In Italian schools, each grade focuses on one thing for the year. My class, for example, focused on fruits and vegetables. This does not mean they relate everything to this topic. It is just a way for them to have a year-long theme. One way they used this theme was for a field trip.
My class, along with the other two second grade classes, took a field trip to the grandfather's gardens. The Italian name is "Gli orti degli anziani." They call it grandfather's gardens because it is run by a bunch of old men. Haha no lie.
We walked to the gardens from the school. It was about a 20 minute walk on one of the hottest days of our trip. One little girl in my class brought an umbrella to shield her from the sun. We laughed at her before we left but by the end of the day, we were all wishing we were that smart.
The gardens were beautiful. There were rows of fruits, vegetables, and herbs, each plot belonging to a different person. People would ride their bikes to the gardens and pick the food they wanted. There was a playground on one end for children. There was also a large building where they sold snacks or hosted parties.
One of the men took us on a tour of the gardens, stopping to name all the plants. The children were able to pick a few things to taste. At one point, we came across a plot with long-stemmed lilies. The man who owned the plot stopped our group, picked two of the flowers, and ran to give them to Giovanna and me. So sweet!
After our tour, we went inside the large building to eat lunch. They made gnocco fritto for us and man was it good. It is basically a fried ham sandwich. The bread is fried and the ham is cold. Mmmmm I'm drooling just thinking about it. So simple, yet so delicious.
The thing I love about Italian schools is that they are very in-tune with the outside world. They try to get their students out in the world as much as possible. This field trip was just a small example of this philosophy.
Another way my class used the theme of fruits and vegetables was for the school festival. Each class has to make things to sell and must also put on some sort of performance. My class made a cookbook as well as little trinkets, such as the pencils shown below.
For their performance, they sang songs about fruits and veggies. They each wore a costume of a different food and had dances for each song. At the end, each student walked to the front and introduced themselves in English. They said the food, what color they were, and their name. Unfortunately, I was not able to go to the festival because I was in Firenze. But I did get to see them practice. I have videos but they aren't working for some reason. As soon as I figure it out, I'll post them for you to see. The kids are so cute!