In Expeditionary Learning schools, Learning Expeditions are the primary way of organizing curriculum. The subject matter of a Learning Expedition is a compelling topic derived from content standards. Learning Expeditions feature linked projects that require students to construct deep understandings and skills and to create products for real audiences. Learning Expeditions support critical literacy, promote character development, create a sense of adventure, spark curiosity, and foster an ethic of service. They address central academic standards of content, skills, and presentation, and include goals related to character and community. They allow for and encourage the authentic integration of disciplines. Teachers work together to ensure that Learning Expeditions align with local standards. A coherent sequence of Learning Expeditions is mapped vertically through the grade levels to ensure that expedition topics are not repeated and that students learn essential skills and knowledge.

The integral elements of a Learning Expedition are:

  • Compelling topics
  • Guiding questions
  • High-quality products or performances created for an authentic audience
  • Fieldwork
  • Experts
  • Service

Learning Expeditions engage students by allowing various types of learners to enter the curriculum from their entry point. It allows for differentiation as well as enrichment in areas students want to dive deeper. Learning Expeditions create a sense of true purpose for a particular topic and students become experts on a topic they may never have chosen to become an expert.

  • Learning Expeditions allow educators to meet students where they are, accommodating all learners and offering differentiation and enrichment where needed.
  • They create purposeful learning experiences, invite students to become experts, and open the door to topics students may have never thought of exploring.

The key curriculum that we use are:

  • EL Modules
  • EL Skills Block
  • Wonders
  • Math Envision
  • STEMScopes
  • Handwriting Without Tears
  • iReady reading and iReady math instructional seats and toolkit

Our classrooms are alive with discovery, inquiry, critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration. Teachers talk less. Students talk and think more. Lessons have explicit purpose and are guided by learning targets. In all subject areas, teachers differentiate instruction and maintain high expectations in order to bring out the best in all students and cultivate a culture of high achievement.

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