Languages Open a World of Opportunity
Blending French and American Curriculums
At FASDenver, our curriculum combines aspects of the two core academic traditions of France and the United States to create a stimulating bilingual learning environment that focuses on student learning and well-being and supports the full intellectual development of each student. Our educational programming will draw inspiration from established French immersion school from across the US while meeting Colorado State Standards.
Approximate Share of Instruction in French and English by Subject Area:
|Grades||% of Instruction in French||Subjects Taught in French||Subjects Taught in English|
|K-2||90%||Math, Science, World History, French Language Arts, Music, Art, Physical Education||English Language Arts, Social Studies|
|3-5||70%||Math, Science, World History, French Language Arts, Music, Art, Physical Education||English Language Arts, Social Studies|
|6-8||50%||World History, French Language Arts, Music, Art, Physical Education||English Language Arts, Social Studies, Math, Science|
The language arts curriculum will focus on the acquisition and application of oral, reading, writing and aural comprehension skills in both English and French. In this context, we will provide materials and instruction to increase the complexity of vocabulary and content as methods of preparing students for challenging academic and career environments.
English Language Arts: FASDenver will adopt a reading and writing curriculum that is aligned to the Common Core State Standards, state priorities and the mission and goals of our school. The curriculum will be developed by the Executive Director, Director of Curriculum and members of the FASDenver curriculum design team prior to June 2020. When selecting materials, careful attention will be paid to include varied perspectives, diverse cultures, and topics the speak to the cultures represented in the student body.
French Language Arts: Research shows that in addition to Integrated Content and Language Development (discussed below in this section) and second-language (subsequently referred to as L2) instruction in multiple subjects, there remains a need for formal L2 instruction to achieve native-like fluency and grammatical precision. FASDenver plans to use leveled books that are available in French from Reading A-Z. Leveled books are a component of differentiated instruction and can be used in guided reading and small-group instruction. FASDenver also plans to use materials such as Alpha-Jeunes: Trousse d’Evaluation de Lecture (“Alpha-Youth: Kit for Reading Evaluation”) as reading resources in grades one and two. For literacy building curricula, FASDenver plans to employ materials such as Envol en littératie (“Literacy in Flight”) for grades K-2 and L’île aux Mots (“The Island of Words”) for grades 3-5.
FASDenver will use Singapore Math curriculum, which aligns with the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and centers on problem-solving and a three-step learning process (concrete, pictorial and abstract), to help students master mathematical concepts and apply those concepts to complex math problems.Singapore Math emphasizes word problems, rather than repetitive math drills, and is used by many leading schools in the US and abroad. FASDenver intends to teach all of its math content in elementary school in French; it will use Singapore Math materials from La Librairie des Écoles (The School Bookstore). This will be supplemented with interactive online games developed by the French Ministry of Education and other entities including, “J’apprends les Maths! (I Learn Math!), IXL.com, and https://www.tablesdemultiplication.fr/contact/, etc. that provide opportunities to incorporate technology and differentiated instruction into the math curriculum.
FASDenver will use the inquiry-based Full Option Science System (FOSS), or similar program to inform the science curriculum. FOSS is a research-based program designed for grades K-8, developed at the University of California, Berkeley. FOSS curriculum aligns well with FASDenver’s focus on technology and with the CDE’s 2020 Educational Standards and Essential Skills Directive. FOSS Science Kits are used across Colorado and around the country. One of the hallmarks of this program is its interactive site which provides students and their families with opportunities to participate in instructional games and interactive simulations. Each module includes tips on how to connect the concepts in the lesson with activities at home, providing parents additional ways to participate in their child’s learning experience.
Given the mission and vision of the French American School of Denver, lessons related to global citizenship, science, arts and music will also be integrated into lessons with a particular focus on Francophone regions of North America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, and Europe. One example of teaching science and global citizenship is through Teach UNICEF’s four lessons related to water and sanitation for transitional kindergarten through second grade. These lessons are designed to:
- raise awareness of the problems facing children with inadequate access to clean water or sanitation facilities;
- increase students’ understanding of the global water crisis as one that affects everyone;
- explore how organizations, agencies, and individuals are working to address the problems;
- encourage students to take their own steps in addressing the local and global issues of water and sanitation;
For art and music, the curriculum will explore questions such as, “Why can you hear the bass from your neighbor’s stereo, but not the treble?”, which allow students to learn how science and the arts interconnect.
Social studies content will be based on the Colorado Department of Education Standards and will develop student knowledge and understanding of local and global communities, including those of the Francophone world. The curriculum will include United States history, geography, civics, economics, and support the development of Essential Skills including critical thinking , information literacy and collaboration.
World civilization education is an important hallmark of the French curriculum. Starting in first grade, students at FASDenver will learn about ancient civilizations, prehistory, African and Asian civilizations, the Middle Ages up to modern day. We believe that understanding world history and civilizations is essential to global citizenship. History of the Francophone diaspora will also be incorporated. This curriculum will be taught in French and we will use textbooks in compliance with the French Ministry of Education.
Postsecondary Workforce Readiness
For students to be well-rounded and most successful, they need to develop more than academic knowledge and skills. The French American School of Denver’s teaching of life skills will center on: social-emotional skills (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and social decision making); collaboration; and personal integrity (including personal accountability and responsibility.) Teachers will explicitly guide students in learning how to use these life skills every day, and reinforce this behavior through norms, incentives, and other classroom management practices. For the younger grades, teachers may build these skills during the morning meeting and may also have other time dedicated to guided skill development.
English Language Development
FASDenver will offer all students in its ELA program classroom supports for all required content-based courses and additionally a 45-minute block ELD session each day. FASDenver’s ELD program will be based upon the National Geographic REACH curriculum. The REACH curriculum was selected because it conducts sessions in small groups with students of similar grades and English language level.
Two-Way Language Immersion Model
FASDenver utilizes a two-way immersion (TWI) model, a specific type of dual language education that allows students to learn a second language while continuing to develop their first language. While TWI programs vary in implementation, fidelity to the model includes the following characteristics: instruction in two languages, one language at a time, and peer-to-peer facilitated language sharing. The ratio of French to English instruction will gradually decrease over a student’s experience at FASDenver. The ratio of French language to English Language instruction is illustrated in the chart below:
About French Curriculum Cycles
The 3-year cycle that constitutes the Early Learning Program, referred to as “Maternelle” in French, plays a key role in the development of children and is an important first step that will enable them to develop into thriving students. FASDenver will offer the last year of Cycle 1, la Grande Section (Kindergarten). Early education establishes the foundations children will later use for their entire schooling. Its main mission is to inspire them by igniting the desire to learn while allowing them to affirm and develop their personality.
All children are capable of learning and progressing. By conveying confidence in each child, the Maternelle years teach children to trust their own power to act and think responsibly, while they develop their ability to learn and to succeed in school and beyond.
Cycles 2 and 3
Cycle 2 is a time to learn at school, to interact with, and ask questions of the world at large. It is also a time to interact in specific languages, and these must be acquired through means more involved than simply being exposed to them in childhood. From this point forward, cycle 2 will cover the period from CP (US first grade) to CE2 (US third grade), providing the time and consistency necessary for a challenging and progressive education. In cycle 2, all the lessons serve as an interaction with the world. The focus here is on mastering languages, especially French.
In cycle 2, FASDenver students build a solid foundation in English language arts, French and mathematics. They develop their intelligence, artistic sensibility, and their physical and athletic abilities. Students build upon their awareness of time and space, their knowledge of the world and discover fundamental computer skills. They will Construct cultural and historical awareness in art history, develop fundamental skills in technology in computer science, and develophealthy habits through sports and exercise in physical education.
Cycle 3 links the last two years of elementary school and the first year of middle school, in an effort to ensure pedagogic continuity and coherency in learning; and to continue laying the shared foundation that unites us in knowledge, competence and culture. There are two main goals for this cycle: to strengthen the fundamental learning introduced in cycle 2 that lays the groundwork for what’s to come; and to allow a better transition between elementary school and middle school by creating a feeling of continuity and progression throughout the three years of the cycle. In Grades 3 through 5 (cycle 3), the academic disciplines become more precise: literature, history, geography, mathematics, experimental science, and technology. Information and communication technologies are tools used in the teaching of students.
Français Langue Étrangère(FLE)/French as a Foreign Language
FLEclasses are designed to teach French to students who do not use French as their native language.FLEinstruction provides students with the basic verbal language skills that to reinforce their spoken and written mastery of the French language. A tailored plan for each student is created based on his or her level and needs.