Barnesville’s second grade classroom showcased Japanese art, literature, geography, music, and other student work related to an extended cross-curricular study of the islands of Japan. Dressed in kimonos and karate uniforms, second graders took their parents on a virtual tour of Japan, sharing projects that reflected various aspects of life there.
Second Grade Teacher Mrs. Blakely used the general theme of Japan go build learning experiences related to the second grade curriculum across all of the various subject areas. For instance, folding Origami reinforced basic geometry concepts. Singing familiar American songs in Japanese provided basic numbers and counting vocabulary used to discuss currency. Geography lessons were combined with creative writing about an imagined vacations in different parts of Japan, and watercolor paintings of cherry blossoms were described in haiku poems.
Students presented traditional stories through Kamishibai Paper Theater and served their parents tea with traditional bows as a sign of respect. They also sang and performed a traditional fan dance to Sakura, a Japanese folk song that celebrates the beauty of cherry blossoms.
“The students were excited to show their parents the Bonsai trees,” Mrs. Blakely said. “The process is an artistic one. It yielded a creative outlet in the children as well as an opportunity to reinforce sustainability. Making the bonsai trees drew a direct parallel supporting the Barnesville connection to nature and our emphasis on environmental awareness.”
The unit of Japan is a capstone event for second grade, and one of Barnesville’s signature cross-curricular projects where students make connections across subjects.
Barnesville School of Arts & Sciences is an independent private school in Montgomery County, Maryland offering innovative preschool through 8th grade programs. Cross-curricular teaching encourages students to explore how subjects relate to one another, helping them to make connections that spark inquiry and deepen understanding. Small classes enable skilled teachers to engage each child in an academically challenging environment. Our 30-acre campus is our extended classroom, and we integrate nature into everyday learning.