Our Lower School curriculum nurtures children from Kindergarten to 7th grade. It also lays the groundwork for students to be able to digest, retain, and expand upon the rigorous college-prep curriculum they will master in the Upper School.
- Small class sizes mean individual attention for your child (average class size is 12-20 students).
- Hands-on projects and field trips complement many lessons.
- Lower School students benefit from the international student body on campus (Farragut has boarding students in grades 8-12) and it brings a “global feel” to the school’s community.
- Classroom organization:
- K-2nd: Each grade is taught in a self-contained classroom with one teacher.
- 3rd-4th: Each grade shares teachers in subjects of Math/Science and English/Social Studies.
- 5th-7th: Each grade has a rotating schedule with 50-minute class periods with a different teacher for each of their subjects. This is the same type of schedule our students will experience once they enter Upper School.
- Students are exposed to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and Marine Science.
- The Lower School curriculum lays the groundwork for students to be able to digest, retain and expand upon the rigorous college-prep curriculum they will master in the Upper School.
How are the Grades Organized?
- K-2nd grade students are in self-contained classrooms.
- 3rd-4th grade students are taught by two faculty members.
- 5th-7th grade students have one faculty member per subject and switch classrooms just like in the Upper School.
- Faculty teaching students in grades 5-7 teach their subject matter to their students for all three years of 5th, 6th, and 7th grades.
What is Departmentalization?
Following “schools of the future” trends, today the majority of the Lower School, grades 5-7, are configured by departmentalization.
- Since the teachers and students learn together for potentially three consecutive years, faculty learn each child’s strengths and weaknesses allowing them to more effectively reach each child through his or her learning style.
- Teachers find it easier to keep consistency when planning for curriculum integration, interdisciplinary units, field trips, and special activities for their students.
- Fosters greater support and communication between teachers.
Reading & Writing
- K-2nd grade use a phonetic approach to reading. Instruction is presented using a combination of visual, auditory, and tactile input to develop strong phonological awareness and discrimination skills, while developing blending and segmenting of sound combinations.
- Kindergarten-5th grade students use Reading Street™ curriculum which develops vocabulary, spelling, understanding, and most importantly, a love of reading.
- Kindergarten introduces 1st grade reading material in the second half of the school year.
- Kindergarten-2nd grade students use a program called “Reading A-Z” which offers comprehensive implementation resources for differentiated reading instruction.
Additional Reading Programs
- Scholastic Reading Counts is a program that motivates students with suggested reading choices that match their interests and reading levels, and reinforces comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency skills.
- Lexile-based independent reading program.
- End-of-the-year awards like the Sunshine State Young Readers Award and the Florida Reading Association Award entice students to read high interest, contemporary literature for personal enjoyment or read and vote on favorite books, nurturing lifelong readers.
- K-3rd grade students use Handwriting Without Tears® curriculum which draws from years of innovation and research to provide developmentally appropriate, multi-sensory tools and strategies for our classroom. The program follows research that demonstrates children learn more effectively by actively doing, with materials that address all styles of learning.
- 2nd grade students begin to learn cursive.
- 3rd grade students gain the perfection of cursive.
- Writing and research skills developed early teach students how to find available resources, complete “gathering grids” for facts and information, and write brief papers.
- 1st-3rd grade students focus on reading, writing, phonics, spelling, and grammar. Students study and write their own narratives, poetry, and share their stories with their classmates.
- 1st and 2nd grade
- Practice reading with fluency and enjoy reading and listening to various texts (i.e. fiction/nonfiction).
- Learn comprehension strategies to strengthen reading comprehension.
- Learn and use common letter patterns and critical features to spell words.
- Learn and use word identification strategies to unlock unknown words.
- Identify an increasing number of words by sight.
- Recognize and discuss elements of different text structures and make connections between texts.
- Write expressively in different forms (stories, poems, nonfiction).
- Punctuate simple sentences correctly and proofread/revise their work.
- Read daily and write to respond to the text.
- 3rd grade
- Read fluently and enjoy reading using a range of strategies to draw meaning from the text using word identification strategies appropriately and automatically when encountering unknown words
- Recognize and discuss elements of different text structures and make critical connections between texts
- Write expressively in many different forms (stories, poems, reports) using a rich variety of vocabulary and sentences appropriate to text forms
- Revise and edit their own writing during and after composing
- Read daily and write to respond to text
- 1st and 2nd grade
- 4th-5th grade students focus on grammar, spelling, vocabulary, writing, and reading comprehension skills as well as creative writing, poetry writing, and learning how to write a research paper.
- 6th-7th grade students focus on vocabulary, grammar, reading, and writing supplemented by books read throughout the school year.
- 6th grade students read:
- The Giver (Lowry)
- A Wrinkle in Time (L’Engle)
- Refugee (Gratz)
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare)
- 7th grade students read:
- Tuesdays with Morrie (Albom)
- Tangerine (Bloor)
- Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare)
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Twain)
- 6th grade students read:
- K-5th grade students use the Pearson science curriculum that includes both textbooks and online activities and assessments.
- 1st-5th grade students focus on several units of study including energy, life science, earth science, plants and ecosystems, and simple machines.
- 6th-7th grade students study a combination of life science, earth science, space science, and marine science.
- The STEM Lab and school’s waterfront provide a multitude of opportunities for engaging, hands-on lessons.
- Field trips for experiential learning depending upon student grade and unit topics have included:
- Local aquariums
- Marine lab stations at “MarineQuest” by the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
- A 3-day excursion to the Florida Keys for “Sea Camp”
- A 2-day excursion to Kennedy Space Center
- Star-gazing at local planetariums
- “Zoo Day” at Busch Gardens
- Planting sea grass in our school’s nurseries for the “Bay Grasses in Classes” project
- Collecting specimen at our waterfront for our touch tanks
- 2 day Southwest Florida Aventures in the Everglades
- Archeological digs on the Peace River
- Dinosaur World
- Kindergarten-5th grade students use Savvas Envision curriculum that helps students develop an understanding of mathematics from their own experiences.
- Math manipulatives used by students in the early grades allow children to move from concrete to abstract thinking.
- Sequenced instruction carefully builds upon and extends the knowledge and skills of the previous year, and patterns, problem-solving, and computation skills are reinforced across the curriculum.
- Online practice sites like “Batter Up” math timed tests are used in class to reinforce basic math facts.
- 6th-grade students take Integrated Mathematics.
- 7th-grade students take Pre-Algebra.
- K-1st grade students study citizenship and national symbols with hands-on projects and field trips to develop civic-mindedness.
- 2nd grade students study communities, geography, U.S. History, economy, and U.S. Government.
- 3rd grade students continue the studies from 2nd grade with the addition of immigration and the U.S. Constitution.
- 4th grade students study Florida history from the early 1500’s to today. Students learn local, state, and national history including national symbols of the United States as well as many national landmarks. Hands-on projects complement each lesson.
- 5th grade students study United States history. They also learn a basic understanding of economic concepts through the Enterprise Village program.
- 6th grade students study Ancient and Classical Civilizations from Mesopotamia through the Roman Empire. They will get an overview of the world’s five major religions.
- 7th grade students study World Geography with concentrations on map skills, physical geography, cultural geography, and the history of the countries of the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.
- K-1st grade students are introduced to engineering and technology concepts. These concepts and skills are developed through dynamic hands-on science exploration.
- 1st grade designs their own play-dough, creates spectrograms based on animal sounds, learns how to type properly, and is introduced to their Google Drive accounts.
- 2nd grade designs and creates hand pollinators, sturdy walls, frog habitats, and learns how to use their Google Drive accounts and the tools within. They also learn how to code and program Dash robots.
- 3rd grade designs their own bridges, alarm circuits, petroglyphs, and solar ovens. They also learn the basics of coding to program Dash and Dot robots and Alice computer programming.
- 4th grade designs windmills, lighting systems, submersibles, and how to clean up an oil spill. They also learn how to code using the Alice computer programming software written by Carnegie Mellon University and build their own websites on code.org.
- 5th grade designs simple machines, parachutes, insulated homes, and Maglev trains, and learns how to code websites and games using code.org‘s curriculum.
- 6th grade Engineering students create 3D models of objects using the Autocad Inventor software program and learn how to program circuit boards to create interactive games.
- 7th grade Engineering students build Vex Robotics race cars and race them against each other. They also learn how to use animation software to create their own animations.
- Kindergarten students focus on cyber safety, mousing techniques, typing, and how to use Chromebooks.
- 1st grade students focus on cyber safety, typing documents and stories, and how to use Chromebooks.
- 2nd grade students focus on typing with words per minute, cyber safety, coding basics, and how to create presentations.
- 3rd grade students focus on emails and etiquette and programming Dash and Dot robots and Alice computer programming software.
- 4th grade students take Computer Programming which is designed to teach computer programming in a simple way without the complex language. Students will place characters from a gallery onto a storyboard that they have imagined and “teach” the characters to move and interact with other objects on their storyboard. This program fosters the interest in computer programming, in a fun way, as it becomes one of the fastest-growing career fields. Students will also learn how to code a website.
- 5th grade students take Computer Science. The course covers topics such as programming, physical computing, HTML/CSS, and data. The course inspires students as they build their own websites, apps, and games. Students also learn how to use FOCUS (student information system) for homework and grades.
- 6th-7th grade students focus on Graphic Design. Students will use the program Harmony to sketch, draw, paint, and animate characters and scenes.
- Students collaborate independently using Google Drive and web-based tools which foster group and real-time working environments from any location at any time.
- Interactive Boards in many classrooms engage students and enhance instruction.
- Wireless mobile lab of Netbooks and Chromebooks for research, projects, and basic computer skill applications and instruction.
- Chromebooks available in every classroom.
Most young children are capable of quickly digesting multiple languages. As a school with students from more than 32 countries, Farragut is the perfect place to foster a cross-cultural understanding and love of language.
- K-4th grade students participate in a vocabulary rich Spanish class twice a week. Listening, speaking, reading, writing, and the fundamentals of applied grammar are taught along with conversational expression of feelings, ideas, and opinions in Spanish. Students also learn to present information and ideas in Spanish to an audience.
- 5th-7th grade students participate in a vocabulary rich Spanish class three times a week. Expands on the student’s knowledge of the target language and its culture. Students will be able to engage in listening and speaking activities. Skills in reading and writing, culture, connections, comparisons, and communities will be included in this course.
- K-5th grade students attend Visual Arts with a Visual Arts Specialist 1x per week throughout the school year.
- Lessons enable students to explore various media (pastels, pencil, paint, marker, origami, clay, mixed media, and printmaking) and develop an understanding of art elements and principles (color, line, shape, value, texture).
- Through this program our students find new ways of communication and ultimately feel comfortable with their own forms of artistic self-expression.
- 6th-7th grade students take art classes twice a week for 1 semester. The class is designed for students with varying levels of experience to build and strengthen skills in drawing, painting and sculpture.
- K-2nd grade students are exposed to basic music theory, vocal studies, and a variety of musical styles. Rhythmic motor-muscular response and basic performance skills are developed. Students explore music with the help of our friends, Mozart Mouse and Beethoven Bear.
- 3rd Grade students will continue to develop their music reading skills and will be introduced to the Recorder. Students will be challenged to learn a series of songs on the recorder and will be earning “belts” along the way as we work through our Recorder Karate Curriculum. We will also be working on developing our vocal skills through warm-ups, sight-singing, and performances. We will also be learning about composers and exploring music history.
- 4th & 5th Grade students will have the opportunity to learn to play a band instrument. They will use their prior knowledge to develop effective musical habits as related to practice and performance. Students will also be learning about composers and music history.
- 6th-7th grade students will continue to take band classes twice a week, for one semester. Students work to continue to develop proper performance/and listening etiquette, rhythm and note recognition skills, and instrumental/vocal technique in preparation for advancement into music at the upper school level. Students will also be studying composers, music history, and music genres.
- All classes begin with stretching and flexibility warm ups to prepare the body correctly, avoid injury, and improve performance.
- Fitness testing ensures all students keep pace with national fitness requirements. These tests challenge students in strength, stamina, speed, and flexibility.
- Fitness activities, games, and sport skills allow students to improve and build upon their motor skills and patterns of movement during group and individual challenges.
- Organized games prepare students for formal team sports participation.
- Kindergarten-4th grade students have P.E. 3x per week.
- 5th-7th grade students have P.E. 2x per week.
Student Center (Library)
The mission of our media center is to ensure that all students and faculty are proficient users of information capable of identifying the need for information, with the ability to locate then evaluate sources effectively and responsibly, and ultimately to produce and share new ideas and information. To that end, the media specialist works with the classroom teachers to enhance content areas and facilitate the use of the school’s resources. Careful consideration is given to collection development providing current and relevant print and digital materials for students and faculty. Technology resources are integrated into stand-alone library lessons such as digital storytelling, producing a daily news show, and collaborating with the core curriculum teachers.
The media center provides a combination of resources, curriculum, and activities on a weekly basis for kindergarten through fifth grade. Along with flextime and collaborative classroom research support, our sixth and seventh-grade students participate in an information literacy elective course. Eighth through twelfth-grade students receive on-demand research assistance. Programming development follows the guidelines from the Department of Education, the American Library Association, and Standards for the 21st-Century Learner.
- K – 5th grade students go once a week. 6th-7th-grade students go as needed for project and assignment research and to check out books.
- K – 2nd grade weekly lessons include concepts of print, how the library is organized, book care, digital storytelling, storytelling, Florida Reading Association readings, along with genre and author studies. Students in second grade use Scholastic Reading Counts.
- 3rd – 5th grade weekly lessons include how the library catalog is organized, research skills, digital citizenship, Sunshine State Readers and Battle of the Books competition, Scholastic Reading Counts program, digital storytelling, readers’ theater, and Greek and Latin root words.
- 6th – 7th grade classes use the library for on-demand research assistance. Projects and units are co-planned to support the classroom curriculum. Students participate in the Sunshine State Readers program and Battle of the Books.
Keys of Excellence
Character education is a learning process that enables students and adults in a school community to understand, care about, and act on core ethical values. Therefore, at Admiral Farragut Academy, we integrate our Keys of Excellence throughout the Lower School curriculum. Each month, a character trait is introduced to the students and each week the students focus on a specific behavior. The Keys of Excellence are respect, responsibility, self-control, perseverance, caring and kindness, sportsmanship, courage, integrity, patriotism, and citizenship. These character traits are discussed in groups and between students to pave the road for success both at Admiral Farragut Academy and in their future endeavors.