Each year, the elementary teaching teams develop a social studies theme, and they build an interdisciplinary curriculum around this theme incorporating language arts, math, science, the arts, and community. Many of the skills needed to be successful in the academic disciplines intersect; the fluid nature of a theme-driven curriculum gives teachers the flexibility to teach and reinforce these skills across the curriculum. Read on to learn more about this year’s themes!
The three preschool teachers, Jeanny, Marina, and Connie’s theme for the preschool students is Here we grow! Their specific intentions for this year are to nurture joy and build community.
This year in kindergarten, Susan and Victoria will guide the students in Affirming Diversity Together. As new members of the Waverly learning community, the children’s initial kindergarten experiences will be crafted through their online engagement with their teachers and each other. There will be ample time for hands-on exploration and play during the day.
Oonagh and Maria’s kindergarten and first grade students will be learning all about Forest Ecosystems. They plan to delve into this wonderful theme through reading, writing, art, and science.
Brittany and Yanndery’s first and second grade classroom’s theme is rooted in Storytelling. Students will explore family stories and stories of ancestry. They will also explore the many ways stories are told, through music, art, and spoken and written stories. Students and teachers will explore the diverse stories of individuals and communities throughout our world.
Rains and Rebecca’s second and third grade classroom will explore Storytelling and Systems: How we understand and organize our world. Students will read and learn about different storytelling traditions, ranging from oral to written to told through art. Storytelling will be a point of entry to affirm the students’ own stories and identities and learn more about each other and themselves. These students will also study systems – essentially, structures that determine the way things are connected and organize our world. Students will learn about different systems through science and nature, engineering, and government, and talk about how systems dictate the power structures in society.
Kevin and Megan’s fourth grade class will study California Diversity, its land, and people. Throughout its history, California has been a destination for people from all over the world, with its bountiful coastline, Central Valley ripe for farming, snow-capped mountains, dense pine forests, expansive desert, and rivers filled with the promise of gold. Students will learn about California’s history and celebrate the diversity of people and cultures.
Both Stina and Sahaj’s and Molly and Emily’s fifth and sixth grade classes will share the same theme, Exploration: From Sea to Shining Sea. Both classrooms will be exploring cultural interactions in early American history, with an emphasis on the perspectives and experiences of people who have been largely left out of the “traditional” narratives. Their studies will lead them in explorations through science, math, literature, writing, and art, as well as personal exploration of self and each other’s beliefs.