What's happening in Elementary School

April 2024

FAA Honors Earth Day

Through annual projects such as Ma Petite Planète, school-wide composting and recycling, the Sustainable Development photo competition, and regular meetings of our “eco delegates” to brainstorm and implement positive projects for the planet, reflecting and acting to fight climate change is an already important component of education at the FAA. 

During the week leading up to Earth Day 2024, we ramped up our efforts further with classroom activities and discussions about protecting and beautifying the planet. Various projects were implemented, such as: 

  • A neighborhood litter clean-up in which students collected thousands of pieces trash from streets and parks near the Jersey City campus
  • Hunting in the classrooms to find as many examples of single-use plastic as possible, and thinking of ways to use less
  • Repurposing single-use plastics to create works of art such as robots, or functional items like baskets
  • Finger paintings of the earth and its sea and land creatures
  • Studying the book “If You Plant a Seed”, and then planting our own seeds to observe and learn from their growth
  • An escape room-type puzzle to reveal a secret message about protecting the earth
  • Videos and discussion about climate justice, specifically in local North Jersey communities 
  • Discussing, writing, drawing, and sharing our ideas for helping the planet


Eco-conscious acts are part of each day throughout the year, but Earth Day provides us with an opportunity to expand and enrich our thinking about our relationship with the planet. We are blessed to have a student body that is motivated and passionate about fighting climate change, and to be surrounded by a community and families that share the same mindset. 

April 2024

Model U.N. Conference at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn, NY

5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders attended a Model U.N. Conference at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn, NY this past Saturday.

During this event, our students were able to apply what they practiced throughout the year in Model U.N. Club. 
Some of these skills include: research, public speaking, consensus building, negotiation, crisis management, and quick decision making. Seven FAA students attended the conference, along with 15 other tri-state middle schools, and were spread out over 8 Committees. 


Some of the Committees included the Paris Climate Accords, The Red Scare, The Trial of Socrates, and Apple Board of Directors. These Committees focused on real world and historical issues to pass resolutions and make policy change. Students were assigned a country or character to represent. They came to the Conference prepared with research, an opening speech, and a position paper. Students also had to solve different crises that developed in real time. In one of them, students formed alliances and overthrew a CEO. In the Red Scare Committee, students had to respond to the kidnapping of Joseph McCarthy. In The Paris Climate Accords, delegates from different countries had to agree on what action to take to reach net zero emissions. Students of opposite points of view worked together to solve the problem and adopt resolutions. 
In short, our students were confronted with real-life experience fostering public speaking, critical thinking, cultural awareness, quick decision making, and persuasion skills. What an experience for young children! 

March 2024

Introducing Sensory Activity Hallways

Elementary students at our Jersey City, Hoboken, and Englewood campuses have a new option for expending extra energy, improving gross motor skills, and providing sensory input between classes or during free time: our Sensory and Activity Hallways. Our teachers collaborated to install mini-routes to follow, sensory stations, and coordination tests using visual cues on the floors and walls. 

How do we use these activity pathways? In Jersey City and Hoboken, there are activity stations lining the floor and walls of the hallways. As a quick energizer during class, teachers might invite students to go to the hallway and give them challenges, such as hopping or completing a circuit on tiptoes. When walking through the hallways, students could be guided to follow a specific path or complete challenges. And during class, when individual students have some free time, have some energy to release, or just need to take a break, teachers can send them to the hall in pairs to complete the course a few times. Our students also enjoy just following the course on their own, when walking through the hallways.

Our Englewood campus has installed sensory activity boards in their main hall, which provide a soothing experience for students who need to reconnect to their bodies and breath. With textures to touch, designs to explore, and breathing activities, these boards provide valuable sensory input. When a child (or an adult) is feeling overwhelmed or anxious, or just needs a little break, they can enjoy working through the activities until they feel more grounded and ready to return to learning. It’s also a great way to bring students’ energy level back down as they’re returning from recess. 

Installing these sensory and activity stations required a minor investment of time and supplies, and students benefit greatly from them. They can be modified over time, and the difficulty can be increased or decreased based on the age and skill level of the students. Completing a few rounds in the sensory and activity hallway allows students to shift out of their mental space to a purely physical one for a few important moments, so they can return to their academic work feeling both calmer and refreshed.

February 2024

Let’s Play Handball!

For the second year in a row, our elementary and middle school students from the Jersey City and the Englewood campus gathered for a friendly handball competition on February 15th. After more than a month of learning the rules and practicing the game, our students got to put their skills to the test! 

Handball is a great sport for kids. Its rules are straightforward and easy to learn. The sport emphasizes teamwork, with all players involved in the passing, shooting, and movement of the ball. It can be a fast-paced, thrilling game, but it’s easily adaptable for learners of all sizes and abilities. Our gym teacher, Chloe Leguem, worked along with Guillaume Gilbert in Englewood and Florent Tarsiguel in Jersey City to practice the game with students and gradually build up their skill level and stamina. 

We also love any opportunity to combine our campuses, to allow our students and teachers to socialize and get to know friends from their sister school. When not competing or cheering each other on, students ate lunch with their peers and participated in games and activities organized by the Jersey City hosts in their classrooms. We are grateful to Chloe for organizing this wonderful event, to our elementary and middle school teachers for helping the day go smoothly, and to all the students for their enthusiastic participation! 

January 2024

Vive la Galette des Rois!

During the first few weeks of January, French and francophone people throughout the world will be indulging in a sweet treat known as La Galette des Rois, or “Kings’ Cake”. As the story goes, eating variations of cake, which in its modern form is made of sweet almond paste (frangipane) and puff pastry, was initially part of the Epiphany celebration, honoring the story of the three wise men (or kings) who visited the infant Jesus on the twelfth night after his birth, as described in the Bible.

While we do not emphasize the religious history of la galette, we do enjoy the rituals that surround it! First of all, before baking the cake, the baker inserts a small trinket or figurine somewhere in the cake (la fève). When it’s time to eat, the slices are prepared on dishes and the youngest member of the group crawls under the table where they cannot see the dishes that are being distributed. This youngest member then announces who will receive each slice, and then they emerge from under the table to receive their own piece of cake. The person who finds la fève is announced as the king or queen of the evening, and if they wish, they can choose a partner to reign with them. They receive a crown and in some traditions, they are responsible for preparing the next galette for the group to enjoy!

La galette des rois is a popular tradition around the world. The modern French version is beloved for its flaky pastry and nutty, sweet almond filling. Diversified versions of the cake can be found in many historically Catholic countries or places with sizable francophone populations. New Orleans, which was originally settled by the French, celebrates Epiphany with their festive and colorful king cake. In Mexico, the wreath-shaped rosca de reyes is enjoyed with rich hot chocolate. Variations are also made with other fillings, such as pistachios, chestnuts, or caramel; at our school, nut-free custard and apple fillings are both favorites!

Celebrating with la galette is a perfect way to combine a whimsical set of rituals with a delicious treat. Our French teachers love sharing their own stories of growing up enjoying the beloved tradition with their students, incorporating culture and history into our immersion language experience. 

December 2023

Celebrating Family Traditions in the Holiday Season

A joyous benefit to living and working in our multicultural community is learning about the diverse traditions that animate our students’ lives throughout the year. Our first- and second-grade English teacher in Englewood, Jennifer Gonzalez, makes time each December to highlight students’ family traditions that might occur at any time during the year. Sharing information about events that are special in students’ lives boosts interest and empathy among classmates, fostering an atmosphere of inclusion for the festive season. 

Ms. Gonzalez’s first graders are tasked with reflecting with their families about important annual traditions in their lives, and choosing one to present. They work to curate photographs, artifacts, and information, combining everything on an attractive poster that they share with their classmates. The second graders in Ms. Gonzalez’s class are instructed to interview a family member about a tradition they observed as a child. The information they gather is assembled on a poster along with any other important facts and souvenirs the student includes. 


Both of these exercises provide rich educational experiences for Ms. Gonzalez’s students. They learn how to prepare and present a multi-step project. They refine their written and visual communication skills, and experience both being a presenter in the class and being a respectful audience member. Most importantly, these projects strengthen the connections among students’ families and the classroom, develop their understanding of the link between past and present, and raise up the diverse cultures and traditions that comprise our school’s families.

November 2023

FAA Students Compete in Chess Tournament

Students from our Englewood and Jersey City campuses traveled with teachers Aline Jourdrin and Guillaume Gilbert to the Lycée Français de San Diego to participate in a 2-day chess tournament. Nearly 100 students from 6 French schools across the country came together to enjoy this event. Our students played several games with various new friends, and we are proud that they placed third in the tournament! 

Participants got to meet French chess Grandmaster Samy Shoker, and enjoyed watching him face off with select students and adults in thirty simultaneous matches. After the tournament, the group enjoyed the sights of beautiful San Diego, visiting the bay and spending several hours touring the USS Midway. This famous aircraft carrier was fascinating for our students, who also got to speak to veterans who were on-site for Veterans’ Day. 

Aline and Guillaume put in countless hours of effort for this trip, running fundraising events and organizing a memorable visit for their chess students. We are grateful for their dedication and impressive effort!

October 2023

Student Council Elections

Student council elections are held in October and February of every school year. These elections provide a chance for students from elementary and middle school to engage in a scaled-down version of the democratic process, from campaigning, to voting, to listening to the concerns of constituents (i.e., classmates) and trying to make school life more meaningful and enjoyable. 

FAA Students who feel inspired to run for class delegate mount their own campaign with posters and speeches, communicating the ways that they could best serve as their class representative. Each class holds a confidential vote, electing two delegates, and for the next four months these delegates attend monthly meetings with their division head or the head of school. Prior to each meeting, the delegates take note of their classmates’ concerns and requests, then raise these issues with the directors. They then report back to their classes. 

The entire process introduces students to the concept of voting and the responsibilities involved in being an elected official. They practice communication skills and public speaking. In the past, student council meetings have resulted in the installation of a friendship bench on the field, a Middle School dance, and fundraising for recess materials, among other things. Even our youngest delegates learn that they can make a difference for their school through cooperation and communication! 

School-Wide Shared Literacy through One School, One Book

The Jersey City campus of the French American Academy has launched a “One School, One Book” program for the 2023-2024 school year. This project is a powerful literacy and community-building initiative that asks students from Pre-K2 to upper elementary classes to read the same book every month, and to engage in school-wide conversations, projects, and activities related to the book. The books chosen relate to the themes of inclusion, justice, and kindness. Reflecting the bilingual nature of our school, of course we alternate French and English books! 

We kicked off the program in September by reading the book This is a School by John Schu. Older students visited some of the younger classes to read the book aloud, and other classes shared in discussions and reflections, completing artistic and written projects to synthesize their understanding of the book. For October, we are enjoying Pierre et le Loup, the French version of Peter and the Wolf, a story that features various characters contributing their own voices and cooperating to warn and save their friends. Stay tuned to discover our selections for upcoming months!

September 2023

Designing Classroom Layouts for Success

In our classrooms, we use a Responsive Classroom Design to create adaptive and inclusive spaces that meet diverse learning needs and promote community growth. Read our blog to discover how our teachers optimize students’ classroom spaces for enhanced learning and focus.

Read our Blog to Discover our Responsive Classroom Layouts>>

MAP Assessment

Our students in 1st to 8th grade have completed the MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) tests in English, math, reading and language usage. MAP assessment is given at the beginning and end of each school year. It equips our teachers with essential data to enhance instruction and make student focused decisions.

Here, you can discover what’s happening in our classrooms, exciting field trips, activities, and achievements. Join us as we showcase monthly highlights of our Elementary School.

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