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Cross Curricular Collaboration

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At Bixby, there are many classes and teachers. Each teacher has a specialization and may teach several different grades. It can be easy to view content areas as isolated, separate, and unrelated to each other. However, some of the richest learning happens when teachers collaborate to create cross-curricular units.

As the writing teacher, I am always seeking opportunities to use students’ background knowledge to generate writing topics. Last semester, the third graders wrote Ice Age stories. We discussed how to create a realistic setting for a fictional story. They used learned vocabulary, such as alcoves, from Geography to describe the setting. The conflict for their story might have been about hunting and gathering food, or facing a ferocious Ice Age animal, such as a short-faced bear or saber tooth tiger. It was a learning experience for me as the students informed me about all the things they learned in Geography class. Overall, the students had fun implementing the newly learned concepts, and I enjoyed hearing about the happenings of another class.

Presently, first graders are finishing up a cohesive study of Egypt. Almost all of the subjects are contributing. In Geography, they learned about the Nile and constructed boats. In Science, they dehydrated apples to simulate the mummification process and also made their own papyrus paper. Reading and Writing have been researching and studying different aspects of Egyptian culture such as religion, the pyramids, and mummification. Spanish contributed by studying the Mayan civilization and their pyramids, which first graders later compared and contrasted with Egyptian culture. Math worked with place value using Egyptian symbols. In Art class, first graders designed, created, and painted plaster cat mummies. They are even learning a song in Music class to be performed at this Friday’s assembly (as always, parents and family are welcome to join us!). When students are learning about a specific topic in many classes, the experience becomes immersive. They are surrounded by the content and truly accomplish deep learning.

On Friday, January 27th, First Graders will perform (in costume) the song they have been practicing in Music class and an Egyptian exhibit, curated by our first graders, will be on display in our library. It will include all the hard work that they have been completing in their classes. The exhibit will remain on display all next week as well. Please come visit anytime before or after school!

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