The K-3 curriculum has been developed around three central themes: Early American Life; Native American Indians; and Art and Science. Students entering the program in first grade remain in it for three years. The three themes are rotated during the three years to prevent repetition for the students attending during first through third grades.
The central theme for the 1997-1998 school year will be Art and Science.
Maskerade—“My Self—And No other”
will combine the meanings of diversity and multiculturalism, attitudes toward diversity and multiculturalism, and multicultural activities with the Art and Science TAG curriculum (developing only the art component for this unit). Requiring twenty weekly TAG sessions, this unit could be accomplished in five weeks in the self-contained classroom.
Maskerade—“ My Self—And No Other”
is a lengthy title. It will be termed
for expeditiousness and simplicity.
Utilizing the artist’s notebook/sketchbook as a format for recording observations, discoveries, puzzlements, determinations, and conclusions the students will insert information on a weekly basis. This artist’s notebook, an integral component of
, will become a written and illustrated depiction of the student, his world, and the world through his own eyes.
Each student will receive an unlined blank book. Throughout the course of this unit they will follow a process of making observations, taking time to reflect upon their observations, repeating the observation process, and recording their thoughts. Keeping a notebook facilitates thinking. It is a system of examining what appears to be obvious, formulating theories, looking carefully again and reassessing assumptions. It is an occasion to test one’s experiences against those of others, to work one’s way through questions, employing critical thinking with genuine interest and determined intent. It is an avenue for establishing a separate identity, revealing an observant eye, and gathering knowledge about how the world is put together.
The learner is encouraged to put into written form items of interest, capturing the observation in language and fostering verbal development. The notebook will be evidence that curriculum concepts have been understood and that independent thinking has occurred. Entries will include illuminations stimulating visual thinking and perceptual processes. Drawings included in the notebooks are not evaluated on artistic ability. They are part of the documentation process and should be regarded as such. For characteristically non-verbal students graphic notes are essential to communication. The teacher may record thoughts dictated by the student.