Over the course of the school year, students explore seasonal themes and 4-5th grade curriculum through the overarching theme of Mindfulness.
In our language arts studies we read both fiction and nonfiction, participate in writing and literature circles, as well as create ongoing response and reflection journals while honing grammar and spelling skills. In math, students get to know numbers through engaging and relevant math activities as well as systematic introduction and practice of grade-specific math concepts. Students who are ready for sixth grade math integrate into our middle school classroom and students who need more support may integrate with a 3rd-4th grade group.
We learn about the Earth including ecosystems, energy, evolution and living organisms through gardening, aquaponics, cooking, experiments, creating things and observing nature closely. Throughout the year, our studies travel through United States and North Carolina history, economics, and governments with an emphasis on geography and culture. The arts will be integrated into everyday curriculum as well as through school performances and field trips.
Students participate in a weekly special classes, including music, drama, chess, and health education. Following personal passions, using integrated learning and design thinking, students work together to research, collaborate and create a contribution to each of the Odyssey Community Festivals. As the year progresses, the class chooses, designs, and implements a learning service project.
The students of the 4-5 class explore the curriculum through a variety of lesson formats: lectures, group projects, scientific inquiry, library and internet research, labs, data collection and analysis, field trips, and visiting experts. The small size of this classroom allows fluidity for students to be challenged at their individual level of need. Students share the same experiences, but are challenged to complete grade/ability appropriate tasks and assignments based upon their individual needs as learners. Each learner is challenged to work at an optimal rate of personal academic challenge. Elementary students practice the Essential Learning Skills across all subject areas on a daily basis. The curriculum is designed to help students use critical and creative thinking skills to make connections across the disciplines. As a class we will be practicing and striving to become experts at compassionate communication. As in all group settings, conflicts will arise, and we will be working on the awareness and the tools that are useful in meeting these challenges in a positive, kind and productive way.