they have been learning in religion.

We also read some wonderful Thanksgiving stories. One of our favorites was Turkey Trouble, a story about a turkey who disguised himself as different farm animals in order to save himself from being eaten on Thanksgiving! We worked together to determine what happened at the beginning, middle, and end of the story and then the First Graders had the opportunity to record these parts along with adding their own illustrations.

We also completed a turkey directed drawing and used watercolors to paint it. After, we brainstormed ideas to create a list of people and things we are thankful for, and completed a writing exercise on thankfulness.

Every morning we have our morning meeting time, and the First Graders enjoy using our new digital calendar to practice counting skills, days of the week and months of the year, place value, and fact families.

This month is already off to a great start! The First Graders are looking forward to their Thanksgiving feast and time with their Faith Partners. Stay tuned for more pictures and updates!

Field Trip

Last week the First, Second, and Third Graders visited the Emily Oaks Nature Center in Skokie. The First Graders were taken on a nature walk to explore and use their senses to allow them to discover new things. We rubbed items in nature with a special solution to smell them and matched colors of sticks and leaves using special "rainbow chips". We also played a fun guessing game with a partner using our sense of touch and learned how to listen carefully in the forest for a variety of sounds. Thanks again to our fantastic chaperones for making the field trip a success!

End of October

The First Graders ended October with a pumpkin investigation. We read the book How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? and each student was able to peek inside of a pumpkin during science, feel the insides, and take a handful of seeds to count.

Halloween was a success! The First Graders had so much fun at Halloween Fest, and were also treated to a fun party in the afternoon where they played Halloween bingo, read a pumpkin story, made Halloween trail mix, and created their own haunted houses. Thank you to our room parents for setting up and creating activities for the party!

With conferences coming up shortly after Halloween, the class thought it would be a fun idea to make our own version of "self portraits" to place at desks so it would feel like the students were in the classroom during their conference. The First Graders absolutely loved taking their time to create themselves and truly made it feel like school was in session during Parent Teacher Conferences.

It is crazy to think that November has already started, but we have so many wonderful learning activities ahead of us as we prepare for Thanksgiving. Looking forward to a great month!

Fall in First Grade

The First Graders are working hard and learning a lot this month!

We are learning new reading comprehension strategies to help us grow into stronger readers. The First Graders started out the month by making inferences. This is when they use their schema (what they already know) along with what they read in the text to "read in between the lines" and figure out what the author is really saying. We practiced this by taking a peek into my bag and making observations about several items. Students were able to make inferences about why I had these items in my bag, and also got to know a little bit more about their teacher in the process!

In our math class everyday, we use hands on activities and interactive lessons to allow students to gain a greater understanding of mathematical concepts. This includes using manipulatives, practicing our fluency, and working on our number sense. We also work with our math partners to practice the skill we have learned that day and show what we know by playing a fun game together.

In science we have been focusing on pumpkins! The First Graders worked on understanding the various parts of a pumpkin and the life cycle of a pumpkin. We will also be taking a peek on the inside of a real pumpkin to allow our science lessons to come to life!

Earlier this month we were treated to a visit from a real Chicago firefighter! Students were able to hear about the everyday tasks of a firefighter, learn more about fire safety, see what items they wear on the job, and ask questions.

Father Wayne came to visit us for a religion lesson. The First Graders were able to say a prayer with him, discuss what they have learned in religion, and ask him questions. They loved the visit and are already looking forward to when he comes back next month!

Stay tuned for more updates in Room 123. Have a great week!

We have been doing a lot since the start of First Grade! Here is recap of the past five weeks of school:

Classroom Community: It is incredibly important to me to create a safe, happy, and welcoming classroom environment for each and every child. Every day we have a morning meeting to build trust and acceptance and learn more about our peers while incorporating learning through the use of our calendar. We started out the year talking about the idea of kindness and bucket-filling. We focused on the idea of "sprinkling" kindness and created our own kindness donuts. We also read the story Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler and brainstormed acts of kindness that we could complete at school and at home.

Reading and Language Arts: We started the year with building up our reading stamina and developing our reading muscles, along with practicing our reading with a partner. We also began our Storytown reading lessons, and the First Graders took their very first spelling test! They have been doing a fantastic job understanding our new spelling patterns each week, which in turn will help them develop into stronger readers. In First Grade, we are working on different comprehension strategies that allow us to gain a greater understanding of stories. So far, we have worked on making predictions, identifying the characters and setting, and beginning, middle, and end.

Math: In our Firstiemath program, we started off with a focus on the numbers 0 through 10. We worked with ten frames, and found all of the combinations of parts that make up a whole number. We have moved onto addition of numbers 0-10, and the First Graders are having a blast collaborating with their math partners and participating on fun games to practice new math skills.

Religion: We began the year working on prayers and learning about all of God's creations. We also had the opportunity to meet with our Faith Partners and create a prayer book together on our "Faith Partner Fun Day".

Science/Social Studies: Throughout the year we will be switching between social studies and science each week. For our first unit of science, we learned about the parts of an apple and the stages of an apple's life cycle. In social studies we have learned about communities, schools, and family customs.

Stay tuned for more updates about the happenings in Room 123. Looking forward to a great year!

Ms. Faucher