Published Online:

Curriculum News

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

A new survey suggests that "real" children's literature is becoming an integral part of reading and language-arts instruction in many elementary schools.

The survey, by children's-publishing committee of the Association of American Publishers, is based on telephone interviews and questionnaire responses from 4,400 elementary educators in 20 states.

It indicates that trade books are an important part of the reading curriculum at 70 percent of the schools polled. At 20 percent of the schools, they are the sole component of the program. The rest use the books in conjunction with traditional basal readers.

"Certainly, the growth of the whole-language or integrated- language-arts movement has made a significant contribution to this instructional trend," said Mary Sue Dillingofski, director of the project.

She said the survey was conducted to help explain sudden increases in recent years in sales of children's trade books.

"Some of that has been retail sales," Ms. Dillingofski said, "but what this survey shows is that a lot of that has also been coming from the classroom."

A community college and a middle school in Duval County, Fla., have launched a joint effort to introduce Socratic-style seminars into their curricula.

The project, funded with a $101,000 grant from the Jessie Ball DuPont Religious, Charitable, and Educational Fund, is based on the vision of schooling advocated by the author and philosopher Mortimer J. Adler. It is being conducted in collaboration with the National Center for Paideia Programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which was founded by Mr. Adler and other advocates of that approach.

In his 1982 book, The Paideia Proposal, and in later writings, Mr. Adler outlined an educational vision in which students of all ability levels would learn through an intellectual dialogue with their teachers. The plan also stresses the use of lectures, for imparting basic information, and coaching, to help individual students master basic skills.

To date, said Patricia Weiss, director of the center, between 150 and 200 schools nationwide have incorporated the educational program, including all 150 public schools in San Diego. She said the Florida project is unique, however, because it involves both a middle school and community college.

"Many of the teachers in the school system come out of the community college, so it's a natural to have that kind of linkage," she said. Both programs are scheduled to begin operating in 1991, she said.

The U.S. Geological Survey and the Smithsonian Institution have produced a five-foot-wide map of the world that pinpoints the locations of thousands of volcanoes and earthquakes.

Intended as both a classroom teaching aid and a research tool, the new color map plots the locations of 1,450 volcanoes active during the last 10,000 years and more than 140,000 earthquakes dating back to 1897. It also shows the boundaries and movements of the large tectonic plates that make up the earth's crust.

The computer-generated map, titled "Dynamic Planet," was produced in connection with a joint exhibit on volcanoes developed by the two federal agencies last summer. Copies of the map can be purchased for $4 each from the Map Distribution Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Federal Center, Box 25286, Denver, Colo. 80225. Each order less than $10 must include an extra $1 for postage and handling.

The Los Angeles-based W.M. Keck Foundation has awarded a $75,000 grant to Lesley College, a teacher-training institution in Cambridge, Mass., that will allow the school to enhance its teacher-preparation programs in mathematics.

The grant will enable the college to renovate its Center for Mathematics, Science, and Technology and to update the computer systems it uses in instruction.

The college, where computers have been an "integral" part of classroom instruction for a decade, established the center in 1987 to coordinate its educational and research programs.

In an effort to make elementary-school students aware of the importance of a wide range of species to ecological balance, a nonprofit environmental group has produced a curriculum that focuses on the biological diversity present in America's national parks.

The 215-page document, called "Biological Diversity Makes a World of Difference," was produced by the National Park Service in cooperation with the National Parks and Conservation Association and the Minnesota Environmental Education Board.

The curriculum guide is divided into 10 units, and includes such resources as a timeline that lists major extinctions, as well as efforts to save endangered species, that have occurred in U.S. history.

It also contains a variety of activities for children to undertake before, during, and after a visit to a national park or other natural area.

The package, written by the noted curriculum author Edward Hessler, is designed for children in grades 4 to 6.

Copies of the document are available for $19.95 each, including shipping and handling, from the n.p.c.a, 1015 31st St., N.W., Washington D.C. 20007-4406.--dv & pw

Web Only

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login | Register
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories