AMERICAN CURRICULUM (20% of the school week)
To best meet the needs of our different student populations, there are two First and Second Grade programs. The first is designed for native English speakers and the other for non-native speakers who have already acquired a good level of English fluency but require targeted instruction to build vocabulary, reinforce grammar mechanics, and develop their oral English. Following this two-year cycle, students are mixed in grades three through five.
Language Arts: Listening, speaking, reading, and writing are at the heart of everything we do. Students have many opportunities to practice these four basic language skills during every session. Spelling, phonics, grammar, and mechanics are taught explicitly. Students write often and assignments vary to allow them to practice organizing their thoughts and working with different genres. Oral reports and presentations help develop speaking and listening skills.
- Second Grade: Reading Workshop as developed by the Reading and Writing Project at Teachers College, Columbia University forms the basis of reading instruction and practice. Through mini-lessons, modeling, and conferring, teachers guide students in developing the strategies they need to be active readers. Emphasis is on dealing with the evolution of reading skills and becoming more independent readers. They become experts at reading nonfiction, build stamina and become fluent. The books get longer, and students read series in book clubs. A fully differentiated program, it allows students to grow as readers at their own pace. A thorough review of all phonics completes the three-year SRA/Open Court Phonics course begun in Kindergarten.
- Second Grade Plus (CE1 Plus): Second Grade Plus (CE1+) builds on the initiation students received in First Grade Plus and places emphasis upon consolidating basic reading skills in a "safe" environment where children are less likely to be intimidated by native speakers and receive one-to-one attention to their oral English needs. They are encouraged to use oral English through retelling of stories, Reader’s Theater, songs, and poems. Their reading workshop lessons are focused on basic comprehension through using images, vocabulary in context, approaching a book, reflecting on what has been read, etc.
The following curriculum features are identical for Second Grade and Second Grade Plus:
Content Area - Prehistory: The year begins with a study of the earth, space and the planets and follows evolution of life through the dinosaurs. Activities, non-fiction texts, songs, games, and poems are used to help second graders explore the units presented. Two short research projects – about a planet and a favorite dinosaur, help students develop basic research skills.
Art: Second graders participate in an art class every other week. The art program's objectives are reinforced through hands-on projects using a variety of techniques. Over the course of five years, the students are introduced to the essential elements that structure the way one creates art, namely: line, shape, form, space, texture, value, and color. Every project includes a combination of these essential “building blocks.” Students work with gradually increasing agility, complexity, and intention, as they mature from grade to grade. Each year, art expectations become more sophisticated as the teachers support each student’s increasing ability to observe the physical world, as well as their ability to better express their feelings and ideas.
Examples of possible projects and lessons include drawing leaves from observation, painting an imaginary seascape, and experimenting with one color.
Library/Technology: First and foremost, the library program strives to instill a love of reading by offering the students access to classics of children’s literature as well as contemporary fiction and non-fiction from leading authors. All students attend library classes every other week when they have an opportunity to browse the collection and check out books and magazines. During the library sessions, Second Grade students listen to stories, learn how the library is organized, and learn to distinguish between fiction and nonfiction books. Our classrooms are equipped with Interactive Smartboards and students have access to 1 to 1 use of iPads. The library team assists the classroom teachers in the implementation of this technology.
Character Education: Six basic human values: respect, responsibility, self-discipline and perseverance, trustworthiness, fairness, and caring are discussed and developed whenever appropriate during the year. The teacher may choose to develop a lesson around one or several of these values.
FRENCH CURRICULUM (80% of the school week)
All students follow the French national curriculum for the Second Grade with the exception of those who are in the French immersion class, Français Special. Besides French reading and language arts, math, gym, and penmanship are taught exclusively in French. For more information on the content and skills developed in French during the year go to the website of the French Ministry of Education.