ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AT AMANA
Elementary school is where students begin learning and growing in the mission of Amana.
A clear expression of EL Education’s roots in Outward Bound, the spirit and experience of adventure permeates Amana Academy.
English Language Arts
A measured approach to literacy
Our Elementary School curriculum is grounded in the acclaimed EL Education ELA Curriculum and takes an integrated approach to incorporating STEM subjects, Social Studies, and specials classes to support the anchor texts students are reading. Literacy is the single most important factor in early student success. In grades K-2, students are learning to read; beginning in 3rd grade, students read to learn. If children aren’t competent, confident readers by the time they reach 3rd grade, they tend to struggle in all of their other subjects as well. At Amana, we take a very measured approach to literacy in Elementary school.
In grades K-2, students receive two hours per day of content-based literacy, plus one hour of structured phonics. Together, these three hours allow teachers to teach and assess all ELA standards for each grade level.
Lessons are designed with the unique needs of K-2 learners in mind and emphasize oral language development. Students complete daily work with rich, complex texts which builds comprehension skills, broadens content knowledge, and develops academic vocabulary. Students also regularly engage with songs and poems, which build fluency, highlight language standards, give students an understanding of rhythm and syntax, and bring joy to the classroom.
In grades 3-5, students’ capacity to read complex texts, write at length and depth, and explore pressing issues in the world around them is growing and developing. Students receive two hours of content-based literacy instruction daily. In these grade levels, students are hungry for independence and mastery and are eager to put their hard-earned reading and writing skills to work. Students also have the opportunity to incorporate Life Science extensions into their ELA lessons, which gives them real-world applications for the texts they are reading.
Developing mathematical understanding
Math instruction at Amana is based on the Georgia State Standards of Excellence, which focus on actively engaging students in the development of mathematical understanding by using manipulatives and a variety of representations, working independently and cooperatively to solve problems, estimating and computing efficiently, and conducting investigations and recording findings. Students learn to apply mathematical concepts and skills in the context of authentic problems and gain the ability to understand concepts rather than merely follow a sequence of procedures. In mathematics classrooms, students learn to think critically in a mathematical way with an understanding that there are many different ways to a solution and sometimes more than one right answer in applied mathematics.
Knowledge about the natural world
Science consists of a way of thinking and investigating, as well as a growing body of knowledge about the natural world. To be literate in science, students need to possess sufficient understanding of fundamental science content knowledge, the ability to engage in the science and engineering practices, and to use scientific and technological information correctly. Technology is infused into the curriculum and the safety of students is always foremost in instruction.
Art at Amana is offered one day per week in grades K-5. Instruction is based on the Art standards set forth by the Georgia Department of Education. Students apply these standards to create products that support their learning expeditions.
Design thinking process
While STEM is integrated throughout the curriculum according to the EL Education model, students do have a dedicated STEM lab class once per week. It is during this time that they practice and utilize the Design Thinking process to design and produce meaningful products that answer a question or solve a problem either in their school community or in their larger surrounding communities.
The framework of learning expeditions
At Amana, what students learn about in social studies often drives the framework of their learning expeditions. As students learn about history and discover the societal and political repercussions of the events that shape it, they are able to use their critical thinking skills to examine things from a historical perspective, but also to think about how those events might apply to our current world and communities. This is true for even our youngest learners, who start with American History, symbols, and citizenship, and might use their knowledge of what it means to be a good American citizen to come up with a list of traits that demonstrate what it means to be a good Amana citizen.
Creating opportunities for leadership
Students in grades K-5 receive two days per week of Adventure PE instruction. A clear expression of EL Education’s roots in Outward Bound, the spirit and experience of adventure permeates Amana Academy. It helps to create student engagement and focus on character that distinguishes the EL Education experience. Adventure can be any physical, artistic, or intellectual experience that involves risk, challenge, and discovery. We promote the kind of adventures that create opportunities for leadership and collaboration as groups of students and teachers face challenges together.
Integrating global skills
The EL Education approach promotes global citizenship as a core practice. Amana is the only Elementary School in Fulton County to offer Foreign Language Instruction at the Elementary School level. Students receive 40 minutes, 4 days per week of Arabic instruction. Our curriculum is modeled on the Georgia Department of Educations’ Elementary School Foreign Language Standards. Language learning is a central part of the curriculum, which is offered in extended, well-articulated sequences that develop increasing levels of proficiency at each level of instruction by teachers who are well-qualified in language proficiency, cultural knowledge, and teaching schools.