Wisconsin International School is committed to structured inquiry as the essential vehicle for learning in our Lower School. This is the foundation of the International Baccalaureate Programme. Sixtransdisciplinary themes serve as the curriculum organizer for units of study.
The transdisciplinary themes are as follows:
Who we are
Where we are in place and time
How we express ourselves
How the world works
How we organize ourselves
Sharing the planet
Student learning is organized around these themes focusing on social studies and science topics, and integrated with the other subject areas. WIS students also study language arts, mathematics, a foreign language, art, music, and physical education. Technology instruction is integrated into all they do. In this curriculum model, teachers guide students in constructing knowledge through working to answer the questions posed by the teacher and by the students themselves. Skill development in mathematics, reading and writing support the transdisciplinary themes. Structured inquiry is designed to make a connection between the personal experience of children and the construction of knowledge.
Writing and Research
From the youngest students upward, WIS students will be writing. The drawings of a 3K child grows into the story about a personal experience for the second grader who uses a mixture of invented spelling and standard spelling, which grows into the sixth graders writing about a global issue.
The WIS research curriculum will build information literacy skills in our students. They will be ever more skilled in independently selecting appropriate reference materials and evaluating information for relevancy, appropriateness, detail, currency, authority and bias. These skills will serve as the basis for the many research projects they will complete at the Wisconsin International School.
Throughout the WIS program, questions will be the starting point for research. Students must write from personal experience and research questions of importance to themselves and the world.
Students will receive feedback on their progress as they are involved in units of study. They will also receive summative feedback when the topic or unit is complete. Students will add selected items to their portfolios, which will grow to represent their cumulative progress over the years.
In fifth grade students will work collaboratively to demonstrate their depth of knowledge, the skills in the various disciplines and their positive attitudes toward learning. This demonstration comes in the year-end project which examines a real-life issue and, drawing on previous school experiences, outlines possible solutions.
Eighth graders write a speech, posing a significant question for which there are two opposing views. The speech must demonstrate the student's ability to define a thesis, analyze the data and persuasively present his/her conclusion.
Whether an extended project or the many tasks in a six-week unit, our students will be reflecting on their own work and progress. Through these reflections, they will be developing self-awareness on their knowledge, skills and attitudes.
WIS welcomed a visitor from Ecuador this Fall. After spending time at a school assembly sharing his country's culture with the students, he journeyed to the 1st grade room to further discuss Ecuador with the students.
WIS endeavors to develop international-mindedness in our students. Through our foreign language program, WIS students will learn about other cultures as they develop their skills in communicating in a second language. Our teachers will use examples and materials that bring the world into the classroom. Many of the social studies units will cover history, geography and culture from around the world. Our students will be encouraged to pose questions and seek solutions to global issues. Moreover, we will encourage our students to recognize that there are several perspectives to any question and that through being a member of our diverse school community, we are enriched.
Community and Service
Wisconsin International School is committed to creating a safe, welcoming community in which students will learn values of honesty, self-discipline and fair play. We will hold students to a high standard of behavior, use conflict resolution strategies for students to learn and apply, and model respect and integrity for our students. All students must contribute to making the school community a model for what the larger society should be.
Our service program will be active. Every grade will take on projects that improve our school community and the larger community outside our school. The older students take leadership in creating activities that foster a sense of community and provide service to the community.
In sum, our community and service program will foster the sense of community within our school and develop an awareness of how our actions can support our community locally, regionally, nationally and globally.