Curriculum Is Not a New Essay

Pages: 5 (1803 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Teaching

¶ … curriculum is not a new one, but it can be difficult to accomplish, and there are several reasons for this. One of the most serious of these reasons is that of time constraints. Writing takes time from the school day where other things could be worked on, and schools are often tight on the time that they have available for certain tasks anyway (Bursuck & Munk, 2002). This is especially true of schools where standardized testing is required, because these schools often 'teach to the test' instead of teaching students what they actually need to be learning. With this is mind it is clear that students need to spend more time writing (Bursuck & Munk, 2002). The question is how to require them to do that without losing out on other areas of learning that they must remain involved in, and this is a serious question with no easy answers for many educators in today's schools.

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The good news is that there are options for this problem, and they involve working with the very same subject areas that have been previously believed to be problematic when it comes to taking up too much time and therefore preventing children from writing. In other words, if you cannot spend a lot of time writing because of reading and math, and you have to spend time writing about reading and math. It is essentially a relation to that old adage of killing two birds with one stone. When you cannot work around something to do something else you have to work within the confines of what you are given and work with the options that you have (Braun, 2004). Being innovative and creative are also both very important, because many teachers lack those things today (Norris & Ortega, 2001). When they lack them, their students often lack them, too, because they are not encouraged. By incorporating writing into the reading and math curriculum, students can be encouraged to think outside of the box and this will make all of their school activities more enjoyable as well as helping ensure that they learn more than they otherwise would have if they were required to stay within the standard boundaries (Norris & Ortega, 2001).

Reading and Writing

Essay on Curriculum Is Not a New One, but Assignment

The implementation of writing into the reading curriculum is one of the easiest to accomplish, because reading naturally lends itself to writing (Bursuck & Munk, 2002). Answering the questions at the end of the chapter or writing a short book report have traditionally been the most common ways of incorporating writing, and these should definitely still be used. However, there are other ways to look at the issue and bring writing in without making too much work for the students (Bursuck & Munk, 2002). Group projects are generally one way to do this. There is not a lot of time for these kinds of projects, but some of the reading time can be utilized by putting students into groups, having them read something short - like a story or an article - and then requiring them to create a document that either asks questions that were not solved by reading the original document or states how the original document should be changed.

Essentially, they would be not only writing during reading time, but they would also be thinking about what they read and analyzing it in a way that they would not have otherwise done, which will help them with their reading, their writing, and their analytical skills, all at one time. This is not the only analytical writing exercise they could be offered, however, as instructors who want to ensure that students learn not only to write but to think about what they are writing could assign short writing projects as homework. Rather than have a student reading a large number of pages, give them something short to read and then require that they write about it. Setting a minimum word count will ensure that they have made an actual effort and have read the material, and questions that should be answered in the writing will also help to ensure those things, but allowing the student to express himself or herself and the opinions that he or she holds can get that student thinking. When a student feels as though his or her opinions matter, that student is much more likely to be willing to express them - and to also think about what they really are.

Math and Writing

The math curriculum is one of the most difficult areas in which to incorporate any kind of writing (Braun, 2004). Because math is so analytic and deals with numbers and facts and statistics, trying to have a writing exercise during that time can leave teachers at a loss for what to do (Braun, 2004). One of the easiest things that a teacher can do to try to get writing into the math curriculum is the creation of word problems. This lets students use both their math and their writing skills and also requires them to think about what they are writing. It allows their creativity to come through and enables them to use some unorthodox thinking in a way that will help them in the future. Word problems are very important for solving real-world problems that they will encounter as adults, so they must be able to see these kinds of problems as both mathematical and realistic, as well. These can be created as homework and then compiled as a test or quiz to be given to the entire class, allowing other students to critique the writing without fear of embarrassment.

If word problems are not enough, there are also story problems. These are along the same lines as word problems but they are longer and more complex. There may be more than one mathematical issue that needs to be solved in this kind of story, and it can be worked on by a group. This allows children to work with others who they can bounce ideas off of and also to be part of a group that creates something unique and interesting. The way to get children writing or working on any kind of subject that they might not have had much interest in before is to show them how it can be interesting and enjoyable. If all of the fun and creativity is removed from learning, there is very little indication that children are going to keep working hard to continue to learn. A lot of children are afraid of writing because they do not feel as though they are any good at it. However, if it can be incorporated into areas like math, they may see it as math instead of writing and some of the pressure to 'be a good writer' will be removed.

Other Subjects and Writing

Reading and math are not the only subjects taught in elementary school, and they certainly are not the only subjects where writing can be incorporated into the curriculum (Braun, 2004). Any subject can have writing in it, provided the teacher is willing to create some new and different activities along with using some older ones that have been phased out. For example, field trips used to be very educational, and now they are often just for fun. They should be both, but there should be no field trip taken that does not require a report to be written about what was seen, what was done, and what was learned. That will put writing back into any subject where a student would be taken on a field trip. These reports do not have to be long, but they should be long enough to provide thoughtful information about the trip. Setting a minimum word limit is often necessary.

As for specifics on subjects, there are some examples which stand out. A history class could require each student to write a short report (based on teacher-provided questions) about one former president. It requires writing, learning, and thought, and these reports could all be laminated and bound and kept in the classroom so that all students would have access to needed, quick information about the presidents. A science class could have an astronomy lesson and reports on planets and stars. Other good ways to get students writing are through the use of a journal and through being allowed to write down questions that they would like to have answered. These have to be legitimate questions, not 'why do we have homework?' And the like. Then these questions can be researched and answered by others students, which requires them to write something stating the answer and where they found it. Teachers should, of course, screen these questions and only hand out assignments that can be realistically answered.

Conclusion

As can be seen by what has been discussed in the previous pages, there are many different things that teachers can do in order to encourage different types of learning and in order to bring writing back into the curriculum.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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