Lower School Welcome to Live Oak Lower School.

Kindergarten: An Experiential Approach to Social Studies

John Michaud Guadino
Live Oak School

Live Oak’s Kindergarten teacher was recently featured on The Teaching Channel, a national non-profit organization that showcases videos on effective teaching practices and great Common Core lesson ideas.

Click the image at left to watch the video and see John’s teaching practice in action.






Second Grade: Resource Conservation via the Pencil Tree

One wall in the second grade classroom is decorated with a pencil tree. This tree started out with 288 pencils, which works out to around twelve pencils per child. This supply of pencils is intended to last the entire year. Each time students need new pencils at their tables, they have to “chop down” part of the pencil tree. This mechanism directly and concretely reinforces the idea that pencils are manufactured from wood that comes from actual trees; and that we should take care of the pencils we have so that we don’t waste and use more than we have to. The entire project has a math component to it as well—students track how many pencils have been used, and make predictions as to how long the supply will last given the current rate of usage.





3rd Grade: How Do We Use Geography?

When you ask yourself this question, do you answer: To get myself from one place to another? To pack for a trip or prepare for a move? To understand what it was like for my grandparents to come to this country? To picture what is happening in a book? To understand the news? To understand our history?

These are some of the ways in which third graders will be using geography throughout this year as they learn about the world around them, share cultural artifacts, learn about children from other countries, listen to the immigration stories of community members, and contemplate how climate can influence what happens in a community.

Third grade students have been focused on the uses and limitations of our most important tools: maps and globes. They have experienced firsthand the difficulties in representing our three-dimensional world in two dimensions, and examined the accuracies and distortions present in all maps. The geography toolbox provides essential scaffolding for students to understand, visualize, and imagine possibilities for our world.


Fourth Grade: Terrariums

After building background knowledge by thoroughly investigating soil, animals that live in soil, and plant roots, fourth graders designed and built their own terrariums. The terrariums provide a yearlong context for deep investigations into scientific concepts and methods. Students practice careful observing and recording, while learning to track changes and represent data in tables and graphs. They also learn about interdependence in nature by witnessing the nutrient cycle firsthand, and they explore the concept of adaptation by studying the animals we add to the terrariums.

Other areas of study include the meaning of scale, and how to make sure to draw things to scale when we record our observations; and the critical role of decomposers in the nutrient cycle.

Academic Excellence

Live Oak students master academics using a hands-on curriculum that taps into students’ natural curiosity. For a detailed look at Live Oak’s curriculum, see Academics > Curriculum.