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1st-3rd Grade

Cycle 2: First – Third Grade


In Cycle 2 students continue the learning process of reading and writing in French. Oral language activities such as asking questions, describing, explaining and sharing information are also emphasized.

For math, students learn four main subject areas: numbers and arithmetic, geometry, size and measurement, and organization of data. Science, history, and geography open the children’s minds to the world and help to build a culture common for all students. Art and physical education have an important role in fostering expression, creativity, and collaboration.


There are eight areas of instruction in Cycle 2. Each area is critical to the development of the student and plays an important role in daily school life:

1. Reading, Writing, Language Skills
In Cycle 2, the students build on the reading and writing skills they acquired in Cycle 1. Phonic skills are improved and reinforced by reading varied texts for longer periods of time. Exposure to a wide variety of children’s literature fosters a love of books and the habit of reading for pleasure.

To refine writing skills students progress to constructing more complex sentences. They learn to break down a sentence by identifying a subject and a verb. Attention is paid to organizing a sentence correctly so that students can gradually write paragraphs with careful focus on vocabulary selection and spelling. Conjugation instruction begins in 1st grade and is covered more in-depth in the 2nd.

As children learn to read and write they practice their oral skills in the context of reciting rhymes, texts in prose, and poems from memory with the appropriate rhythm and intonation. Repetition reinforces their vocabulary. Students are also taught how to address others properly with respect to the formal and informal. Students verbally exchange ideas in small groups.

The English curriculum incorporates a variety of children’s literature including fiction, non-fiction, and chapter books. Students use Writer’s Workshop time for creative writing and going through the writing process of rough drafts, editing, and final drafts. They learn phonics, rules of grammar, punctuation, and comprehension strategies. They learn songs that reinforce social skills and American songs including “The Star Spangled Banner”. For homework, students have weekly spelling words, dictation sentences, and a creative writing assignment. In first grade there are four and a half hours of English instruction each week and six hours of English instruction starting in second grade.

2. Math
Children strive for proficiency in arithmetic in this cycle. They learn techniques for addition and subtraction, how to multiply and how to solve problems using these operations. Students also build on the basic geometry skills introduced in Cycle 1. They learn how to plot complex shapes on a grid, to recognize and describe planes and solids, and to use instruments and techniques to reproduce figures. The associated vocabulary becomes familiar with repetition.

Students learn about and compare common units of length (m and cm; km and m), weight (kg and g), capacity (litres), time (hours, half-hours) and money (euros, centimes). They begin to solve problems regarding length, mass, length of time, and cost.

Students will gradually learn how to organize data for presentation of a conclusion. They are introduced to charts, tables, and graphs.

In the latter half of Cycle 2 children work on simple word problems applying the acquired mathematical concepts.

3. Science
Students are re-introduced to the progression and cyclical aspects of time. They orientate themselves through the use of the calendar and the clock. They learn that time is different depending on geography.

Students identify characteristics of living things and build upon their learning of the life cycle: birth, growth, reproduction, and death. They study the nutrition and dietary habits of animals, and how animals relate within a given habitat and with a changing environment.

Students distinguish between solids and liquids and observe the changing states of matter through experiments. They produce basic models and simple electric circuits to understand how an electrical device works. They study temperature and the effects of temperature on a changing environment.

4. History
Students learn about significant events and influential contributors leading to the founding of the French Republic.

5. Geography
Students broaden their basic concept of familiar surroundings: the classroom, school, neighborhood, village and town. They compare these familiar settings with other settings and more distant places. They study common forms of portrayal of their world (photographs, maps, world maps, a globe).

Students exchange videos of their classroom work with fellow 1st and 2nd grades students in France. The students learn about where the students reside with respect to a map.

6. Music
Students sing, listen to, and move to music in a variety of meters. They imitate rhythm patterns using instruments and learn to keep a steady beat. They begin to recognize upward/downward movement of pitch and differences in tempo. Dedicated music instruction takes place once a week in French.

7. Art
At this age, the focus is on the in depth exploration of different techniques and media (collage, pastel, gouache/acrylic, clay), the acquisition of artistic gestures and the development of the sleight of hand through the study of famous artists as examples and source of inspiration. The basics of geometry are applied through 3D projects where the students understand the importance of distance, proportion, and symmetry. Example: Students construct an Egyptian pyramid containing a treasure (a secret object of their choice). Field trips to museums reinforce classroom instruction.

8. Physical Education
Children participate in individual and group activities that promote motor skills, team-building, and social interaction. Examples: In the context of badminton, students move forward and sideways, changing direction quickly in response to a signal. Students are taught to adapt sequences and patterns to their movement depending on the activity. A certified PE teacher instructs the class in French twice a week.