Implementing one global topic across different age groups

CRADLE’s Rebecca Weicht featured as “European Hero”
May 29, 2018

Implementing one global topic across different age groups

Uwekind third graders learnt how good food and sports are crucial to their health

When we started working on the CRADLE project, there were many unknowns. It was difficult for us to imagine our dear children as entrepreneurs, to run a business and to make a profit. Well, it turned out to be completely different! Our students have no problem determining the topics on which to work, to come up with ideas and to make decisions themselves, to prototype and to evaluate their achievements.

A year ago, during the school year 2018-2019, we started implementing the CRADLE methodology with two elementary teachers in two classes: a second grade and a third grade class. The process was not easy because we were learning and trying out the methodology as we implemented it.

It was only this school year (2019-2020), that we realized how useful this experience was to us. Backed by our experience with our work on International Primary Curriculum and determined to introduce the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme for the first time in Uwekind curriculum, we have introduced the ADL model in all 10 elementary school classes.

We are proud to realize that the topics chosen last year by our students in second and third grades cover a wide range of topics that we have consolidated into four large groups this school year.

How we implemented one CRADLE topic across different age groups

From October to November 2019, all elementary classes (from 1st to 4th grade) worked on the global theme “We share a planet”. For each of our four grades, we developed different sub-topics:

  • First grade: “Nature is home to a huge number of animals and plants living together”
  • Second grade: “Everything in nature changes into repetitive cycles”
  • Third grade: “Nature provides all resources that are vital to us”, and
  • Fourth grade: “Human activities affect nature differently”.

Presentation as part of the “We share a planet” project

In developing the goals related to the subject knowledge, we proceeded from the content of the science curriculum for the respective grade. All classes have enriched their vocabulary and their ability to use a foreign language in the relevant subject and at the appropriate level of their language preparation.

To formulate the specific goals for each class, in addition to those in the entrepreneurial skills framework, we focussed on developing some basic skills:

  • our First graders focussed on developing skills for inquiry and research
  • our Second graders focussed on being knowledgeable, to seek a deeper understanding of the world
  • our Third graders focussed on being balanced, to understand the importance of balancing different aspects of our lives, and
  • our Fourth graders on risk-taking, being confident to try new things.

Uwekind students learnt about healthy foods and decided to give yoga a try

Other global themes we are now working on

Most recently, between December 2019 and January 2020, our global theme was “Who am I?”

  • In the first grade, they worked on the sub-theme “The human body is made up of different parts that have a specific function”
  • The second grade worked on “People work not only to earn their living, but also to make our world better and more organized”
  • The Third-graders emphasized “Good food and sports are crucial to our health”, and
  • The Fourth-grade theme was “Communication between people is important for building relationships and realizing good ideas”.

Going forward, we have two more global topics ahead:

In early 2020, elementary students will work on the topic “How the world works”, with an emphasis on innovations, the timeline of innovations, and entrepreneurship to learn how to create their own innovation and to describe a problem they are tackling through the innovation.

Throughout April and May 2020, our global theme will be “How I express myself”, with an emphasis on the arts. We plan to end the school year by organizing a Talent Day where students will present different kinds of arts through various artistic performances.

Although we began timidly and we were uncertain of ourselves, we gained the strength and belief that we were getting better by seeing the ease with which elementary students cope. A major challenge for elementary teachers still remains to incorporate the foreign language into their classes, but we believe that our students’ successes will give us strength and motivate us even further.

Elena Trifonova, Speech and Language Therapist, International School Uwekind, Sofia, Bulgaria

Galina Kirkova, Primary School Teacher, International School Uwekind, Sofia, Bulgaria