(PRWEB) March 27, 2014 -- In Ms. Caitlin Lopata’s fourth grade class at Tioga School in Bensenville, IL, students studied the Revolutionary War and learned about the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere, the Battle of Yorktown and the tension in Philadelphia between British loyalists and Washington’s rebel army.
They read a historical fiction book in class and then wrote papers taking on the perspective of soldiers, spies, seamstresses, or nurses and how they contributed to the victory over the British.
“I am teaching completely different than how I did when I started five years ago,” Ms. Lopata said. “This is so much more rigorous. We never had in-depth conversations about books. We stay on topics longer and kids like that.”
Elementary curriculum now weaves together social studies, English language arts, and science. And teachers have never had more control. Instead of following learning standards that guided how much material needed to be covered by grade, they have time to examine subjects in depth, introduce higher level vocabulary and encourage critical thinking.
Instead of one textbook, the teachers draw on many sources including historical fiction, non-fiction articles, videos and websites.
“The old 4th grade textbook only focused on students learning the 50 states. There was very little about history and how America came to be. While planning the curriculum, we made sure to incorporate exciting topics and events that students would be interested in.”
“I love teaching so much more. Every week is something different,” she said.
Terry Ryan, Bensenville School District, http://www.bsd2.org, +1 630-766-5940 Ext: 1105, [email protected]