The Drachen Foundation encouraged us to share how University Child Development School (UCDS) used kites in our Art, Design & Technology, and Science classrooms. We reflected on how kites connected ideas and concepts across the school curriculum.
Each year at UCDS, teachers collaboratively select a school-wide concept that forms the overarching theme for that year’s curriculum. The theme is not topic-specific but is a big, broad-ranging concept or idea that can relate to a multitude of subject areas. Inspired by the theme, students and teachers, including specialists, collaborate with each other forming a community of learners that are building a common language and experience. Benchmarks and skill development are embedded in the rich theme experience. Students at all levels and teachers are learning, experimenting, experiencing, and synthesizing an idea with a common thematic language. Two past themes, “Design” and “Lift,” featured kites in the year-long thematic curriculum.
The “Design” School Year
In the “Design” school year, first, second, and third grade students were swept up in a whirlwind cross-curricular study of wind and weather in the Art, Science, and Design & Technology specialty programs. In this collaborative example, the theme of design and the topic of wind were the common thread that tied together these interdisciplinary projects. In the classroom, students heard the read-aloud Windblowne, a story of a young boy and his kite flying adventures. The specialists brainstormed how concepts, skills, and processes could center on wind, weather, and kites in Art, Design & Technology, and Science classes.