This week, our third graders transformed into teaching experts, as they showcased newly acquired expertise in the area of Chicago History. Their authentic audience, our very own SK class, was able to connect this teaching to their own Chicago learning and experience the benefits of this integration together.
Our 3rd-grade social studies standards guide us to focus on communities and how significant people, events and developments have shaped those communities over time. Before they dive into studies of specific communities in Chicago, the 3rd graders embarked on a study of our own Chicago history, using the city’s flag as a primary resource. After learning about how the stars and stripes on the flag represent Fort Dearborn, the World’s Fair, the Century of Progress, the Chicago Fire and the Chicago River, students chose a topic to research further. The 3rd-graders read non-fiction materials to gather more information and rounded out their studies at the Chicago History Museum. Using the boxes and bullets strategy to take and gather notes helped students create thoughtful culminating projects about these significant events in Chicago’s history.
Presenting this new learning to the senior kindergartners allowed some of our youngest learners to make connections to their own learning about Chicago. They were able to make the bridge between events in Chicago history and the study of Chicago as we know it today. SK students worked toward the learning target of understanding the roles and responsibilities of individuals who make up a community. In doing so, they focused on their family, classroom and school communities before beginning a deeper study of Chicago. Inquiry and reasoning skills helped students understand how parts of our Chicago history, like the native Potowatomi, explorers, first settlers and Fort Dearborn contribute to modern-day Chicago. SK students were able to tour Chicago, learn about iconic buildings, study the Chicago River, and even create a mini skyline in their classroom.
It was amazing to see the engaged kindergartners, as they listened to third graders teaching them about content that felt familiar! Having background already allowed the young learners to contribute meaningfully and demonstrate their competence in our city. Affording students authentic learning experiences, such as this, helps form lasting connections, make meaning of new content, and create intention and reflection in learning.
Head of Lower School
Head of Early Childhood