7380 Girard Ave

La Jolla, California


Posted on Apr 11, 2014

Gillispie Students “Travel” the Globe During their Elementary Social Studies

Every year, Gillispie fulfills its mission to “foster individual commitment to the larger world” in important ways. For example, parents and selected teachers shared their expertise, enthusiasm, and knowledge about a variety of countries on a colorful and substantive International Day, held last Friday. Day to day, classroom learning is enhanced with a study of one of the seven continents at each elementary grade level. The summaries below highlight for each grade level just some of the project-based learning opportunities and multi-disciplinary work pursued by students.


Kindergarten: Australia–Comparison of the Great Barrier Reef with our own San Diego coastline; study of aboriginal people; Captain Cook sailing adventure; Australia Day celebration. In art class, Mrs. Auld and Ms. Quinton’s students make marsupial puppets, while Mrs. Buttaro’s students make a mural of an Australian eucalyptus tree and Australian animals.

Grade 1: Antarctica–Study of survival in harsh climates; important expeditions and explorers; scientific simulation on gridded map; animal research reports. With Ms. Walters in the art studio, students make penguin collages and ceramic penguin sculptures.

Grades 2: Europe–Research report on the geography and culture of selected countries; backpack journey through the continent to discover the landforms, bodies of water, and regions. Students work in pairs to conduct research on countries and then present their work orally to gathered parents and peers.

Grade 3: Asia–Research and production of a laptop-generated travel brochure that highlights an Asian country; Chinese New Year celebration. In art class, students make koinoibori windsocks, Japanese tea bowls, ceramic Chinese dragons, and jewel-embellished watercolor elephants.

Grades 4: South America–By the Great Horn Spoon literature study with stops at South American points; world tour in math including a special stop in Brazil to learn elements of the geography and culture. In art, students make pen/watercolor drawings of South American animals. Señora Radchik teams up with Mr. Whelan to review South American countries and then to play a tournament of country-vs.-country inspired fútbol.

Grade 5: North America–Topographical study of land features and waterways in Canada and the United States; geographical study of the eastern seaboard. In art class, students make storyteller figures based on those of North American tribes and glass etchings of North American birds. In Spanish class, Señora Radchik emphasizes the history and culture of Mexico and Central America.

Grade 6: Africa: Re-creation of African rainstorm; partnering with Feed the Children to help in getting water to Kenya’s residents in need with a Day of Silence. Students make ceramic masks inspired by African masks in art class. In Spanish, students learn the location of Spanish-speaking countries worldwide, including Equatorian Guinea in Africa.

Margie Edwards
Director of Curriculum

©2010 The Gillispie School  |  all rights reserved