September saw the launch of our eagerly anticipated suite of elementary courses across grades 1 to 8. We’re so excited to finally be able to share a sneak peek of all of the work that has gone into these courses over the last year. Let’s dive into our primary division first!
In grades 1 to 3 at VES, students participate in captivating storylines alongside intriguing characters. Through a balance of online and offline activities, students develop fundamental knowledge and skills. There’s no shortage of fun in learning at VES!
The primary mathematics courses develop students’ skills at counting, addition, subtraction, and the basics of multiplication and division. Students taking the language courses explore literary texts, such as fables, plays, poems, and novels. They embark on their science and technology journeys by learning about the characteristics of living things, structures, energy, and the environment. The social studies courses focus on Canadian communities, big and small, and different traditions.
What is unique about our approach to teaching at the primary level?
At Virtual Elementary School, our approach to primary teaching is simple: we make learning for our students as clear and engaging as possible. Since primary students are relatively new to structured learning, we find that making lessons that feel familiar and consistent allows students to focus on learning. Virtual Elementary School lessons have a clear, repetitive structure so our students know what to expect as they progress through the course.
We include a variety of media elements that keep our young students engaged in their courses. Each unit has creative storylines that motivate students to get to the next page of learning. This includes our unique teacher and student characters who guide students through each lesson. These characters talk to each other, solve problems, and ask prompting questions.
In addition to text, videos, and images, our courses utilize a series of over 40 interactive elements. These interactives include many different question formats, such as matching and fill in the blanks. There are games where students have to move things on the screen and sketchbooks where students can draw and show their work. There are also engaging ways to present teaching concepts like mind maps and timelines that students can explore. Our primary courses provide many digital storybooks which are effective teaching tools for young students. These are picture books that have been written to teach specific concepts to students using both pictures and words.
What are the benefits of using online courses to teach primary students?
Primary students often need additional time when learning. In a VES course, students can go through the content at their own pace. They can take their time and revisit lessons and pages that they find challenging as often as they need to. It also allows them to take as many breaks as they need or ask their learning coach questions after covering new concepts.
The variety of images and videos in our lessons provide a rich learning experience. Videos explain concepts and demonstrate skills to students in a way that captures their attention and models teaching. Our lessons also have various hands-on activities that get students working off-screen.
What do we do to set up primary learners for success?
Primary students need repetition and practice. Each of our lessons contains a warm-up activity at the beginning which reinforces fundamental knowledge and skills. These include review exercises that get students using prior knowledge to help them learn new concepts and skills.
We ensure each lesson provides plenty of examples to deepen understanding in a way that makes sense to your individual learners. Our teaching examples model how to solve problems in different ways. All learning in our courses is related to real-world situations and applicable in age-appropriate and understandable ways.
In Grade 1 Language, our students are introduced words and language in a wide variety of ways. By exploring different texts and forms of media, they will start their journey to mastery of the English language and try their hand at being authors, song-writers, poets, and presenters.
In Grade 2 Language, our students continue along their path to mastery of English. Building on their learning from Grade 1, they will improve their understanding of grammar, spelling, reading, and writing through the analysis of many different text types and media, such a fairy tales, folk tales, poems, and novels.
In Grade 3 Language, our students round out their primary Language journey by continuing to explore different texts and forms of media, such as plays, poetry, fables, and novels. As their confidence in English increases, they will learn techniques to improve and perfect their own writing, reading, speaking, and listening skills.
In Grade 1 Mathematics, our students are introduced to numbers and counting in the world around them. Join them as they explore real-world math examples, such as working with numbers at the zoo, counting objects in the home, and discovering coins and bills. Continue the journey into patterns, shapes, addition and subtraction, and even the use of computer code to control the movements of objects.
In Grade 2 Mathematics, our students explore math in their surroundings. They will discover larger numbers, mathematic patterns, and addition and subtraction problems that occur at home, while travelling, at the amusement park, and out on the farm. Your students will find out how math is everywhere the look by delving deeper into collecting data, 2D shapes, measuring length, telling time, and understanding money. They will also enhance their coding knowledge to start controlling the movement of two objects at the same time.
In Grade 3 Mathematics, our students will continue their primary math journey by learning about even larger numbers, the four operations, patterns, and money found in the wider world, such as the ocean, grocery stores and markets, garden centres, and the zoo. They will also learn about practical skills such as measuring length, mass, and capacity, and understanding maps. Their coding skills will build, build, build as they gain an understanding of repeated instructions and loops.
In Grade 1 Science and Technology, our students begin to explore how science can be found all around them. They will learn about how energy is required for all living things and modern devices, and the importance of the sun’s energy and its effect on the planet. Our students will also investigate different materials, objects, and structures that are found in nature and that are made by humans.
In Grade 2 Science and Technology, our students continue to explore science by investigating the wildlife and materials around them. They will learn about the growth and changes that happen in animals while focusing on similarities and differences between them. Students will investigate moving things and learn about spatial relationships and properties of materials. Students will dive into the characteristics and forms of water and air and discover what they can do to maintain the cleanliness of the water and air around them.
In Grade 3 Science and Technology, our students further their knowledge of the variety of plants around them. They will investigate the composition of soil and its position as an essential source of life. Students will learn about structures and the important distinction between the strength and stability of a structure. In addition, students will investigate the two basic types of forces that cause movement: contact forces and non-contact forces.
In Grade 1 Social Studies, our students will explore the roles, relationships, and responsibilities they have as well as those of the important people in their life. Stepping out of the home, they will also investigate their local community, studying natural and built features, and the different areas and services that can be found. They will then start to understand maps and how they can be used to provide directions around where they live.
In Grade 2 Social Studies, our students will compare different family structures, diverse groups, traditions, and celebrations in Canada. They will delve into the generations of a family and create family trees. Students will learn about global features, including continents, bodies of water, countries, and cities. They will compare communities based on their culture, natural features, and how they meet their needs.
In Grade 3 Social Studies, our students will explore and compare First Nation, Métis, and settler communities in Canada from 1780 to 1850. They will develop an understanding of the impacts that new settlements had on the environment and existing settlements. Students will learn about landform regions and types of land use in areas of Ontario. They will also explore how municipalities meet human needs and discuss the environmental impacts of those needs.