Interactive, Integrated, Theme-Based Learning

  • What does interactive, integrated, theme-based learning mean?

    History Theme
    It means to take a history-based theme, such as Colonial America, Ancient Greece, or Renaissance Europe, and over the course of several months teach science, reading, writing, language arts, social studies, math, the fine arts, and the performing arts THROUGH that theme. It means that the students will be immersed in the theme-based unit through highly motivational, interactive simulation activities, where they take on the identities and the lifestyles of persons from the theme period – wearing the clothes, learning the music and arts, building the lodgings, collecting the artifacts, studying the literature and science of the time, and many other varied, hands-on activities that make learning come alive and appeal to the imagination and inherent desire to learn that is inherent in every child. The Odyssey Program takes learning from a remote abstract process and brings it into a world of living, meaningful educational experiences.

    Multi-age classrooms
    The Odyssey Program is organized around 3 multi-age "clusters": K12, 345 and 678. Our multi-age classrooms and blended grade levels allow students to progress at their unique development rates. For math, reading and literature, students are placed in groups according to their assessed needs. For all other subjects, students work in mixed-age teams of both older and younger students at a variety of academic levels. The curriculum of each cluster is open-ended, integrated, and interactive. Please learn more about each cluster in the sections below.

    Putting it All Together
    Having trouble imagining how this all comes together? Let’s say the History Unit the students in the 345 cluster are studying is Native People of North America and the European’s Exploration and Conquest of North America. The students might read for their Literature and Language Arts studies historic fiction novels and non-fiction books related to the Native Americans of this time period; for example, "Island of the Blue Dolphins", "Runner in the Sun", or "Rolling Thunder".
    Their Science unit might study the formation of the earth and the geology of the regions in which the Native Americans lived. They could also study astronomy, map making, ocean currents and weather systems, as those affected the explorers in their navigations to discover the New World.

    Enrichment activities related to this History unit might be a Performance in the Round with Native American dancers and drummers, where students learn traditional Native American dances, and traditional songs and chants from our community partners and perform them together. They would learn drum-making, make traditional shawls, blankets and dresses authentic to the time period and people they are studying. Their studies would culminate in an extended Field Study trip to the Warm Springs Reservation, Yakima Reservation, and the Tilicum Village and Longhouse, where they would meet and study with Native Americans who live there.


    Student making braceletClassroom artifacts345 Performance


    All performances in this unit are done in collaboration with a local Native American tribal partner. They take the time to consult with us, teach and perform with our students so that we can honor their culture authentically. We value their partnership and insight into their culture and history.