Integration Example:
My Neighborhood

Core question: How do I know my neighborhood?

  • Math: How can a neighborhood be measured and described with numbers?
  • Social Studies: What is the history and community of my neighborhood?
  • Science: What are the natural processes in my neighborhood?
  • Arts: How does a neighborhood inspire art?
  • Language Arts: What stories, writings, and poetry about my neighborhood can I find and create?

The purpose of studying our neighborhood is to realize that knowledge is not always about things remote from our own experience. History did not take place only hundreds of years ago. Other cultures do not exist only in far away places. Science is happening in the backyard. Art is on display all around us, not just in Paris or Istanbul or Tokyo. Authors may live nearby, and their stories are fed by their own community.

my neighborhood

The process of learning can then begin just by stepping outside the door. What do we notice there, and what questions could we ask about it? How was the land shaped over time? What is growing there, and why? We can also see our neighbors, the familiar people in our lives as sources of stories and knowledge and expertise. Students learn the practice of gathering an oral history by asking questions designed to elicit powerful memories. The "neighborhood" in the modern world is huge and disparate. We can carry on conversations across great distances, and feel close to people through ties other than place.

This idea of neighborhood can change (and is changing) the way we see the world because it is based on the essential idea of connection. Everything that happens in a neighborhood affects everything else. The information that we gather from the world should lead us into a sense of compassion and belonging. Then our school community becomes a bridge to a much larger sense of identity in the world.

quotesThe academics are taught in an imaginitive way; they've proven that you don't need worksheets and drills to excel in school."

–A Children's School Parent

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