Julius Caesar’s assassination was “mean,” said one of Bridgit McCarthy’s third graders.
But students remembered last week’s lesson. “Well, it did kinda seem like he wanted to be a king—and the Romans said no way to kings.”
McCarthy teaches at New Dimensions, a public charter school in North Carolina that uses the Core Knowledge curriculum. Students learn about world civilizations such as Mesopotamia and Egypt in first grade, ancient Greece in second grade and ancient Rome in third. They enjoy it, she says.
A student was playing a dune-buggy race car computer game in my room during indoor recess. I scoffed at its total lack of educational value. He pouted at me a bit and said, “Dang, that’s what my mom said last night! Et tu, Mrs. McCarthy?”
Children can learn a great deal in the early grades if teachers use “a really rich, cumulative curriculum in which the topics build off of each other,” concludes McCarthy on Core Knowledge Blog.