This Land is Our Land (Social Studies): First graders learn about the democratic principles our nation stands for through an investigation of American symbols, leaders, and songs. Bo, President Obama’s dog, introduces the expedition and takes students on a tour of the White House. Students create American symbol trading cards, identify character traits that make a good leader, and organize a school-wide vote to select a school mascot. A final celebration features a performance of American songs, along with students’ own “This School is Our School” with lyrics that show school spirit and pride.
Once Upon a Time (Building with the Three Little Pigs) (ELA/Science): First graders explore the magical world of traditional tales, focusing on The Three Little Pigs and its many variants. The classroom becomes a stage for students to retell, recite, sing, and act out stories, as they learn about story structure and compare and contrast story elements. The fairy tale inspires a scientific investigation into different kinds of building materials and their uses. An in-depth study of Peter and the Wolf helps student explore how musical themes can represent a character. The expedition culminates in a musical fairy tale performance. Students practice the five music processes as they help write a script, plan a musical score, design the set, create props, rehearse, and perform for their families and the school community.
It’s Alive! (Science): How does food get to our farmer’s markets, our stores, our restaurants and finally our plates? Students study the path that food travels before getting to us, the consumer. As researchers, first graders investigate living and nonliving things, the life cycle, and ways consumers affect the choices that producers make. Throughout the expedition, students do fieldwork at farms, farmer’s markets, supermarkets, and local restaurants. They plant and tend to a school garden. They learn and perform songs and dances about growing things, gardens, and life cycles.
Now and Long Ago (Social Studies): How did people listen to music long ago when there were no I-pods or computers? Students discover the answers to this question, and others, when they interview members of a local senior center about what life was like when they were growing up. Students look at their school community—Brighton—now and long ago. They examine historical photographs to discover the ways people lived and got around on Market Street a hundred years ago. As a final project, students create a calendar or class book comparing children’s lives today with the seniors’ lives when they were little. A culminating celebration features an intergenerational sharing of favorite songs and dances from now and long ago.