On March 6, 2021, and again on March 13, IslandWood staff and elementary teachers came together on Zoom to explore two science storylines related to local phenological phenomena (say that five times fast!). Teachers of K-2 students explored a storyline related to seasons changing from winter to spring, and developed strategies to make this curriculum relevant to students’ lives, families, neighborhoods and cultures. Teachers of 3-5 students explored a storyline related to dandelions, which posed the question, “What makes a weed a weed?” With integration of ELA “Read Alouds,” art, movement, and Social Studies, these science curricula supported teachers in bringing student- and community-centered science experiences to their students.
One teacher said, “The kids all had some background knowledge on dandelions, but also had their minds blown that the fuzzy plants they see are also dandelions! They made a lot more authentic and relevant connections to the scientific phenomena as a result.” Another noted, “Students began noticing the amount of dandelions everywhere. They also were able to see the connection between weeds and perseverance (our SEL theme) and they would come in with examples of how they saw a dandelion persevering on their way home or outside their window. They also used the information from this unit to talk about other plants they noticed growing and how some grew easier than others.”
To put it plainly, these teachers and their creative uses of the provided curriculum were… phenomenal!!!