With the final days of the school year upon us, Lower School classrooms are celebrating their Project Work in a variety of ways. Project topics are drawn from our social studies curriculum, but also rely on skills that students are practicing in literacy, math and enrichment areas. Dedicated Integrated Art, Science and Library times provide space for this type of cross-curricular work and opportunities for teachers to collaborate when planning long-term projects. Here are a few things we are celebrating this year!
For most of the year, Prekindergarten project work is emergent, meaning that it arises naturally out of the interests of the children in the classroom. Towards the end of the year, both Prek classes experimented with a pre-planned social studies topic appropriate for their age level, the home.
In the Narwhals room, students examined their homes, drew pictures, counted the residents of their homes and represented them with bar graphs, created blueprints and followed them to build a model of “Narwhal Street,” a collection of their home drawings. They culminated their hard work by displaying artifacts at arrival and enjoying a potluck breakfast!
In the Penguins room, students had been very interested in animals all year, and so they began their study by investigating animal homes. They focused on birds and bird nests, each student making a bird’s nest, choosing a type of bird and learning what their eggs look like, and making a model egg for their nest. They also designed their own dream homes, constructing them out of cardboard, covering them in paper mache and adding decorative details. This week, they invited parents into the classroom to walk around their “Penguin Village” and view the nests laying on a painted tree.
Kindergarteners study the school community each spring. This year, the project challenged students to use their math and science skills to create a large-scale model of our school complete with lights and an elevator. They also honed their literacy skills by interviewing teachers and staff. In Integrated Art, they created puppets of their chosen staff member.
Grade 1 students have spent the year immersed in a wide-ranging study of Brooklyn pizzerias. This investigation provided opportunities to understand wants and needs in our community, and find out where our food comes from and how it is grown. They invited parents to Mariella III, their own pizzeria, to show off all that they learned. Students performed the job of Gardener, Cook, Cashier, Server and more as they used their growing arithmetic and reading/writing skills to run their own restaurant.
Grade 2 students take their first “dip back in time” this year, learning about the history of the many people who have lived in New York City before us. Project work included a study of the Brooklyn Bridge and an investigation into the lives of the Lenape people. Earlier this spring, Grade 2 scholars culminated their Brooklyn Bridge study by putting on a play. A trip to Prospect Park this past week focused on the lives of the Lenape and how they used and identified native plants and animals. Grade 2 students also completed a long-term research project – People Who Changed the World. Each student chose a subject, ranging in time from Pocahontas all the way to Hillary Clinton. Students took notes on multiple written and digital sources, turned those notes into sentences and paragraphs, and wrote about their childhood, adulthood and legacy. In Integrated Art, each student created an art piece to go with their research project, and this work was shared with parents at morning arrival all week.
Grade 3 students spent the spring researching a South American country of their choice. They focused on identifying similarities and connections between countries, as well as celebrating their distinction. To present their learning, they each created an infographic with facts and figures about their country, a video travel brochure, an atlas of their country with major geographical features, animals and plant life, and their very first typed research report. They also cooked a representative dish from their country to share when parents were invited to view their work in the Library!
Grade 4 & 5 students spent the spring studying the American Revolution. They participated in book clubs focused on important figures from this time period to connect to events and causes leading up to the war. Students then completed reports independently as homework over three week’s time. They chose how to present their work – poster, diorama, acting out the role of the person – and modeled busts of each figure in Integrated Art. Parents were invited to a celebrated on the 8th floor to view their detailed presentations. 4th and 5th graders also enjoyed a day trip to Old Beth Page Village to learn more about life in colonial times.
Thank you for reading all year! We’ll be back in the fall with more joyful learning to share. Have a wonderful summer!
Jennifer Lees & the faculty and staff of Williamsburg Northside