Opinion
Curriculum Opinion

Curricular Activities—Elementary

By Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach — February 26, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Digital learning consultant and instructor
The College of William and Mary
Williamsburg, Virginia

See Also

Students need 21st-century skills to succeed in our rapidly transforming society. They must also perform well on high-stakes tests. How can teachers meet both agendas?

Technology provides the perfect medium for children to build their learning experiences, construct meaning, work in teams, create products, and solve content-based problems as they improve higher-order thinking skills. Many teachers using digital media and Web-based tools are discovering we can have rigor without sacrificing excitement. The secret: Focus on the learning, not the machines and software.

While teaching at W.T. Cooke Elementary in Virginia a few years back, my colleague Becky Thomas and I chose a project-based approach for 4th graders’ exploration of antebellum plantations. We identified standards, objectives, and the necessary digital tools.

“A Mystery Adventure on a James River Plantation” integrated research, writing skills, social studies, and technology use—not to mention pirates and hidden treasure!

Student teams selected plantations, gathered information from Web articles, and chose real-life plantation figures to profile. They incorporated all this into fictional stories featuring ghosts based on their characters. To jump-start the kids, Becky provided a spooky opening and told them to include a treasure hunt in the plot.

They were guided by a detailed worksheet, but they had to finish the stories in a specified amount of time—a relatively advanced skill for this age group. Along the way, they sharpened their Web-searching and word processing skills.

Typically, students answer questions to show understanding of material. In this project they wrote imaginative stories after analyzing their own research. It was the ideal mix of creativity and standards-driven methodology.

The author is a member the Teacher Leaders Network, a nonprofit professional community of accomplished educators dedicated to sharing ideas and expanding teachers’ influence. For more information on the group, visit: www.teacherleaders.org.
A version of this article appeared in the March 01, 2007 edition of Teacher Magazine as Curricular Activities

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attend to the Whole Child: Non-Academic Factors within MTSS
Learn strategies for proactively identifying and addressing non-academic barriers to student success within an MTSS framework.
Content provided by Renaissance
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum How to Teach Digital & Media Literacy in the Age of AI
Join this free event to dig into crucial questions about how to help students build a foundation of digital literacy.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Curriculum Opinion Media Literacy Is an Essential Skill. Schools Should Teach It That Way
From biased news coverage to generative AI, students (and adults) need help now more than ever to stay abreast of what’s real—or misleading.
Nate Noorlander
5 min read
Illustration of boy reading smartphone
iStock
Curriculum Interactive Play the EdWeek Spelling Bee
Educators use these words all the time. But can they spell them?
Image of a stage set up for a spelling bee.
Leonard Mc Lane/DigitalVision
Curriculum Outdoor Learning: The Ultimate Student Engagement Hack?
Outdoor learning offers a host of evidence-based benefits for students. One Virginia school serves as an example how.
7 min read
Students from Centreville Elementary School in Fairfax, Va., release brook trout they’ve grown from eggs in their classroom into Passage Creek at Elizabeth Furnace Recreational Area in the George Washington National Forest in Fort Valley, Va. on April 23.
Students from Centreville Elementary School in Fairfax, Va., release brook trout that they’ve grown from eggs in their classroom at a creek in Fort Valley, Va., on April 23.
Sam Mallon/Education Week
Curriculum Opinion Classical Education Is Taking Off. What’s the Appeal?
Classical schooling is an apprenticeship to the great minds and creators of the past, enabling students to develop their own thinking.
9 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty