Elementary School Academics


The curriculum taught in French is mandated by the French Ministry of Education, with some contextual adaptations.

The curriculum taught in English is developed by the school in accordance with the best practices of American independent schools.

Both curricula are harmonized for an ideal bilingual learning experience.

Our students quickly learn that both the English and French curricula overlap, just as subjects are linked. They learn that knowledge is a whole, and become more open-minded and adventurous in their approach to learning.

Curriculum

English Studies

Grade 1

Reading

The emphasis in first grade reading is on learning and reinforcing letter-sound relationships, and on developing comprehension skills, reading fluency, and vocabulary acquisition. A phonics-based reading series is used for reading instruction, supported by plays, poetry, and stories for guided reading. Oral skills are developed through participation in class discussions and conversations, including group story writing, creating plays, reciting poems, and retelling stories.

Writing

Instruction in first grade includes both modeling and shared writing, and individual practice in the fundamentals of written conventions. The value of presentation of work and the use of expressive skills are introduced. Students share in collaborative writing exercises, begin to keep journals, and write brief descriptive sentences. They are encouraged to write freely, in response to literature and class discussion. Elementary editing of grammar and punctuation tools are introduced.

Social Studies

First grade social studies focuses mainly on learning about the immediate world in which the students live, and includes American culture and history. Topics include families, important American holidays and historical figures, mapping skills, and current events.

Science

In science students participate in hands-on experiences, experiments, and field visits. Topics of study in first grade include ecosystems and recycling, animal habitats and migration, nutrition and the food pyramid, life cycles, forces and motion, and the human body. The children explore habitats (the rain forest, the desert, and the polar region), and nutrition.

Art

In first grade the exploration of color and design, through the use of basic techniques and acquisition of art terms, is emphasized. The continued development of fine motor skills and gross motor skills is consistently incorporated into projects and activities. Vocabulary and definitions, art critiques and inclusive class discussions are developed to build self-esteem and creativity. Students begin to maintain an art journal as an opportunity to respond to their own artistic process. Interdisciplinary projects with music are created to contribute to one of the school concerts. All students contribute to the annual art show.


Music

Music is taught in both French and English and is taught through five different approaches: instrumental, vocal, cultural, music theory, and a multi- media project. First grade students learn to keep a steady beat and execute simple rhythmic patterns on a percussion instrument. They focus on developing good pitch and breathing skills while learning both French and American songs. They study Mozart, the instrument families, and learn fundamental concepts of music theory.

Physical Education

In first grade, the emphasis is on developing one’s personal best, as well as individual skill development in movement patterns and ball activities. Fitness through participation in organized team games, cooperative activities, gymnastics and dance are encouraged. Specific attention is given toward proper throwing, catching, and kicking patterns. Sportsmanship and fair play are modeled and reinforced in each class.

Educational Technology

First grade students are introduced to the use of computers, including desktops, Chromebooks and i Pads. Teacher-selected computer programs are used to reinforce language, reading and writing skills. Students used internet-based, password-protected sites to reinforce skills learned in the classroom for homework. In addition they learn how to code using the OSMO program to teach elementary programming. Each student has access to an iPad for use in the classroom every day.

Grade 2

Reading

In second grade students begin participating in reading activities which include both phonics-based materials and trade books. Students read books and materials of various length and genre and content material from other subjects. Phonetic rules, decoding skills, and vocabulary development are emphasized in guided reading groups. Reading comprehension skills, including main idea, detail, sequence of events, time and setting, are introduced and reinforced. Students begin to develop higher level thinking skills around inferring information and predicting story outcomes.

Writing

The second grade writing program focuses on supporting students as they learn that their writing has meaning and can be useful. Students begin to produce thoughtful, complete sentences with correct punctuation and capitalization. The students begin organizing related thoughts into short, cohesive paragraphs. Fundamental language conventions such as spelling rules, punctuation, capitalization, and sentence structure are reinforced through consistent application.

Social Studies

The second grade social studies program focuses on familiarizing the children with their geographic place in the world. They continue to learn mapping skills and explore relational geography. Students continue to be exposed to American holidays and customs, as well the holidays and customs represented in our unique community. Through books, videos, and class discussion, students develop an understanding of themselves, and their relationship to the world around them.

Science

Through observation, manipulation, and experimentation, as well as a variety of resources, second grade scientists are gradually introduced to the scientific method and the importance of controlling variables and keeping records. They explore the interconnected relationship between air and weather. The students study animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats. They learn about the three states of matter (solid, liquid, and gas), their physical properties, and how they change.

Art

In second grade class projects challenge and further develop motor skills. Students learn new vocabulary and use new mediums. They continue to acquire knowledge of new techniques and applications. Major artists are introduced and their contributions to the art world and history are shared with the students. The students use computer technology to add information to their work. The students continue to maintain an art journal throughout the year and participate in the art show in the spring.

Music

Music is taught in both French and English and is taught through five different approaches: instrumental, vocal, cultural, music theory, and a multi- media project. Second grade students learn basic notation and fingerings for the recorder and a percussion instrument. They focus on good pitch and breathing while learning both French and American songs. Second grade musicians are introduced to jazz and continue their study of the instrument families and concepts of music theory.

Physical Education

In second grade activities that build skills, strength, speed, coordination, self-confidence, and self-image form the basis for the games the students play each week. Social and emotional development is addressed through the teaching of concepts such as cooperation, problem solving, team building, fair play, and respect for human differences.

Educational Technology

Students in second grade participate in a 1:1 iPad program which includes coding curriculum and the reinforcement of language skills through spelling and reading comprehension programs. Classroom SMART Boards are used to provide additional online resources for support in content areas.

Grade 3

Reading

In third grade students continue to learn new vocabulary, how to read for detail, and how to read for different purposes. Small group work is emphasized as students learn how to synthesize information, and distinguish between fact and opinion. Students begin to use problem solving skills to understand words and decode text deeply. They identify root words, and learn how prefixes and suffixes change the meaning of base words. They use problem solving skills to make predictions about spelling patterns, which supports their phonics and vocabulary development. Students become independent readers who are able to apply multiple comprehension strategies to different kinds of text.


Writing

In third grade, the emphasis is on internalizing the writing process and developing independence as writers. Students use graphic organizers to develop their ideas. They begin writing drafts of their work and learn how to edit independently for spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Third grade writers practice their skills in several genres, including personal narratives, book reports, the friendly letter, fiction and nonfiction writing, and poetry.

Social Studies

The third grade social studies curriculum focuses map skills, specifically landforms, US geography, and world geography. National holidays, current events, historical figures are discussed and examined. Students learn about Native Americans and how they adapted to the different regions in America.

Science

In third grade hands on experiments and workshops are used to reinforce skills. The scientific method is emphasized to help third grade scientists predict outcomes, use observation, and reach conclusions. Specific topics include magnets, the Solar System and the Earth, and simple machines. Students also learn about the Earth in relation to natural disasters, continental drift, weathering, and erosion.

Art

Class projects begin to include a broader vocabulary of the basic elements of art, encouraging students to develop their own style, and introducing cultural aspects of art that can be applied to project work. Students become further independent in the art studio and participate in interdisciplinary projects that enhance their academic program. All students continue to maintain their art journals and participate in the annual art show.

Music

Music is taught in both French and English and is taught through five different approaches: instrumental, vocal, cultural, music theory, and a multimedia project. Third grade students learn the notes of the staff and elements of solfege, music terminology in both languages, and good pitch and breathing techniques. They are introduced to Bach and Beethoven and continue their study of jazz. Each student creates a percussion instrument of their own, and prepares a presentation on a music hero.

Physical Education

In third grade the emphasis continues to be on the joy of movement and playing games, as well as the continued development of spatial awareness and coordination. Team sports are introduced with a skills based approach and a small games focus. Character education is reinforced throughout the year and especially during our cooperative games unit. Students are encouraged to demonstrate sportsmanship and inclusion during all activities.

Educational Technology

In the third grade students have access to an iPad in their classroom every day. They participate in workshops to learn how to code and use approved online sources to do research. Teacher-selected online resources further support the acquisition of language mechanics and reading comprehension skills. Students are introduced to research skills via multimedia resources and the Internet.

Grade 4

Reading

The fourth grade reading program incorporates texts of various length and genre. Students are taught strategies and skills for reading both fiction and nonfiction. They independently identify main ideas, important details, plot points, sequence and setting, and draw conclusions. Higher order thinking skills such as inference, author’s intent, and character development are stressed. Developing vocabulary, enhancing general language fluency, and reading independently are goals for fourth grade. Students participate in multicultural book clubs with their peers. Oral language skills are further developed and reinforced through read-alouds, debates, and presentations

Writing

In fourth grade, sentence and paragraph structure are broadened with greater attention to organization, detail, audience, and writing mechanics. Writing genres such as expository, persuasive, and descriptive are studied, with special attention to purpose, construction, and evaluation. Poetry and story writing give the children an opportunity to express their ideas creatively. Writing assignments are integrated into all other areas of academic exploration.

Social Studies

The fourth grade curriculum fully integrates the main themes of geography, such as location, human and environmental interaction, human and physical features, and movement, with a study of American history. Economics, civics and government, culture, and society form the foundation for the study of European exploration, the settlement of North America, colonial life, and the Revolutionary War.

Science

Fourth grade scientists investigate of the observable characteristics of organisms, both plant and animal, to learn how the structures function in growth and survival. Students study plant and animal adaptations, as well as the connections between human activity and plant and animal survival. Fourth graders use critical thinking skills to conduct investigations and draw conclusions based upon observation, communication, comparison, and organization.

Art

In fourth grade the emphasis is on encouraging students to develop their own style, while applying new mediums and techniques. New vocabulary, renowned artists and their work, and definitions of art are discussed in class critiques. Interdisciplinary projects in connection to social studies and science curricula are created. Creating art on an iPad is introduced. All students continue to grow their personal art journal and contribute to the annual art show.

Music

Music is taught in both French and English and is taught through five different approaches: instrumental, vocal, cultural, music theory, and a multi- media project. Fourth grade students learn the notes of the staff (expanding the recorder range from low D to high F) and elements of solfege, good pitch and breathing, They are introduced to opera, the Beatles, and contemporary pop music. Each student presents an oral and written report on a famous classical musician or composer.

Physical Education

The focus on team sports continues in fourth grade, as well as the introduction of the racket sport Pickle ball. The focus is on teamwork, strategy, and skills during the team sports units. The Fitnessgram assessment program is introduced. At two different points in the school year, the students perform a series of tests with the goal of measuring their level of fitness against established standards.

Educational Technology

Students in fourth grade have regular access to both a Chromebook and an iPad in their classroom every day. Areas of focus in educational technology include: keyboarding skills, word processing, importing and exporting graphics, learning to use the Internet and web-based tools responsibly, Internet-based research skills, presentation skills, and the use of a local network. Students use Google Classroom as well as educational software and online resources.

Grade 5

Reading

The fifth grade reading program uses a literature-based approach. The students read fiction and nonfiction, and participate in book clubs that utilize multi-cultural titles throughout the year. The emphasis is on continued development of higher level thinking skills. Comprehension skills focus on responding to literature and applying convergent and divergent questioning. Students continue to synthesize and summarize information. Vocabulary skills are further enriched through connections made between individual reading and thematic studies. Oral language skills are developed through consistent class discussion, and a variety of classroom presentations.

Writing

Fifth grade writers are encouraged to use detailed and specific vocabulary, complex ideas, and figurative application of learned literary devices. Students produce more developed and lengthier responses to written and presented material. They become adept in drafting, revising, and publishing a five paragraph essay. The students explore creative and expository writing. Writing pieces are assessed formally and informally through a variety of checklists and rubrics specific to each assignment.

Social Studies

The fifth grade social studies program integrates economics, civics, government, culture, and society to form the foundation for an in-depth study of the historical and geographical elements of the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, the creation of the American government, Westward Expansion, the Industrial Revolution, and the Civil War Era.

Science

The science curriculum is based on investigations around pendulums, life boats, plane sense, and flippers that help students discover relationships through controlled experimentation. Fifth Graders gain experience with the concepts of variables and systems (a set of objects that work together). Through these investigations the Scientific Method is reinforced with students so that they learn to hypothesize, record, and graph information collected from their experiments.

Art

In fifth grade the class projects encourage creativity and individuality. They challenge students to use techniques in two-dimensional and three-dimensional art. Using further equipment and new techniques enhance the challenge of each project. They explore creating art with i Pads and beginning photography. Each student maintains an art journal throughout the year with written and graphic responses to each project conducted in class. All students contribute to the annual art show which showcases their development and the creativity of their accomplishments.

Music

Music is taught in both French and English and is taught through five different approaches: instrumental, vocal, cultural, music theory, and a multi-media project. Fifth grade students learn the notes of the staff (expanding the recorder range from low C to high C) and elements of solfege, good pitch and breathing. They are introduced to several different musical forms including the symphony, as well as periods of music from Renaissance to Modern. They also create the choreography for a musical piece.

Physical Education

In fifth grade students are challenged to increase their knowledge of the rules specific to each sport in order to enhance their basic strategies during play. Cooperative games, and dance are also included to compliment the team sport units. The fifth grade participates in the Fitnessgram assessment twice during the year. Students are encouraged to participate in the intramural sports program during recess and the annual Hoops for Hearts event.

Educational Technology

Educational technology in fifth grade continues to include developing keyboarding skills and learning to use Google Classroom. Every student has regular access to a Chromebook and an iPad. The students use technology to deepen their research and presentation skills, and learn how to best use e-mail with the use of a local network. In addition, they use educational software and online resources to reinforce concepts learned in the classroom.

French Studies

Cycle 2 (Grades 1 & 2)

This is the cycle of Fundamental Learnings, when all learning is an inquiry into to the world. Language skills are a priority and in particular the acquisition of the French language.During these years, the student builds his or her elementary knowledge, including speaking, reading, writing, and counting. Following the French program and continuing from the material covered in Kindergarten, a student’s acquisition of written and oral language becomes natural in the first and second grades. Mathematics skills also are introduced and reinforced in these grades. Technology, through the daily usage of i Pads, smart boards and laptops, is fully integrated into the classrooms work..

Reading and Writing

In Grade 1, students first learn to read in French. Building on the graphic skills developed in Preschool, writing skills are taught in conjunction with the reading program. Writing, language skills, and oral expression are integrated as the basis of this cycle. The areas of study reinforce each other, and class projects, such as journals, are often assigned to support the acquisition of these skills.

Discovering the world

In Cycle 2, the students discover the world around them and begin to explore the notions of time and space as they learn the first elements of history and geography.

Mathematics

In Cycle 2, the students consolidate their knowledge of numbers and develop their aptitude for arithmetical procedures (addition, subtraction, and multiplication). Performing mental operations and problem solving are also emphasized. Understanding and applying the fundamental notions of measurement, including a comparison of the metric and American systems, are areas covered in this cycle as well.

Science

Science is taught either in English or French, depending on the level of the students and on the criteria from the French and the American programs. The themes covered in 1st grade are the human body (bones and muscles) and seeds and plants and in 2nd grade air, water and the three states of matter according to the requirements dictated by the French and American curricula.

Cycle 3 (Grades 3, 4 & 5)

In Cycle 3, students reinforce, consolidate, and expand their knowledge gained across the curriculum. They apply a new rigor and exactitude to their studies.

Reading/Writing

The students consolidate their reading skills, strengthening comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency. The goal for this cycle is to establish independent readers with a taste for a variety of literary genres and with well-developed basic research skills. At the same time, students develop their writing skills in order to produce increasingly complex, well-organized, and coherent written text.

History/Geography

History and geography studies provide students with a thorough knowledge of our world. Students are encouraged to go beyond simplistic cause-and-effect relationships to build a deeper understanding of the world. Reflecting on current events around the world, students are asked to become more aware of fundamental human rights. This leads to a better understanding of the rules of their social environment, including nation, community, family, school, and class

Mathematics

By the end of the third cycle, students have a mastery of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division using integer numbers. They develop a wide range of mental procedures and are able to use the calculator when appropriate. They have a beginning understanding of decimals, fractions, and ratios. During the third cycle, problem solving becomes a central part of the curriculum. In geometry, the French curriculum gives students the basis to follow a geometry course in Middle School. The important notions of area and perimeter are also introduced during Cycle 3.

Science

During the 3rd cycle students develop the scientific method approach to investigating their environment. Science is taught in both French and English. This program fulfills the requirements from both French and American systems. Themes taught include life science in Grade 3, matter and electricity in Grade 4, and the human body/energy and the environment in Grade 5.