First grade at St. Thomas is bustling with learning and play. This is accomplished through the utilization of the room as a fun and exciting place for the students to spend their day. There are reading areas with books that are age appropriate and teach genre, author’s purpose and critical thinking. The math center is an extension of the teacher’s daily lessons, using games and activities that are fun and challenging. Writing is taught using daily journal entries that pique the interest and curiosity of the students. Technology is used throughout the day with the use of the Smart board, iPads and computers. We cook, create and communicate with each other in a loving, caring environment. We “travel” to the Arctic, catch leprechauns, sail on the Mayflower, learn about saints and become first time authors and illustrators. First grade is a fun and fabulous year!
Second grade at St. Thomas the Apostle School is an exciting year for our students! Preparation for the sacraments of Penance and First Holy Communion is an integral part of the religion curriculum. In Mathematics, the Core Curriculum Standards are the guideline for what is taught. Students are encouraged to utilize a variety of strategies to solve addition and subtraction problems, count money and tell time. The Core Curriculum Standards are also followed in English Language Arts. Students are encouraged to become independent readers and writers. Learning cursive handwriting is another milestone of our school year.
Third grade is a year of great educational achievement. In Religion, students learn more about the Sacraments, Mary, Saints, and the special feasts and seasons of the Liturgical Year. Multiplication and division, as well as fractions, graphs, measurement and time are all covered in Math. Students enjoy reading chapter books and begin to make the transition from learning to read to reading to learn. Some new skills to be covered include genre, using context clues, and interpreting text. Students are expected to write more in all subjects and to use cursive writing. Students use the writing process to write personal narratives, explanatory, descriptive and persuasive paragraphs, as well as seasonal writing pieces. Using the Lab Learner Science program offers the students a hands on approach to learning about electricity, matter, the solar system, and the human body. Social Studies centers on community and the way people work, play and live together. It is a very busy, but fun year in third grade!
The Fourth Grade is the beginning of a more challenging curriculum: textbooks and subjects challenge students to think deeper, at times go outside the box. Students write more across the curriculum, and see that much of what they learn in each subject dovetails into other subjects. Commandments, Beatitudes, and saints are key parts of the students’ study, and they look for ways that they live these integral parts of our faith. Mass, prayer services, holy songs, focus on Sunday Mass readings…all help students become immersed in the Faith. There is much hands-on learning in Science Lab with Triple Beam Balances, microscopes, circuits, and nutrition. Fractions, multiplication, division, and accompanying word problems assure that students can meet the standards of today. Fourth Grade studies PA history and field trips and projects that tie in with the curriculum to ensure that students enjoy history while learning.
Fifth grade is an important year. It is a bridge to middle school. The students are given much more responsibility. They now have two teachers and change classes. They are beginning to read novels in ELA, and they are writing, writing, and writing! The students are excited to compete in the First in Math challenge each day and work in the hands-on science lab. They are studying the Western Hemisphere in social studies and learning about current events in our world/community. Fifth graders are practicing their Catholic faith in all that we do. They participate in Mass, prayer services, and service projects. They are truly living out their faith in everyday life.