Our 6th grade Social Studies curriculum focuses on World Cultures. Here we learn about the 5 Themes of Geography that can be used to describe any place that we study, and in general, our studies help us to understand and respect others around the world. To put student learning into practice we visit our Nation's Capital, Washington D.C., each year. Students are able to take their knowledge from the classroom and apply it to their own culture and society. The importance of our Nation's Capital is stressed, and students can see first-hand the countless opportunities we have to explore in our own country. Our goal as educators is for students to challenge themselves to explore areas that they may not typically be interested in, with an outcome of respect for the discipline. I am going to use my virtual field trip as an introductory lesson to what our Nation's Capital has to offer, before we are able to visit Washington D.C.
Throughout the year in World Cultures, and especially during this trip, students develop their respectful and ethical minds. Our actual trip occurs at the end of the year, where students have the knowledge to build and understand what is offered at the National Mall, such as museums and monuments. Teachers assign student groups with a maximum of 5 students and 1 chaperone, the Mall boundaries, and time frame. Students plan their entire trip with their group from day one, using their respectful minds as well as their synthesizing minds to sift through the countless things that DC has to offer. The students develop their respectful and ethical minds by collaborating and comprising on where to go and when. Students respect and value all group members’ thoughts and interests throughout the planning process in efforts to to provide a fun learning experience for all! They are encouraged to challenge and lengthen their comfort zones, to develop respect for all disciplines.
An overall life lesson on respect is developed during this experience. This is mainly the respect for what our country has to offer, the freedom we share, and the men and women who made it all happen. Students apply their respect directly to their behavior in public, at monuments, and within the museums. Their ethical and respectful behavior is developed throughout our study on world cultures, and our focus on respect for all disciplines in school. By the end of the trip, students are amazed at what their group was able to plan and accomplish together, all while leaving them with numerous life lessons and a new found knowledge of what our great country has to offer.
God Bless America!