Welcome to the Lower School!
At the Lower School, students continue to form a solid basis in the fundamentals of learning, while practicing the good citizenship and Christian values they gained in Primary.
Emphasis is placed on the true mastery of reading in 1st Grade, since the student who learns to read in her early school years will read to learn in the years to come. 1st Grade students also practice addition and subtraction math facts, utilizing fun computer programs as well as good old-fashioned paper-and-pencil practice to assure that they are ready for more complicated math concepts in 2nd grade. Writing skills become more advanced in Lower School, growing from simple storytelling in 1st grade to more sophisticated essay writing in 4th Grade. Spelling is emphasized from the beginning, with tests and activities that reinforce the learning and correct spelling of words which become more advanced as the years progress.
Mrs. Ana Ibanez
1st Grade Curriculum
1st Grade Language Arts
Through gradual release and cooperative learning, 1st Graders work with foundational vocabulary, literary techniques, literary themes, and grammar to build reading fluency and gain a love for reading and writing. Teaching methods include small group instruction, writing workshops, games, and multimedia to accommodate various learner preferences as students begin analyzing text, decoding language, and engaging in the reading and writing process.
1st Grade Mathematics
With an emphasis on manipulative activities and educational games, students develop an understanding of addition, subtraction, whole number relationships, place value, measurement, and the composition of geometric shapes. With the supplementation of IXL, student learning is data-driven and individually paced.
2nd Grade Curriculum
2nd Grade Language Arts
Through gradual release and cooperative learning, 2nd Graders work to improve reading skills, vocabulary, grammar, and literary techniques. Students also review manuscript letter formation and continue into cursive handwriting. Writing workshops are implemented as students continue to engage in the writing process.
2nd Grade Mathematics
2nd Grade math is an ongoing study with activities and manipulatives to reinforce problem-solving strategies. Teachers provide opportunities for students to think, reason, and practice in active and cooperative learning environments. Students learn to value mathematics and become confident in their ability to use numerical language as they extend their understanding of number and algebraic thinking, use place value and properties of operations, build fluency with basic math facts, apply foundational learning of fractions, and engage with units of measure, money, and time.
2nd Grade Social Studies
Through participation, projects, and readings, students engage with various communities and explore their similarities and differences. Students explore terrain, job industries, and consumer decisions that influence culture around the world. 2nd Graders also explore how historical figures have elicited positive change in their communities and how their influence continues to impact modern day leaders and communities.
3rd Grade Curriculum
3rd Grade Language Arts
The areas of concentration in 3rd Grade language arts include reading, composition, vocabulary, and grammar. Students read books and complete book reports throughout the school year to build on their foundational skills in reading comprehension, decoding language, vocabulary, literary techniques, and literary themes. Students are encouraged to appreciate reading as a form of enjoyment, while also engaging with parts of speech, types of sentences, punctuation, spelling, and various forms of writing.
3rd Grade Mathematics
3rd Grade math continually builds on prior math knowledge. Each lesson is taught within a framework that allows students to be actively involved through manipulatives, game-based learning, and a blended learning environment. Students strengthen their foundation of basic math facts and learn confidence in their ability to use numerical language. Teachers provide time and guidance for thinking, reasoning, and practice, both individually and in cooperative learning groups.
3rd Grade Social Studies
The 3rd Grade social studies program focuses on geography, group membership, diversity, and the economy both within and beyond our own community. Through the use of interactive activities, students are immersed into a simulative experience for each objective, allowing students to gain greater insight into their own culture while also fostering an appreciation for communities outside of their own.
4th Grade Curriculum
4th Grade Language Arts
The 4th Grade language arts curriculum is designed to present and teach the English language and the rules that support it. Grammar, reading, vocabulary, mechanics of writing, literature, and composition classes focus on the introduction of new material, practice of familiar areas, and mastery of learned concepts. The goal of each lesson is to reinforce the use of acquired language skills in order to enhance speaking, writing, and reading performance. The penmanship portion of the curriculum emphasizes the four elements of legible handwriting (size, slant, spacing, and rhythm) and provides students with a logical program of continuous skill progression.
4th Grade Mathematics
All 4th Grade students follow a 5th Grade curriculum to develop a students’ foundation of core content areas and prepare them for success in their subsequent math courses. With an emphasis on word problems, manipulative activities, and educational games, students develop an understanding of addition, subtraction, whole number relationships, place value, measurement, and the composition of geometric shapes. With the supplementation of IXL, student learning is data-driven and individually paced.
4th Grade Social Studies
The 4th Grade Social Studies curriculum is constructed to provide students with an overview of the major regions of the United States and the themes that make each region both unique and interdependent. Throughout the curriculum, students engage with American history, geography, government, economics, and civics. Students practice analyzing issues through the lens of social consciousness and perspectives outside their own. Students come to better appreciate their role as global, national, and local citizens.
Fine Arts (Music)
St John’s Music Program provides students with a basic understanding of music in all forms. The curriculum and instruction provide opportunities for student participation as well as student observation in accordance with the School’s philosophy. The emphasis on learning at all levels is based on the student learning process rather than the music product.
- 1st Grade – Students begin on non-pitched percussion instruments learning basic 4/4 rhythm notation and echo skills. Students sing with good tone and posture developing their ear. Students use Quaver Music program to learn History, Theory, Ear Training and Styles.
- 2nd Grade – Students continue non-pitched percussion and pitched percussion instruments with an emphasis on reading notation. Students learn musical symbols and apply the skill in basic compositions using the staff and treble clef. Students sing with good tone and posture.
- 3rd Grade – Students continue with non-pitched and pitched percussion instruments and add to that beginning recorder study. Basic music notation reading is reinforced and students read B,A,G, on the treble clef staff. Students use a variety of materials and methods including the Quaver Music program to further their relationship with music.
- 4th Grade – Students continue on the recorder and pitched percussion instruments. Students learn the notes C,D,E,F,F#,High C and High D. Students learn more complex music and music notation and play a wide range of styles including blues, folk, rock, and classical. Students learn about the orchestra and composers as well as the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern Periods in music. Quaver reinforces theory, history, styles and ear training.
The purpose of Innovation in St. John’s Lower School is to foster a mindset of critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration among our students. Learning objectives pivot around information literacy, digital literacy, and creative problem solving that exposes students to 21st-century skills, transferable beyond the walls of our classroom. Teacher-centered instruction is minimized to encourage inquiry and exploration. An extended 77-minute Innovation block allows students to complete a central module each quarter, while also having time for periodical makerspace projects and regular book circulation. Although all four Lower School grades focus on a similar skill set each year, learning is scaffolded so that skills are continually revisited and expanded on with the intent of being exercised with less direction and more creative agency over time.
Lower School Campus
Ms. Jennifer English has been with St. John’s since 2006, and is the glue holding Lower School together! Ms. Jennifer keeps our Lower School running smoothly, and is the first smiling face you see as you walk into the Lower Front Office. Please contact Ms. Jennifer with any questions about our Lower School campus!