A teacher’s dream is to work for a school that creates curriculum that resonates and to see students grow through curiosity and self-confidence. At Applewild School, a K-8 independent, co-educational day school with a rigorous accelerated curriculum in Fitchburg, MA, these goals are more than attainable: they’re heartily encouraged.
Todd Goodwin is a US History and Geography teacher at Applewild. “The piece I’ve always loved about Applewild is the ability to be creative in my teaching,” Goodwin shares. His Hands Across Time program was designed to condense US History themes into 101 hand motions. Hands Across Time is part performance, part alliterative storytelling, lecturing and memorization, where 7th and 8th grade students learn vocabulary building, key dates, famous Americans and other notable facts.
Erin Schlesinger, Applewild’s Choral Music Instructor, couldn’t agree more. “We’re encouraged as artists and teachers to let our imaginations find unique ways to inspire and motivate each student,” she says. “Our foundation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) is an excellent example of how core knowledge is integrated starting in the youngest grades at Applewild. Our 4th graders study sound in their science class which is then integrated into the arts. Students use their knowledge to build their own glockenspiel in wood shop class, and have a much broader understanding of sound waves as we study instruments of the world in music class.”
Goodwin and Schlesinger are collaborating on a new project, thanks to a teaching grant they received this summer. Songs Across Time (companion curriculum to Hands Across Time) integrates early American music with the teaching of history. “I’ve been able to research and appreciate American music in an entirely new light,” she shares.
Adapted from an article in Monadnock Living magazine’s Fall/Winter 2013 issue.