Curriculum Overview: Les Programmes
FASTB develops globally literate, multicultural lifelong learners through a unique academic program that is rigorous and challenging, adhering to both traditional American and official French curricula. In all grades, there is an emphasis on critical-thinking skills and problem-solving. In addition, FASTB is a candidate school for the PYP The Primary Years Programme. This school is pursuing authorization as an IB World School. IB World Schools share a common philosophy- a commitment to high-quality, challenging, international education- that we believe is important for our students.
Learning Cycles / Les 3 Cycles d'apprentissage
Cycle 1: La Maternelle - Early Childhood-EC3-EC4 and Kindergarten
Cycle 2: Grades 1, 2, and 3 (CP, CE1, CE2)
Cycle 3: Grades 4 and 5 (CM1, CM2)
The French American School of Tampa Bay follows “Les Programmes” of the French Ministry of Education. The French curriculum offers a seamless experience from early childhood through the primary years. Each concept and experience introduced early on is directly and purposefully connected to the next, providing a non-fragmented experience suitable for all learning styles. This grouping of grades into cycles provides the adaptability necessary to meet the needs of each child’s abilities, recognizing that learning occurs uniquely for every child. The four learning Cycles enable all learners to be appropriately challenged and Cycles help teachers evaluate each student’s progress. Students work on concepts throughout the entire cycle and have that full period to master them. Grouping multiple years into each cycle offers the opportunity to revisit ideas and reinforce learning, focusing on the individual’s path rather than grade-level norms. As is common in France, some classes include combined or split grades. The class organization each year is determined by enrollment and the best interest of all students involved.
CYCLE 1: Petite EC3, Moyenne EC4 & Grande Sections K
For many students, La Maternelle is their first exposure to a second language. Our early childhood and kindergarten students benefit from plenty of outdoor recreation space and a full-day program. La Maternelle stimulates curiosity, promotes creative thinking, and develops social skills in a caring and nurturing environment. Language acquisition is at the heart of the Early Childhood program and is an integral part of all academic, motor, social, and artistic activities. The curriculum is taught in total French immersion to establish a strong language base.
Excursions / Field Trips
The Maternelle classes go on several field trips throughout the school year. These optional trips play an essential part in the learning process. Typical excursions include outdoor learning experiences at Fort de Soto and nature walks. Parents are welcome to help chaperone these trips.
Grading System and Report Cards
A progress report is sent each trimester (November, March, and May) in Early Childhood and Kindergarten, reflecting a student’s progress in language development, mathematics skills, motor coordination, and social development. There is also a section for written comments. Students are not graded but rather shown as having acquired a skill, in the process of acquiring the skill, or not yet ready to acquire the skill. The list of skills acquired in Cycle 1 is compiled in a portfolio called CSA- Carnet de Suivi des Apprentissages which follows the child through the entire cycle. When a skill is acquired, it is entered into the carnet, color-coded for each year. Communication with parents occurs throughout the year during parent/teacher conference days, at Back-to-School Meetings, daily using Seesaw, and with the teachers during the year.
The library contains an increasing number of French and English books and periodicals as well as audio-visual equipment. Our library includes books suggested by the French Ministry of Education. Each student can visit the library and borrow books.
Virtual Art Museum- Artsonia
The library contains an increasing number of French and English books and periodicals as well as audio-visual equipment. Our library includes books suggested by the French Ministry of Education. Each student can visit the library and borrow books. Artwork is shared with friends and family through an online art museum at www.artsonia.com and at the yearly art walk: Le Musée des Beaux-Arts
CYCLE 1: Petite EC3, Moyenne EC4 & Grande Sections K
Cycle 1 places emphasis on socialization and the development of language skills. La Maternelle is the children’s first opportunity at real social integration. The program helps them forge relationships with other children as well as with adults. In the process, they establish independent identities and gain autonomy. Additional emphasis on the development of fine and gross motor skills is prevalent. In cycle 1, varied experiences lay the foundation for future learning in a warm and caring environment. This period prepares the children for the subsequent Cycles of elementary school. They learn how to listen, be responsible for their actions, follow simple rules, share and take turns. They are immersed in the French language and develop their vocabulary and expression through songs, poems, stories, and games. Learning centers and physical activities allow them to develop fine and gross motor skills.
La Maternelle uses a play-based approach to focus on five distinct areas:
● Acquiring Language and Discovering Writing
● Moving and Communicating with One’s Body
● Discovering the World - Becoming a student
● Building First Tools to Structure One's Thinking
● Perceiving, Feeling, Imagining, and Creating
La Maternelle uses a variety of methods and hands-on activities. Teachers apply the best elements of many approaches in teaching the French curriculum, including independent Montessori-inspired activities and the Reggio Emilia philosophy that guides children to take an active role in their learning and express themselves however they feel they can.
Petite Section: EC3
Experiences expanding the basic language and literacy skills learned in the Petite and Moyenne Sections help form the basis for developing reading and writing skills and expanding oral language in kindergarten. To help construct their knowledge, subject-area material is broadened, and classroom materials become more complex. Teachers provide interactive instructional and play activities to promote social/emotional growth and fine/gross motor development.
Children in the Petite Section learn in an environment that fosters exploration, language, and play. They are guided and encouraged to freely explore various multisensory and multimedia materials and participate in a wide array of interactive experiences. A variety of activities occur in small-group, whole-class, and independent settings, promoting play, construction of knowledge, and creativity. These activities include building, painting, using Playdough, drawing, working with manipulatives, playing outside, using gym equipment, exploring nature, cooking, dancing, singing, playing imaginatively, playing rhyming games, and listening to stories read aloud. Oral language skills are underscored throughout the curriculum and integrated within the thematic contexts of science, social studies, art, movement, and music.
Developing strong pre-reading skills is also an important goal of kindergarten. Children build upon phonemic (sounds) awareness skills and progress to more advanced phonetic skills (letter-sound relationships), learn to identify letters with their corresponding sounds, and apply that knowledge to identify printed words. They are exposed to rhymes, songs, poems, narrative stories, and informational texts. Concepts of print, receptive and expressive vocabulary, listening comprehension, oral language, and motivation to read are developed and expanded upon in the beginning-reading process.
Moyenne Section: EC4
As part of the developmental learning continuum, children in Moyenne Section continue to develop the language, motor, and social skills introduced in the Petite Section and strengthen those established. They begin to articulate in sentences, strengthen recognition of sound patterns, identify some letters, make sound-letter matches, and develop print concepts. Students participate in class discussions, begin to understand key elements in a story, and expand and enrich their vocabulary. A more significant amount of subject-matter material is introduced. They build the foundations for learning to read and write successfully and the interpersonal skills needed to communicate and cooperate with others.
Grande Section: Kindergarten
Kindergarten (Les Grands) concludes the Early Childhood Program. The curriculum focuses on pre-reading and writing skills, and mathematical readiness. Students develop their language skills further as they start to “write” stories and learn letter and sound recognition. Kindergartners increase self-discipline, attention span, and listening skills to prepare for elementary school—science, art, music, theater, and physical education complete the curriculum.
Learning to Work Together
Our primary objective is to teach children how to interact and facilitate the discovery of social interaction norms. They assume responsibilities according to their capabilities, account for their actions, and listen to others. They develop language skills to better exchange ideas and feelings. A wide variety of experiences helps students construct the knowledge to prepare them for more systematic learning in Cycles 2 and 3. Kindergarten is a necessary period of transition. Children meet the Cycle 1 goals, and the precepts of Cycle 2 are introduced to students ready for the fundamental concepts specific to the first and second grades.
Students engage in spontaneous verbal exchanges and express themselves in multiple situations, such as dialogue, story, explanation, justification, and summary. Teacher’s prompt and encourage them to provide oral accounts of their experiences. By interacting with the children, teachers encourage them to progress and apply new language constructions. Students improve enunciation, use vocabulary appropriate to purpose, and progressively learn a complex syntax structure through language games.
Exploration of Written Language
Children enter the world of reading and writing through four key areas: phonology, alphabetic principle, pre-writing skills, and writing. They learn to recognize elements of handwriting in the surrounding environment and practice tracing them while creating art.
Physical activities enable harmonious motor skills and intellectual and emotional development. Action and language are vital components in development as children explore the space around them. Gradually, they move from handling familiar situations and learn to adapt to their expanding environment. Over time, activities gravitate toward the discovery of self, others, and the surrounding environment.
Discovery of the World
Children discover the world immediately around them, both natural and human-made. They explore materials: how to use, make and manipulate them. They construct knowledge through observation or manipulation and verbalize and offer critical judgments based on their experiments. Oral expression is a significant component in discovering the worlds of science, mathematics, and the world around them.
Sensitivity, Imagination, Creation
In Cycle 1, children develop their sensitivities, imagination, and ability to create. The main goal is to encourage children to discover the arts and react to them emotionally. Through varied exposure to works of art, children expand their imagination and learn to express their feelings. Children take pleasure in building and inventing, and exchanging ideas, feelings, and impressions. Our In-School Music Together Program supports children in achieving basic music competence - the ability to “speak” music’s language. The pleasure of singing, dancing, moving, and playing instruments engages children and instills a love of and desire to create music.
FRENCH STUDIES, ENGLISH STUDIES, AND THE BILINGUAL CURRICULUM
The curriculum taught in French is mandated by the French Ministry of Education, with some contextual adaptations. The school develops the English curriculum following the best practices of American independent schools. The harmonization of the French and American curricula provides for an ideal bilingual learning experience.
To solidify their reading-acquisition skills, the two sound systems are kept separate. Reading is taught in French first. Then, building on the phonetics taught in kindergarten and the reading skills initiated in French, children begin formal English reading instruction in the second-grade year. There are several English levels, including the non-Native ELL (English Language Learners). The curriculum is adapted to best suit individual needs. Within the class, students are divided into small groups based on their reading level, thereby creating an ideal and natural learning environment for reading skills to develop. We offer an ELL program for children who have no prior English language skills, whereby students can enter FASTB and learn the English language and follow the English curriculum as soon as possible according to individual progress.
History and Geography Sciences
Music (chorus, theory, history)
Math and Sciences projects
Excursions / Field Trips
Each class goes on several field trips a year. While these trips are optional, they enhance the curriculum and are an important part of the learning process. Typical trips include visits to museums, historical sites, concerts, and theater programs. In addition, students enjoy biking trips at Fort de Soto and marine science exploration at the beach and aquarium in the fall and spring. In addition, FASTB takes advantage of the numerous opportunities for exploring art museums, local artists, and visiting urban farms.
Grading System and Report Cards
Families receive a progress report three times a year. These trimester reports show the level of competence achieved in each subject area. The report card also contains the teacher’s written observations. In addition, parent/teacher conferences are held in November and March and upon request in June.
The school library contains an increasing number of French and English books, periodicals, and audio-visual equipment. Each student has the opportunity to visit the library and become familiar with its materials and services. Elementary students have regularly scheduled visits to the library. In addition, our library contains books recommended by The French Ministry of Education.
FASTB offers academic support when a teacher sees that a student’s progress in school is not continuing. We have trained reading specialists who can provide individual reading support if necessary. When we have a concern and believe a child might require special services beyond what we can offer, we seek additional support. We hold meetings that may include the child’s parents, teachers, child psychologist, members of the administration, speech therapists, and anyone else working directly with the child. The team develops an action plan with strategies to support the student. If further academic psychosocial evaluation or therapy is necessary, a referral for outside services is made. Outside therapists and learning specialists who work with students will be invited to these meetings.
At FASTB, Technology use is intentionally limited. We are a screen-free school through grade 1, with only occasional computer use introduced in upper elementary grades. As a language immersion school, our focus is on person-to-person communication.
Virtual Art Museum- Artsonia
Artwork is shared with friends and family through an online art museum at www.artsonia.com and displays at school.
CYCLE 2: GRADES 1, 2, and 3 (CP, CE1, CE2)
Cycle 2 is the cycle of Fundamental Learning, when all learning is an inquiry into the world. Cycle 2 builds upon the child’s natural curiosity fostered and instilled in Cycle 1, and those early experiences shape this next phase of learning. Language skills are a priority and, in particular, the acquisition of the French language. During these years, the student builds their elementary knowledge, including speaking, reading, writing, and counting. Following the French program and continuing from the material covered in Kindergarten, a student’s written, and oral language acquisition becomes natural in the first and second grades. In cycle 2, students begin to read and write in both languages, with skills progressively building in each subsequent grade. This learning cycle teaches children essential reading and writing skills through a phonics-based approach, and upon completing this cycle, children can communicate in both French and English. Reading strategies, skills, acquired knowledge, and new concepts transfer naturally from one language to another. Students enrich their vocabulary and sentence structure and start to apply simple grammatical rules. At this stage, the pre-writing “graphisme” activities that filled the children's cahiers and inspired their artwork in Cycle 1 now take on a new purpose – moving from practiced gestures to writing beautiful cursive letters. What were once lines, humps, loops, and zig-zags are now deliberate and purposeful writing. Moving from “graphisme” in Cycle 1 to handwriting in Cycle 2 is just one example of the continuum from one cycle to the next, demonstrating the French curriculum’s forethought and purpose.
Mathematics skills also are introduced and reinforced in these grades. Using a hands-on approach in mathematics, they learn numeration, simple geometry, how to solve word problems, and the metric system. In addition, teachers encourage developing mathematical practices and students’ confidence, flexibility, and fluency in their mathematical thinking.
In Cycle 2, the students discover the world around them and explore time and space notions as they learn the first elements of time periods, back to the time of the student's grandparents. Their knowledge of the world expands through science and civics. In science, the themes covered are living things and the life cycle, the human body (bones and muscles), nutrition, seeds and plants; air, water, and the three states of matter; technology, time, and space. Teachers utilize a video projector, and students become familiar with the technology available and learn how to research information.
Creativity is an integral part of any child’s development. Arts education is a powerful tool for learning. The visual arts, music, and theatre are vital components of our curriculum that develop sensitivity and creativity. We believe physical exercise is an essential component of a child’s education. Physical activity helps children develop gross motor skills through familiarity with a wide range of sports, games, and movements such as yoga and dance. These activities build essential social skills like teamwork, cooperation, and healthy competition while allowing students to release energy to focus and learn better in the classroom. Cycle 2 students learn to take responsibility for their actions and work cooperatively, and they participate in establishing classroom rules. They adopt good study habits and understand the importance of treating everyone with kindness and respect.
In cycle 2, the ART curriculum is developed along with three themes:
Art from around the world: Children are inspired by art worldwide and reinvest the themes discovered into their own creative works representing the world around them.
The expression of emotions: At this age, the child focuses on productions based on personal experiences, fears, dreams, memories, emotions and takes pleasure in inventing imaginary forms, universes, languages. The challenge is to encourage the child to experiment with the effects of colors, materials, supports, etc., going so far as to detach from the mere imitation of the visible world.
Narration and testimony through images: Children often tell stories, invent worlds for themselves and tell them through their productions. Gradually, the child becomes aware of the importance of keeping them to tell and bear witness to situations experienced alone or with peers.
GRADE 1 CURRICULUM - (CP)
Reading and Writing
In first grade, students first learn to read in French. Building on the graphic skills developed in Cycle 1, writing skills are taught in conjunction with the reading program. Writing, language skills, and oral expression are integrated as the basis of this cycle. Areas of study reinforce one another, and class projects are often assigned to support the acquisition of these skills.
First-grade reading emphasizes learning and reinforcing letter-sound relationships and developing comprehension skills, reading fluency, and vocabulary acquisition. A phonics-based reading series is used for reading instruction, supported by plays, poetry, and guided reading stories. Oral skills develop through participation in class discussions and conversations, including group story-writing, games, reciting poems, and retelling stories.
Instruction in first grade includes both modeling and shared writing and individual practice in the fundamentals of written conventions. The value of the presentation of work and the use of expressive skills are introduced. Students share in collaborative writing exercises and write brief descriptive sentences. They are encouraged to write freely in response to literature and class discussions. Elementary editing of grammar and punctuation tools are introduced. Handwriting evolves from the “graphisme” gestures practiced in Cycle 1 into cursive writing.
Discovering the World
First-grade social studies focus mainly on learning about the immediate world in which the students live. They learn about time and the calendar and how time passes through generations. Topics include family, mapping skills, and current events.
In Cycle 2, the students consolidate their knowledge of numbers and develop their aptitude for arithmetical procedures: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and the concept of division using manipulatives to separate into groups. Performing mental operations and problem-solving are also emphasized. Understanding and applying the fundamental notions of measurement, including comparing the metric and American systems.
In sciences, students participate in hands-on experiences, experiments, and field visits. Topics of study include ecosystems and recycling, animal habitats and migration, nutrition and the food pyramid, life cycles, forces and motion, and the human body and nutrition. Students classify animals as egg-laying or having offspring through live birth. Students identify the life cycle stages of plants and animals. They observe the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly and study plant life from seed germination through growth and learn what plants require to reach maturity.
In first grade, the essential theme is applying the elements of handwriting in art. Projects that incorporate the gestures of handwriting are inspired by artists’ works. Color and design are emphasized by using basic techniques and the acquisition of art terms. 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 develop to build self-esteem and creativity. All students contribute to the annual art show.
First-grade students learn about sound and how we are surrounded by different sounds and music. They learn to make a variety of sounds. They practice how to keep a steady beat and execute simple rhythmic patterns on a percussion instrument. In chorus, they focus on developing good pitch and breathing skills in chorus class. Many students begin to take Suzuki lessons in either piano, violin, classical guitar, or cello.
In first grade, the emphasis is on developing one’s personal best and individual skill development. Fitness through participation in organized team games, cooperative activities, gymnastics, yoga and dance are encouraged. Specific attention is given to proper throwing, catching, and kicking patterns. Sportsmanship and fair play are modeled and reinforced.
GRADE 2 CURRICULUM (CE1)
In second grade, students begin participating in reading activities that include both phonics-based materials and trade books. Students read books and materials of various lengths and genres 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, the sequence of events, comparing and contrasting, time, and setting, are introduced and reinforced. Students begin to develop higher-level thinking skills around inferring information and predicting story outcomes.
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. They start organizing related thoughts into short, cohesive paragraphs. Fundamental language conventions such as spelling rules, punctuation, capitalization, and sentence structure are reinforced through consistent application. In English, students are introduced to the three main types of writing: narrative, expository, and persuasive.
The second-grade social studies program familiarizes students with their geographic place in the world. They continue to expand their mapping skills and explore relational geography. Students continue to be exposed to American holidays and customs and the holidays and customs represented in our unique community. Through books, videos, and class discussions, students develop an understanding of themselves and their relationship to the world around them. In English, students are introduced to the concept of culture and how it is impacted by geographic location and local resources, comparing, and contrasting different Native American tribes and their cultures and traditions.
Through observation, manipulation, experimentation, and various resources, second graders are gradually introduced to the scientific method and the importance of controlling variables and keeping records. They study animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats and the impact of their environment. They learn about the three states of matter (solid, liquid, and gas), their physical properties, and how they change. Students build electrical circuits.
In second grade, class projects challenge and further develop motor skills by cutting, gluing, drawing, folding, coloring, etc. Students observe, describe, evaluate and create artwork in the style of a particular artist that also expresses their own creative ideas and feelings. They learn new vocabulary and use new media. Children experience the art-making process by talking about artwork, deciding when an artwork is complete, and becoming familiar with the expressive capabilities of pencils, paints, paper, and modeling materials. They continue to acquire knowledge of new techniques and applications. Students demonstrate understanding and use of material techniques of the art creating process. Prominent artists and their contributions to the art world inspire the students.
Music is taught through various approaches: instrumental, vocal, cultural, and music theory. Second-graders learn about sounds and how they are made. They study melody and learn the families of musical instruments: strings, woodwinds, and percussion and voice how they form various musical groups- orchestra, quartet, band, ensemble, duet...They focus on good pitch and breathing while learning French songs in chorus.
In second grade, activities that build skills, strength, speed, coordination, self-confidence, and self-image form the basis for the students’ games each week. Social and emotional development lessons cover cooperation, problem-solving, team building, fair play, and respect for human differences.
CYCLE 3: GRADES 4 and 5 (CM1 et CM2)
In cycle 3, students continue to broaden their knowledge in all subjects. They reinforce, consolidate, and expand their knowledge gained across the curriculum. They apply a new rigor and exactitude to their studies. They sharpen their French skills through presentations, dictation, literature, and carefully planned projects and lessons. In math, students work on abstract and concrete problem solving, geometry, and organizing data. Art, music, English Language Arts, and physical education continue to play an important role. The concepts learned in Cycle 2 are deepened and nurtured in Cycle 3, leading to full proficiency of the curriculum at the end of elementary school.
In cycle 3, students can listen, express themselves in front of others, and ask questions using specific vocabulary. There is an emphasis on dictation by memorizing and reciting short texts and poems. Reading and writing are integral components of all subjects, and students are honing their French and English skills. Students read age-appropriate and carefully selected literary texts. They learn to identify main elements, analyze details, and form and express opinions. Students engage in both creative writing and research-based, non-fictional writing. Students continue to improve their grammar skills, vocabulary, and spelling to enhance their oral, written, and literary comprehension. They learn to differentiate between types of sentences and identify word functions. Students pay special attention to word agreement, conjugating verbs correctly, and lexical spelling.
In mathematics, students continue to expand on their skills through problem-solving and learning various processes. They work on functions concerning whole numbers, decimals, and fractions. Students can solve problems mentally, on paper, and with the use of a calculator. They learn the principles of geometry and use tools such as a compass to demonstrate and practice these principles. Concepts of measurement such as time, length, and money are studied. Students integrate these mathematical elements to learn how to analyze and organize data.
During the third cycle, students develop the scientific method approach to investigating their environment. Themes include matter and electricity in fourth grade and the human body, energy, and the environment in fifth grade. Students learn more about the natural world around them and the environmental effects people have on it. They learn to distinguish between facts, hypotheses, and opinions. Through observation, questioning, and practice, they strengthen their natural curiosity towards the world around them. Topics covered include matter, water, Earth, sky, energy, living organisms, and the human body. Students use computers and iPads to gather and share information for research-based projects and communication with their correspondents in France.
In history and geography, students learn to identify and describe periods in history. Specifically, they study Prehistoric times, Antiquities, Middle Ages, The French Revolution, and 20th-century historical events. In geography, they explore how people live in different areas, starting on a small local level and expanding globally. They learn about various landscapes, economies, methods of travel, and natural resources.
Arts: The cycle 3 arts program is organized around 3 main themes:
Plastic representation and presentation devices: It is not a question of teaching pupils to represent “well” and strictly according to aesthetic canons or standards, but of continuing the work of exploring the diversity of modes of representation initiated throughout cycle 2. It is also a question of getting the pupils to question themselves on the exhibition and to seek to understand the choices of the artist in the perspective of showing his/her work.
The relationship between object and space: Students learn to question the practices related to the use of objects and materials in art. It invites a more committed reflection on three-dimensional practices (modeling, sculpture, assembly, installation, etc.) as well as on their placement.
Materials of plastic production and sensitivity to the constituents of the work: With this aspect of the program, it is a question of encouraging the students to explore and understand that the materials, the colors, the objects, and all that directly touches the senses of the spectator contribute to the apprehension of the production artistic.
GRADE 4 CURRICULUM (CM1)
Reading The fourths grade reading program incorporates texts of various lengths and genres. 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- aloud, debates, and presentations. In English Language Arts, US history is part of the reading program by incorporating historical fiction trade books.
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, focusing on purpose, construction, and evaluation. Poetry and story writing allow the children to express their ideas creatively. Writing assignments carry over into other areas of academic exploration.
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 studying European exploration, the settlement of North America, colonial life, and the Revolutionary War. In English students engage in a study of the state of Maine and its regions.
In French History and Geography class, the students of grade 4 study prehistory, antiquity, and the Middle Ages using different types of documents. In Geography they first begin by taking a close look at their own environment. Then, they broaden their research to compare the differences in lifestyles in other regions to their own using maps and other tools.
Fourth-grade scientists investigate organisms’ observable characteristics, both plant and animal, to learn how the structures function in growth and survival. Students study plant and animal adaptations and 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.
They learn to formulate a simple hypothesis and test it through experimentation. They study properties of solid and liquid matter, including, for example, comparing and contrasting glass, metal, and minerals.
They study the different types of energy and their source and identify if they are renewable or not. They study the role of living things and their interdependence, such as the notion of the food chain.
In fourth grade, the emphasis is on encouraging students to develop their style while applying new media and techniques. New vocabulary, renowned artists and their work, and definitions of art are part of class discussions. Interdisciplinary projects connect to social studies and science curricula. All students continue to expand their art portfolio and contribute to the annual art show. Students discover characteristics of artworks from different historical periods. They apply a variety of techniques in drawing, as well as other 2 and 3 dimensional media into a historical context.
Music is taught through different approaches: instrumental, vocal, cultural, and music theory. Fourth-grade students learn the notes of the staff and elements of solfege, good pitch, and breathing in chorus. Students learn about music from all over the world, listening to and comparing the array of sounds, melodies, and instruments from the Americas, Australia, Asia, Africa, and Europe.
In fourth grade, the focus is on teamwork, strategy, and skills through a variety of life-long activities that can be enjoyed in each season such as biking, hiking, yoga, and overall fitness.
GRADE 5 CURRICULUM (CM2)
Reading / Writing
The students consolidate their reading skills, strengthening comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency. This cycle aims to establish independent readers with a taste for various literary genres and with well-developed basic research skills. Simultaneously, students develop their writing skills to produce increasingly complex, well-organized, and coherent written text. The fifth-grade reading program uses a literature-based approach. The students read fiction and nonfiction and participate throughout the year, sharing books that utilize multicultural titles. The emphasis is on the 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 develop through consistent class discussion and a variety of classroom presentations.
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 the 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 - 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 become more aware of fundamental human rights. This leads to a better understanding of their social environment rules, including nation, community, family, school, and classroom. In English, students engage in a study of the United States regions.
In Geography (in French), students compare the different ways of life throughout the world. They study the distribution of the world population on each of the continents and the various modes of transportation and communication across the world. Social studies integrate economics, civics, government, culture, and society through 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. Students participate in Black History month and discuss civil rights and social justice. In History, in French, students study Modern Times and the Contemporary Period using a variety of different types of documents to research to better understand our way of life today.
The sciences curriculum covers geology including climate change, rocks, and minerals. Young scientists take to the field to research these topics. 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. In science, the students study the different functions of the human body: digestion, blood circulation, and respiration. They study simple machines, their components, and their functions. They try to invent the machine that fills a need. They study the planet Earth and situate Earth in the solar system and describe the conditions for life on Earth.
By the end of the third cycle, students have developed a mastery of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division using integer numbers. They apply a wide range of mental procedures and can 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 notions of area and perimeter are also introduced during cycle 3.
In fifth grade, the class projects encourage creativity and individuality. They challenge students to use techniques in two- dimensional and three-dimensional art. Using additional equipment and new techniques enhances the challenge of each project. Each student maintains an art portfolio throughout the year. All students contribute to the annual art show, which showcases their development and the creativity of their accomplishments. Students will develop skills using a variety of media, techniques, and emerging technology for personal visual communication.
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 complement the team sports units.
Our school’s vision centers upon the relationship between music education and the immersion process of learning a second language. They are partners in full education. Though the national trend is to reduce this education component, we believe that a strong music art curriculum lays the foundation for strong mathematical and scientific intelligence. All grade levels at The French American School of Tampa Bay are immersed in our Music Arts Program, which includes Music Together, Chorus, and an opportunity for private Suzuki lessons (guitar).
La Chorale: Singing is an artistic activity that awakens children to the world of music and the pleasure of learning in a group. At all levels of schooling, children can join the school Chorus to learn to sing in class, discover a new repertoire, and perform on stage. In addition, they practice how to keep a steady beat and execute simple rhythmic patterns on a percussion instrument. In the chorus, they focus on developing good pitch and breathing skills in chorus class.
- Gain self-confidence;
- Learn to perform in public;
- To develop musical culture and artistic sensitivity through practice.
- Chorus is a collective and unifying activity.
The teachers adjust their repertoire and teaching aids to the level of the students. In kindergarten, children begin by learning nursery rhymes and short songs with simple melodies. They encounter poetry and explore their vocal potential in a fun way. Later, the songs chosen are longer and more melodically rich. Until cycle three, that is, until CM1, the songs proposed are in one voice, more rarely in canon. Thereafter, the students are gradually introduced to the pleasure of singing in several voices.
The concert is an important moment that highlights the work accomplished and gives meaning to the chorus project. In addition, the chorus animates the life of the school throughout the year, for example during the first day of school, the music festival, official ceremonies, or end-of-year festivities. Students can also participate in meetings or festivals where young singers perform in front of each other and discover new repertoires, interpretation, and staging ideas.