What Makes an Elementary School 'Essential'?

Published: 2010 by Kathleen Cushman

Sidebars:
Elementary School Networks for Change
An Essential Elementary School Explains Itself to Visitors
Two Approaches to Knowing Students Better
Essential School Qualities in Other Elementary School Philosophies
Integrating the Elementary Curriculum
Try and Make Me! Motivating Young Learners
Reading and Resources

The problems that drive secondary schools to move toward more active learners, more intellectual depth, and a simpler, student-centered structure also show up in many elementary schools. How do the Nine Common Principles look when they play out in a younger setting?

You hear a lot of talk in Essential School circles about how elementary schools have got the right idea.

In the good elementary school, they say, the teacher has a couple of dozen students of diverse academic background, and enough time with them to know them well. She can coach kids through rich projects that come from the real world, without changing to a new subject area every time the bell rings. She can focus on doing a few things well-reading, writing, solving problems, making art, getting along with each other.

You can see parents in the good elementary school classroom; by high school they will largely have vanished. You can see kids' work all over the walls. More than a high school, a grade school can often feel like a family, not a factory; even its average size is far less daunting.

When Theodore R. Sizer founded the Coalition of Essential Schools more than a decade ago, he first aimed his call for reform at secondary schools, from which his own experience had come. In imitating the discipline-bound patterns of the university, he argued, they had lost the simplicity and depth of their elementary cousins.

But before long, the Coalition opened its arms to the many elementary schools for whom Sizer's Nine Common Principles rang deeply true. Today, about 20 percent of schools affiliated with the Coalition include the elementary grades, and the number is growing.

Yet ironically, as the national conversation about education evolves, Essential elementary school people are worrying more about the very issues that secondary schools confront.

Younger children suffer at least as much as older ones, they point out, from society's low expectations about how well they can use their minds, and from a curriculum that privileges certain "ways of knowing" over others. Even in the early grades, many systems start to sort kids into those who have a bright future and those intended for low-level jobs in the workforce.

A barrage of national, state, and district mandates undermines a school community's power to decide what and how to teach its children. (This typically translates into a push for classroom methods whereby the teacher transfers "basic skills" directly into compliant young minds.) Standardized tests, which young students must take in ever greater numbers, are crowding out the good grade school teacher's habit of tailoring learning tasks to students' genuine interests and needs while watching and documenting each student's growth.

In the meantime, financial and societal stresses make it harder than ever for families to help their children learn. An acute shortage of well-trained teachers plagues big-city districts. And fewer systems are willing to buy their teachers the time it takes to reflect with each other on what works best for kids.

At the same time, Essential high schools are realizing that if students are to use their minds well in high school, their earlier schooling must build a base for that. "We've got to get it right in the beginning," says New Mexico educator Marlis Mann, who has been instrumental in her state's push to embrace Essential School principles from kindergarten through high school and college. "Otherwise, change is well nigh impossible at the upper levels."

Not only in New Mexico but in Florida, Indiana, Missouri, and other states, just as many elementary schools are joining the Coalition as are middle and high schools. More districts are moving to create "pathways" that share a coherent educational pattern across the grade levels, and to bring their staffs together more for talking and planning. (See Horace, Vol. 11, No. 5, May 1995.) And to stimulate dialogue and collaboration among themselves, Essential elementary schools have also created a support network of their own, the National Elementary School Networks.

What to Teach and How?

But what does classroom practice look like in the Essential elementary school? What does using one's mind well mean to a first or third grader? In curriculum, teaching practices, and assessment methods, Essential elementary schools tend to reply in strikingly similar ways.

"For me, to be 'essential' means that the children are engaged as workers with an intellectual focus," says Marlis Mann. "They might start with a question like 'What is a frog?' and move on to explore reptiles and amphibians. They'd get lots of opportunities to develop skills in sequencing, classification systems, and strategies for problem solving."

A child-centered classroom will adapt to the learning needs of each child, Mann observes. "For instance, American Indians don't use singular classification," she says, "and so these children look at an object in a more integrated way, not classifying it so readily by color or shape. We need to recognize this in the elementary grades and teach 'bicognitively'. Kids may be changing their whole thought processes when they go from one language to another."

The Essential elementary school's curriculum typically centers on language-not only reading, writing, speaking, and listening but also the language of numbers, spatial relationships, thinking out problems, and expressing oneself through the arts. Focusing on language gives coherence and unity across grade levels to what students should be able to do. To lend even more cohesion, many schools come up with themes or strands that bring together different subject areas in an integrated fashion.

"Our curriculum starts with questions about what's around us-the subway, the seaport, the native peoples who settled this area," says Kathy McCullagh, who directs the Earth School, an alternative public school on the Lower East Side of New York City. "By exploring these things in ways that suit children's developmental readiness, we can create a seamless, integrated day."

Down the hall in Rosadelle Perez's combined first- and second-grade class, for instance, students have visited the city's Transit Museum, then built a classroom subway model from wooden blocks and meticulously fitted it out with turnstiles, wheelchair ramps, and mosaic tile murals.

The project involved practice in reading, writing, and arithmetic skills. But it also laid a foundation of how to learn that will continue, McCullagh points out. In third and fourth grade, Earth School students make a garden in the back alley, complete with compost heap; by fifth and sixth grade they are writing City Hall to protest the bulldozing of community gardens. "Their understanding grows," McCullagh says, "as they build and recreate the objects of their study."

Such a "constructivist" approach comes up again and again in talking to Essential School elementary teachers. For this reason, many use hands-on projects as a way to spark children's classroom learning. Group projects, as veteran teacher and author Lillian Katz has written, give young students a context in which to apply academic skills, at the same time developing their initiative, their habits of inquiry, and their ability to collaborate.

As children develop and test out their emerging ideas, Essential elementary teachers also do a good deal of listening. "Kids have to make sense of the work themselves, often through discussion," says Simon Hole, who has taught fourth grade at Narragansett Elementary School in Rhode Island for 22 years. "At this age they may not have the writing skills to express themselves very well, but they can talk about anything, at any level. They can use their minds well if we give them a chance and listen."

Hole describes sitting with a group of 20 children on the floor in his classroom, for example, puzzling over the meaning of Alan Arkin's book, The Lemming Condition. "Why does Bubber not feel like a lemming, which he is?" he asks. "The kids talk with each other about his choice not to jump off the cliff with the others, and about how that relates to themselves and the decisions they have to make." If the language is too difficult," he notes, "we read it out loud together."

Every Student as Worker

Essential elementary school teachers place a premium on active learning, which often puts them at odds with the conventional grade school's reliance on lectures, drill, and work sheets. As well as receiving whole-group instruction and individual coaching, students often work together in small groups whose members may be of different ages or at different academic levels but share interests, motivation, or needs.

Elementary schools have also been in the forefront of the reform movement's move toward recognizing the individual character of each student's learning style. As more children with special educational needs are included in regular classrooms, and as more students come to school with little or no English proficiency, teachers at the elementary level are faced with the particular challenge of making real the Coalition's maxim that all children can learn. Every day's work finds them at the center of the controversial debates-about inclusion, about bilingual education, and about high standards without standardization-that preoccupy policymakers throughout the nation's educational system.

At Milwaukee's Garfield School, a citywide public school specializing in math and science, the number of children in poverty has risen steadily during the last few years of "welfare reform," principal Deborah Jupke says. "It's an assault on the entire family structure," she declares. "The school has to go beyond a narrow focus on the child, and focus on whatever impacts the whole child as a learner in the community. How can you do homework if you're homeless?"

Calling on Martin Haberman's research on effective teachers of children in poverty, Garfield emphasizes "caring teachers" who use every strategy they can find to engage students in learning. To improve continuity among grade levels and to know their students better, teachers are encouraged to stay with the same class for two consecutive years in the practice called "looping."

The school routinely includes in its regular classes the 18 percent of its students with "exceptional educational needs," and teachers are encouraged to find new ways to make that work well. In one fourth-grade class, Jupke notes, an exceptional education teacher and a regular teacher have teamed up with a "very mixed group," taking turns instructing the whole group and working with small groups in rotation. In a recent research project, all students reported on the planets, working with materials adapted to suit their current achievement level.

"We find that all kids benefit from inclusion," Jupke says. "The extra small-group attention gives any child a chance to pick up on skills that may still be weak, without dropping behind the class. They can encounter the same information, but perhaps in smaller chunks or with different entry questions."

One of Garfield's partners in the Milwaukee Elementary School Network is Escuela Fratney, a two-way bilingual school that draws English-dominant and Spanish-dominant students from around the city in equal numbers. "We teach reading in the dominant language until the beginning of third grade," says principal Carol Schmuhl. "In addition, much of our content-area curriculum uses children's literature and asks students to think critically about the issues they read about."

Four broad themes unify the school's multicultural priorities: "We respect ourselves and others," "We share stories of the world," "We can make a difference on Planet Earth," and "We send messages when we communicate." Partly because of this sustained focus, Schmuhl says, Fratney students do especially well on required social studies performance assessments.

"Our city and state curriculum and assessment requirements are quite compatible with the Nine Common Principles," Schmuhl observes. "In fact, our staff members helped shape the district's K-12 teaching and learning goals, which are moving toward more authentic assessment. The fifth-grade science assessment is an experiment for kids to figure out."

Making Assessment Essential

"When you're trying to keep the child at the center," Kathy McCullagh notes, "you've got to use ways other than tests to get information about the child's strengths, interests, and progress." Some Earth School teachers receive training in the Primary Language Record, a detailed portfolio that documents their growing literacy. And the staff meets at least monthly to conduct "descriptive reviews" of children, student work, and curriculum and teaching practices. (Both these processes are described in Horace, Vol. 13, No. 2, November 1996.)

"We observe what our children know and can do through sitting beside them and watching," McCullagh says, and then she dryly describes the battery of standardized tests her students nonetheless must undergo. "When the scores come back, they don't reflect what we know about them." In fact, when they send test scores home, Earth School teachers include a letter home to parents to put the results in perspective. "These scores are not a measure of everything a child knows," it reads in part. "Tests are only a small part of what children do in school. When you look at your child's scores consider them as one more piece of their work-like a painting, or a poem, or a research report."

Even teachers whose districts use more open-ended standardized "performance assessments" find themselves frustrated by the tests. Limitations compared to richer observations of student work. When scores simply record that children do not meet grade-level standards at a particular grade, they complain, it is difficult to show actual student growth from one year to the next. In addition, they remark, it seems unfair to assess a child's writing ability using just one prompt for one kind of writing on one day.

At the New Suncook School in Lovell, Maine, a group of such teachers worked out an alternative system of assessing reading and writing, with a small grant from the Southern Maine Partnership, a regional Center of the Coalition. First they used their existing standards to create clear descriptions of nine consecutive "stages" for reading and writing, culminating with the proficiency they expected from eighth graders.

In cumulative portfolios, students now submit, and teachers score, a writing sample demonstrating proficiency in each stage (or several samples, in the later stages). Their reading portfolios include a taped oral reading, a written reflection on a piece of reading (for the upper levels), and specific observations by the classroom teacher. Aided by a handbook of exemplars, teachers rate student work samples along the continuum of stages, making the portfolio into a ready record of prior achievement as the student moves on.

Spurred by the success of their pilot project across the district, the New Suncook teachers extended their method to assessing students. Mastery of content and skills using portfolios of work on interdisciplinary theme-based projects.

"As we try to 'standardize' authentic assessment for reliability purposes, we sometimes lose the child's individuality in the process," write Karen Johnson and Rhonda Poliquin in a detailed and useful booklet about their method. "The portfolios are a beginning step toward including both standardization and individuality in authentic assessment."

Collaboration Around Kids

It's rare, though, that elementary teachers get enough time together to carry out such an ambitious rethinking of their practice. Though they teach fewer students than their secondary colleagues, they are usually on duty all day long, without the planning and preparation period that can come with a less integrated day.

But other factors (not least, the high percentage of women in their ranks) make elementary school teachers among the most collegial in the field. And collaboration-with parents, with community agencies, and with each other-permeates most Essential elementary schools.

At Oakland Park Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the faculty has reorganized classes into multi-grade "families" that include teachers and students from kindergarten through fourth grade. "It's not just a social system; we buddy up for all kinds of things," says Pam Tindall, who teaches one of the school's nine mixed-age classes of first and second graders. "My class regularly goes to read and write with a third-grade class. I can tell it has a big effect on improving quality-their work takes on much more importance to them."

Oakland Park teachers meet regularly in family groups, grade-level groups, and study groups, discussing Coalition principles, comparing notes, and trading materials on ideas ranging from puppet shows to photo journals. Teaching parents is part of the work of teaching children here; at tables in the back of the school auditorium, a dozen mothers work on learning English or studying for the high school equivalency exam, with child care provided for their younger children on the premises. And the outside community has also joined the effort: local banks and restaurants share information and resources, and even the shrubs that line the walkways near a maze of portable classrooms were planted with the help of a nearby center for handicapped youth.

"My own experience with the Nine Common Principles shows that at first reading, elementary people say, 'We already do that,'" says Simon Hole. "We personalize teaching and learning; we include all students, we're generalists. But if we take time to examine the principles more deeply, we find we may not have looked hard enough at them. Do I have a sense of commitment to the entire school, or does it stay close in to the classroom or grade level? Do I really look at and expand my knowledge of what's going on in alternative assessment, in learning theory? Or do I group my heterogeneous class into separate reading levels and teach them separately?"

Elementary teachers throughout the Coalition are asking the same questions. And as new bonds form between traditionally separate spheres of early and later education, their answers are beginning to cast a long shadow over the future of how their students learn.

Elementary School Networks for Change

The Center for Collaborative Education (CCE) in New York City created the National Elementary school Networks(NESN) in 1993 to add an elementary school voice and perspective to the school reform movement in the United States, and to demonstrate a school-based model for restructuring education and supporting learner-centered teaching. Building on the work of both CCE and the Coalition of Essential Schools, it aims to shift ownership of school reform efforts to school communities; to build new relationships that extend and deepen school practices; and to connect the areas of school practices, policies and advocacy.

In Milwaukee(Wisconsin), New Mexico, New York, Indiana, Ohio and Colorado, NESN has supported the development of school-based centers that sustain local whole-school elementary reform. By doing so it created a place for elementary school practitioners in the Coalition of Essential Schools to discuss pathways that link kindergarten through twelfth grade in the school reform context. And in the process, it informed the restructuring of the Coalition itself, by demonstrating the strength and vibrancy of school-based centers.

By enlarging the definition of who can participate in the work of school change, NESN leader Priscilla Ellington says NESN's school-based centers provide crucial stability to reform efforts. They highlight the role of reflection and inquiry in deepening teacher practice, extend the conversation to include all members of the school community, broaden the notion of leadership and create new access to setting the reform agenda in schools. "Centers provide both a foundation and a framework for school change" she says "supporting the important conversations about teaching and school practices while developing ownership of the practices and the work".

For more information contact NESN 1573 Madison Ave, Room 201, New York, NY 10029-3899. Tel:   (212)348-7821    (212)348-7821 .

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An Essential Elementary School Explains Itself to Visitors

Visitors to Earth School classrooms are welcomed with a simple flier that explains the school's philosophy, and asks them to look around for signs of how children at the school are learning. For example, it says, "Do you see evidence" of:

Young readers, writers, and mathematical reasoners at work?
Books arranged invitingly in the room, easy to take out and put away
A variety of books (fiction, nonfiction, reference, easy, difficult, student-made)
Words at work (print on the walls of the room, labeling classroom objects)
Graphs, charts and other math work displayed n Materials that children can use to help them understand math concepts

Themes that give depth and unity to classroom studies?
Books, charts, student work with a common focus
Art projects, cooking, and music related to this focus n Large-scale projects that look like they have been going on for days
Photographs, art, class books about trips in the neighborhood and city

Children working independently?
A place in the room for each child's individual storage
Areas where children can work on their own
A schedule for the day posted in the room so children know what to expect
Supplies stored so that children can get what they need to do their work

Children working cooperatively?
A place in the room where the whole class can sit together and talk
Tables arranged so groups of children can work together
A chart of class jobs
Older children helping younger children
Children helping each other solve problems

Children making choices?
A variety of activities going on at the same time
Materials (such as computers) that invite children to explore and find out more

Teachers supporting and extending children's efforts?
Children's work displayed attractively on the walls of the room
Small groups working with teachers on specific challenges
Folders, notebooks, or other systems to individualize assignments
Teachers questioning, encouraging, and praising children

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Two Approaches to Knowing Students Better

The commonsense Essential School principle that teachers should know their students well is consistently borne out by such research on school effectiveness as that conducted in the 1980s by Paul S. George and Lynn L. Oldaker for the National Middle School Association. In many Essential elementary schools, the following strategies for achieving this personalization are gaining ground:

Multi-age Primary Classrooms

Teaching primary students of different grade levels in multiage classrooms is increasingly common in Essential elementary schools with a developmental philosophy of learning. Because children develop at very different paces from concrete to more abstract thinking and learning, mixed-age advocates assert, it makes little sense to sort and label children into fixed grade levels from an early age-especially if the result is retention and an early sense of failure for the child. Better to extend the age range in the classroom and provide a nurturing, success-oriented environment for children at widely different developmental levels.

British primary schools have used mixed-age grouping since the 1960s; every seven-year-old, for example, must demonstrate mastery of certain math skills before moving into the next level. In the United States, mixed-age classrooms display various grouping patterns. Many schools combine five- and six-year-olds, then also provide a mixed first and second grade (with six- to nine-year-olds), as well as third-fourth grade and sometimes fifth-sixth grade combinations. Few favor grouping five-year-olds with eight-year-olds, believing that younger children need time to grow used to group work with the older ones.

Research on mixed-age grouping shows that it works better for some children than others, but that no students seem to do worse. Many bright but immature students benefit from a mix of academic stimulation and a social environment geared toward younger children.

Mixed-age groups present several challenges to teachers. They must come up with activities and materials-theme cycles, projects, and the like-that can pull together their learning objectives. They must adapt their teaching and assessment style to a more individualized approach, perhaps working with small groups that shift by task, or using work plans or "contracts" to keep track of students. Mastery of various skills. Often, they must work more closely with another teacher to share ideas, resources, or students.

Looping

Whether as a formal policy or an informal arrangement, many schools interested in knowing students better are trying out "looping,"the practice of allowing teachers to keep the same students over a period of two or more years as they advance from one grade to the next. Looping has some of the advantages of the multiage classroom, but many teachers find it easier because the ability and age range of students is not so broad. Some teachers use looping as a first step in the move to multiage groups.

Because looping lets them begin the year with a closer knowledge of each student's prior experience, teachers say, it maximizes time for learning and allows summer to include assignments or projects that link one year to the next. Its disadvantages: students could suffer from two years with a poorly performing teacher; multi-year classes could include more than the usual share of children who need special attention; or teachers may not receive the support they need to deal with the new level's curriculum and developmental aspects.

Looping has long been common practice in Europe and Japan; in Rudolf Steiner's Waldorf schools, teachers stay with the same group of students for eight years. In the United States, the Society of Developmental Education in Peterborough, New Hampshire offers materials and information on the looping approach.

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Essential School Qualities in Other Elementary School Philosophies

The Basic School. A comprehensive plan to strengthen elementary education developed under the late Ernest L. Boyer at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the Basic School is part philosophy, part blueprint for bringing together all the key components of what Carnegie regards as effective schools. In addition to its larger objective of excellence for all, the Basic School sets five educational goals for students: to communicate effectively; to acquire a core of knowledge while making connections across the disciplines and relating what they learn to life; to be a motivated learner with the skills to gather information and solve problems; to feel a sense of physical, emotional, and social well-being; and to live responsibly.

The Basic School seeks to build a community in which teachers work together and parents are actively involved. And it gives high priority to character education, calling for students to apply the lessons of the classroom to the world around them via the seven "core virtues" of honesty, respect, responsibility, compassion, self-discipline, perseverance, and giving.

The Basic School curriculum is organized around eight integrative themes-"core commonalities," or universal experiences-that spiral upward from kindergarten to the upper grades. Every traditional subject or academic discipline, Boyer argued, can find a home within these themes: the Life Cycle, the Use of Symbols, Membership in Groups, a Sense of Time and Space, Response to the Aesthetic, Connections to Nature, Producing and Consuming, and Living with Purpose.

The Basic School places great importance on fostering children's love of learning. Class size is kept small, the teaching schedule is flexible, and student grouping arrangements are varied to promote learning. Beyond a solid academic program, the school provides basic health and counseling services and afternoon and summer enrichment programs for students.

For more information, contact: Basic School Network, James Madison University, 101 Roop Hall, Harrisonburg, VA 22807. Tel.:    (540) 568-7098   (540) 568-7098 ,    (540) 568-3803  (540) 568-3803 (fax); e-mail: bafumome @jmu.edu. Or read Ernest L. Boyer, The Basic School: A Community for Learning. Ewing, NJ: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1995.

The Reggio Emilia approach. This approach to teaching in early childhood and the pre-primary grades, developed in the northern Italian community of Reggio Emilia, has attracted much recent interest in the United States. The curriculum centers around long-term small-group projects that arise from the interests of children; it uses drawing, sculpture, dramatic play, writing and other "symbolic languages" as the means of investigating children's emerging ideas. Teachers are regarded as both constantly learning themselves and continually documenting the children's learning; working in classroom pairs, they divide responsibilities so that one can systematically observe, take notes, and record conversations between children. Teachers and parents then use these observations in curriculum planning and evaluation. Reggio Emilia's approach makes parents, community, and the physical environment central to young children's education.

For more information, see: Edwards, C., L. Gandini, and G. Forman, eds., The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education. Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1993.

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Integrating the Elementary Curriculum

The Earth School in New York City designs classroom studies to address children's concerns and curiosity at every age, and to grow more complex as their questions and ability to understand information changes. The curriculum centers around two year social studies themes that relate directly to students own environment and to the interdependence of people. By investigating a topic deeply, children practice skills from across the curriculum. And rather than a confusing, fragmented course of study in which each grade level is disconnected from the others, the curriculum sets the work of students in a steady progression as follows:

Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten: The world of the child: This includes "me in a classroom" "me in the school" and "me in the neighborhood".

First and Second Grades: the Child in the City: Children may investigate playgrounds, Central Park, bridges, factories, zoos, produce markets, housing, or the South Street Seaport.

Third and Fourth Grades: Manhattan Island Long Ago. Children research the history and environment of the Lenape people, who were native to the region, and of the settlement of New Amsterdam.

Fifth and Sixth Grades: Coming to Freedom and Justice in America. Ten and eleven year olds research the colonial period and the Bill of Rights the Reconstruction era and civil rights, or immigration from other nations.

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Try and Make Me! Motivating Young Learners

How do good teachers get children to believe that learning is its own reward? Since 1959 University of Wisconsin professor Martin Haberman has observed and analyzed the behavior of very effective teachers working with children in urban poverty.

Successful teachers, he concludes, care most of all about knowing children well so that they might find entry points into their learning. They deal with behavior problems not as "discipline" issues, but by working to find new ways to motivate and interest students. They measure their success by the degree of effort they inspire in students. They work with parents, rather than supervise, inform, or blame them. They stay away from letter grades, and shift the students explanation of success from "ability" to "effort" they use the class to set group norms of expected behavior and see punishments as a last resort, an indication that they have failed in their work of motivating students to learn.

In 1995 book Star Teachers of Children in Poverty, Haberman describes some e strategies such teachers use to create intrinsic motivation for learning. Ultimately students cannot be forced to learn he writes, and the game of teachers pretending otherwise is one that traditional teachers inevitably lose. In the classroom climate established by starts, learning is transformed from teacher assignments to "something we're in together" They do this, he says, by:

Knowing that it will take time to win children over to an interest-based approach and arouse their natural curiosity and interest in learning. Beginning with some external rewards for class, group, and individual participation, but watching for kids to show interest in particular activities.

Using the problems children face every day in their neighborhoods as the basis for learning activities

Building on events in other classrooms and around the school to arouse students' interest

Capitalizing on children's interest in music, games, and popular heroes

Recognizing the outstanding talents of some children-such as singing, playing chess, programming computers, dancing, speaking another language, etc. will spur the interest of others

Modeling learning behavior by bringing their own interests to class: weaving,writing, construction, film making, etc.

Using individual leaders and the natural influence of groups and teams to follow-up activities

Raising questions-the answers to which the teachers do not know-that will spark the curiosity of children and spur them to investigate and explain to the teacher

Using real events-such as performance for parents, a class magazine, or the production of a school play or program as a focus for involving children

Spending countless hours listening to children tell about their activities out of school, to learn what their interests and talents might be

Meeting with parents to learn more abort a child's current and potential activities

Conferring with other teachers, reading popular journals and searching for new ideas and strategies that will interest children in activities.

From Star Teachers of Children in Poverty, by Martin Haberman(Lafayette, Indiana, Kappa Delta Pi, 1995) Tel:  (800)284-3164  (800)284-3164

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Readings and Resources

Sue Bredekamp and Teresa Rosegrant, eds. Reaching Potentials: Appropriate Curriculum and Assessment for Young Children, Vol. 1. Washington DC: national Association for the Education of Young Children, 1992.

Carnegie Corporation of New York, Years of Promise: a comprehensive learning strategy for America's Children. New York: Carnegie Corporation, 1996. Tel  (212)207-6285  (212)207-6285 .

Dorothy Cohen, Designing groupwork: Strategies for the Heterogeneous Classroom. New York, Teachers college Press, 1994.

Robin Fogarty, The Mindful School: how to integrate the Curricula. Palatine, IL. Skylight Publishing 1991.

Galef Institute 11050 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025 Tel:  (310)479-8883  (310)479-8883

Karen Johnson and Rhonda Piliquin, Developing Learner-Centered Assessment System: K-8 Literacy Continua and interdisciplinary portfolios(1995) 5.00 from Southern Maine Partnership 117 Bailey Hall, University of Southern Maine, Gorham, ME 04038 (207)780-5498

Lilian G. Katz and S.C. Chard Engaging Children's Minds: the Project Approach. Norwood, NJ Ablex, 1992

Schlomo Sharan and Yael Sharan, Expanding Cooperative Learning through Group Investigation, New York Teacher's College Press, 1992

S. Stainback and W. Stainback, Curriculum Considerations in Inclusive Classrooms: Facilitating Learning for All Students. Baltimore: Paul Brookes, 1992

Jim Grant, Bob Johnson, and Irv Richardson, The Looping Handbook: Teachers and Students Progressing Together. Peterborough, NH Crystal Springs books, 1995. Society for Developmental Education 101 Sharon Road PO Box 577 Peterborough NH 03458.  1-800-321-0401  1-800-321-0401

Virginia Education Association and Appalachia Educational Laboratory, Teaching Combined Grade classes: Real Problems and Promising Practices. Charleston WV Appalachia Educational laboratory, 1990

National Association of Elementary School principals, Standards for Quality Elementary and Middle Schools: Kindergarten through Eighth Grade Alexandria, VA NAESP, 1990  1-800-38 NAESP  1-800-38 NAESP .

Prospect Center, North Bennington, Vermont 05257-0326.  (802)-442-8333  (802)-442-8333 .

Project Zero, 323 Longfellow Hall, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA 02138.  (617)495-4342  (617)495-4342 .

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