In first grade at ISD, Yulha and her classmates spent a day at the Wild Park in Grafenberger Wald. They visited animals in their natural habitats, and Yulha loved feeding the deer a veggie mix she and her classmates had prepared ahead of time.
Later, back at school, Yulha chose owls as an animal she would like to know more about. She wrote and illustrated a book titled “All About Owls”, and then used the Puppet Pals software to create an animated video from her book.
Using all she had learned, Yulha then recorded a podcast about owls, and was very pleased to be asked to narrate a webcast for her class, explaining what podcasts are to the families of the first graders.
Yulha tells all of this in an excited rush of words, and is keen to pull out her book and her Ipad to show her work. Briefly, she mentions that these activities were part of her Unit of Inquiry called “Sharing the Planet”, but mostly, she’s thrilled to share her projects and talk about what she’s learned about owls.
Units of Inquiry allow ISD students explore concepts in-depth over time and across traditional school subjects. Projects like Yulha’s challenge children, building critical skills in research, writing, illustration and presentation, while providing opportunities to work independently and to collaborate in teams.
Creating computer animations, podcasts and webcasts integrates technology into the elementary school curriculum in practical realife ways to foster skills and confidence.
Yulha’s teachers at ISD know these things well. They construct her activities very thoughtfully, using progressive teaching and learning methods and technologies. They know that Yulha is developing the skills and passion for lifelong learning.
But Yulha doesn’t really think about all that. School is lots of fun, she says simply, and she just loves being in first grade.