The Buffalo are Back at Dogwood Elementary School with Wit and Wisdom through field trips both real and virtual

Submitted by Mallory Goodrich
Germantown, Tennesee--December 20, 2018--At the beginning of Wit and Wisdom Curriculum Module 2, Dogwood Elementary’s 2nd grade began by building their background knowledge through some first-hand experiences. After reading The Buffalo Are Back by Jean Craighead George, 200+ second graders headed to Shelby Farms Park, a large urban park with its own herd. Second grader Emma Lacey says, “We got to hold a real bison horn. It was so big!” The students learned about how bison were an essential resource for early Plains Indian groups in North America. “Students were very excited to connect their science knowledge with the information in their ELA curriculum,” says second grade teacher Paige Browning. “It was amazing for them to make a real-life connection”.

To continue in the module, the students then had the opportunity to take a virtual field trip to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, WY.  Ashley Smith, the Curriculum Technology Trainer at Dogwood, planned this experience. “This was a great virtual field trip,” she says, “The kids really loved it." The students heard a native American folktale and got to see real artifacts from plains Indians tribes, ask questions, and make connections with Plains Indians by Andrew Santella.

As a culminating activity, the boys and girls participated in Dogwood’s 2nd grade annual Pioneer Day. “This is a chance for students to further their knowledge of Westward Expansion through authentic pioneer games, crafts, and a traditional pioneer dance,“ says 2nd grade team leader Lindsey Nelson. Teachers and children dress in pioneer clothes, imagining that they are travelling along with Oliva, from Journey of a Pioneer by Patricia J. Murphy.

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