Elementary School






First Grade

First Grade

First Grade is the year of reading where your child will become a more independent reader! It is amazing to watch the children grow in knowledge and love for Reading as they build on what they learned in Kindergarten and gain important new skills. They will continue to learn and practice rules for recognizing the sounds that make up words and will be able to sound out more complex words.

Your First Grader will also learn to add, count, subtract, learn geography skills, and experiment with Science!

Meet the Teacher

Stephanie GamelHello, I am Mrs. Stephanie Gamel, the First Grade Teacher here at Word of Life Christian Academy. I love teaching! I feel that God has called me to invest my life into the lives of children and to partner with parents in their repspnsibility to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart form it.” Proverbs 22:6.

First Grade provides yet another year for children to grow academically, spiritually, socially, and physically. Students grow academically in each subject as we implement methods that support the students’ learning styles. Methods include, but are not limited to, direct classroom instruction one-on-one assistance, small group interactions, textbook lessons, hands-on-learning activities, independent learning centers, field trips, and the use of songs and music.

Students grow spiritually as we plant the seeds of God’s word in the fertile soil of their hearts. Along with a weekly Scripture memory verse, students will hide God’s word in their heart by singing Scripture songs. Students grow socially as they learn to apply the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) to their daily life and interactions with others.

Lastly, we encourage students to eat healthful snacks and lunches for good nutrition, and provide time for physical exercise during recess and P.E. in order to strengthen their physical bodies.
L uke 2:52 says “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” This verse is my pray for each student. Let us pray it together every day and see how God works in your child’s life this year!


ReadingAbekaFun with Pets, Tiptoes, Stepping Stones, Secrets and Surprises, The Bridge Book, Animals in the Great Outdoors, Kind and Brave, Aesop's Fables, Strong and True, Down by the Sea
PhonicsAbekaLetters & Sounds 1, Handbook for Reading
Language ArtsAbekaLanguage 1
SpellingAbekaSpelling & Poetry 1
ArithmeticAbekaArithmetic 1
WritingAbekaWriting w/Phonics 1 (Manuscript)
ScienceAbekaPurposeful Design Science 1
ArtAbekaReadiness Skills K, Art Projects K
HistoryAbekaMy America and My World
BibleACSIPurposeful Design Bible Grade 1

Class Activities

Our classroom is an interactive atomopshere. The children have hands on learning approach to math, science and history. We are active in group discussions as we learn about various skills. In the Fall we make applesauce after learning about apples in math and science.

Our Fields trips help to bring the learning alive. We go to the Zoo to classify the animals that we have learned in science, go to museums to see History we have learned. This fall we went to the Cox Farms! What an adventure we have in First Grade.

Second Grade

Second Grade

Throughout second grade, students are challenged to develop academically, socially and emotionally. Second grade is a year that the students learn to work more independently. It is a year to master the skills that were taught in first grade. Second graders are encouraged to use their problem solving skills on a daily basis.

Students continue to develop reading skills with an emphasis on increasing fluency and comprehension. Small reading groups are held four days a week. In this small group setting, the students learn many self-correcting strategies that they can use when reading independently. They also spend time retelling stories, increasing comprehension. This will benefit the students when they get to third grade, and their reading material becomes longer and more difficult.

Students’ writing skills improve during second grade through the use of the writing process. They will learn to write well-organized expository paragraphs, as well as creative writings and poetry. Our curriculum is designed to exceed state standards in each of the following areas: Language Arts, mathematics, Bible, science, social studies and penmanship. Second graders are encouraged to handle conflict in a Christ-like manner, accept responsibility for their own actions, and learn from their mistakes.

Meet the Teacher

Ms williams1My name is Jennifer Williams and I teach second grade. This is my 15th year teaching second grade! I was born in Washington D.C. as a preacher’s kid and an Army brat. We moved often as I was growing up, living in California, New York, and many states in between! I graduated from high school in Alexandria, Va. and headed to University of Tampa, in Florida, where I received my bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. I worked in that field with juvenile delinquents and adult felons until I had my children. After I had my daughter, I became a stay-at-home mom. I LOVED being a mom, and felt a pull on my heart to go back to school to become a teacher. I entered University of South Florida and earned a degree in Elementary Education. I started working in the public school system in Florida as a part time reading specialist, then found myself teaching 2nd grade at a Christian School. I taught at that school for 13 years. In 2012, my husband and I felt God leading us from Florida and toward the Northern Virginia area. And that is how I wound up teaching here!

I am married to a wonderful man, and have two terrific children. My husband, Dennis, is a pastor working at WAVA radio station. My daughter, Stephanie, is a hair stylist in Melbourne, Florida and my son, Joey, is a college student at University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida.

I found myself in the teaching profession because of my love for children. “Teaching the minds, reaching the hearts” is my goal for every student I am blessed to have in my class. I read a quote once that said, “I call my students ‘my kids’ because in our year together they aren’t just kids on my class list. They become a part of my heart!” I love that quote because it is so very true! I love to have fun with “my kids”, watching them grow physically, academically and spiritually.


Second grade is a year of highly visible progress in reading and language arts. We use the ABEKA curriculum for reading, phonics and spelling. We use Shirley English for writing and grammar. The major milestones in second grade reading and language arts are:

• Developing an extensive sight word vocabulary
• Applying more complex phonics strategies
• Writing competently for many purposes
• Using punctuation appropriately
• Experiencing a variety of literary genres

Second grade math is filled with new material that is built on prior learning and encourages students to think through new concepts. Concepts taught or reviewed include counting, place value, addition and subtraction, money, time, graphs, simple geometry, multiplication and division, and Roman numerals. Story problems are used to provide practice in using skills and facts learned and are based on concrete situations.

ReadingAbekaStory Tree, Treasure Chest, Hidden Treasure, No Longer A Nobody, Paths of Gold, Sunshine Meadows, Silver Sails, Open Skies, Growing up where Jesus Lived, All Kinds of Animals
PhonicsAbekaLetters & Sounds 2, Handbook for Reading
SpellingAbekaSpelling and Poetry 2
ArithmeticAbekaArithmetic 2
WritingAbekaWriting w/Phonics 2 (Cursive)
ScienceACSIPurposeful Design Science Level 2
HistoryAbekaOur America and Our World Level 2
BibleACSIPurposeful Design Bible 2
Language ArtsShurley EnglishShurley English 2

Class Activities

Second graders experience whole group, small group and independent activities in all subject areas. The use of Smart Board technology is used in most subject areas. The students play interactive games on the Smart Board when learning new concepts or reviewing for a test. The Smart Board is used for math, science, language arts, and Bible lessons.

Learning centers are set up around the room while reading groups are meeting. Students are paired up to work on science activities, language arts activities, art activities and much more. Small reading groups meet four times each week. This small group setting gives students a chance to work on reading fluency, self-correcting strategies, and comprehension in a comfortable setting. Second graders will often work in groups to solve problems. This not only teaches problem solving skills, but teaches the students how to compromise.

When visiting our classroom, you might see the students using quills and ink for their writing while studying Colonial America. You may see the students working on dioramas as a book report. You would see students using sign language when singing worship songs.

Third Grade

Third Grade

Third grade is one of the odd numbered years in school. The odd years are the years of intense growth and development in all areas of a child’s life. While there is some review of second grade skills, many of the skills and content presented in third grade are new to students. It is a pivotal year for many children. The teacher works to understand each child’s needs and provide appropriate learning experiences, motivation, variety, creativity, and connections to real life.

Third graders work on being more responsible; completing work on time, behaving appropriately, turning work in on time, and following school and classroom rules. Students learn life skills, such as maintaining a positive attitude, being cooperative, caring for others, honesty, perseverance, patience, and problem solving. They also build self confidence through success in their academics.

The Bible is the standard; the infallible point of reference for our lives. Our prayer and vision for these students is their salvation and spiritual maturity. Parents and teachers work together to help children develop the kind of worldview that leads to holy and responsible life choices.

Meet the Teacher

Ms Carten1My name is Gail Carten and I am the Third Grade Teacher. I graduated from James Madison University in 1978 with a degree in Early Childhood Education and began teaching 3rd Grade in Loudoun County.

I have taught in Public Schools, Christian Schools and Home Schools, have substituted or taught every grade K-8th Grade and taught Elementary Music, Middle School Choir and High School Praise Band. I have also served as Assistant to the Principal in a K-8th Grade Christian School and as Elementary Team Leader.

I have lived in Arlington, VA. all my life. My parents were both teachers. I grew up going to church and gave my heart to Jesus when I was 18 years old. I have four beautiful children, ages 21-29, two of which graduated from James Madison University and two which are completing their degree in May 2015.

My hobbies are singing, oil painting and genealogy.

The atmosphere in Third Grade is built on the principles of respect, love of the Father and diligence. Our class verse is: Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

“Tell me and I will forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Benjamin Franklin


In third grade, students transition from learning to read to reading to learn. The foundation of phonics laid in Kindergarten – Second Grade will now serve to support their quest for knowledge. The math program is an interactive, manipulative based curriculum. It provides many opportunities for practicing skills and includes daily fact practice and homework. In science, students participate in observations, experiments, games and activities designed to provide a foundation for learning the content and to help them develop an appreciation for God’s creation. In history, we study people who were important to the development and growth of our country and how God used them. The English program, Shurley English, focuses on the parts of speech and developing comprehensive writing skills. In addition, students have weekly spelling lists and challenge words.

Third Grade students also participate in the ACSI Spelling Bee, Geography Bee and Math Olympics.

ReadingBJU PressReading 3A Student Text Reading 3B Student TextPaths of Gold, Sunshine Meadows, Silver Sails, Open Skies, Growing up where Jesus Lived, All Kinds of Animals
Language Arts Shurley EnglishShurley English Level 3
SpellingACSIPurposeful Design
MathSaxonSaxon Math Intermediate 3
PenmanshipAbekaPenmanship 3
ScienceACSIPurposeful Design Level 3 Science
HistoryAbekaOur American Heritage
BibleACSIChrist and His Church

Class Activities

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Fourth Grade

Fourth Grade

Fourth grade is a critical time in a student’s academic life. It is important for them to build good study habits as a foundation that they can take with them throughout their academic career. The way children view themselves academically has a direct impact on their performance so their success can have a lasting impact. Giving them tools to succeed, like proper study habits, and speaking life into them daily, will help them succeed as they progress through each grade.

Meet the Teacher

Michelle Banks My name is Michelle Banks and I am the fourth grade teacher. I am a graduate of the University of Maryland with a B.A in History and Masters degree in Education. I have been teaching for over twenty years in public, and private but for the past 10 years have primarily taught in Christian Schools. I have been blessed to have taught Elementary, Middle, and High School students. I also had an administrative role in helping Ph.D students in the job market. I always wanted to pursue education as a major but Christian Eduction is God’s calling in my life and I have enjoyed watching students grow academically and spirtually.

I am blessed to have two children ages 22 and 25 who have benefited greatly from Christian Education. They were able to experience academic and spiritual excellence from pre-school through high school.

I am a Maryland native who was raised my two great parents. My father is a pastor and my mother is also a teacher. When I am not teaching I love to play the violin with various orchestras and string ensembles in Fairfax County as well as volunteer as a docent at the Museum of American History.

My prayer for each student is that as they grow academically, and they also come to “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that they may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:18-19


I like to enhance our challenging curriculum by integrating technologies throughout each subject. I use Smart Board Resources and an interactive Whiteboard to make sure each child’s learning style is addressed in my lessons. The students use it to practice their spelling words hands-on as opposed to the say-spell-say method. I like to reinforce science objectives by presenting short videos or concept animation via the Smart Board. I also use it in Math to easily introduce new Math Skills. One of the students’ favorite thing to do is reviewing for tests with an interactive jeopardy game.

Being able to integrate this technology into my classroom has enabled me to reach my technology-driven students more quickly and effectively.

ReadingBJU PressI Met You in a Story
Language Arts Shurley EnglishEnglish Made Easy 4
PenmanshipAbekaPenmanship Mastery
SpellingBJU PressSpelling, Vocabulary & Poetry 4
ArithmeticSaxonIntermediate 4
ScienceACSISystem Science Level 4
HistoryAbekaThe History of Our United States
BibleACSIBible 4

Class Activities

Classroom Activities

Academics are an important part of their purpose. Classroom activities include:
Smart Board resources for hands-on math lessons, animated clips and hands-on activities and demonstrations to supplement a science concept.

If you walk by while we are having a science lesson, you may see the students huddled around a table trying to see if yeast is living. Watch out! It stinks because there are different mixtures in water bottles with balloons covering the top. The kids are excited to see if the balloons expand right away or over time.

On the other hand, stop by during history and witness the class surrounding me on the carpet while reading and discussing the lesson for the day. Sometimes they even act out what they’ve learned while they are playing outside for recess.

Field Trips

Field trips are great fun and a wonderful opportunity to reinforce the concepts in the curriculum.

Recently, I took the students to Mt. Vernon to learn about George Washington and life on a plantation. While looking through the gardens, the students yelled for me to join them in inspecting something on the ground. They found a worm, a decomposer. We had just learned about decomposers! Although unplanned, it was wonderful to quiz them on the concepts we’d learned.

Other field trips we’ve taken include various museums throughout the DC area and a school-wide trip to Jamestown.

Fifth Grade

Fifth Grade

Fifth Grade is a transitional year between Elementary and Middle School. The students must be able to master their basic skills in order to produce at the next level. The students will learn to manage their time wisely. This will help them to be prepared for each subject and the amount of time needed for mastery. They will also learn different study skills which will be helpful throughout their lives.

Meet the Teacher

Mr Cross1My name is Cornelius Cross; I have been teaching at Word of Life Christian Academy for about 15 years and have taught at different grade levels throughout the academy. Currently I am the Fifth Grade Teacher, Middle School Bible Instructor and also serve as the Department Head and in other capacities in the school.

I graduated from Kansas State University and Cameron University with a degree in Elementary Education, Health and Physical Education, and a minor in Military Science. I served three years in the military, and I use my military experience to equip the students for success.

I enjoy leading the morning worship, the student praise teams and utilizing chapel and worship services to inspire and challenge the students to develop Godly character and to trust and seek God wholeheartedly.


We have a wonderful curriculum at WOLCA. The recent changes made within the core subjects are more challenging than the previous material. The students are benefiting from the diversity of the content. The curriculum allows the students to be better prepared for the new testing procedures adopted by the academy.

ReadingBJU PressPages in Our Heads
Language Arts Shurley EnglishEnglish Made Easy 5
SpellingBJU PressSpelling, Vocabulary & Peotry 5
ArithmeticSaxonIntermediate 5
ScienceACSISystem Science Level 5
HistoryAbekaOld World History & Geography
BibleACSIBible 5 Christ and My Choices

Class Activities