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Interdisciplinary

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Because an Ancona education is an education for life, learning experiences are designed to offer the kinds of challenges students will face in the real world as opposed to simply dishing out isolated lessons on specific subjects. Students at Ancona engage with the world as writers, musicians, scientists, artists, etc. This means they learn the skills and concepts in all disciplines as elements in complex processes so that they understand not just how end punctuation works, for example, or how to represent a spherical object, but how she can express her (or her character’s) feelings by using a specific kind of end-punctuation, or how to best depict a bird’s head in a scientific illustration. Rather than seeing grammar as a prerequisite for writing, Ancona students learn to write by brainstorming, drafting, sharing for feedback, revising, illustrating, and publishing pieces of writing that matter to them. Getting hung up on correct spelling in the drafting phase can squelch the risk-taking that is essential to writing just as doing long division by rote may make a child a(n inefficient) calculator, but may keep him from becoming a mathematician.

Interdisciplinary projects have always been an important part of the learning experience at Ancona. From the exploration of life on the Mississippi River in Kindergarten, which includes everything from designing boats (that float) to tracing the roots of jazz, to the Social Justice Data fair in Middle School, for which students choose an issue in contemporary society to study by analyzing the data and then present to their peers, their parents, and even experts in the field, students are regularly engaged in interdisciplinary study. Because we are keenly aware how quickly opportunities for extended, inquiry-based projects can be subsumed by daily routine, Ancona has designated at least two Fridays per month as Flex Days in the schedule. These days guarantee opportunities for teachers to collaboratively create interdisciplinary learning experiences. This means that 1st and 2nd graders can have PE class in Spanish, that 3rd and 4th graders can perform an original play about the Civil Rights Movement every February, that 7th and 8th graders can run a sandwich shoppe to raise funds for their 8th grade trip to Oaxaca, learning first-hand all the components of running a small business. It means Ancona is committed to interdisciplinary learning.
Because an Ancona education is an education for life, learning experiences are designed to offer the kinds of challenges students will face in the real world as opposed to simply dishing out isolated lessons on specific subjects. Students at Ancona engage with the world as writers, musicians, scientists, artists, etc. This means they learn the…
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