First Grade

Teachers: Giselle Gonzalez, Beata Ciesielska

Hi! I’m Giselle Esther Gonzàlez Vendrell. I am from San Juàn, Puerto Rico. I started out my life as a college student wanting to be a vet. I have a Bachelor of Science degree but after graduation, I got interested in education. I completed my Masters Degree in Education at UMASS Amherst, and I have been teaching for almost 14 years now! I taught at Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School in Springfield for 6 years. I am completing my 8th year here at Pelham Elementary as a 1st grade teacher. 

I love being a first grade teacher! At this age, kids LOVE to learn! They like to ask questions and share everything they know. I like to integrate science into everything as much as possible.  You will always find a class pet in our classroom each year. We’ve had guinea pigs, rabbits, bearded dragons, and crayfish as pets. As part of our science units, we learn about Monarchs and Embryology. That means that you will find Monarch caterpillars in the fall, and chicken eggs incubating in the spring!  We also learn about Air and Weather throughout the year, and we also enjoy learning about Light and Sound Waves throughout a very hands-on unit. 

If you come into the first grade you will see a lot of bright colors, kids smiling, moving and having fun as they learn. I strongly believe in students having as many physical breaks as possible. That’s why we have a lot of different recess times but we also get the work done! You will also see students working, sitting at a table, sitting on the rug, and using different kinds of chairs.  Our classroom has flexible seating, students enjoy taking turns using different seating as they need.