Friday, March 23, 2012

Disneyland Curriculum 2.0

When Aidyn was three, we embarked on a year-long unit study of Disneyland with a family trip to the Happiest Place on Earth as the apex. We chunked the units into the lands of Disneyland (and some from California Adventures). For instance, during Adventureland month, we learned about jungle and savanna animals, listened to African music, and made wild animal crafts.
Although it was Disney-inspired, the resulting unit studies were academic and real-life based. Following the Disneyland curriculum was a blast for us all, learning about everything from jungle animals to fire engines and New Orleans culture. I even taught a week-long Disneyland curriculum at the local community college. We had so much fun in 2009 that we have decided to give it another shot now that Aidyn is even more able to delve into these unit studies.

Our family makes the trek to D-land very often, but as of today we haven't been there in about 9 months. Sounds normal for most families, but we go anywhere from 2-4 times a year. Now, our family wants to plan an extended trip to the Park with our whole family for January, a notoriously low-attendance period. That gives us roughly ten months to enjoy our Disneyland-inspired unit studies.

Here is my very rough plan for the following 10 months. I've begun making library lists, jotting down science experiment ideas, and favoriting valuable websites.

Critter Country
-Woodland animals (rabbits, bears, foxes, skunks, raccoons, bees, birds, squirrels, and such)
-A.A. Milne stories and crafts
- Br'er Rabbit stories (and possibly other trickster characters like Ananse) alongside other fables with woodland animals.
-A look at human behavior and values, largely from the fables
-Country music

-Space exploration/astronomy (planets, sun, moons, stars, comets, etc.)
-Space travel
-Star Wars-inspired arts, crafts, and reading
-Ocean life (per Finding Nemo) and submarines
-The agrifuture/ innovations in technology
-Music about/inspired by outer space

-Wild animals from the jungle and savanna
-The rainforest
-The Story of Little Babaji
-World geography
-Famous explorers (Sir Richard Francis Burton, David Livingston, Isabella Bird Bishop)
-Music from tropical locations

California Adventure Park (as a whole)
-CA geography, history, famous landmarks, statistics
-Aviation history in CA
-Humphrey the Lost Whale
-Gold Rush of 1849
-Old Hollywood (Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, old animation)
-Californian musicians

Bugs' Land
-Eric Carle insects unit study
-Outdoor-insect hunt (with no trapping, just observing!)

Main Street U. S. A.
-Small towns in the early 20th century
-Fire stations, engines, and firefighters
-Horses and horse-drawn carriages
-Abraham Lincoln unit study
-The Little House unti study
-How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World
-Ragtime music

New Orleans Square
-Caribbean islands
-Pirate Diary
-Lousiana unit study
-New Orleans culture and cuisine
-Ghost stories

-frontier life
-Davy Crockett
-The Wild West
-Revisit Gold Rush of 1849
-Little Toot on the Mississippi

-Arthurian legends
-Matterhorn Yeti legends
-fairy tales

Tangled within the curriculum, art and animation will be studied as well. As Disneyland was begun with animation, we will also study the history of animation. In addition, I can't resist throwing in some Disney classics to watch.

On Family Movie Night, we will screen some Disney classics (striving for those Aidyn has not seen, like the classic Parent Trap and such).

I also plan on taking tiny field trips that coordinate with each unit; however, I don't plan for them to be extravagant as we are saving for our D-land trip primarily.

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