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Expeditions at G&P

Expeditions at G&P
Posted on 02/02/2016
backyardBy Kathy Greeley, ELA Coach

The word “expedition” conjures up an image of a bearded explorer with a heavy backpack full of instruments and tools needed to explore an unknown territory. You may think of Lewis & Clark, canoeing down the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean or Robert Peary and Matthew Henson trekking to the North Pole. So you may wonder, when you hear that we do “expeditions” at Graham and Parks if you need to go buy your child a tent and a sleeping bag!

Don’t worry, you don’t need to invest in any camping supplies. But, like Lewis & Clark, a learning expedition for children is an exploration into unknown territory. At G&P, teachers develop long-term, in-depth studies that are experiential and interdisciplinary. An expedition also involves learning from experts in our community, doing field work, and creating a high quality final project that demonstrates understanding of key skills and content, and ideally contributes to our community.

field guideSo what does it really look like? Our first graders will soon be starting their “Backyard Beasts” expedition. In order to learn about vertebrates, they will visit Fresh Pond and meet with Ranger Jean about the wide varieties of animals we have in our own backyards. They will learn how do a scientific drawing of an animal with a renowned nature illustrator. They will then write, record, and publish nonfiction stories that teach others about these beasts. Second graders are in the middle of their expedition on the different groups of people who make up America. They are visiting local restaurants that were started by recent immigrants. Not only will they enjoy a good meal, they will interview the owners about their experience and write restaurant reviews to put their persuasive writing skills to good use.

I wish there were space to share all the wonderful work our teachers and students are doing, but we would need more than just this newsletter to do that!