KDT! Ithaca

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    Kids Discover the Trail!

    Kids Discover the Trail! (KDT!) Ithaca is a collaboration between Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI), Ithaca City School District (ICSD) and the Discovery Trail. KDT! provides every district student with the opportunity to connect their learning to the rich experiences available through one of the eight Discovery Trail organizations during each year of elementary school.

    KDT! Ithaca Video

    This video created, by Ithaca’s Robyn Wishna, tells the magical story that is Kids Discover the Trail! Ithaca.

    We’re so proud of our collaboration with the Discovery Trail and Ithaca City School District.

    KDT! Ithaca Program Goals:
    • Enhance classroom learning through experience-based programs
    • Provide equal access to Discovery Trail sites
    • Promote understanding and respect among elementary students from different neighborhoods
    • Expand community awareness of the resources of the Discovery Trail
    Here’s How Kids Discover the Trail!

    Each elementary grade is linked with a Discovery Trail organization. Individual classrooms from different schools visit sites in pairs. Most also share learning and social activities before and after field trips. KDT! Ithaca curriculum is aligned with current state standards.

    Families Visit

    Take-home materials including free admission passes encourage families to visit sites and be more aware of Discovery Trail resources.

    Classrooms Connect

    Each year pairs of classrooms from different elementary schools are linked for KDT! Ithaca learning experiences according to which middle school they will enter together (except in fourth grade due to site size). Fifth graders have two opportunities with their peers as they transition to middle school.

    Buddy Up

    Teachers of the classroom pairs plan additional activities together that give students more chances to develop relationships with their buddies. Some visit a Discovery Trail site, or each other’s school or school neighborhood, or another cultural or recreational location.

    Site Visits and Books
    • Pre-Kindergarten
      Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell

      KDT! Book: Art
      KDT! Book: Shapes
    • Kindergarten
      Tompkins County Public Library

      KDT! Book: Interrupting Chicken
    • First Grade
      Museum of the Earth at PRI

      KDT! Book: Fossils
    • Second Grade

      KDT! Book: Going Places
    • Third Grade
      Cornell Botanic Gardens

      KDT! Book: Wildflowers: A Peterson’s First Guide
    • Fourth Grade
      19th CENTURY LIFE
      The History Center in Tompkins County

      KDT! Book: The Secret School
    • Fifth Grade
      Cornell Lab of Ornithology

      KDT! Book: Peterson First Guide to Birds of North America
    • Fifth Grade
      Cayuga Nature Center

      KDT! Book: Everest II: The Climb

    Teachers Tell Us About the Impact of KDT! ITHACA

    “It is incredible to watch students light up when they finally succeed. I do enjoy also watching the instructor provide JUST enough feedback to get them going.”

    — ICSD Teacher

    “To be able to spend time in a very specific place, and give children the gift of exploration and inspiration is so wonderful. This program assumes children are capable and allows them to show that. We value it.”

    — ICSD Teacher

    “Our students love the exploration and hands on learning. KDT! promotes curiosity, inquisitiveness, problem-solving skills and new ways of thinking.”

    — ICSD Teacher
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