What’s Online Elementary School Really Like?
Duck, duck, goose…I spy…finger painting…counting to 10…following the leader…
These activities are instinctively elementary. So, what happens when such a tangible experience goes virtual? It gets personal!
In 2018, FLVS is introducing a new 48-course elementary curriculum that includes English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Spanish, Art, and Technology. From Kindergarten through 5th grade, all these courses have a few things in common: they’re hands-on, empowering, and designed with elementary students in mind. Each course incorporates activities students can do in their own home, encourages them to use their personal experiences to power their learning, and includes plenty of teacher time to support individual students. It doesn’t get more personal than that.
Virtual education is tried and true for middle grades through higher education, but for elementary, it can be a bit more challenging. Students are younger, attention spans are shorter, and academic learning is brand new. These challenges inspired the team to create a unique learning experience for these young learners. The best part of a virtual elementary program is that it allows students to have experiences they would never have in a physical classroom. “Our courses are built for dialogue, empowering students to take ownership of their learning. Every lesson has a hands-on or off-screen activity,” says Jaimi Gruler, Senior Manager of Elementary Products. These hands-on activities ensure that students are making real-life connections as they learn. Sample offline activities include an Interactive Notebook, reflections, collaborations, practice labs, activity sheets, nature walks, and sharing with a friend or family member.
When students are working online, directions are clear, designs are fun, and learning is interactive. Courses are broken up into modules, lessons and pages, with students learning subjects in a variety of ways. A typical lesson includes bright, colorful photographs and illustrations, game-like activities for practice, videos, storybooks, activity sheets, and either a quiz or assignment. Offline opportunities ask students to “Try,” “Think,” “Write,” or “Share” an activity with a friend or family member. These components are what make these courses so personal. Students can complete lessons following their own schedule, reflect on their own experiences to connect their learning, choose their own topics or materials for activities, and participate in online live lessons called “Class Time” with other students.
Custom activities were built specifically for our FLVS elementary courses to feel game-like, and fun storylines guide them through each module. In Spanish, students journey to a different country. In Science, they become an inventor in a toy factory. In Art, they go inside paintings to learn techniques.
Throughout the courses, different characters guide students through their learning, making the experience feel more personal.
A virtual elementary school is new, different, and unlike any school in the real world. That’s because in a virtual classroom, students can journey with an astronaut to see the stars in one module, and travel on safari to Africa in another. They can learn about plant structures, build a model at home, and go on a nature walk to find examples in their own environment. They can learn about erosion while at the beach. The opportunities are limitless.
Below is an overview of each of the Elementary subject areas.
English Language Arts (ELA)
Focused on introductory reading skills and comprehension, the ELA courses include the five essential components of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension, vocabulary and fluency. Students will read informative and literary texts, practice writing, grammar, and speaking and listening skills. Each grade level explores a different, adventure-filled theme to keep students curious and engaged!
Critical thinking and problem solving are two skills taught throughout Elementary Math. Rather than leaving students to ask, “When will I use this?”, key concepts are taught with real-world applications so connections are made early on. Songs, rhymes, videos, storybooks, and audio are used to teach and practice math skills in a fun and engaging way. Kindergarten-Grade 2 focuses on building a strong number sense, addition and subtraction within 20, place value, measurement and shapes. Grades 3-5 introduce multiplication and division within 100, fractions, decimals, shapes, area, and volume.
Students taking our Elementary Science courses will explore Earth, Life, and Physical Sciences through problem solving, experimentation, creating models, analyzing and interpreting data, engineering, and more! Following the 5E Instructional Model, students will engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate as they learn. We’ll build on their curiosity by teaching them to ask questions and search for evidence to learn about the world around them.
Our Social Studies courses takes a personal approach to introducing students to community and citizenship. They’ll learn important concepts and skills related to history, geography, and economics including their role as a citizen in their home, school, and community. Students will go back in time and learn about the foundation of American citizenship, journey to regions within the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean Islands, and dive deep into the history of the state in which they live.
Elementary Spanish introduces students to both the Spanish culture and language. Each lesson is taught through diverse stories that give students the opportunity to see and hear Spanish in an authentic and fun context. Activities include hearing, speaking, reading, writing, and recording the language to reinforce learning.
Course Progression: FLVS offers a total of six online elementary Spanish courses, allowing students to progress through distinct levels – starting with Introductory Spanish and continuing through Levels 1-5. Students will be introduced to Spanish letters, pronunciation, and vocabulary. In more advanced levels, they will develop their grammar and writing skills. After a pretest and discussion with the teacher, students may advance to a higher level if they already have an existing level of Spanish proficiency.
Physical Education (PE)
Students will be jumping, dancing, swimming, throwing, catching, kicking, tumbling, and more in our elementary PE courses! Students will learn about healthy lifestyle habits, teamwork, sportsmanship, goal setting, and strive for 60 minutes of daily activity. They’ll learn new skills to keep them moving with each grade level!
Elementary Art encourages students in every lesson to feel confident in their own creativity and expression. Using the Elements of Art and Principles of Design, students will learn real art techniques through modeling and connect them to master artists. Students will develop their observational skills as they learn how to critique art while making cultural connections with works from around the world.
Students taking our Elementary Technology courses will learn basic computer science skills, keyboarding, programming, and coding. Each of these skills is taught alongside meaningful technology topics such as tech safety, digital citizenship, bullying/cyberbullying, adaptive technology, social media, and robotics.
Post by Michelle McRae, Engagement Writer