Woodland’s Mindful Curators

Woodland’s Mindful Curators
Tanya Spishak

This month, Humanities at Woodland is highlighted from Kindergarten through 8th grade. Please read about our Mindful Curators.


Curation Experience
The kindergarten family project integrates math, writing, reading, listening, and speaking through various concepts and applied skills. From reading books about families and sharing our favorite family traditions, to writing about our family homes and designing a blueprint and 3D model of one important room, kindergarten students explore what family means to each of them on a deep academic and emotional level.

Up next:  Kindergarten explores how Woodland School is a nature preserve for many local animals and birds and how to protect this environment.

Humanities Kindergarten


First Grade

Curation Experience
First grade kicked off our cultural awareness unit by exploring their family heritage and creating a ‘heritage doll.’ Students learned about one another's cultures which broaden students' insights and aids in understanding others’ traditions and family values. Students shared the photos, drawings, and other artifacts they included on their heritage doll with their first grade peers.

Up next:  First grade will use the Jane Goodall Roots and Shoots model for their service learning project which includes mapping out our community, finding a need, and putting together a campaign or project.

Humanities First Grade 1


Humanities First Grade 2


Second Grade

Curation Experience
Second Grade delved into their East Coast immigration studies. They discovered why there was such a huge influx of immigrants in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s from Europe to America. Students read mentor texts, saw videos of immigrant children, and learned from parents who visited the classroom to shared their immigration journeys.  The culmination of this unit was a performance by the second grade students of the play, “The Golden Door,” a story about a Russian family’s journey to America in the early 1900’s. 

Up next:  Second grade will explore West Coast immigration. Along with studying mentor texts, the students will relive the West Coast immigrants experience with a field trip to Angel Island and conclude the unit with a West Coast immigration play and an international potluck representing the diversity of the class via food. 

Humanities Second Grade


Third Grade

Curation Experience
Third grade studied what it would be like to live with the Ohlone, a group of people native to the Bay Area. Students watched informational videos, read and took notes from various sources, and took a field trip to explore the natural resources the Ohlone used. To culminate, students chose a way to display their learning, then had an exhibition open to their families and the school community. Some students made 3D diagrams using materials to represent the natural resources the Ohlone used and others created slideshows exhibiting all the knowledge they gained.

Up next:  Third grade will continue thinking about natural resources, this time throughout all of California, as they work in smaller groups to study native peoples from one of four regions: Coastal, Central Valley, Mountains, or Desert.

Humanities Third Grade 2
Humanities Third Grade 1
Humanities Third Grade 3


Fourth Grade

Curation Experience
A person’s view of the world is based on their culture and background. As fourth grade students explored the many facets of California and the character traits of individuals who have impacted communities, the role of culture and perception was constantly scrutinized. To bring culture to life in real time, fourth grade students recently engaged in a Cultural Exchange, sharing their backgrounds, traditions, history, and values with their fellow students. After planning a formal lesson and creating a corresponding assessment to check for learning, students shared their culture with a partner and later more broadly with their fellow classmates. Students gained an array of knowledge and information, from Indian naming ceremonies and learning how to play the dreidel, to eating Canadian and German treats, and playing new card games. Post-event reflections showed that students gained insights into our global community, helping them better understand not only their classmates but how culture could impact perception.

Up next:  Fourth grade will study, write about, and bring to life famous (and infamous) people who have impacted California in their Living Museum.

Humanities Fourth Grade


Fifth Grade

Curation Experience
Our fifth grade class has been studying the root causes of the American Revolution, the war itself, and the underlying effects it has brought to modern America. The ideals documented in the wake of the Revolutionary War serve as the foundation for our exploration of American History. Students have been tasked with curating a list of current events for each of the original 10 amendments to the Constitution. By examining the Bill of Rights through a modern lens, we are hoping to ensure that our democratic experiment continues to progress towards the ideal of a "more perfect union."

Up Next: Fifth grade will analyze how westward expansion changed the United States geographically, demographically, politically, and militarily. Students will examine the concept of manifest destiny and participate in a simulation of Americans moving west.

Humanities Fifth Grade


Sixth Grade

Curation Experience
Inspired by the Golden Records carried aboard the Voyager spacecraft in 1977, sixth grade created their own time capsules to represent growing up in the Bay Area in 2019. In the process, students examined the reliability of sources and reflected upon the challenges of exploring artifacts without bias. Students shared the photos, quotes, song lyrics, and other artifacts they included in the capsules with their fellow Wildcats.

Up Next: Sixth grade will create a new society in a previously undiscovered river valley in the year 50 B.C.E. Inspired by our study of six ancient civilizations, each project will be accompanied by an illustrated timeline of influences, flag, demographic data display, anthem, and code of laws.

Humanities Sixth Grade 1


Humanities Sixth Grade 2


Seventh Grade

Curation Experience
Recently our 7th grade students completed their unit on the Islamic World during the Middle Ages (500–1500 CE). Their culminating project was to curate a museum exhibit proposal that answered the question, “How were peoples’ lives affected by the spread of Islam?” In groups, students researched different subtopics such as Islamic beliefs, Muslim innovations in science and technology, and the Crusades. Students created a poster that included a summary of their topic along with graphics and captioned images that illustrated how peoples’ lives were affected by the spread of Islam in the Middle Ages.

Up Next: Seventh grade will research the Songhai Empire of West Africa (15th/16th C.) and write a travel journal from the perspective of a traveler who visits the empire during its golden age. Students will then record this travel journal as a podcast.

Humanities Seventh Grade


Eighth Grade

Humanities Eighth Grade 2

Curation Experience
Eighth grade students are currently studying Constitutional Law alongside our assigned class novel, 12 Angry Men. The unit’s essential questions focus on how the Constitution has been reinterpreted to meet the needs of a changing America, the role of prejudice in our criminal justice system, and the obstacles in fulfilling our civic responsibility in the digital age. The unit’s final project will be a curation exhibit on the Bill of Rights. Students will choose one amendment and examine its implementation throughout history to show how it has been used to limit and expand individual liberties. Students will use Supreme Court cases to ground their research and present their findings to the class.

Up Next: Eighth grade students will explore how Westward Expansion created unsolvable tensions between Northern and Southern states that eventually erupted in war. We will analyze Gothic poetry and literature, slave narratives, and primary sources as students gain a deeper understanding of the American Civil War.

Humanities Eighth Grade 1
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