In science, students are engaged in hands-on activities which foster creative and critical thinking skills. The children learn about life sciences, earth science, physical science and space. Students complete various experiments and projects both in and out of the classroom. A number of instruments are used to enhance their learning, such as microscopes, magnifying glasses, charts, thermometers, and trade books. They develop such skills as observing, classifying and predicting, taught through use of the scientific method.
Every classroom is equipped with Smart Boards and has access to iPads for center time. Students enjoy reinforcing what they have learned in class with interactive lessons and academic games to practice basic skills, in addition to their weekly computer classes in one of the two computer labs on campus.
The math curriculum is designed with students taking a hands-on approach to encourage critical thinking for problem solving. Students are introduced to addition and subtraction concepts and then progress to problem solving related to multiplication and division. Students are taught to use logical reasoning, and work with analogies and geometric figures. Money values and time concepts are demonstrated through board games and dramatic play.
Our reading program emphasizes skill development and balances literature, phonics and whole language. The curriculum focuses on acquiring extensive vocabulary and improving comprehension and analytical skills, such as sequencing, interpreting, drawing conclusions, predicting outcomes, and developing story structure. Students read both fiction and nonfiction from all over the world. The thrust of the reading program is to develop life long readers.
The language arts program integrates skill development, grammar, spelling and a process approach to writing narratives, descriptions, directions, persuasive pieces, and poetry. Students also keep daily journals and writing portfolios. IPad and Smart Board activities enhance the curriculum in both Reading and Language Arts classes.
Students combine physical movement, identification of emotion and motives and reading aloud their favorite fairy tales and fables. This builds reading comprehension and related reading skills, as well as makes reading an active skill for students.
Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities enhance the curriculum. Students raise butterflies to study the life cycle, build barometers and compare results to online weather predictions, and make corn bread to study fractions. They participate in the Week of Code, have weekly computer science lessons and use the SmartBoard for frequent interactive lessons.
Students are taught basic geography of the United States and other countries. They study about the unique needs of different people and their communities around the world. They learn the importance of rules and laws, and study the basics of the operation of our country’s government. Students engage in active learning through the use of manipulatives, such as maps, charts, graphs, tables and time lines. They build models, conduct interviews and take part in a variety of other activities both in the classroom and at home.
Through the celebration of communal liturgies, multicultural holidays and daily prayer, children are taught to respect all cultures and people. Families that are not Catholic are encouraged to share the practices and customs of their faith with our classes. Students read Bible stories and religious concepts are reinforced through activities and projects. A sacramental program begins in the second grade and includes preparation for First Reconciliation which students make in the Lacordaire Convent and First Eucharist, which students must make in their parishes. Lacordaire works with families and their parishes’ Director of Religious Education (DRE) to coordinate the program. The Academy holds a special celebratory mass in the Mother House Convent for our Lacordaire communicants, and the entire second grade holds a special May Crowning ceremony each year.
First graders present the Christmas pageant each year during the Christmas liturgy and perform the Saints presentation during Catholic Schools Week. Second graders hold the Famous Biographies Presentation during Catholic Schools Week. Lines are memorized and presented in front of the entire school.
Building on the Creative Dramatics program, first and second graders deepen their reading comprehension by acting out their favorite stories. Through movement, children begin to recognize central ideas, character motives and emotions, and develop a deeper understanding of what they are reading. Second graders read their first novel, usually an E. B. White novel.
Field trips include visits to farms, theatres, museums, fire departments, and local community stores. Guest speakers are frequently invited to share their experiences and knowledge with the class.
First and second grade students enjoy gym class three times a cycle; they meet for art, computers and French once a cycle and music lessons twice a cycle. Second graders also take recorders as a class once a week.
Students can partake in instrumental and/or dance programs on weekends or after school. See Studio at Lacordaire under the Arts tab for more information.