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Fourth Grade Feature: People in Profile

The People in Profile unit is an excellent example of the interdisciplinary nature of teaching and learning at Presidio Hill School. The fourth- and third-grade teachers collaborate to plan a unit that will teach students valuable research and organizational skills to prepare for a performance.

 

Students learn to take notes on biographical materials in order to gather information about their historical character. While third graders are asked to chose any person they find interesting, fourth graders are asked to truly seek out a person who has made a positive change in the world.

The unit of study strengthens the students' traditional research skills, reading comprehension, understanding of historical facts, and ability to organize information. We infuse art and drama in our exploration of the individuals. For several weeks, students conduct research using books and various websites. Building on their work with paragraph structure from third grade, the fourth graders learn to create a formal outline and write a three-to-five-paragraph essay. They engage in critical thinking as they work to identify and synthesize salient information about their chosen person. Students create a piece of art that honors their figure using a variety of artistic skills to tell the story of an individual's life. This project showcases the richness of the learning and the deep level of engagement and motivation students have for experiential learning. People in Profile honors students' skills, and asks them to stretch even further as they research, write about, and take on their individual's persona.

The unit culminates with an evening People in Profile performance by the third and fourth grade classes. The students dress as their historical figure, and third graders are paired with fourth graders to simulate a discussion between the two figures. It's a delight to watch the students as poised actors, demonstrating an amazing depth of information about historical figures in dramatic, engaging and humorous performances.