AN INTRODUCTION TO
TEACHING IN FLORIDA
BULLETIN 47, REVISED
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
DIVISION OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION
BUREAU OF CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION
FLOYD T. CHRISTIAN, COMMISSIONER
T HE DEVELOPMENT of public education in Florida has con-
sistently reflected our best efforts to obtain and maintain
educational programs, services, and facilities of high quality for
children throughout the State. This development has been aided
measurably by the establishment of the Minimum Foundation
Program, which has enabled every county in the State to plan for
buildings, staff, facilities, and equipment on a long-term basis,
and the provision of free textbooks for public-school pupils.
Another factor which has exerted a positive influence on the
school program in Florida is the provision of a plan for the de-
velopment of curriculum guides by committees of teachers, other
professional school personnel, and interested lay citizens at both
the local and the state levels.
Emphasis in state-level curriculum guides is placed on offering
suggestions rather than prescribing rigid courses of study, specific
teaching units, or single lesson plans. This decentralized approach
to curriculum development allows the separate counties and local
schools to utilize the guides in building their own programs
which are adapted to local needs.
This bulletin, Introduction to Teaching in Florida Elementary
Schools, addressed to elementary-school teachers who are begin-
ning teachers, who are teaching for the first time in Florida
schools, or who are teaching for the first time at the elementary-
school level is a new effort in the same direction. An attempt has
been made to provide a general philosophy and some basic beliefs
which allow considerable flexibility for developing local school
programs. It is hoped that this guide will result in a growing un-
derstanding of the Florida elementary-school program and its
purposes and will suggest effective ways to use state-level serv-
ices, including consultants and resource people, to assist with the
development of individual school programs.
The guide is designed to present a brief overview of the Florida
elementary-school program for the purpose of orienting new
teachers to the philosophy, problems, and decisions which affect
quality education in our state. Experienced teachers who wish to
re-evaluate their teaching or re-examine it in light of present
trends will also find this publication helpful.
Floyd T. Christian
Commissioner of Education
IN RESPONSE to a recommendation of the Courses of Study
Committee that Bulletin 47, Teaching in Florida Elementary
Schools, be reviewed and revised or rewritten, a committee of
public-school teachers and university professors was appointed by
the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to undertake the
task with the expressed charge that they proceed with as much
dispatch as possible in order to get the new guide into the hands
of elementary-school teachers at the earliest possible moment.
Members of the Committee who accepted this responsibility
and who worked diligently, effectively, and quickly to produce
this guide were Dr. W. Roy DeVore, Principal, North Hialeah
Elementary School, Hialeah; Dr. James F. Gollattscheck, Director
of Personnel, Pinellas County Schools, Clearwater; Dr. Aleyne
Haines, College of Education, University of Florida, Gainesville;
Mrs. J. P. McClellan, Lillian Ruediger School, Tallahassee; Dr.
Mildred E. Swearingen, School of Education, Florida State Uni-
versity, Tallahassee; and Mrs. Faleda Webber, University Labo-
ratory School, Florida A & M University, Tallahassee. Dr.
Haines' untimely death in an automobile accident cut short her
participation in the project, but she had already made a substan-
tial contribution which will be counted among her lasting in-
fluences on elementary education.
This Committee, working in cooperation with Dr. Sara L.
DeKeni, Mrs. Minnie Hall Fields, and Miss Minnie Lee Rowland,
consultants in elementary education on the Department of Educa-
tion staff, has successfully performed the task of revising and up-
dating the original Bulletin 47 to reflect emerging trends and cur-
rent research. To all of these people is due a large debt of grati-
tude by the teachers of Florida public schools.
A large number of other individuals have contributed to the
guide by reacting to work draft material and making suggestions
for improvement. Although to mention by name each individual
who participated in this work would be impractical, their con-
tributions are recognized and appreciated.
Special recognition for professional support and leadership goes
to Dr. Fred W. Turner, Director, Division of Instructional Serv-
ices. Appreciation is also due Dr. Joseph W. Crenshaw, Assistant
Director, General Education and Curriculum, Division of In-
structional Services, who coordinated the work of the Committee
and reviewed and edited the material.
We are further indebted to J. K. Chapman and Howard Jay
Friedman for suggestions and assistance with lay-out, printing,
and distribution of the guide.
Table of Contents
F orew ord ............................................. i
Acknowledgm ents ..................................... iii
Part I Some Basic Understanding for the Florida
Elementary School Teacher ................... 1
A. The Purposes of the Elementary School ........ 1
B. The Learner and the Learning Process ......... 4
C. Selection and Organization of Learning
Experiences .................................. 12
Part II Planning the Instructional Program ............ 32
A Social Studies ............................... 32
B Science ..................................... 52
C. Health, Safety, and Physical Education ........ 60
D. Language Arts ............................... 67
E. Arithm etic ................................... 93
F. Related Arts ................................. 102
G M usic ....................................... 110
Part III Functions of the State Department of Education 118
Some Basic Understandings For The
Florida Elementary School Teacher
PART I OF THIS bulletin presents background information
about the purposes of the elementary school, the learner and
the learning process, and the selection and organization of learn-
ing experiences in the hope that the reader may find guidelines
for decision-making in the planning of a good elementray-school
A. THE PURPOSES OF THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
It is clearly apparent from a survey of past developments and
concerns that people in Flordia-parents, school personnel, and
other concerned members of the public-intend that Florida's
boys and girls shall have the type of educational program that
will enable each individual child to achieve his highest potential.
Thus the goals which have been generally accepted for Florida
elementary schools reflect this concern.
At the elementary-school level, a broad, comprehensive pro-
gram of general education is designed to accomplish two major
purposes, the development of learning which should be common
to all citizens and the development of the unique potentialities
of each pupil. The elementary-school program, therefore, is based
upon the needs of society with its aspirations for its children, the
developmental needs of children, and the contributions which
can be expected from the fields of organized knowledge.
Central goals of the elementary school relate to the develop-
ment of values, the development of processes and skills, and the
understanding and use of content.
The Development of Values
Because the elementary school is responsible for the instruction
of pupils at a period when they are forming basic value systems,
it is important that the instructional program be organized to fos-
ter the development of sound values in the following areas:
1. Values which form the basis for participation in a democratic
2. Values which foster moral and spiritual growth
3. Values which enhance appreciation for our cultural and na-
The Development of Processes and Skills
It is a major purpose of the elementary school to help children
gain command, to the extent of their abilities, of the processes
and skills which will enable them to make maximum use of their
educational opportunities and to function effectively as children
and adults. The following processes should be given consider-
1. The process of communicating through oral and written lan-
guage, reading and listening, use of numbers, and the media
of the arts
2. The processes involved in rational thinking and learning,
building concepts, seeing relationships, generalizing, making
applications, and solving problems
3. The process of creating, which is not limited to the arts but
which is recognized as a way of approaching problems and
situations with an open mind and a willingness to examine
alternatives and to explore creative solutions.
Understanding and Use of Content
It is a goal of the elementary school to help children gain com-
mand, to the extent of their abilities, of fundamental understand-
ings in those bodies of knowledge of which society requires its
members to be cognizant. Faculty groups need to clarify their
educational philosophy if they are to plan and execute effectively
the over-all school program. Thus faculty members need to ex-
amine goals which are generally accepted for the state, the phi-
losophy of their own school, and their own individual beliefs
about education. As teachers plan and organize for learning expe-
riences in the classroom, they should see more clearly the over-
all goals of the elementary school in their entirety, rather than
look at a number of isolated specific objectives. When decisions
must be made as to which learning experiences or projects should
be given priority in time, emphasis, or order of preference for se-
curing learning materials, reference can then be made to both the
broad over-all goals and to learning experiences which appear
most likely to contribute significantly to the achievement of im-
portant objectives. The objectives within any particular field of
knowledge among the many disciplines which contribute to the
elementary-school curriculum should be viewed in relation to the
major goals of elementary education.
As school faculties clarify and define their own beliefs, the
broad general goals for elementary education should be trans-
lated into more specific objectives for use at the individual school
and classroom level. For example, a typical school philosophy can
be stated somewhat as follows:
We believe our school is committed to provide experiences for
children which will help them
1. Become socially sensitive individuals with an awareness of
the feelings, interest, and problems of other people in
their home, school, and immediate community
2. Extend and deepen their interests, information, and con-
cerns to people of the wider community, other communities,
other states, and other nations of the world
3. Develop understandings and competencies which will enable
them to be good citizens in their own school and community
and to develop basic understandings of the responsibilities of
citizens in our nation.
4. Develop increasingly greater understanding and use of the
skills of reflective thinking and the methods of research and
5. Develop an understanding of themselves as individuals and
of their unique potentialities for creative thought and en-
deavor in many areas.
It is not enough,. of course, that these goals be desired for chil-
dren; it is important that each learner have a clear idea of his
own purposes. These purposes should be apparent throughout the
teaching-learning experiences in the elementary-school class-
room. Therefore, teachers planning with their children can set up
cooperatively the goals which will describe the behavior which is
sought by children and adults alike. One classroom group of chil-
dren and teacher described their goals as follows:
We want to gain a better understanding of the values that
are important in our nation and to use these values to help us
make decisions about our own behavior.
We want to learn more about our school and community and
how we can keep it a good place in which to live.
We want to learn more about people in other places and
other nations of the world, how their problems and interests
are like ours and .differ from ours, and why.
We want to learn how to use many kinds of materials and
to work different ways to gain the facts and information we
need for solving our problems.1
Such goals and objectives need to be constantly examined,
evaluated, and changed as the learners' insight deepens and their
Teachers, too, need to accept responsibility for being critical of
their own goals and being sensitive to changing needs and inter-
ests in relationship to the elementary-school program.
B. THE LEARNER AND THE LEARNING PROCESS
There are recognizable differences in the development levels of
boys and girls. Generally, girls mature earlier than boys and the
difference usually persists throughout the elementary school.
There is also a wide difference and an overlapping of growth in a
single group of children of the same age. An individual child may
have different growth levels in the different phases of his devel-
opment. For instance, at times physical or mental growth may
surpass social growth. Studies show that children are different in
many and varied ways which should be taken into account as
educational programs are developed for them.
Knowing the Child as a Person
Each child comes to school with a different background of ex-
perience and with different potentialities for learning. Each has
his own growth pattern. There is a wide variation in growth from
child to child. Some children follow uneven patterns of growth.
1 State Department of Education, Bulletin 30, A Guide to Teaching Social Studies in
the Elementary School, tentative draft (mimeographed).
Some start slowly and speed up later; others start fast and slow
down with time; still others follow more even designs.
It is recognized that each child needs to be accepted as he is
with his assets and limitations, with his hopes and aspirations.
For this reason the teacher cannot think of his class as if it were
a single-acting unit. He must accept the many variations in a
group and arrange materials and resources to work for wider
achievement and a wider range of differences. With the proper
information about children, the teacher can determine purposes
and time efforts so as to capture the moment when learning can
take place most effectively.
One of the chief concerns of the teacher is that of gaining an
understanding of children so that he can become sensitive to their
problems, thereby gaining skill and confidence in meeting their
needs. Many techniques are needed to bring together informa-
tion about the child's behavior. Observation, in which such in-
struments as anecdotal records, logs, and diaries are employed, is
the most frequently used technique. Some techniques involve
keeping records for a short period of time, while others require
continuous evaluation over a longer period. Whatever technique
is used to obtain information, it should be approached with a sci-
entific attitude and with a widening understanding of the facts
that affect learning. Some effective procedures for accumulating
information about children are:
1. Continuous accumulation and study of pertinent informa-
tion about the child's development and progress through
such devices and instruments as guidance records, health
records, and standardized tests.
2. Conferences with principals, teachers, former teachers, and
other people who can give information about the child and
his progress in school.
3. Informal conferences with people who know the child well
to get a dependable picture of his relationships in the com-
4. Interviews and discussions with parents and other children
to get new information and to verify data previously col-
5. Informal talks with the child to determine his needs, inter-
ests, and abilities. (This may be done while regular school
activities are in progress at a time when the child feels free
to express himself.)
6. Home visits.
7. Study of the child's creative efforts in order to gain an in-
creasing insight into his inner feelings, strong desires, and
8. Use of reliable sociometric techniques, such as carefully
constructed sociograms, to help determine the child's social-
9. Anecdotal records of selected episodes that reveal behavior.
(Two or three records a week over a period of time, depict-
ing the child's behavior in different situations under vary-
ing circumstances, may show persistent patterns of behav-
ior when analyzed objectively.)
10. Case studies, data from many sources organized and syn-
thesized into an integrated portrait of the child.
11. Study of the child's out-of-school activities which reveal his
relationships in the home and community.
Understanding the Learning Process
Good teaching is based on an understanding of the learning
process. In addition to knowing the child the teacher should have
a good understanding of how learning takes place and some basic
knowledge of the conditions that promote or retard effective
learning. As the teacher works with the child he should think of
learning as the means by which behavior is changed or modified
as the child moves toward goals which seem important to him. If
learning is viewed in this way, it will become essential to give in-
creasing attention to creating the types of situations that will
make desirable learning possible.
As a part of the teacher's working philosophy, he should give
much thought to formulating a set of learning principles that he
can accept and actively support. These principles should serve as
guidelines to appraise his teaching techniques and procedures.
They should help him say "This is sound" or "This is not sound."
As he plans his work with children from day to day, he should
form the habit of applying sound learning principles.
A few basic principles for checking teaching procedures are:
Learning takes place best
1. When the child's purposes are considered when planning
his learning experiences
2. When the child is permitted to proceed at his own rate of
3. When a feeling of security and emotional satisfaction ac-
companies the learning experience
4. When it is recognized that several learning outcomes may
result from a single learning experience
5. When it is understood that the child will persist in his ef-
forts to the degree that he believes the experience will be
valuable to him
6. When it is recognized that the way the child sees the facts
and values in the situation will affect his behavior
7. When the child organizes his own responses with the guid-
ance of sympathetic and understanding adults
8. When the child is in a stimulating environment with a vari-
ety of materials and resources available for his use
9. When the child works cooperatively with his own group,
securing outside assistance when needed
10. When the failures of the child are supported by a backlog
of successful experiences
11. When experiences, materials, and expected outcomes are
consistent with the maturity and experience background of
12. When the child discovers relationships for himself and can
apply the principles of what is learned in a variety of situa-
13. When it is recognized that the child is motivated by many
factors and that children differ widely in regard to what
14. When the child has a knowledge of his own successes and
failures and participates in evaluating his own progress
15. When the child's biological need to engage in energetic ac-
tivity is taken into account in planning the learning envi-
Maturation applies to the child's total readiness for learning.
Readiness is an individual matter. It comes at different times and
is different at various stages of the child's development. It is dif-
ferent for different kinds of experiences. The degree and kind of
readiness depend on the physical and psychological maturity of
the child as well as his cumulated experiences. It should be un-
derstood that while experience contributes to readiness it cannot
be forced by exposure to experience alone. For this reason it is
important that the teacher seek to understand how all phases of
the child's growth are interwoven. When one aspect of growth is
impeded or stopped, other aspects will be thrown out of balance
and readiness may be impaired.
Children develop gradually in their mental capacities and per-
ceptual growth. It should not be assumed that readiness is present
or absent without opportunities to test or try it out in experi-
ences. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that processes and
ideas that appear complex to a pupil at a given age may readily
be grasped at a later period when his attention span is longer or
when they are introduced to him gradually through concrete ex-
periences that lay the groundwork for later learning. For in-
stance, some six-year-olds have neither enough experience nor
maturity to do formal reading, and yet many schools force them
into it. Reading skills that an immature pupil attains are gained
through much more drill than would be necessary later and are
lost quickly over a summer vacation or similar period. In the
meantime the child has developed attitudes that make reading
difficult for him. If, however, formal reading is delayed until the
child is ready for the experience, he will learn with relative ease
and speed. Well-planned experiences with accompanying matu-
ration often succeed where experience provided too early fails.
Working with Children as Individuals
Children not only mature at different rates and with individual
growth patterns, they also differ in other respects. For example,
their backgrounds of experience reflect wide and varying differ-
ences. Some are healthy with strong constitutions. Some feel
loved and accepted while others feel unwanted and rejected. A
class may include children who have had such advantages as a
wide experience with books and parents who read to them, an-
swer their questions, and challenge their thinking. Other chil-
dren will not have had such opportunities. Some children are
blessed with a happy home life with adequate food and care;
others have physical and emotional problems that make learning
difficult. Some children appear to be able to develop academic
skills more readily than others. There is often a difference of two
to four years in the mental age of beginning school children.
Studies indicate that there is an increasingly wider range of dif-
ferences in achievement as children progress in school. The range
is often wider than the grade designation by the end of the ele-
The teacher who works with the individual child from day to
day will be the person who will be most concerned about how to
deal with changes in individual behavior. The skillful teacher will
strive to understand how the various aspects of growth are bound
together and will seek means of identifying, correcting, and pre-
venting inappropriate behavior. His attitude will be one of empa-
thy and acceptance. He will see the child not as "good" or "bad"
or "slow" or "fast" but as a person with unrevealed potentialities
for successful living and learning. His goal then will be not how
to eliminate but how to cope with individual differences.
Because there are such vast differences in the social and emo-
tional adjustments of children, as well as their abilities to achieve
academically, it is important for the teacher to work closely with
parents. When the teacher finds that a child's problems are great
enough to cause a difficulty which needs special attention, he
should not hesitate to call on his principal, other resource people,
and community agencies which might help the child.
Interrelatedness of Learning
All phases of the child's growth are interwoven. The child does
not respond piece by piece to his surroundings. His experiences
affect him in many ways. Because of the multiple nature of his
learning, attention should be focused largely on conditions that
are conducive to total growth rather than those emphasizing the
different aspects of growth separately. The child is not a scientist
today, a linguist tomorrow, and an artist next week. It becomes
increasingly apparent that experiences cannot be provided that
will affect only isolated parts of the child. Consequently, it is im-
portant to anticipate as nearly as possible the consequences of the
child's total experiences in planning learning opportunities for
We know that learning in different areas of the curriculum oc-
curs simultaneously and with much overlapping. It is also clear
that many inaccuracies and misconceptions appear as the child
attempts to deal with new ideas and information. This suggests
that the teacher should spend some time in observing and in plan-
ning ways to help the child sort out, extend, bring together, and
apply what he has learned in ways that will be meaningful and
satisfying to him.
Learnings, such as respect for one's self and others, cooperation,
and critical thinking, cannot be accomplished through teaching
them as single subjects in the curriculum. Nor can we depend
upon the child's gaining specific attitudes, such as respect and
love for our country or an understanding of other people and
places in the world, merely through a course in geography or his-
tory or social studies units. It is true that facts and information
about people and places and events are necessary elements of
critical thinking, problem solving, and building attitudes. The
stimulating teacher is continuously growing in scholarship and
extending his own knowledge of people, places, things, and
events. If the purposes of education are to be accomplished, other
necessary considerations are the reasons which the child has for
these learning and the ways in which he gains and uses his
Building meaningful concepts is one of the most important re-
sponsibilities of the teacher. It should be recognized that concepts
are much more than words. Concepts are ideas or generalized
thoughts. One concept may bring forth many associations and
may cover many situations. Once a concept is grouped or classi-
fied according to a system of events, sets of association can be
made from it. For example, schools as a concept does not refer to
a specific school but to a class or group of places with common
characteristics. Long before the child enters school he forms some
general but rather vague ideas about schools. But when he enters
school he begins to expand and refine the concept. He soon com-
pares his school with other schools. He sees how the children in
other schools are alike or different. He makes a comparison of
play facilities or learning experiences offered in a nearby neigh-
borhood school and in many other ways continues to make finer
distinctions about schools. Various shades of meaning develop as
he makes use of a wide variety of resources and materials in
The richness of concepts depends on the opportunities the child
has to differentiate, refine, and expand his experiences. Concepts
such as cooperation and tolerance require much building with
many opportunities to refine and extend meanings. Cooperation,
for instance, may mean planning and sharing with his classmates
to the first-grade child, while it may have meanings of inter-
national significance for the sixth-grade child.
Once the child has developed a concept adequately, it can be
used effectively in determining appropriate ways of acting. It can
help him to make choices and to give more accurate interpreta-
tions to his experiences. The deeper the concept the more likely
the interpretation is to be correct and the more likely it is to be
used to further creative thinking.
Encouraging Desirable Attitudes
Teachers recognize the importance of helping children make a
positive adjustment to school, since this makes possible greater
ease in learning. Learning may be inhibited by emotional tension
or poor attitudes. These attitudes and tensions often form when
the climate within the classroom is unpleasant or when children
have been plunged into an activity before they are ready for the
experience. Care should be taken that children are aware of a
skill and have a desire to master it, since there must be an urge to
learn before learning can take place. Learning is difficult when
the need for a skill is not recognized, when expectations are too
high, when acceptance or security is lacking. Thus, it is important
for the teacher to help children develop a desire to learn and to
stimulate and guide their interests.
Developing Moral and Spiritual Values
Some basic concepts in our moral and spiritual heritage are
that man is a spiritual being of dignity and worth and that all
men are created equal and are entitled to equal rights and oppor-
tunities. Teachers endeavor to help each child develop self-re-
spect and realize his unique potentialities. As children pursue
problems which they accept as important to them, they learn
self-confidence and respect for others. Through working coop-
eratively, children recognize that democratic processes are means
of reaching practical solutions in situations where there are dif-
ferences of opinion or conflicting ideas and values. Teachers help
children deal with moral and spiritual problems as they arise
daily in the classroom, avoiding any sectarian slant to the instruc-
tion. New teachers are referred for additional assistance in this
area to a curriculum guide, Teaching Moral and Spiritual Values
in Florida Schools, which is available free to Florida teachers
from the State Department of Education.
C. SELECTION AND ORGANIZATION OF
The selection and organization of content and learning experi-
ences are two of the major tasks of every teacher. An explora-
tion of the areas of knowledge reveals a vast array of concepts,
information, habits, skills, facts, and attitudes that might become
a part of the curriculum. It is unwise to expect children to learn
everything. Therefore, teachers must select content and learning
experiences and organize them into a desirable school program.
Simultaneously, it is well to keep in mind that ideally the prepa-
ration of a written school curriculum serves to enable teachers
and children to develop cooperatively a program that is suitable,
continuous, balanced, and flexible. Teachers will want to make
certain that the concepts, skills, habits, attitudes, information, and
learning experiences selected are of the nature -and at the level
appropriate for each child.
Effective teaching requires careful planning by the total fac-
ulty. Teachers need to understand one another's purposes and to
be acquainted with the materials and procedures of one another's
classes if the curriculum of the school is to have continuity.
Unified Teaching at All Grade Levels. Some goals, such as em-
phasizing good citizenship, are obviously the concern of every
teacher and require cooperative planning. Other aspects of the
curriculum are just as truly, if less obviously, concerns for fac-
ulty-wide action. For example, good speech habits on the part of
pupils can more likely be achieved if all teachers within a school
work together with their pupils toward this goal; for good speech
is the product of careful attention. Opportunities for creative ex-
pression and direct instruction provided during the language arts
period, in all class work, and in connection with school-wide ac-
tivities help children develop desirable speech patterns.
Increasing Difficulty of Thought Processes. Continuity in the
types of experiences enables pupils to move from simple to more
complex thought processes. For example, in a six-year-old pupil,
mental arithmetic may involve solving simple one-step oral prob-
lems that arise in the classroom. As children advance, these be-
ginnings are extended and expanded in order for students to
become increasingly skillful in the -mental solution of written
problems of two steps or more by the time they are eleven years
old. As teachers in every classroom work with pupils to help
them plan and evaluate their work; evaluate materials and ways
of working; gather, summarize, and apply information; make in-
ferences; extend and enlarge concepts through discovery; draw
conclusions; and make wise choices, pupils develop the ability to
think and function independently at levels of increasing com-
Functional Relationship. Teachers are also expected to help
pupils relate in a functional way the information taught in all
areas. We cannot assume that children will automatically see the
connections among facts or apply the textbook facts to their own
lives. For example, teachers must help children apply facts
learned in the language class about paragraphing and outlining
to the social studies report he is preparing. The facts learned in
social studies about truck farm produce in his own state should
be related in the pupil's thinking to what he has just learned in
science about the use of refrigeration in preserving food. An ac-
tivity program, unit teaching, and integration of subject-matter
content represent efforts to relate facts to meaningful experiences.
Every moment and every incident of children's daily school liv-
ing present opportunities for them to continue to learn. There-
fore, the school's curriculum is not confined to textbooks, nor is
learning limited to the actual classroom. All the activities of the
school day are opportunities for putting into practice what the
pupil learns in the classroom. Thus, waiting courteously in the
cafeteria line instead of shoving is better evidence of good citizen-
ship than correct answers in response to a written test on man-
ners given in the classroom. What children do in the classroom or
on the playground under supervision or while they wait for a bus
may be the means of developing wider interests in handicrafts,
recreational reading, and hobbies. The teacher of today sees play-
ground activities, the lunch period, and the passing of pupils in
the halls not as irksome periods when his sole purpose is to pre-
vent disorder, but as opportunities to reinforce what he is already
teaching. Whatever methods are used, teachers will want to make
a constant and conscious effort to help pupils see relationships
among their learning and between their learning and their real
life experiences. Facts in isolation do not supplement one another
and are seldom carried over into pupils' daily living.
In addition many schools include experiences in the program
that aid children in recognizing and solving problems which they
meet from day to day. Information from community surveys aids
teachers in selecting and organizing learning experiences in a
manner that assists boys and girls in discovering the relationship
of the things they learn at school to life outside the school.
Children can be expected to make measurable progress toward
long range goals when there is balance in the curriculum. Bal-
ance is achieved when teachers are able to plan the scope and se-
quence of content and the experiences through which they
expect to guide each individual to the realization of the stated
educational objectives. References to pupils' needs, interests, pur-
poses, and previous learning aids the teacher in making choices.
The resulting program should:
-include suitable learning in all areas of the curriculum-art,
music, language arts, health, social studies, safety, science,
physical education, and arithemtic.
-make an adequate distribution of time among the areas.
-provide a variety of types of learning experiences in order to
appeal to several different senses, enlarge concepts, encourage
interest and participation, and stimulate utilization of skills
as they are learned.
Experimenting, participating in planned observations; manip-
ulating models and concrete aids; viewing films, filmstrips,
slides and pictures; listening to recordings, radio, reports;
dramatizing, painting, making models, charts and inter-
preting models, charts, and graphs; writing original stories
-include differing types of pupil activity necessary for mental,
emotional, physical, and social growth. During the school day
children should engage in planning; studying; reporting;
practicing skills; creating; resting; playing; eating; enjoy-
ing music, art, and literature; and evaluating.
-include provisions for direct teaching, large-group activities
and projects, small-group and committee work, and indi-
vidual teaching and counseling.
-emphasize variations in types of materials that children may
use. Not all children learn as well, nor as readily, from any
specific type of material. Therefore, every medium of learn-
ing should be used.
It must be anticipated that decisions made for and with chil-
dren regarding specific goals and experiences will be subject to
change. As conditions in the class, school, and life outside the
school change, it is necessary to alter plans. Increasing informa-
tion about and an understanding of individuals may also lead to
modification of learning experiences in order to provide for newly
discovered needs, interests, values, levels of performance, and
In Goals, Content, and Materials. Modifications of specific
goals, materials, experiences, and content or organization of con-
tent should be made as the need arises. Continuous evaluation
and further planning are necessary. Refining or revising specific
goals, stating new goals, augmenting or deleting content or add-
ing entirely new content, and securing and utilizing more appro-
priate resources or learning aids are typical steps teachers and
pupils take in this connection.
In Types of Learning Experiences. A second example of the
need for flexibility has its roots in individual difference. Some
learners tend to obtain more benefit from experiences involving
manipulation of concrete objects, while others learn best from
verbalization. The effective teacher, therefore, must be aware of
this and provide several types of experiences in connection with
each goal. Then the individual may naturally select that experi-
ence which best serves him, yet have an opportunity to try a vari-
ety of approaches.
In Utilizing Time. The third situation in which teachers find it
advantageous to be able to make curriculum changes usually
arises in connection with long blocks of time in the daily sched-
ule. At times it is necessary to continue an activity or to plan for
related subject areas to be taught during a single period, for ex-
ample-language arts. Further long blocks of time must be ar-
ranged so that the class can engage in group study of a significant
In Grouping. Flexibility in grouping children makes it possible
for a pupil to move out of a group in which he works to correct a
specific weakness as soon as his goal has been accomplished. It
also permits a pupil to work in several different groups through-
out the day. When the -group in which a child works is chosen on
the basis of the extent to which the work of the group serves the
child's purposes, flexibility in grouping is maintained.
A wide variety of resources are available to all schools. They
should be utilized to provide a wide range of diverse learning ex-
periences for every child. Teachers may accomplish this by mak-
ing frequent and appropriate use of:
1. Audio-visual aids and new media
2. Printed materials on various levels
3. Teacher-pupil-made and commercially produced materials
4. Community resources
5. Real-life materials and living things
6. Improvised or commercially produced equipment for sci-
ence, music, physical education, and art.
Effective teaching requires careful selection of resources that
are suitable for the children and that help them develop the de-
sired concepts. Each teacher will need to set aside some portion
of the day, before or after pupils are present, when he can assem-
ble pictures and other teaching aids and prepare or select practice
materials suitable to his groups.
Children in every classroom should have ready access to many
types of materials on several interest and ability levels. When
boys and girls need repetition of previously studied content, ma-
terials new to them, yet on their level, should be used. Pupils
may explore their interests, identify common elements in differ-
ent situations, clarify values, and learn through active, motoric,
practical, and dramatic experiences when many types of learning
aids are employed.
Sometimes materials found in the workbooks which accom-
pany all state-adopted reading textbooks may be used to accom-
plish these goals. A word of caution should be given here. Work-
books should be used only when:
1. Each child using the material has a specific need for the
2. The teacher has time to give careful directions and adequate
3. The teacher can check on the work of the child to keep him
from practicing mistakes or learning to do careless work.
4. The material is on the child's reading level.
Variety in procedures is possible when many resources are
utilized. Children may be expected to become more effective
learners when they are in a rich stimulating environment.
Special attention should be given to:
Library tables or shelves. These tables or shelves should con-
tain appropriate books and children's magazines which are
changed from time to time. Whenever possible, a slide or stere-
ograph viewer should be a part of the classroom library center.
Children, teacher, and librarian usually select materials from
the central library that may be helpful in connection with the
on-going classroom work. When these are kept on the library
table, children are more apt to use them at suitable times
throughout the day. Fresh materials should be brought in at
frequent intervals. This practice does not replace frequent use
of the central library.
Special centers of interest. Science, art, music, arithmetic,
housekeeping, store, and post office centers of interest should
be changed as new interests develop. Dioramas, exhibits, topo-
graphical maps, models, specimen collections, and similar de-
vices will help maintain active pupil participation.
Bulletin boards. Attractively arranged displays of all the
children's work do much to improve the appearance of a room
and encourage children to do more careful work.
Free or sponsored materials such as travel posters, charts,
diagrams, pictures, and special maps are valuable bulletin board
illustrations. The resources of a community are also valuable
aids to learning. These include the people in the community,
agencies and institutions that serve the people, and physical and
natural resources of the area. A variety of techniques, such as
interviews with resource persons in the community, excursions
and field trips to points of interest, a survey of opinion or specific
practices, and classroom visits by individuals may be used to help
children get information that enriches the curriculum and makes
it more meaningful. When children have experiences related to
everyday living, basic understandings regarding the interdepend-
ence and interaction of resources and community life can be more
fully comprehended. Teachers need to know the community, its
mores and customs, if they are to be effective in working with
There are many ways in which schools work cooperatively
with other agencies. Frequently schools, agencies, and citizens
work together on persistent community problems such as the
prevention of forest fires. It is also helpful to use the team-ap-
proach when teachers and principals are seeking a solution to
children's problems. Parents, school personnel, public health
nurses and doctors, personnel of the department of public welfare,
private physicians, civic clubs, and other organized groups may
work together to help children with physical, emotional, and so-
cial problems. Teachers should ask for and use the assistance
which they need if they are to be effective in guiding the growth
and development of all children.
Evaluating Pupil Progress
Evaluation is an integral part of planning and developing ex-
periences. Progress should always be appraised in terms of the
goals sought. Evaluation is a necessary part of daily activities.
When it is done cooperatively by teacher and pupil or teacher,
pupil, and parent, it aids in the analysis of pupils' needs and pro-
vides clues to ways of meeting them. Teachers should help chil-
dren recognize in themselves and their products evidence of
positive changes in attitudes, social skills, the skills of thinking,
physical development, and knowledge and use of subject matter.
For example, a child who does his "spelling lesson" perfectly has
not made really satisfactory progress until he has both the desire
to use and the habit of using the words correctly in his daily writ-
ing. He also is able to use his knowledge to discover the correct
spelling of other related words.
A variety of evaluation procedures are needed as teachers ap-
praise each phase of the development of all children.
Records should be kept of progress in skills, knowledge, under-
standings, special abilities and interests, habits of work, ability to
work independently and with others, acceptance by other boys
and girls, and attitudes toward people of all ages. Folders contain-
ing a record of the books children read voluntarily for pleasure
and dated samples of pupils' work should continue with a pupil
throughout his school career in order to give each successive
teacher an idea of his growth in various areas and his achieve-
ment to date.
Traditionally, pupil progress has been rated satisfactory or un-
satisfactory on the basis of his meeting group standards of
achievement in subject matter. Today it is recognized that other
factors are as important-the child's social adjustment to his age
group, his capacity to learn, and his mental health. Determining
pupil progress in an adequate manner involves careful analysis of
accomplishment in the light of all objectives.
Concerning the teacher's use of standardized test results as a
means of evaluation, some words of caution are necessary. Tests
must be carefully selected to measure the objectives desired. Test
results to be useful to the teacher should be interpreted in the
light of these objectives and in relation to information about the
child's mental and chronological age, physical and mental health,
past progress, and other pertinent data. The test norms supplied
by the publishers are derived from testing large numbers of
children and represent average or median scores. Therefore, in
interpreting individual scores the teacher must realize that ap-
proximately half the children upon whose test scores the norms
were based made scores above the published norm, and approxi-
mately half made scores below it. Perhaps comparatively few of
the children tested made scores exactly at the norm. Variation in
test results at any grade or age level is therefore normal and to be
Complete confidence should not be placed in the information
secured by the use of a single standardized test. The child's physi-
cal and emotional condition on the day the test is given and other
environmental circumstances affecting him at that time often de-
termine how well or how poorly he reacts in the test situation.
Results of series of tests will therefore give a more accurate indi-
cation of ability or achievement than any single test. Stand-
ardized test results may be considered as showing a trend rather
than as being absolute measures. Tests should always be used as
a means to increase understanding about children's needs. They
should never be an end in themselves. Undue emphasis on
achievement tests or teaching for tests will result in a stilted,
meager program which cannot fulfill the objectives of education.
The problem-solving approach to learning is a way of selecting
or utilizing a situation in which children can start with questions;
work with facts, resource materials, and significant events; and
put them together in their own ways. Subsequently, they dis-
cover relationships and generalizations that are a product of their
own thinking. Many teachers have found the outcomes are more
lasting, meaningful, and useful than those obtained by telling
children the solutions and how to obtain them.
As children and teachers work together through the inductive
method of thinking, boys and girls are freed from the stereotyped
situation in which they must give the "right" response--"right"
in terms of the teacher's idea of what is right.
Instead, as children solve problems they:
See what the problem really is
Think of several ways to solve it
Choose the solution that seems best
Try out the chosen solution
Find out if the results are satisfactory.
At times children will require help in working through a prob-
lem in logical fashion, because the steps frequently are not dis-
crete or a step may seem unrelated to their immediate concern.
Generally, the involvement of children in the process of prob-
lem solving is a significant method of helping pupils
-learn how to overcome difficulties
-associate ideas from several sources of information and
-utilize skills as they are learned
-take an objective attitude toward situations
-deal with emotional aspects of their problems
-anticipate the outcomes of an action
-make wise choices
-listen to the point of view of others
-become increasingly independent and capable of solving
These outcomes are possible when children learn the technique
of problem solving under the guidance of a classroom teacher
who applies the process in many different circumstances; that is,
children should have opportunities to gain proficiency in problem
solving by applying the technique in varying problem situations.
The first of these occurs when a task is performed for the first
time. For example, the first time the class makes a dramatization
from a story in the reader. They may organize their thinking and
planning by following the steps in problem solving. At each step
individuals or committees may be given specific duties which
when accomplished form a basis for the next step. It is well to
note that the last step-finding out if the results are satisfactory
-should culminate in some generalizations which will be helpful
the next time the task is performed. After the class has made and
presented several plays based on familiar stories, the task may no
longer present difficulties. If so, it ceases to be a problem sit-
Another type of problem situation exists when pupils are learn-
ing to follow specifically stated steps to solve oral and written
problems. This is the case with arithmetic problems. The child is
expected to use the same technique although the steps are stated
in a different manner in the arithmetic text.
Still another type of problem-solving situation occurs when un-
anticipated difficulties arise in a learning experience. For exam-
ple, when the children who are waiting for a bus are permitted to
play team games and the same children are omitted from every
game day after day, the problem is "why are some children left
out of the after-school games?" Considerable thought by the
group and planned efforts to change the situation may lead to
Still other situations occur in the lives of individual children
concerning their feelings about relationships with their peers,
their academic achievement, their health and physical develop-
ment, or special interests. Many children are worried about "what
should I do to make my model rocket work?" It is the teacher's
responsibility to assist children in using the problem-solving
technique to resolve these difficulties.
Another type of problem-solving situation is usually the result
of careful selection of the content of social studies, science, or
health. On the other hand, some teachers select content from sev-
eral subject areas and organize it around one problem, such as
"How has the invention of the cheap motor car changed man's
way of life?"
Finally, conditions in the community or school may present
opportunities for the class and interested adults to enter into co-
operative efforts to bring about suitable action. Example-the
spring pre-registration of children who will enter school the fol-
Teachers must exercise considerable restraint as they assist
children in solving all types of problems. The teacher may avoid
stifling their pupils' efforts to produce solutions by asking leading
questions, suggesting a source of information in which he is sure
the individual can find helpful ideas, calling attention to a focal
point, listening intelligently, making encouraging comments, and
cooperatively evaluating. In these and many other ways he can
give assistance and support without depriving children of the re-
warding experience of working out their own solutions.
Skillful teachers will help children understand that some prob-
lems cannot be solved, they must be lived with; some problems
can only be solved when the right kind of help is available. Some
persistent and pressing problems are more readily solved by
breaking them into sub-problems. When the sub-problems
solved the main problem no longer exists. Some problems can
solved more easily after boys and girls have become more skill
in the language arts or arithmetic study skills.
Some common elements in the discovery method of think:
about and, working through problem situations are:
expressing ideas clearly
listening to another person's ideas
learning to state another person's position as he sees it
building on another's idea
examining proposals, anticipating outcomes
learning from errors
asking significant questions
utilizing information and skills to solve problems
working with adults in new ways
planning and bringing about desired action.
Boys and girls may also:
gather, evaluate, and analyze data and information
reach logical conclusions based on findings
make reports of their findings.
Problems take many forms and there are many possible solu-
tions. It is a wise teacher who makes the process of solving prob-
lems a central concern. When children learn to put facts together
in a manner that is meaningful, they are better able to cope with
larger problems later in their lives.
Creating a Wholesome Environment
A child responds to the people and conditions which surround
him. Their daily experiences and their reactions to them are a
significant factor influencing boys and girls' attitudes toward
themselves and others. The emotional climate that prevails in
the classroom and school is directly dependent upon the teacher,
administrator, school lunch personnel, maid, school librarian,
nurse, custodian, bus driver, and any other persons who come in
frequent contact with the children.
The teacher sets the tone for a happy, relaxed atmosphere,
where he and the children show a feeling of responsibility for
others as they work together cooperatively to achieve group and
individual goals. A warm, friendly, firm, consistent teacher who
accepts children as they are and who demonstrates his belief in
their ability to be successful learners is likely to be effective in
creating a wholesome emotional climate. Children develop posi-
tive attitudes toward the learning situation when teachers help
them discover and develop their individuality as they seek to ac-
complish some common goals.
Teachers create a favorable situation for living and learning
Help children to be friends by demonstrating friendship to
all pupils. To do this they may
-encourage friendliness among pupils
-vary seating arrangements
-permit choices of committee membership
-welcome new students
-indicate that pupils were missed when they are absent
-take an interest in their affairs.
Eliminate fears and tensions through
-instructional activities planned on the basis of the next logical
step needed by each child
-discussions, experiments, and observations that alleviate the
fears of boys and girls associated with superstitions and the
-learning to resolve difference without violence
-helping children recognize fears and understand their causes
and ways of overcoming them
-encouraging children to compete against their own records,
thereby minimizing competition between pupils.
Provide opportunities for pupils to achieve through
--significant learning tasks on their levels that enable them to
develop concepts, skills, understandings, and knowledge
-selection of content and experiences that interest boys and
-assistance for children in solving their own problems.
Free pupils from excessive guilt feelings by
-helping them set attainable standards for their behavior,
grooming, and achievement
-aiding them in identifying with successful people
-guiding them in using past experiences as a means of en-
abling them to make better choices in the future.
Guide pupils' growth in self-respect through
-teacher-pupil planning and evaluation
-opportunities to share experiences, materials, responsibilities,
products, and possessions
-listening and responding to their ideas
-respecting their choices
-emphasizing positive traits of each pupil
-guiding pupils' efforts to learn how to solve their problems
-providing opportunities for all children to contribute in im-
portant ways to group and class welfare.
Make provisions for variety and relief from boredom by
including in children's regular classwork
-opportunities to pursue an individual interest and to cultivate
-learning experiences and subject matter that are of appro-
-creating a way of life in the classroom that incorporates
humor, relaxation, a quiet time, group work, and total-class
-opportunities to ask questions about things which bother them
-a weekly conference with the teacher
-economical procedures for handling daily routines, and alter-
nating periods requiring pupils to sit quietly and read or study
with periods requiring more physical activity
-utilizing many different motivational procedures designed to
move children from dependence upon extrinsic motivation
such as gold stars for correct work to intrinsic motivation
such as the personal satisfaction that comes from learning
Arranging and maintaining physical facilities of the classroom
and school to create a clean, attractive, and healthful environ-
ment are usually a cooperative venture. Anticipating the many
activities to take place, the teacher and the class will need to find
convenient places to keep work materials, labeled if at all possible.
Children need to feel responsible for keeping their materials in
place. There must be a place for wraps and personal belongings.
For matters that pertain to building and grounds, such as sanita-
tion and beautification, faculties will need to work with their
principals, the county office staff, the Parent-Teacher Association,
homeroom mothers, or community groups. Always, of course,
pupils should assist in planning and carrying out the plans, since
this is an opportunity for them to meet and learn to solve real
problems of mutual concern, using learning from the subject
The good teacher working cooperatively with his pupils and
capitalizing upon their initiative and enthusiasm can develop in
any classroom a wholesome, stimulating, and attractive learning
Planning the Daily Schedule
Good teaching is facilitated by a well-planned schedule. The
schedule should be flexible so that the emerging needs of the class
can be met. Such daily plans may be considered successful when
it is evident that children are seeing the relationships among their
many learning and using their learning in purposeful situations.
Each teacher may need to consider such points as the following
when making his daily schedule:
The opening and closing hour of school
The proportion of bus pupils in the room, length of trip they
make, length of time they are at school before and after regu-
The possibility of supplementary feeding, such as fruit juice
or milk, during a long morning or afternoon
The time of the lunch period (If this is extremely early or
late, adjustments can sometimes be worked out by conferring
with the principal.)
The size of the room and the space available for group work
and construction (Cloakrooms, halls, terraces, or good shade
trees are sometimes helpful as space-extenders.)
The number of pupils
The amount and kind of available instructional materials be-
yond the textbooks
The present attainment and particular interests of the pupils
The preference of the teacher in choosing topics for large
unit teaching from such fields as social studies, science, or
The scheduling for the use of resource persons, special teach-
ers, and auxiliary facilities
The extent to which pupils can direct their own work. For
example, when boys and girls can move about the room
without disturbing others, proofread their work and make
corrections, make wise choices of the next activity, follow
directions and plans, gather and organize information, or se-
lect and read library books that interest them, they are in
position to exercise self direction.
Some Examples of Tentative Daily Schedules
In one school, the teacher plans for a flexible daily program
with emphasis on three phases of instruction-group studies or
units which interrelate several different areas of the curriculum,
direct teaching for content and skills, and individualized instruc-
tion for meeting special needs with multi-level materials. Em-
phasis is placed also upon teacher-pupil planning, and pupils are
encouraged to take responsibility for learning and for evaluating
their own progress. Time is provided for children to develop com-
mittee skills and to develop individual projects. Balance and vari-
ety are maintained in the program throughout the day, week, and
entire school year.
The teacher's goal is a unified school day in which pupils utilize
experiences in social studies, language arts, science, arithmetic,
music, health, physical education, and other fields of knowledge
in solving problems which are vital to them and which are impor-
tant in our society.
General planning period. Holding opening exercises; reviewing
major plans for the week; planning for the day; sharing news
and objects of interest to the entire class; assisting with individ-
ual work; and discharging necessary routines like checking on
attendance, health, assignments occupy this period.
In some situations, pupils may enter informally and work on
individual or small group projects, and attention can be given to
daily routines on a total class basis at any convenient time in the
Group studies, units, and general activities. Pupils utilize
knowledge, skills, and experiences in related fields of knowledge
on projects of significant worth and meaningfulness. Committees
work, plan, and share findings with the class. Emphasis is given
to social studies, science, and to related activities in language,
literature, art, music, health, and safety. Field trips to extend ex-
periences and deepen understandings are planned.
Direct teaching and practice. Work is done on specific class and
individual needs for content and skills, with particular emphasis
on arithmetic, reading, spelling, handwriting, and other commu-
nication skills. Attention is given to individual or group disabili-
ties in skills.
Physical education. A systematic and coordinated program is
provided with opportunities for pupils to plan and evaluate.
Rest or quiet activities. Time is provided for recordings, stories,
and individual interests.
Lunch. Understanding and use of information about selection
of wholesome food, good eating habits, social courtesies, and ap-
propriate conversation are developed and followed by restful and
quiet activities, games, recreational listening.
Aesthetic and creative learning opportunities. Here is time for
creative art experiences with various media and techniques,
crafts, free reading, dramatizations, dramatic play, club meetings,
creative writing, music and rhythms, and other aesthetic and
creative experiences. These learning and appreciations are often
initiated during the group studies and other general activities
period and related to current units and interests of children.
Evaluation and further planning. Teacher-pupil evaluation of
individual and group progress is made. Long-view planning; plan-
ning for the next day; and individual conferences and guidance
are carried out. Stress is placed on safety at home, at school, and
In another situation the teacher plans for a flexible daily pro-
gram with related subject areas grouped together.: For example,
reading, spelling, handwriting, and English are studied in the
language arts period; history, geography, civics, and related areas
are studied in the social studies period. Science and health are
related whenever appropriate. The schedule provides for atten-
tion to each of the eight broad fields of the curriculum-social
studies, science, health and safety, physical education, art and
related areas (industrial- arts), music, language arts, and arith-
metic although not all areas need to be studied each day.
General planning period-same as in previous plan.
Related subjects are scheduled in
Health and safety adjoining periods of the day in
Music, art, related arts order that certain phases of the
work may be correlated. Thus
Reading learning in one area may rein-
English force, supplement, and relate to
Spelling learning in other areas.
Lunch-same as in previous plan.
Direct teaching and practice
Evaluation and further planning.
Long-view planning. A well-designed daily schedule does not
necessarily guarantee a well-balanced school year for children.
Since the daily schedule maps only a small segment of the pupil's
time within the one-hundred eighty days of his school year, it is
important for teachers to look at the learning experiences which
are taking place within the framework of the daily schedule and
after such appraisal make necessary changes from time to time.
One question that teachers should ask is whether the experiences
planned for the child's day relate to the over-all goals of the ele-
mentary program. This requires long-view planning for periods
of several weeks within the larger framework of the plan for the
year and continuous evaluation of the progress of pupils.
Another question that thoughtful teachers will ask is whether
there are appropriate balance and emphasis within the curricu-
lum areas. Since the allocation of time for the different curricu-
lum areas will vary according to such factors as the particular
project or group study in which the pupils are engaged, the age of
the pupils, and even the season of the year, no specific time re-
quirements can be set up for each subject. The one exception is
physical education for which a period of thirty minutes each day
is required. However, there was general agreement among the
members of the committee developing this guide that the follow-
ing allocation of time could serve helpfully as a general check for
teachers evaluating their long-view plans and daily schedules.
Suggested Weekly Time Allocation
Grades 1-3 Grades 4-6
General Planning 10% 5%
sharing news, discussion of problems
related to class or school living, open-
ing activities, planning and evaluating,
engaging in independent activities.
Language Arts 30% 25%
Reading skill development, library
reading and others.
Language Arts Activities. (Phases
other than reading) Practicing and
using skills in reading, listening, oral
and written language, spelling, hand-
writing, use of dictionary and library
Mathematics experiences 10% 12%
developing number concepts and skills,
fundamental operations, and develop-
ment of skills in problem solving.
Using numbers in everyday activities.
development of correct eating habits
and social courtesies, followed by rest,
quiet games, recreational listening,
reading and singing for fun.
Social studies or other group studies 20% 25%
units, or special projects, discussing
current events; planning and discuss-
ing activities of individuals, com-
mittees, or class; industrial arts; going
on appropriate field trips; discussing
related films, pictures, filmstrips, re-
ports; sharing information through
related art, music, dramatization, re-
ports, rhythms, writing and other
creative experiences. Summary and
evaluation of concepts and skills
learned and improvements made.
Aesthetic and creative experiences 8% 8%
writing letters, stories, poems, plays;
painting; constructing; modeling; draw-
ing; weaving; playing musical in-
struments; singing; listening; free
reading of literature; dramatizing;
participating in dramatic plays.
Health, safety and physical education 7% 8%
(See social studies and science)
discussion of pertinent problems in
school living, role playing, utilization
of community resources.
Science 6% 8%
Observations, experiments, discussion,
and reading to develop concepts, an-
swer questions and explore interests,
Lunch and Rest
Planning The Instructional Program
ARMED WITH CAREFULLY chosen and accurately delineated
purposes, a growing knowledge of the elementary-school
child and how he learns, and a feeling for the process of selecting
and organizing learning experiences, the new elementary-school
teacher is ready to begin planning an instructional program for a
specific age-group in a particular school.
Part II of this guide makes an effort to provide the new teacher
with a simple and direct approach to planning instructional
activities in the seven major curriculum areas of the elementary-
A. Social Studies
Social studies in the elementary school is concerned with chil-
dren and their relationships. These relationships include the inti-
mate face-to-face relationships with their peers and adults as well
as the broader relationships with their social and physical world.'
The goals of social studies are both behavioral and academic, and
the broad scope of social studies covers such essentials as:
Maintaining one's self-esteem and learning self-management
Developing values and living by them
Growing in wholesome human relationships
Learning to think critically
Learning how to solve problems in a democratic setting
Developing concepts which are supported by the various dis-
1 Social studies in the context of this bulletin encompasses more than the traditional
definition of the term. As the goals stated above indicate, social studies for the elemen-
tary school includes social learning opportunities for children in their everyday living,
which may or may not be related directly to concepts in the social sciences.
ciplines of social studies (geography, history, economics,
political science, sociology, and anthropology)
Growing in the language arts skills as they relate to social
studies (reading, gathering information, discussing, record-
Learning skills that are unique to social studies (interpreting
maps, globes, and graphs).
The resources of social studies are wide and varied. They in-
People with special knowledge
Trade books (both fiction and non-fiction)
Children's encyclopedias and other reference books
Television and radio
Films, filmstrips, slides, and transparencies
Charts and graphs
Maps and globes
Magazines and newspapers
Visuals prepared by teachers and by children
Museums and libraries
Educational field trips.
The Content of Social Studies
A fifth-grade class studies conservation of natural resources
with special attention to such local problems as soil leaching, salt-
water intrusion, and beach erosion. A fourth-grade class listens to
authentic tribal music and sounds of the Congo. Two sixth-grade
classes have assembled in the school auditorium to react to a
panel of their classmates as they discuss the controversial topic
"Should the voting age requirement in Florida be lowered to
18?" Second graders are making a map of their neighborhood and
identifying each pupil's house in relation to the school. A fifth-
grade class is planning to attend a court session and experience
trial-by-jury at first hand. First graders are talking about the
President of the United States, and his family. Members of a third-
grade class are painting a mural depicting methods of transporta-
tion throughout the world. Fifth and sixth graders are reading
biographies of famous Americans. A sixth-grade class has traced
the history of government from the time of Hammurabi, and a
small band of children is conducting a flag ceremony in front of
These and similar experiences are provided in the elementary
schools of Florida. Social studies is the aggregate of these experi-
Social Learning Opportunities Throughout the School Day
Not all social learning experiences of children can or should be
contained within that period of the day scheduled for social
studies. Social learning take place in informal as well as carefully
planned situations throughout the course of the day. A group
planning session centered on appropriate behavior in the lunch-
room can result in important social learning. Likewise, a socio-
drama written and enacted by the children to point up such
important values as honesty or respect for property is clearly in
line with social studies goals.
A Junior Red Cross committee welcomes and orients pupils
who are new to the school. A Cuban parent introduces Cuban
food to a first-grade class. A school casts ballots in a student
council election. A little girl displays her international collection
of dolls for all to see. A fourth-grade teacher prepares a sociogram
of her class to assist her in improving interpersonal relationships.
The librarian reads a story about Juan of Mexico. A group of
selected sixth graders present over the intercom system a series
of programs on American democracy emphasizing our freedoms
and our responsibilities. The student council sponsors a rock-pit
and canal safety program. Josefina of Peru visits the school under
the auspices of Operation Amigo.
These experiences, while not always labeled social studies, con-
tribute measurably to the important behavioral goals of social
studies as well as to the acquisition of social studies information.
Social Studies Incorporated with Other Subjects
All subjects in the elementary school are related to social
studies in meaningful ways. It is expected, therefore, that many
excellent opportunities for social learning will occur or be
planned in connection with other curriculum areas.
A graph showing the concentration of people on our planet is
one example of the relationship between social studies and math-
ematics. Most phases of economics and our monetary system have
a direct connection with arithmetic.
Science and social studies at the elementary level are often in-
separable. Man's control of energy, his use of natural resources,
his explorations of sea depths and space, and his constant fight
against disease draw equally from the two fields of knowledge.
Social studies touches the language arts at every point. Chil-
dren must read for information, and they must discuss what they
read. They take notes and they keep records. They make formal
reports orally and in written form. They keep logs and diaries and
they print charts. They learn to listen and they learn the most
effective ways to communicate their ideas.
Listening to authentic music of India, contrasting India's
strange quarter-tone scale with our familiar chromatic scale, and
getting to know the instruments which make these unusual
sounds are social studies in a real sense. Learning to understand
and appreciate Indian music is, in a way, learning to understand
and like Indian people.
The art teacher helps a class analyze oriental art, using repro-
ductions of paintings and sketches of her own. The feelings, be-
liefs, and motives of people are often reflected in their art, and
through rich art experiences children become better acquainted
And so as we look at each subject in the elementary-school
curriculum we see opportunities to reinforce, enrich, or enhance
the social understandings of children.
Social Studies Per Se
While it is neither desirable nor possible to keep social studies
discretely separated from other subjects or other learning situa-
tions in the elementary-school curriculum, generally there is a
designated time in the school day when concepts, understandings,
and skills in the social studies are given priority. Through care-
fully planned group studies, children gain useful geographic in-
formation, study significant events in history, develop under-
standings about our economic system, learn about people of the
world, deal with social problems in their immediate communities,
and delve into current affairs.
Social studies in this context may be more narrowly defined as
the social sciences or, more specifically, as geography, history,
economics, political science, sociology, and anthropology. Enu-
merating the social sciences in the elementary curriculum does
not imply that these disciplines are dealt with separately within
a grade level; nor is one discipline or subject necessarily given
more emphasis than another -at a particular grade level (e.g.,
geography in the fourth grade; history in the fifth). Rather, the
approach throughout the elementary school is interdisciplinary,
where problems, topics, or concepts frequently cut across sub-
ject area lines as they are developed in the context of social
Social Studies Opportunities Unique to Florida
The State of Florida is rich in social studies content for all
age levels. Its geography, its history, and its changing social,
economic, and political structure present challenging problems
and interesting learning possibilities.
Florida's geography-its unusual coastline, its twelve-month
growing season in the south, its proximity to Latin America, and
other unique features-suggests numerous topics, concepts, and
problems for study. The threat of freeze to citrus growers, the
hazard of the fruit fly, and the problems of salt water intrusion
and shore erosion are but a few of the physical conditions that
affect Florida people and require social action.
Certain communities and regions in Florida are experiencing
the impact of a dynamic, changing society. Shifts in population
brought about by aerospace developments, the establishment of
military bases, the labor migrant situation, and tourism have
created problems that must be faced by socially sensitive, think-
ing citizens. The Latin-American immigration in recent years
has posed problems, but it has also provided South Florida chil-
dren with a purpose for learning another language and a labora-
tory for developing international understanding.
As sections of our state-once quiet vacation spots-turn into
expansive industrial areas, such needs as land-zoning controls,
better housing, protection against air and water pollution, and
more educational facilities must be met. The preparation for han-
dling problems and issues such as these begins in the elementary
One has to visit only St. Augustine, Pensacola, Tallahassee,
Tarpon Springs, or Key West to be impressed with Florida's
contributions to our American heritage. Historic landmarks in
these and other places throughout Florida help make the past a
living and exciting adventure for young learners.
Businesses, industries, agencies, and departments of the gov-
ernment in recent years have made available an abundance of
excellent free material which helps tell the story of Florida.
Textbook publishers and map producers are developing Florida
materials in increasing amounts. First-hand opportunities for
learning-things to see and do and valuable information for the
asking-are available in abundance.
Organization of Content
School systems of Florida vary in the way they organize their
social studies programs, and frequently differences exist among
individual schools or even among classrooms within a school. In
some instances, the state-adopted textbooks serve as guides in
planning the social studies experiences for a group. Certain
counties have developed content outlines designating areas of
emphasis at each grade level. Sometimes these outlines follow
the pattern of the "expanding community" (e.g., Grade 1-
School and Family Life; Grade 2-Living in the Neighborhood;
Grade 3-The Community in a Broader Setting; Grade 4-The
State of Florida; Grade 5-The United States; and Grade 6-
The World). Some schools specify units to be taught at a particu-
lar grade level. Others identify concepts to be developed by grade
level. Some upper grade classes approach social studies through
current affairs; others, through the study of countries, peoples,
or cultures. Some use the chronological approach to history.
Others prefer units like Conservation of Natural Resources or
Transportation which cut across chronological or geographical
The broad scope of social studies obviously necessitates a con-
siderable amount of selecting and organizing at both the county
and local school levels and the classroom teacher shares this re-
The Expanding Environment Concept
By far the most common approach to organizing and placing
social studies content in the elementary grades is the expanding
environment idea. As mentioned earlier, this concept provides
for an orderly sequence of topics through the elementary years,
beginning with home, school, neighborhood, and city or county
at the primary level, and continuing to the state, the nation, and
the world in the intermediate grades. Within the expanding en-
vironment outline, topics, units, or concepts may be developed
around such areas of living as the following.2
Restrictions to Expanding Environment Concept
Some limitations to the expanding environment idea have been
voiced in recent years. It is recognized that children come to
kindergarten and first grade now with richer backgrounds than
in former years. Television has exposed them to a broader world
and developed more sophistication than in the past. Parents are
wider read and wider traveled than their parents, and children
themselves travel more than in earlier times. In short, children
2 Michaelis, John U. Social Studies for Children in a Democracy. Englewood Cliffs, New
Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1956.
beginning school today can and should learn more about the
world and about events in the past than was required formerly.
By the same token, older children, who according to the ex-
panding environment pattern would study nations of the world,
can and should learn some of the more complex operations of
their immediate community. For example, all sixth-grade chil-
dren living in a metropolitan area should have some knowledge
about their local government and services.
Variations on the Expanding Environment Concept
New research findings have led to some recent changes in the
expanding environment design. Many schools have broken the
pattern by including, at each grade level, some appropriate top-
ics, concepts, units, or problems which disregard the expanding
environment sequence but fulfill an important need in children's
Example of a first grade concept: The world is a big neigh-
borhood of people who are both alike and different.
Example of a fifth grade concept: Community businesses and
industries improve living by providing jobs, goods, and serv-
Such topics as "Neighborhood Relations in a World Setting"
for grade two and "The Community Process with Outward Mani-
festations" for grade three are beginning to appear as modernized
versions of the expanding environment idea. This is an attempt
to broaden the traditional concepts of family, neighborhood, and
community to include peoples of the world.
An ad hoc committee of the National Council for Social Stud-
ies has proposed four different plans for subject-matter placement
from grades K-12, each a modern variation on the original ex-
panding concept idea.3
Generalizations Approach. Some schools have departed from
the expanding environment design by developing units and
studies around generalizations which social studies experts have
listed as essential to all learners. These generalizations encompass
the major social sciences and are used as a basis for providing
a Unpublished material authored by Jack Allen, Howard R. Anderson, Dorothy McClure
Fraser, and S. P. McCutchen (1963).
spiral learning experiences through the school life of a child.
Studies in Depth. Choices frequently must be made with re-
gard to which country to study and how much emphasis a coun-
try or people should receive. To "cover" too many countries
would result in a superficial treatment of each.
One suggestion for handling the problem is to select for study
one country or people from each of the major cultures of the
world. Through a depth study, the pupil is expected to develop
critical-analytical skills, unique to the social studies, which he
may apply to studies of countries of his own choice in the future.
Countries and cultures change, making it difficult to define
clearly the cultural groups of the world. Kenworthy believes
there are at least eight major areas:
1. Latin culture, comprising Italy, Spain, Portugal, France,
Belgium, and Latin America
2. Anglo-Saxon culture, comprising the United Kingdom,
Canada, Australia, New Zealand, a part of the Union of
South Africa, and the United States
3. Germanic group, concentrated in central Europe and in-
cluding Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and Scandi-
4. Slavic culture, which is the major way of life in the
U.S.S.R., Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Yugo-
5. Chinese culture, concentrated in China, Korea, Japan, and
6. Indic culture, located in India, Ceylon, Nepal, Burma,
Thailand, and to some extent in adjacent areas
7. Arabic culture, extending from North Africa to southeast
Asia, with some tangents in southeastern Europe and the
8. African culture, concentrated in the area south of the
SKenworthy, Leonard S. Introducing Children to the World. New York: Harper and
Row, Publishers, Inc., 1956.
The Current Affairs Approach. Current affairs are an impor-
tant aspect of social studies at all grade levels. In intermediate
classrooms current affairs sometimes become the center of the
social studies program. Using current events, filmstrips, radio,
daily newspapers, and other current materials, these classes take
leads from up-to-the-minute happenings to develop group stud-
ies. A news account of the Aswan High Dam development in
Egypt, for example, may quite naturally lead a sixth-grade class
into a study of Egypt as the Cradle of Civilization.
The Florida Elementary School Social Studies Survey
It was stated in the early pages of this section that social
studies in the elementary school draws content in part from the
concerns, questions, and interests expressed by children. It seems
important, therefore, for a school to devise a systematic method
of continually studying its pupil population for direction in social
A survey of Florida elementary schools in 1958 led to the iden-
tification of twelve areas of significant interest and concern to
1. Self realization
2. Living with peers
3. Living with the family
4. Our schools
5. Our health and safety
6. Recreation and leisure time
7. Moral and spiritual values
8. Our community, including processes of communication,
transportation, and travel
9. Our cultural heritage, including symbols of our country
10. Our country and other countries of the world, including
communication, transportation, and travel
11. Our economic system and money values
12. Man's. scientific and natural environment.
For purposes of simplification, these categories subsequently
were reduced to seven interlocking areas of experiences:
1. The Individual and His Relationships with His Family
2. The Community
3. The Schools and Education
4. The Cultural Heritage
5. Money Values and the Economic System
6. People of Our Country and Other Countries of the World
7. Man's Natural and Scientific Environment.
It can be seen readily that most of these areas coincide with the
traditional scope of social studies in the elementary school. On
the other hand, the survey findings seem to have brought into
focus some curriculum needs that often in the past have been
overlooked or dealt with in incidental fashion.
Self and Others. Outstanding among the survey findings were
the children's concerns over personal and interpersonal matters:
problems and questions pertaining to personal health and physi-
cal appearance, moral values, adjustment to school, getting along
with peers, and understanding adults and being understood by
The fact that children of all ages express such concerns sug-
gests that the classroom and school should provide help for chil-
dren at all levels in developing some basic concepts for under-
standing human behavior-that of themselves and others.
Widening Horizons. The survey further points out that children
of the primary grades by no means limit their questions and con-
cerns to the here-and-now. They also express interest in happen-
ings of the past, in peoples of the world, and in explorations in
Money Values. Florida children, according to the study, have
many unanswered questions and problems concerning money
values and our economic system. This may indicate a need to
clarify our goals and to strengthen our programs in economic
Schools and Education. The questions that children ask about
their schools and education, as noted in the survey, suggest un-
limited opportunities to educate young people to the importance
of education in our society. Where else can one find a better
laboratory for experience?
Using the Florida Survey Outline
The Florida Survey, it is felt, offers far-sighted direction to
social studies planning in our elementary schools. Some schools
may elect to use it in conjunction with already established scope-
and-sequence outlines. In other schools, it may become the over-
all framework for planning units or group studies. Schools may
find it useful to identify particular concepts or generalizations
in each category to be stressed at various grade levels. In all
schools it should serve a useful purpose as a guide to faculty
study and planning.
Getting to Know the Children
A first step in planning social studies for a group of children is
to find out what each child already knows and how he thinks and
behaves as a social being. This is an evaluative process that
should continue throughout the year and throughout the school
life of a child.
In planning group studies, it is important to know what infor-
mation the children already have at their command, at what
stages of concept development they appear to be, and what skills
they have learned previously. The kinds of questions children ask
during discussions and at teacher-pupil planning time offer clues
to what they know and do not know. Exploratory experiences,
where materials covering a wide range of subjects are examined
by children, prove useful in discovering interests and concerns.
Tests of various types also indicate strengths and gaps in infor-
It is equally important to appraise the personal and social be-
havior of the children continually and to plan appropriate learn-
ing opportunities for them. Much will be learned through obser-
vation in the classroom and outside. Sociometric devices are
sometimes keys to children's interpersonal relationships and as-
sist the teacher in improving these relationships. Questionnaires
and check-lists may be used with older children to gain informa-
tion about their attitudes and values.
Planning a Group Study
A group study may range in duration from one period of a
particular day to several weeks. One group study may run con-
currently with another, or one may give way to another if the
other offers brighter learning opportunities.
While some advance planning by the teacher, is essential to the
success of a study, the children themselves should be brought
into the early stages of planning. Through cooperative teacher-
pupil planning, study topics may be decided upon, questions
formulated, problems identified, ways of working determined,
and materials and resources explored. In this way, one can be
certain that teacher and pupils are communicating and that pu-
pils are identifying with the purposes of the study.
Following are some suggestions for planning:
Advance Planning by the Teacher
Determine general scope and approximate duration of the
Become immersed in the subject through reading and
Identify aims and possible outcomes of the study.
Identify concepts and skills to be stressed.
Explore materials and other resources immediately avail-
able for children's use and make arrangements to secure
Prepare tentative list of learning opportunities or activi-
ties (for individuals, for small groups, and for the total
Prepare list of guide questions and problems.
Explore ways of evaluating children's growth.
Use consultative services of curriculum personnel at school
and county level.
Find out what the children already know about the sub-
Have children examine books, pictures, -and other mate-
rials on the subject.
Define problems and formulate questions cooperatively.
(This should be a cumulative activity for the duration of
Determine ways of getting information.
Plan working arrangements which include time for read-
ing, discussions, individual and small group planning, re-
ports, field trips, films, projects of various types, and
Plan evaluation procedures.
There is no one best method, procedure, or technique for
teaching social studies. To allow for the variation among chil-
dren-levels of growth and experience, perceptive differences,
differences in learning capacity, and diversity of interests-a
variety of teaching-learning situations should be provided. Crea-
tive teachers draw on the creative abilities of children as they
experiment with new procedures and discover better ways of
learning. Some of the essentials for teaching-learning are con-
tained in the following guide lines:
1. The pupils should be involved significantly in planning the
social studies experiences.
2. Creative thought and action should pervade all experiences.
3. A variety of methods, procedures, and techniques should be
4. Learning opportunities should challenge children to solve
problems scientifically and democratically.
5. The learning opportunities provided should take into ac-
count the pupil's present levels of concept and skill devel-
Substantial learning take place in total classroom situations
when the teacher, knowing the stage of development of each
child, leads a planning session, explains a process, or heads a dis-
cussion. This type of activity can serve effectively as an integrat-
ing force for the total social studies program.
The clinching of concepts and the mastery of skills, however,
come about through many kinds of experiences over an extended
period of time. These experiences may be for individual children
or they may be conducted in group settings. They may take place
in the classroom or outside. They may involve reading, writing,
listening, talking, or other kinds of activity.
The following list suggests only a few kinds of social studies
experiences in which children may engage:
Gathering information about a subject for oral or written
presentation using varied sources of reference.
Illustrating a concept by painting a picture, making a crea-
tive map, working on a mural, preparing a graph, construct-
ing a diorama, printing a chart, or preparing a bulletin board
Selecting or preparing visual materials for use in presenting
an oral report on a topic.
Preparing an annotated bibliography for a unit or a group
Reading a book and reviewing for the class.
Engaging in a panel discussion or debate on a vital problem
Participating in a small group enterprise requiring organ-
izational planning, the establishment of goals, identification
of problems to be studied, gathering information, reporting
progress, and evaluating results.
Taking part in the planning and execution of a field trip in
Expressing in poetry or prose an opinion or feeling about a
Viewing a film or a filmstrip.
Conducting a survey for information leading to some im-
provement in the school or community.
Taking part in a pet show or a doll parade.
Conducting a campaign on some aspect of safety.
Corresponding with pupils of other countries through the
American Red Cross or some other agency.
Dramatizing events in history or stories about other peoples
of the world.
Listening to authentic music and sounds of other peoples of
Resources for use in social studies fall into two categories:
those used professionally by the teacher and those which pupils
and teacher use together in connection with individual and group
Materials for the Teacher
Resources to be used by the teacher for background and prepa-
ration may include the following:
Recent books on social studies and human behavior
Journals, pamphlets, and bulletins distributed by the pro-
Magazines and newspapers
Books dealing with specific fields of knowledge such as geog-
raphy, history, economics, anthropology, sociology, political
Books relating to the study at hand (The People of India,
Government, Conservation, or Explorations in Space).
Resources for Both Teacher and Pupils
People with special information. Many people are specialists in
particular areas of knowledge, and often these people will make
their services available to the school. A parent who has traveled
in Japan and the school custodian who knows much about wild-
life in the Everglades are examples of valuable sources of infor-
mation. The children themselves are also important resource
Books and other printed materials. No one textbook could pos-
sibly contain all the information needed for a year's study. Nor
would a single book serve adequately as an outline of scope. With
multiple adoption of social studies textbooks in Florida it is pos-
sible to provide a variety of up-to-date books for each classroom.
Excellent trade, books-both fiction and non-fiction-are being
produced for elementary-age children in every field of interest
Basal and supplementary readers also contain stories related
to many aspects of social studies.
Children's encyclopedias, atlases, and other reference books are
especially useful to independent readers.
Free pamphlets from government services, industries, and
community agencies bring information of a highly specialized
and current nature.
And to keep abreast of current affairs the teacher can also
draw from the great assortment of magazines and children's
Audio-visual resources. Most schools today have access to films
and filmstrips which show students how to keep healthy and
safe, help understand their community, tell about life in other
parts of our country and the world, interpret natural phenomena,
and explain scientific processes and operations.
' Recordings bring the sounds and music of distant peoples, the
voices of great Americans, and reports of historical events.
Tapes are also used to record children's own voices as they com-
municate their ideas to others.
Television and radio are important sources of information.
Some schools of Florida use television and radio as a regular part
of the social studies program. In every community some atten-
tion should be given to helping children become more discrimi-
nating in their choices of television programs.
The overhead projector is becoming increasingly popular par-
ticularly for large group experiences. Transparencies with over-
lays may be used to illustrate effectively detailed operations and
Maps and globes. Children begin learning to interpret maps at
an early age. Simplified maps and globes are recognized tools
even in the primary grades. As children advance in their elemen-
tary years and expand their time-space concepts, they need ex-
periences with many different kinds of maps including physical,
political, climatic, historic, production, highway, railroad, airline,
and others. Some of the most useful maps are those created by
children themselves to deepen and enrich their understandings.
Visuals prepared by pupils and teachers. Pictures, murals,
printed charts, graphs, maps, photographs, slides, transparencies,
dioramas, puppets, models, table displays, bulletin board displays
and figures of wood, paper mache and other materials are some
of the projects which help strengthen concepts and communicate
ideas to others.
Community resources. Many community businesses, industries,
and agencies open their doors to school children for educational
field trips. In addition, some provide speakers, consultants, and
such material resources as information kits, literature, films, and
filmstrips to be used in the classroom.
Short trips within walking distance of the school can be highly
productive if planned with a purpose.
Good public libraries and museums may be used time and time
again in connection with individual and group studies.
In summary, a wealth of resources is available to teachers and
children. Some of these are immediately accessible in the class-
room or the materials center of the school. Others may be ob-
tained from county curriculum libraries. Creative teachers and
pupils will not limit themselves to the materials at hand, but will
constantly search for newer and better information to use in an-
swering their questions and solving their problems.
Evaluating Children's Social Learnings
Evaluation of children's social learning, as in all subject fields,
is a process of determining to what degree teaching-learning
goals have been met. Evaluation, therefore, must be directly re-
lated to goals and should be planned along with the setting of
As children are given a voice in goal-setting, so should they
participate in measuring their own progress. If we expect chil-
dren to be self-directed and self-motivated, then self-evaluation
should be our ultimate objective.
It has been stated earlier that the goals of social studies are
both behavioral and academic. It follows, therefore, that ways
must be planned to measure not only children's concepts, under-
standings, and skills, but changes in behavior as well.
Measuring Concepts and Understandings
Evaluation can take place in all the social learning experiences
of children. It is important, however, that teachers devise sys-
tematic ways to appraise these experiences and to keep account
of each child's progress. Some evaluative techniques will be used
by the teacher alone. Others will be used by the teacher and pu-
pil cooperatively. Still others will be applicable to the pupil's
Written Tests. The written test is one way to evaluate chil-
dren's understandings. Much can be learned about the child's
concept development through problem-centered essay questions.
Certain types of objective questions also help get at children's
Example: Some countries of the world are rich. Others are
poor. Usually the poor countries are at a disadvan-
a. They have no natural resources with which to
b. They spend most of their money fighting wars.
c. They have a low educational standard.
d. They have too few people to work on farms and
Standardized tests are rarely used in elementary-school social
studies because of the absence of uniformity in programs
throughout the country. Objective tests (multiple choice, true-
false, matching and completion) are used primarily to determine
children's acquisition of factual information.
Other Situations for Evaluating Children's Understandings.
The progress of children can be noted in such activities as:
Total class and small group discussions
Individual oral and written presentations
Cumulative projects such as diaries and logs
Pupils' individual folders containing samples of their work
Evaluating Children's Behavior
To evaluate children's behavior is to study children's feelings
about themselves, their values, their attitudes and actions toward
others, and their interaction with their environment. The pur-
pose of such evaluation, of course, is to establish a basis for guid-
ing children in their personal and social growth.
It should be understood that while many techniques for getting
at children's feelings, attitudes, and values have been tested in
recent years, most of them are considered experimental and
should be used with caution and with an awareness of their
Techniques for Studying the Behavior of Children
Observation of children recorded in anecdotal form
Informal conversations with children in groups
Informal conferences with individual children
Written reports children make about themselves
-logs and diaries
-responses to questions: "What was your happiest day?"
"If you could have three wishes granted, what would
they be?" "What do you like to do when you are with
Questionnaires to discover children's interests, feelings, and
Sociometric devices to discover how children relate to their
classmates (sociograms, "Classroom Social Distance Scale")
Reaction of children to pictures and films about socially-
It is important to understand that the validity of children's
responses to questions about their feelings, attitudes, values, and
relationships depends upon the relationship between the child
and the adult eliciting the responses. Only in an atmosphere
where the child is free to be honest can we expect answers to be
accurate, useful, and commensurate with the philosophy of a
Lest there be serious gaps or unnecessary repetition in the
learning of children in the elementary schools, the following
are questions which individual teachers and school faculties may
ask themselves about their programs in social education.
To what degree does each year's program include experiences
Which are centered in helping children understand and live
together better in their primary groups-family, school,
play, and work peer groups?
Which are centered in helping children understand, care for,
and manage themselves personally-safety, health, recre-
ation, physical growth and change, courtesy?
Which are focused on exploring, understanding, and working
on some problem of concern in the immediate community?
Which extend children's understanding and appreciation of
people and places beyond the immediate community envi-
Which have their origin in current happenings and prob-
Which extend children's understandings and appreciation of
A well-planned elementary science program for all children is
more necessary than ever today. The teaching of science can
make valuable contributions to the social and personal growth of
children. For their own protection and preparation for successful
living in our nation and the world, children should be aware of
present-day scientific discoveries which are bringing about rapid
changes and are influencing the lives of all people everywhere.
Children should realize that our ways of living evolved in part
through the application of scientific discoveries, that change is
inevitable and will continue. Attitudes of open-mindedness and
critical-mindedness are important in making adjustments to
change. Amazing discoveries, investigations, and explorations
have brought about a tremendous fund of new knowledge. It is
the schools' responsibility to help children acquire this knowl-
edge and become increasingly skillful in using the methods of
Purposes of Instruction in Science
A most important reason of science teaching is to provide
growth in desirable behavior patterns for successful living in our
world today. Opportunities must be provided by the school to
help children develop methods of scientific inquiry and to use
these methods as they gain information. The rapid changes in
our world today require that children become increasingly skill-
ful in the use of scientific methods of thinking and acting. Chil-
dren need to learn how to solve problems as they deal with ques-
tions and problems that confront them.
The purposes of instruction in science are:
1. To help children find answers to their questions
2. To help children learn how to observe carefully
3. To help children learn how to describe accurately
4. To help children develop scientific attitudes of open-
mindedness and critical-mindedness
5. To help children develop the concepts and generalizations
that have been arranged by the use of scientific methods
and to organize their knowledge of science so that it has
meaning for them
6. To help children learn how to plan wisely, to seek reliable
information, and to form conclusions based upon their ob-
servations and data
7. To help children learn that they are using the same meth-
ods scientists use in making discoveries
8. To help children learn to apply the skills of problem solv-
ing to the solution of personal and group problems in all
areas of living
9. To help children view science with feelings of responsi-
bility for the wise use of scientific knowledge in the solu-
tions of human problems and in the attempts to change
and control the environment.
Basic Concepts in Science
Each year children should add to their understandings of the
large concepts derived from the biological, physical, and earth-
Five large themes have been identified for emphasis in the
elementary-school science program:
Understandings about substances and energy
Understandings about the universe
Understandings about our earth
Understandings about living things on the earth
Understandings about man's attempt to modify his environ-
Within these five large categories certain more specific concepts
can be identified. For example, such concepts as the following
may be developed by children as they take part in meaningful
learning experiences designed to develop understandings of sub-
stances and energy:
A. As man learns more about substances he is better able to
change them and to make what he wants.
1. We change things by using heat.
2. We change things by using water.
3. We change things by using force-pressure.
4. We change things by using electricity.
5. We change things by using light.
6. We change things by mixing them together.
7. We change things by using radiation.
Organizing for Instruction
Teachers differ in planning for the teaching of science. Some
teach in terms of broad units or problems so that content is de-
veloped by a series of generalizations. Some teachers integrate
science with other content areas. Many teachers recognize teach-
ing opportunities in unexpected happenings in daily life at school
or in the questions and comments that children frequently ex-
press. These are used as leads into a variety of science studies.
Other teachers consider the large universal themes and select
with children the studies that challenge and arouse their curios-
ity. Still other teachers use a combination of these ways. The cur-
rent emphasis on more and better teaching of science should en-
courage teachers to re-examine their present methods and dis-
cover more satisfying ways to select and teach the science that is
important to children.
Some teachers plan class time in science as a work period. Sci-
ence for children should be a time to participate in a variety of
activities, such as talking to discuss plans and share ideas, reading
and looking at pictures to find information, experimenting and
observing to make discoveries, or constructing and manipulating
equipment. A science work period is a time when individuals
alone or in small groups, or when the large group works to-
gether. Careful planning is needed to define purposes clearly and
to avoid a waste of time. When children set goals for what to do
and how to do it, they experience the values of budgeting time
and acquire many important science learning. Teachers can also
take advantage of incidents which arouse children's interest in a
Science for children means observing, discussing, experiment-
ing, comparing, searching, and finding out. A classroom teacher
acts as a guide and a learner with children. Various kinds of ex-
periences are necessary to meet individual differences among
children, to enable each child to pursue special interests, and to
learn from individual efforts as well as from group investigations.
Teachers should provide a variety of materials with which
children can work. The teaching of science requires many printed
and manipulative materials. Each elementary-school classroom
should be supplied with a variety of reference books on different
subjects and at varying reading levels. Because of the rapidly ac-
cumulating scientific information, daily newspapers as well as
weekly and monthly magazines are necessary in each school.
Elementary-school science textbooks are useful as references and
as a means of facilitating common science learning for children.
For experimenting and carrying on different kinds of activities
teachers and children in each classroom will need a wide variety
of materials and equipment. These should be simple and safe for
children to use. Some can be purchased in local variety stores, in
grocery stores, or in hardware and drug stores. The lumber com-
pany is also a source for some supplies. Certain materials can be
secured from homes, and a few will have to be ordered from a
scientific company. Cupboards or shelves should be constructed
in each classroom to house and store science materials. Accessi-
bility is an important factor in encouraging experimentation.
Many schools also have a storage room or closet with additional
science supplies or materials. Provision for the cost of manipula-
tive equipment from money allowed for operating a school is as
important as the purchase of books for the teaching of science.
There are many ways of teaching science to children. No one
way is best for all teachers nor for one teacher in all situations.
There is no specific set of procedures or rituals to follow in teach-
ing science to children. The varied interests and background ex-
periences of children, the broad scope of science, and the various
ways for seeking information provide endless opportunities for
teachers and children to use fresh, creative approaches to learn-
Instructional Aids Help Children Learn
Field Trips. Science learning can be vitalized by taking field
trips to make first-hand observations in such places as a power
plant, a garage, an airport, a telephone exchange, a dairy, or a
woods. Any field trip requires careful planning to identify pur-
poses, to establish safety precautions, and to discuss the kind of
individual and group behavior required. Follow-up discussions
are essential to help both children and teacher realize the science
and social values of the trip.
Audio-visual Materials. Films, filmstrips, slides, pictures, re-
cordings, and radio and television programs can be useful in
science instruction. Criteria for using these materials need to be
determined so that teachers can give wise direction to the sci-
ence learning of children. Timing and use depend on the pur-
poses as well as the maturity of the children. Some audio-visual
materials are more appropriate to introduce studies, others are
better during the period of investigation, and others may be help.,
ful in summarizing a study.
Some teachers are using modern communications devices to
help children understand scientific phenomena. Available for use
are films which can bring to the primary classroom a clear picture
of the development of a baby chicken inside the egg or can pre-
sent to intermediate pupils an animated diagram of the flow of
electricity through simple circuits. Processes of evaporation,
sound transmission, plant growth, and many other processes dif-
ficult to explain with words can be presented with clarity and
precision by films and filmstrips. Television, radio, and recordings
offer a wealth of enrichment and background materials for the
elementary-school teacher. In many cases teachers or children
can go to the school materials center and select materials. In
other cases, the teacher will draw upon such professional re-
sources as state film libraries or county materials services to se-
cure what is needed.
Bulletin Boards. A science bulletin board can serve many pur-
poses. It is a means of keeping students aware of rapidly chang-
ing events in the community, the state, the nation, and the world.
Children should be encouraged to read newspapers and maga-
zines for current happenings which they can share in discussions
and can place on the bulletin board later. Some teachers use a
science bulletin board to display charts of children's plans, ques-
tions, names of committees at work, and other illustrative mate-
rials that help individuals and the group feel a sense of direction
and accomplishment in their science work.
Models and Collections. The kinds of collections children make
often reveal their interest in science. It can be profitable for chil-
dren to use their collections to learn ways of grouping materials
that are alike and those that vary, to search for names and perti-
nent facts that can be recorded in brief written comments. Col-
lections and information about them provide opportunities for
individuals to deepen their understandings and share them with
What Is Important in Learning
What content or what principles should be taught at particular
age levels is one of the perplexing problems confronting elemen-
tary-school teachers. It is suggested that each year all children
increase their understandings of the larger themes which have
been accepted as the framework for science teaching. These
themes have to do with living things, the universe, our earth,
substances and energy, and control of the environment. Many
principles for each theme are learned as children seek and gain
understandings about their surroundings and the kind of world
in which they live.
Discussions Help Children Learn
Children grow in ability to communicate ideas as they con-
tribute and evaluate ideas in discussions. Attempts to answer
their own questions and those asked by classmates provide many
opportunities to talk things over. Children's discussions need
the guidance of a sympathetic, understanding teacher who can
help them distinguish between superstitions, hearsay and gossip,
and accurate information. In discussions a wise teacher will be
alert to misconceptions that children may gather from printed
materials and encourage them to challenge the authenticity. The
study of science should help children develop freedom to talk,
ability to listen, and respect for the opinions of others.
During discussions some teachers list questions and ideas ex-
pressed by children either on a chalk board or a chart. These
often serve as a focus for further discussion or study. When chil-
dren change their opinions or grasp new ideas as the result of
talking and listening, it is an indication to teachers that growth
has occurred in children.
Utilizing Problems of Everyday Living
Schools may make the curriculum more meaningful and prac-
tical by helping children recognize and solve problems which
they meet from day to day. Many faculties prepare to do this by
making a thorough survey of the community to gather data
which they summarize objectively. A curriculum planned in the
light of community surveys guides teacher planning because it
indicates areas that need special emphasis. For instance, in one
community a large number of people were depending upon un-
safe wells for drinking water. The teacher might interest chil-
dren in this problem through working with the local sanitarian
in sampling water from one of the wells. This experience becomes
more vivid for children when they look at a drop of this water
under the microscope. When children are challenged by such a
problem, they are willing and eager to attack it directly. Thus the
patterns of everyday living and the needs of the community will
indicate areas that need specific emphasis, resources that may be
used as illustrations, and problems which may become studies.
Before a problem is undertaken, teachers will want to be certain
that it is suitable for study. Its suitability may be determined in
the light of these criteria:
1. Is it a problem which will be interesting and valuable to
pupils now and later?
2. Is it a problem which will provide new concepts and ex-
3. Will materials which pupils can use to study the problem
4. Will the problem help pupils to understand the world
5. Will study of the problem maintain or improve school-
One of the important purposes in teaching science is to help
children develop scientific ways of thinking. Teachers purposely
plan situations as well as use many opportunities in the school
day to strengthen attitudes of critical-mindedness, willingness to
search for evidence, and respect for the opinion of others. These
are some of the elements of thinking included in solving science
Teachers are helping children develop their ability to solve
problems. Children and adults are continually solving problems.
Some of the problems are simple; some are complex. Some are
personal, and some are related to ways of behaving in group
situations. Children can learn to solve problems more effectively
when teachers help them define or identify the problem, gather
ideas for the solution, make decisions and carry out their pro-
posals, keep records and check the results of various ways of
working, and then evaluate the final results. Problem solving
includes accurate observing, experimenting, testing, discussion,
and forming conclusions. These techniques are best learned
when children deal with problems that are significant to them.
Teachers are recognizing the vital quality of content in science.
Science content comes from the problems that children face in
their attempts to understand their surroundings and the world.
It must be organized so that children can make interpretations
on their level of maturity. Children learn science through vital
problem-solving experiences that challenge the urge to find out
and to know. Experiences need to be considered not only for
growth in science content but also for their contributions to the
development of acceptable social behavior.
When teachers plan to help children make discoveries and find
information through their own efforts, experimenting often leads
to new and additional experiments. True experimentation does
not begin until there is a search for the unknown. Many times
an experiment is an "activity" for the teacher because he knows
the possible result; but when children really do not know the
outcome, it is an experiment for them. Experimenting can be an
individual investigation, or it may be a part of group efforts; it
may be a simple experience, or it may be complex with many
interrelationships. Children's experimenting should be based
upon these principles:
1. Experiments are to be done by children with safe, easy-to-
2. They are planned by the children with the teacher, as a
means of answering questions, testing, confirming, or re-
jecting ideas. If an experiment is used from a book, chil-
dren should suggest possible results and have freedom to
vary the procedures.
3. Experiments should be repeated before conclusions are
4. Children should see the purposes of experiments in rela-
tion to larger problems in their science studies.
5. Whenever possible, the conclusions from experimenting
should be applied to conditions and situations in the
everyday living of children.
C. HEALTH, SAFETY, AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION
Providing health and safety information appropriate and ade-
quate for each child according to his developmental level is a pri-
mary responsibility of the public schools. How successful the
schools are in meeting this responsibility is determined by the
extent to which each child lives in a more healthful manner.
Schools should encourage pupils to assume increasing responsi-
bility for their own behavior patterns. These responsibilities
should increase as children grow older and more capable.
Possibly no phase of the elementary-school curriculum is more
adaptable to integration with other phases of learning than is
health and safety education. However, this integration cannot be
achieved on an incidental or accidental basis but must be the re-
sult of careful planning and coordination grade by grade through-
out the school day. Through such careful planning, adequate cov-
erage and proper progress can be achieved. Undue repetition and
serious omissions will defeat efforts to achieve a well-rounded
program of instruction in these important areas.
The teaching of health is more than the mere provision of
health information appropriate and adequate for each child's de-
velopmental level. It entails understanding each individual child;
his inheritance; his environmental influences; his mental, emo-
tional, and social problems and adjustments as well as his physi-
cal health. It means motivating him to improve attitudes and
practices which may mean the difference between whole and
partial health for himself and for others upon whom his life has
The environment is a potent influence upon learning in any
field. Especially is this true in the area of health education.
Health teaching is usually more effective when the environment
is used to demonstrate principles helpful in promoting the health
of individuals, families, or communities. The environment and
personal interrelationships of the classroom should promote posi-
tive mental health. Such environmental factors as the division of
the school day, the personality of the teacher, and the color
scheme and arrangement of furniture in the classroom aid in pro-
ducing and maintaining emotional balance. The example of
healthful living set by teachers and other school personnel must
not be overlooked as an important environmental factor.
Objectives of Health Education
The following objectives of a health education program,
adapted to suit local needs, will serve as a general basis for de-
veloping an effective health program:
1. To develop personal responsibility in health matters based
on accurate, scientific facts
2. To develop an active concern for all health conditions
which threaten the security of oneself and others
3. To develop and apply scientific, critical reasoning to in-
dividual and community health problems
4. To develop physical zest and stamina and a growing sense
of personal effectiveness
5. To promote better cooperation with respect to health
among the home, the school, the community and official,
professional, and voluntary agencies.
Basic Concepts in Health
Each year children should show growth in eight areas of health
Body structure and function
Activity and rest
Body care and grooming
Prevention and control of illness and disability
Eating habits and favorable attitudes toward food
Mental health and personal adjustment
Safety and first aid
Teachers will find the State Department of Education Bulletin
4-D, Better Health for Florida's Children, useful in planning ex-
periences in each of these areas.
Suggestions for Teaching
In the primary grades, the most effective program is concerned
largely with helping children establish desirable attitudes and
practices. At this time, children should learn to do automatically
those things which will protect their health. Primary-school
children can develop positive attitudes toward physicians, nurses,
and dentists. In the intermediate grades, children still need guid-
ance in building attitudes and practices, but there is a need and
desire for more systematic instruction. The example set by the
teacher is an important factor in developing desirable behavior
It should be recognized that all experiences that children have
in and out of school affect their mental health. Schools should be
concerned with helping all children to feel secure, wanted, and
comfortable and to achieve a happy balance between success and
failure. Consideration for the mental health of the child is an
integral part of good health education, for health includes the
mental and the social as well as the physical well-being of the in-
In every school a teacher is designated as the health coordina-
tor and has the responsibility for making the school health pro-
gram (health services, health information, and healthful school
living) more effective. The principals and teachers may expect
to work with the health coordinator and related committees to
develop a well-balanced health program. In part, this involved
cooperative planning of instruction; wise use of all community
resources; a shared responsibility with the public health nurse
for maintaining and using a satisfactory accumulative health
record; making a survey of present conditions to determine
health needs; organizing and maintaining a file of current mate-
rials dealing with the field of health; making reports and referrals
as needed; incorporating various projects in their logical place in
the school health program; and cooperating with voluntary agen-
cies, civic organizations, and other groups or individuals.
Often disregarded as an aid to instruction in health are the
health services provided by the school and the health department.
In every contact with the school-age child unlimited opportuni-
ties are offered to the physician, nurse, dentist, and teacher for
disseminating meaningful, on-the-spot instruction designed to
mold intelligent attitudes toward good health and to create
powerful motivation toward good health practices.
As boys and girls are taught sound habits of health, they also
learn to recognize situations involving hazards and to develop
habits of carefulness and obedience to safety rules at home, on
the streets, at play, and in school. As they develop and mature,
they must also assume increasing responsibility for dealing with
sudden illness or accident.
Some desirable goals for a safety program are:
1. To reduce accidental injury to a minimum
2. To develop attitudes of concern for the welfare of others
along with maturity of judgment where unsound judg-
ment might lead to injury
3. To develop physical fitness and neuro-muscular skills that
will reduce the likelihood of accidental injury when par-
ticipating in vigorous activity.
Suggestions for Teaching Safety
The safety education program should be developed in accord-
ance with a curriculum guide which provides for a logical se-
quence of content and activities.
All teachers are educating for health and safety. Every activity
and every area of the curriculum are involved in health and
safety education. The entire staff must work together in order to
make this program effective.
The textbooks available at each grade level for use by children
throughout the elementary school present safety as an integral
part of the health program. State Department of Education Bul-
letin 4-D, Health Programs in Florida Schools, deals with the
health service aspects of the school health program. Resourceful
teachers will discover and employ many other materials as they
plan and teach the health and safety program.
Physical education has a distinct contribution to make to the
physical and social growth and development of the child. As a
contributor to the general objectives of education, four of the ma-
jor purposes of a well-planned physical education program are:
1. To build organic fitness for today and tomorrow through
activities selected purposefully to increase strength, vigor,
and functional organic capacity
2. To develop physical ability and body coordination through
a varied program of activities that demand the use of
many different skills
3. To develop among boys and girls meaningful, vitalized,
recreational habits and interests that will carry over into
their play outside school hours
4. To educate for behavior based upon the principles of good
sportsmanship, thus contributing to the molding of char-
acter and to the encouragement of better citizenship.
Many different ideas of an adequate physical education pro-
gram have existed in the past. Some people have thought of
physical education as a recess period during which the children
are sent outdoors to play; others have considered physical educa-
tion as a period in which teachers watched children to see that
there were no fights; still others have considered calisthenics and
deep breathing to be all that were necessary. Fortunately, nearly
all school people today realize that physical education is an op-
portunity for achieving many educational goals, including growth
in social behavior.
Program and Time Allotment
A daily instructional period of at least thirty minutes is re-
quired. This should be in addition to recess-type periods. In a
properly planned program, sufficient time should be provided for:
Planning the period before leaving the classroom (Time
spent in planning may vary according to the judgment of the
Passing to and from the physical education area
Participating in the activities of the program as planned for
Evaluating the period, including a discussion of any situa-
tions or problems which arose (The discussion may be held
on the playground or after the group has returned to the
classroom. Many teachers consider this the most essential
part of the program.)
The program should include the following types of activity:
Stunts, pyramids, and apparatus activities
Some teachers feel that each of the above types of activity
should be in the program each week. Others feel that the list is a
guide which should be considered in attempting to achieve a
balanced program for the year.
The classroom teacher should be responsible for the physical
education activities of his group. At times he may feel the need
for assistance from a trained physical education teacher. In some
schools, this assistance is provided through itinerant teachers.
These teachers often work with children, but they function pri-
marily as consultants to the classroom teacher. In some situa-
tions, the services of a full-time physical education teacher are
provided. In such cases it is assumed that there will be coordina-
tion of effort between the classroom teacher and the physical
education teacher so that each may share with the other his
knowledge of the children, their needs, and their progress. The
following suggestions will help a teacher preparing for a physical
1. Make provisions for school-wide coordination of the physi-
cal education activities in order to assure progression, to
avoid undesirable duplication, and to facilitate scheduling.
2. Plan the physical education program as carefully as the
spelling or arithmetic program. There should be a flexible
skeleton plan for the year, supplemented by unit plans and
day-by-day lesson plans.
3. Provide for pupil participation in planning and organizing
4. Introduce new activities which will contribute the achieve-
ment of desirable educational objectives.
5. Share ideas with other teachers in order to provide a pro-
gram which has a desirable variety of activities.
6. Keep such simple equipment as is needed in usable condi-
tion. If the school does not already have the equipment
needed, consult with the principal about obtaining it.
Evaluation in Physical Education, a checklist published by the
State Department of Education, provides individual teachers
with a practical and simplified method of evaluating their total
physical education program. Criteria are provided for self-evalua-
tion as an initial step toward improving and developing physical
education programs. Teachers using this evaluative instrument
and other materials as guides will find that they can develop a
Two other publications which will help a teacher evaluate a
program are A Self Evaluative Instrument for Practices and Pro-
grams, Florida Council on Elementary Education, and Facilities
for Physical Education, Bulletin 13-A, Florida State Department
D. LANGUAGE ARTS
The skills involved in communication are interdependent and
cannot be successfully separated. They are tool subjects which
are used in order to live more effectively and more rewardingly.
Relationships among the areas of reading, talking, listening, and
writing should be emphasized continuously.
The modern world is a reading world. In earning his living, in
carrying out the duties of citizenship, in pursuing leisure-time
activities, a person must read. He must read to follow directions,
to gather information essential to his job, to form opinions about
national and international events, and to serve his broadening
interests as he grows. In spite of a gradual increase in the use of
first-hand experiences and of visual and auditory materials, read-
ing remains by far the most frequently employed means of learn-
ing. If he is to be a successful learner and a well-informed citizen,
the child must develop facility in reading and interpreting what
These skills cannot be fully developed in the elementary
school. They are the result of good reading instruction by all
teachers from the first through the twelfth grade. In fact, growth
in reading should continue throughout adult life.
Teachers responsible for teaching children to read should be
familiar with four general characteristics of a good reading pro-
A Good Reading Program Insures Readiness at Each Stage.
Since many children are not ready for formal reading activities
when they first enter school, an important phase of primary read-
ing instruction is the readiness period. During the first weeks of
school in their first year, the beginners must meet and adjust to
such new situations as being with a large group of children,
learning to take directions from a relative stranger, being away
from home, and eating with a group.
Since reading requires of children a certain degree of mental
and physical maturity as well as emotional well-being, many
first-grade teachers spend a considerable amount of time devel-
oping reading readiness in their pupils before formal reading is
undertaken. A few first-grade children may be ready to read
when school opens; some will need several weeks to acquire this
readiness; still others will need a longer period of time. A few
children may not be ready for formal reading instruction until
the end of the year or even later.
When we remember that many differences exist among chil-
dren when they enter the first grade, it is clear that such a period
of preparation is necessary. For instance, girls usually mature at
a faster rate than boys. There are also varying differences within
each individual learner. Some children are farsighted until they
are at least seven; their eyes do not focus steadily on objects as
small as print. Furthermore, children do not distinguish small
differences in sound until their auditory acuity has increased or
until they have learned to listen carefully. Consequently, the
child may neither see nor hear the difference between such
words as end and and.
During the readiness period certain basic attitudes and skills
are developed in the child. These include the attitude of curiosity,
a desire to read, confidence in his ability to read, the realization
that a printed symbol stands for a known idea, the habit of look-
ing at a sentence or a word from left to right, the habit of carry-
ing a sequence of events in mind (associating meaning in logical
order with the sequence), and the enlargement of the child's
speaking and hearing vocabulary. It is during these first few
weeks that the child should also become socially adjusted to his
classmates so that he may feel at ease during all learning activi-
ties. A child thus prepared for reading makes faster progress and
develops a better attitude toward reading and school than if he
had begun formal reading earlier.
We recognize the economy of waiting until children are ready
to read printed materials, but we cannot forget that it is the re-
sponsibility of the teacher to help them get ready. Time and ad-
ditional maturity help, but the child also needs experiences
which will broaden his horizons, give meaning to words, intro-
duce him to the magic of books, help him to learn to control
small muscles, and whet his appetite for learning to read.
During the readiness period a teacher will give children many
opportunities to hear stories and tell stories to the group. The
pupils may go with the teacher on short trips in and around the
school and dictate stories about these trips to the teacher. The
children can make a chart telling of their activities as a means
of developing such language arts abilities as the ability to see that
printed forms can convey meaning, the ability to think in se-
quence and see relationships, the ability to read from left to
right and down the page, the ability to read in sentences, the
ability to use content clues, and the ability to recognize certain
important words through gross configuration, particularly proper
Pupils should also have opportunities to work with puzzles to
help them learn to notice small details and make comparisons.
They may build with blocks and at times will tell about what
they have constructed. They may repeat poetry and nursery
rhymes in unison to become aware of sounds. They should have
many opportunities to express themselves orally. Self-expression
will also come through the use of crayons, paints, clay, and other
As a child's tasks become more complex, he will have the need
for additional skills, background, and understanding in order to
meet new situations successfully. A readiness program, therefore,
should not cease with the first grade but should continue
throughout the child's school years. Thus the teacher is con-
stantly at work readying the pupil for his next step. Areas in
which there is special need for readiness activities are discussed
later in this chapter. Suggestions are also given on the type of
help the teacher can plan for children in the middle and upper
A Good Reading Program Provides for Individual Work and
Varied Grouping. Each day children should have opportunities to
work both by themselves and with the entire class. There are
times, however, when children work and learn better in groups.
Especially is this true in learning to read.
In the developmental reading program the teacher works with
children in many ways. The class may be organized into small
reading groups within the classroom. Grouping should be accom-
plished on the basis of pupil needs and interests identified
through teacher observation, conversation with pupils, the use of
informal tests, and other dependable diagnostic measures. At
times children may be grouped to allow them to work with other
children who are reading materials at the same level of difficulty.
In the intermediate grades especially, the teacher may work with
a group only every second or third day in order to have a longer
time with each group. Children with like interests may some-
times be grouped together, although they have varying abilities
and require materials on several levels. Whatever method of
grouping is used, it should be flexible and should change as parti-
cular goals are accomplished. Such a practice should avoid label-
ing children according to the groups with which they read.
In addition to reorganizing reading instruction in groups, it is
also necessary at times to provide opportunities for the individ-
ual child to work alone on his special needs in line with his in-
Some teachers may wish to conduct the reading program on an
individualized basis giving special attention to the individual
learner. In the individualized reading program the child spends
a major portion of his time during the reading period using mate-
rials which he has selected from a classroom collection. The col-
lection contains many types of materials, such as books, maga-
zines, and work sheets, which are geared to different levels of in-
terest and ability. Considerable time is spent recording, reacting
to and discussing material read. Opportunities are provided for
small work groups and research groupings.
The teacher keeps a record of what the child has read and the
type of help he needs. He helps each child select appropriate ma-
terials and holds individual conferences with each child to help
him evaluate his reading progress. As he works with the indivi-
dual child he may also find opportunities to group children for
instruction on the basis of common needs. The nature of the orga-
nization and the type of instruction may vary from teacher to
teacher or from school to school.
Teachers who are interested in using the individualized
method of reading should become familiar with effective proce-
dures and should understand what individual reading implies.
A Good Reading Program Provides the Climate and Experi-
ences that Promote Children's Desire to Read. Children can de-
velop a positive attitude toward reading if they are given the op-
portunity. In order to stimulate interest in reading, the teacher
by his attitudes and deeds will demonstrate that reading is an in-
teresting, desirable, needful, and pleasant activity. He will share
with the class exciting stories, pleasing poetry, and-in the inter-
mediate grades-interesting articles. He might show the class
that he frequently relies on printed matter for pleasure, informa-
tion, and direction. He will make effective use of the library with
its varied reading materials. He will realize that one cannot ex-
pect to generate enthusiasm for reading when the only reading
materials are textbooks and only a few other worn, unattractive
books. He will also make sure that there are many related mate-
rials which can serve as valuable assets to the reading program.
These will include art, music, science, and social studies materials
which enrich the experience of the child and encourage reading.
The teacher will know that children need to realize that reading
will open the door to many interesting worthwhile experiences
and that it is not an end in itself.
If a class program is built around reading for reading's sake,
then children often fail to acquire a zest for reading. On the
other hand, in a classroom that has many on-going activities re-
quiring reading, children will develop a broad background of in-
terest and understanding. These activities, in turn, will help chil-
dren see the new worlds that are opened to them through the
printed page. Interest is diminished by having reading classes
which extend over a great portion of the day, thus depriving chil-
dren of other needed activities and experiences. The reading pro-
gram is enhanced by wide, rich, and varied activities and experi-
ences which extend to reading interests far beyond that con-
tained in a single textbook.
A Good Reading Program Is Carried on Through Well-Planned
and Well-Presented Lessons. As the teacher studies his group of
pupils and the individual needs represented, he plans a well-
balanced program which includes developmental instruction,
guided independent reading in the classroom, and functional cur-
ricular reading in which the resources of the library are used
extensively. He makes certain that all phases of reading skills are
included in order to insure optimum reading development for all
children. He will need to make flexible long-range plans as well
as careful, specific daily plans.
The bases of the teacher's plans for the reading program in his
classroom will be the sequential development of reading skills
throughout the elementary program and the teacher's assessment
of each pupil's relative progress through this sequence. The
teacher should be familiar with the sequence of skilled develop-
ment and objectives at not only his particular grade level but
also at the grade levels preceding and following it. The basal
reading series used in most elementary schools in Florida are
based on carefully planned sequences of skilled development. The
teachers' manuals available with sets of readers usually contain
the over-all structure upon which the series is based. Some con-
tain scope and sequence charts which a teacher unfamiliar with
the series will find helpful.
The evaluation of each pupil's reading skill achievement in re-
lation to the over-all sequence, the second basis for planning in
reading, involves careful attention to diagnosis of reading
strengths and weaknesses. Standardized tests, diagnostic tests
which accompany basal readers, suggested exercises and activ-
ities included in teacher's manuals, and informal reading inven-
tories are readily available tools for pupil diagnosis. However
great or small the amount of diagnostic material available, a
teacher who is alert and sensitive to pupil needs is the prime re-
quirement for accurate evaluation. Such a teacher recognizes
that every error made by the pupil is a clue to his reading needs.
Skills, check lists, and charts maintained by the pupil or the
teacher are helpful in providing incentive to the pupil and conti-
nuity in the evaluative effort.
Appropriate introductions should be offered for each group of
stories and for each selection. These introductions are based
upon a discussion of the children's experiences which may be
similar to the experiences presented in the reading selection.
New concepts are clarified through the use of pictures, real ob-
jects, and demonstrations. New words are presented in sentences
or phrases which may be written on the chalkboard as the
teacher says the sentences. Other means of presentation include
sentence strips and charts. These sentences should be related
either to the children's experiences or the previous stories. They
should help to build a background for the new story. In addition
to this practice, upper-grade teachers may say the sentence or
write the word only, or the discussion may utilize the new words
that have been looked up in a previous dictionary practice period.
At all times the introduction should stimulate a keen interest in
the story and should help the children to understand words and
their meanings as well as to set up specific purposes for reading
a given story.
The first reading and interpretation of a new story is usually
guided by the teacher. This part of the lesson should be fun and
stimulating for the children. The teacher asks questions which
involve short thought units of a sentence, several sentences, or a
paragraph (one sentence for beginners and for those children
who are reading material which is difficult for them). Silent
reading precedes oral reading; "reading round the class" does not
develop careful thinking. The children read silently to find the
answer. The answers may be given by telling, reading orally, or
by dramatizing the thoughts expressed. This procedure is usually
followed throughout the selection in the first and second grades
and for immature readers in the other grades. For children of the
upper grades the teacher may use just enough guided reading to
arouse interest and then ask the children to complete the story
silently to find answers to the questions which have been asked.
After the story has been completed, a check is made to
see how the questions have been answered. A short summary of
events in the story is recalled. Re-reading of the entire selection
or of parts of the selection is usually done for new purposes. If
the selection is a short and easy one, the re-reading may occur
immediately after the first reading. Otherwise, the re-reading
may be done silently as independent work or at another period.
The children may be asked to read to find specific answers or to
find the part they like best, the part that is the funniest, or the
part that shows how a character felt. At other times a reading
dramatization may be done.
A Good Reading Program Includes a Balance of Skill De-
velopment and Related Activities. Extending reading skills will
be a major purpose of the work done in reading. The teacher will
observe the children, note their needs, and then plan individual
and group activities accordingly. Periods of work with the chil-
dren should be short, well-planned, interesting, and based upon
specific needs. These periods are followed by further work which
the children can do independently. The manuals or teaching
guides which accompany the state-adopted readers give excellent
help in developing a wide variety of reading skills. There is
usually a need for continued instruction and practice on the
1. Comprehension Skills
Some of the important comprehension skills which need
specific attention are noting details, noting main ideas,
skimming to locate specific facts or main ideas, following di-
rections, arranging events in sequence, organizing for recall,
outlining, drawing inferences, interpreting and appraising
materials, making generalizations and applications, and pre-
dicting outcomes and making comparisons.
2. Word Meaning
From the beginning when a vocabulary of sight words is be-
ing built, children will associate the meaning with pictures
and objects. They will illustrate the words with pictures and
with action. Context clues will be used later, and they will
learn that some words have more than one meaning. Still
later, they will learn synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, pre-
fixes, suffixes, and compound words. Finally, they will learn
to use a glossary and a dictionary to check meanings of
3. Locating Information
From the beginning children will learn to use tables of con-
tents, unit headings, and story headings. Later, they will
learn to use indexes, simple reference books, and library
books to locate information. Eventually, they will learn to
use maps, charts, and globes.
4. Word-Attack Skills
There is no one skill which will insure independence in
word attack. Rather, there are a number of skills which
should be developed. For children in the primary grades and
for children who have not developed dictionary skills, the
following ways of developing independence in word recog-
nition are suggested.
a. Sight Words
A sight vocabulary of a few words should be established
in the reading readiness period or the pre-book stage be-
fore the first pre-primer is started. The meaning of words
is given. special attention and the child's experiences
broadened so that he will have an understanding of them.
Vocabulary building is done through using the words
which are to be met in the pre-primer (a few at a time)
in sentences and with many repetitions in stories on the
chalkboard and in experience charts. The use of sight
words is continued throughout the grades but gradually
gives way to the development of other word techniques.
The child learns to recognize words by noting the shapes
and heights of letters in the word.
c. Picture Clues
The child looks at the picture to decide what the word is.
d. Context Clues
The child is taught to read before and after the word in
the sentence and judge the word according to what makes
e. Structural Analysis
The attention of the child is directed to the beginning or
initial consonants, endings, compound words, syllables,
root words, prefixes, and suffixes.
f. Phonetic Analysis
The initial work on phonics is done in the reading read-
iness period in an informal way through hearing rhymes
and identifying the words that sound alike. In this man-
ner, children are helped to listen for words that sound
alike. A good procedure in teaching phonics is to start
with known words and develop an analysis of the like ini-
tial consonants and consonant blends. The next step is a
study of final consonant sounds followed by long and
short sounds of vowels. Finally, the more difficult sounds
and blends are developed. A word of caution, however,
should be added. Phonics should not be taught as isolated
fragments of words but instead should be related to con-
text and to the material which is being read.
Thus it will be noted that children can use a variety of ways
of attacking new words. As they mature they should be-
come increasingly independent in word-attack skills. At any
grade level all the word-attack skills which have been de-
veloped in the previous grades should be reviewed and
retaught when necessary. The use of picture dictionaries,
learning the alphabet, alphabetizing, and filing lead to effi-
cient habits in the use of dictionary skills in the intermedi-
5. Oral Reading Skills
Some specific skills in oral reading include appropriate ex-
pression to interpret characters and moods, correct phras-
ing in order to enhance meaning, and accurate pronuncia-
tion of words. It is necessary that the material be familiar to
the children and that silent reading precede oral reading.
Oral reading is prepared reading. At no time should slow
readers be asked to read orally to a group when it becomes
embarrassing to them or when their reading is likely to be-
come boring to other children. However, they should read to
the teacher and on occasion to another child or to a very
small group. In order to provide audience situations, stand-
ards should be set with the children for good oral reading
and for effective listening. Many times all children, except
the reader, will have their books closed. At other times, for
example, in a reading dramatization, the children will need
to follow the text in order to get their cues for participation.
Provision for Varied Experiences
Good planning in the reading program insures a sufficient vari-
ety of such experiences as:
1. Reading stories and selections from supplementary readers,
other textbooks, library books, and reference books (It
should be remembered that materials should be at a level
easily read by individual children. Picture books, experience
charts, stories written by the teacher using the words
known by the children, and stories composed by children
are often utilized for supplementary reading.)
2. Painting, modeling, construction work, and other art ex-
periences to express various parts of the story (These kinds
of experiences necessitate good planning in order to provide
desirable working space. They also demand an understand-
ing of where to put pictures and objects being made and
where to store supplies as well as a knowledge of how to
work, how to clean up, and how to share the work to be
done with others. This phase of the program requires a vari-
ety of materials, many of which are obtainable at little or no
expense. Some of the materials which may be used are old
or new scraps of cloth or paper, buttons, wire, sticks, burrs,
pebbles, cardboard boxes, newsprint, wrapping paper, play-
dough, sawdust, clay, colored construction paper, tempera,
chalk, and crayons.)
3. Oral interpretation through creative dramatics, dramatiza-
tions, puppet and TV shows, telling and reading stories, cho-
ral reading, and saying and reading poems
4. Written expression in the form of charts, booklets, individ-
ual reports, and creative writing of plays, stories, and poems
5. Examination of objects which can be observed and handled
to deepen concepts and understandings
6. Observations of living things to create interest and to form
the basis for meaningful reading experiences
7. Other activities involving music, films, filmstrips, record-
ings, excursions, and exhibits.
A Good Reading Program Provides for the Use of a Wide
Variety of Materials. A wide variety of materials is necessary in
developing a sound reading program. Library books, materials for
art experiences, a duplicating device, a primer typewriter, text-
books, chart material, puzzles, audio-visual material, and the
like are examples of the different kinds of materials needed.
A well-stocked library is most important since some children
who will not be challenged to read the text will benefit from re-
peated contacts with attractive and interesting books of all kinds.
When children have access to this type of material, they will be
encouraged to read. During the beginning of the child's school ca-
reer these contacts will be confined to handling and looking at
picture books and to having stories read and told by the teacher.
Later, easy books on many subjects will challenge boys and girls.
Many of these books or pamphlets will be used in addition to the
encyclopedia as reference material by the child who is doing re-
search on a problem.
Since many reading levels are represented in a class, an ade-
quate supply of materials for teaching the basic skills at all these
levels is necessary.
It is wise to have one set of readers that is never used at the
grade level intended, so that teachers will have available new
material at the preceding levels to use with slow-starting chil-
dren. This set could be used with average and fast readers during
the first weeks of school in order to recapture reading skills lost
during the summer.
The basal and supplementary texts alone are not sufficient ma-
terial for an adequate reading program. If children are to make
optimum progress in reading, they must have much additional
reading material available and time for its use. This material
should take care of the wide range of reading ability in the class-
room. It must be remembered that the independent reading level
of the child is one grade below the instructional level. These
facts mean that a third grade class usually needs books ranging
in difficulty from pre-primer to fifth-grade level. Care and
thought must be given to the selection of the books, particularly
those selected for the slow reader. They must be high in interest
for older children and not appear "babyish." Books relating to so-
cial studies, science, and any topic in which the class is interested
often meet these criteria. A variety of textbooks serves to offer
interesting material at the different levels of ability and also per-
mits both slow and fast pupils to contribute to a unit or activity
according to their ability. The use of this material will not only
contribute to learning in science or social studies but also will
improve the child's reading.
A Good Reading Program Provides Instruction in Reading in
the Content Fields. It is neither possible nor desirable to attempt
to have all experiences in developmental reading take place in
the period devoted to direct instruction in reading skills. Even in
the first grade, children will have need of skills which are not
taught during the reading period. For instance, these children
will need to know how to read pictures and experience charts. As
they move into the second and third grades additional skills will
be needed when they are required to interpret material in sci-
ence, social studies, health, and arithmetic.
Since children in the intermediate grades spend a greater pro-
portion of their day in reading, they must acquire many new
reading skills. The content fields are the most expedient places
for developing necessary reading abilities. For example, map
reading can be purposefully taught in connection with social
When an adult stops to consider the reading task that con-
fronts a child in the content fields in the intermediate grades, he
is usually amazed that the child has any success. It must be kept
in mind that when a person reads for information, he must know
either the words with which the information is presented or the
general idea toward which he is working. If the words and the
idea are both new, he necessarily fails to get the thought. This
condition is just as true of the tenth-grade pupil studying biology,
the college student studying philosophy, and the adult reading an
article on economics. It also accounts for the fact that a normal
pupil leaving the elementary school does not later automatically
read algebraic problems and ancient history successfully. He
must have further instruction in reading in these and other
Understanding the reading difficulties pupils face as they read
material in the content fields of social studies, arithmetic, and
science is necessary. The following analysis of six reading difficul-
ties will enable teachers to understand problems faced by chil-
dren when they read in these fields.
Difficulty of Vocabulary
Quantity of new words in social studies and science. Com-
pletely new words that offer no familiar clues crowd the page, in
addition to scores of proper names. In arithmetic are many words
with precise meanings representing complex ideas.
Technical, specialized vocabulary. Many terms used in arith-
metic are not used elsewhere (quotient, subtrahend); other com-
mon words like improper and mixed have specialized meanings.
In science many familiar words take on specialized meanings.
Abstract terms. Words like democracy and civilization repre-
sent abstract, evolving concepts.
Infrequently used words. Many contacts with a word are usu-
ally necessary in order to master it, but many words in social
studies and science are used only two or three times before other
new words are introduced.
Words outside children's experience and knowledge. Many
words represent places and activities, remote in time or space,
which the child has never seen and never expects to see.
Abbreviations and symbolization. In arithmetic abbreviations
and symbols are used extensively and to most children look like
entirely new words.
Difficulty of separate, disconnected experiences, particularly hin
arithmetic and science
Brevity of statements. Arithmetic problems are stated so
briefly and compactly that there are no descriptive elements to
give meaning through context; science material is also written
concisely with little elaboration of detail.
Lack of visualization. In other reading, meaning is cumulative,
continuing from paragraph to paragraph, but in arithmetic each
little problem is a unit to be visualized, solved, and then pushed
aside in order to go on to the next problem. What a pupil visu-
alizes one moment is of little help to him the next.
Interruption of numbers. The reading material in arithmetic
is broken by numbers. The pupil must pause to consider them,
for he knows they are to be his tools of operation after he has
finished reading the problem. While he is attending to the num-
bers themselves, he loses the thought being developed.
Frequent use of diagrams. Diagrams ultimately aid in the un-
derstanding of science, but at the same time they cause an inter-
ruption in the text and require particular reading skills in them-
Necessity for following directions. Performing experiments
helps children understand science material. Following directions
requires close attention to reading for exact details and is a
good way of developing that skill. Stopping to follow directions,
however, should be recognized as another break in the conti-
nuity of gaining meaning from reading.
Difficulty of concepts
Quantity of concepts. Several new concepts which may be
found on each page and even in each sentence cannot be :suffi-
Complexity of ideas. Many concepts are truly complex, and
others appear complex because it is the child's first experience
Partial error in concept. Full understanding would involve an
unusual, extraordinary background of experience.
Difficulty of organization
Quantity of ideas to be recalled is great.
There is a need for evaluation and judgment of relative im-
Difficulty of Reference
Vague or half-forgotten ideas must be recalled.
In social studies there is a constant need for recall and use of
map referrals, which break the continuity of thought.
Difficulty in seeing relationships and forming generalizations
Formulating, understanding, and expressing generalizations
present some difficulty. More than in most areas, science reading
requires seeing relationships, making comparisons, and forming
generalizations. Constant recall is an omnipresent difficulty. The
pupil must keep in mind many facts and basic concepts, some
of them only partially understood.
These suggested procedures for teachers will be helpful in im-
proving children's reading in the major content fields:
1. Read problems aloud slowly so that children get the idea
that all reading material is not approached at the same
rate. Good voice inflection and phrasing will also in-
crease children's comprehension.
2. Encourage the children to visualize the problem, reading
it all the way through to complete the picture, before
attempting to work with the numbers.
3. Have pupils compose a few problems of their own. Some
children then begin to see that the purpose of the prob-
lem is to answer a question and that the reader must
know what the question is before he can use the num-
bers given to find the answer.
4. Review new terms, abbreviations, and symbols often. Use
new terms in other activities whenever possible.
Social Studies and science materials
1. Anticipate vocabulary difficulties and strange concepts
and through discussion clarify and expand word meanings
for the children. Try to build key words into the pupil's
hearing and speaking vocabulary before he meets them
in print. Deliberately introduce into your own speech
words the pupils will soon meet. Do not hesitate to teach
directly important words. Obtain repetition of new terms
and re-use of ideas through combining the development
of such language arts skills as outlining and report-mak-
ing in social studies and science activities.
2. Locate suitable materials for wide reading with relatively
light vocabulary burden and enough illustrations to build
the needed background. Carefully selected library books,
certain stories in readers of former state adoptions, and
the current state-adopted social studies and science text-
books are good sources. It is not necessary to have one
copy for each pupil of such material. Since the time for
which it is used is brief, the same copies can be used by
successive groups during the day, and not all pupils will
need to read all selections.
3. Use visual and auditory aids. Include such materials as
pictures, specimens, and collections.
A Good Reading Program Provides for Evaluation. There is
growing evidence to indicate that learning to read should be con-
sidered a task during the entire school life of the child, one that
cannot be broken into precise segments for each grade. Many
children do learn to read at a rate similar to that reflected in the
traditional grade expectancies; some, however, start more slowly,
accelerating their progress later when they become more mature.
Others may do very little with actual reading in the first year.
Yet all of these children may read acceptably by the end of the
third or fourth grade if each child is so stimulated and guided
that he experiences each stage of development without loss of
faith in his own power to achieve. Many reading skills have their
beginnings at some point in the first grade and later are greatly
refined and used with facility. Thus, near the end of the first
grade a pupil might through careful teacher questioning and di-
recting discover that the compound word sometimes is made up
of two known words. In the second grade, the pupil might need
only a reminder that he really knows the two words in a new
compound word, and at the third-grade level he should use inde-
pendently that technique of word recognition. Consideration of
reading achievement must, then, take into account the complex-
ity of the process and the degree of facility attained by the child.
Evaluation in reading is an ongoing process and a varied one.
Since the reading process involves a combination of many skills,
it is only natural that the evaluation of a pupil's achievement in
reading cannot be simple. Good evaluation should include fre-
quent appraisal, since a pupil's rate of growth varies considerably
and judgment on any one day might be quite inaccurate; many
types of appraisal; interpretation of progress and reading needs;
the use which the child makes of reading in other subjects, in the
library, in the home, especially his desire to seek pleasure and
information through reading.
A teacher is primarily concerned with evidence that each child
is growing in reading achievement, whatever his starting point
may have been. Many teachers like to keep a folder for each
child-really an accumulative record for the year. In the folder
would be a list of library books read as well as an outline of read-
ing skills to be checked. The checklist could be used for one type
of appraisal at intervals during the year and would serve as evi-
dence of growth.
These attainments are shown by most children and could serve
as the basis for such a check list:
1. Developing a desire to read
2. Developing an awareness that answers to questions can
be formed through reading
3. Interpreting what is read by telling the story, answering
questions, drawing, or dramatizing
4. Using sight vocabulary derived from experience charts,
pre-primers, and primers
5. Recognizing old vocabulary in new settings
6. Using a variety of word recognition techniques
General configuration of individual words
Basic words in derived words
Familiar parts in new words
Beginning use of phonetic elements
7. Using efficient reading habits
Scanning words and sentences from left to right
Avoiding finger pointing (use markers when necessary)
Employing fewer regressive eye movements
Making accurate return sweep from end of one line to
beginning of next
Engaging in silent reading before oral reading.
Grades 2 and 3
1. Maintaining and refining the skills acquired the previous
2. Reading at sight from experience charts and first-grade
3. Using a table of contents for finding stories
4. Interpreting a longer thought unit (more than one sen-
To obtain the central thought of a paragraph
To note specific details
To anticipate outcomes
5. Searching independently for materials related to activi-
ties, using books as a source of information and recrea-
6. Enjoying reading to others
7. Using clear enunciation, good phrasing, and good posture
8. Increasing independence in using word-recognition tech-
niques (Initial learning in word recognition techniques
will have occurred earlier for the more mature children.)
Recognizing new word forms made by suffixes such
as ing, ed, ly, s, es
Applying knowledge of blends such as pl, br, dr, sh,
Applying knowledge of long and short vowels
Working out the pronunciation of simple phonetic
words when the meaning is already known
Distinguishing accurately between words of similar ap-
pearance such as which, what, when, where
9. Beginning to read more rapidly silently than orally
10. Making adjustments in reading speed required when
reading for different purposes
11. Withdrawing and returning library books properly.
Grades 4, 5, and 6
1. Maintaining and refining skills of previous years
2. Increasing ability to get thought from the printed page
To get general significance
To skim for location of specific information
To follow directions
To observe details
To draw inferences and read between the lines
To distinguish between major and minor points
To organize for recall
3. Increasing ability to use clear enunciation and appropriate
phrasing in oral reading and to read smoothly without
habitual repetition, addition, or omission of words
4. Increasing ability to attack new words, using knowledge
Structural analysis, including prefixes and suffixes
Dictionary and glossary
5. Learning to adjust speed of reading to the purpose
6. Developing facility in locating information through refer-
ence books, maps, and charts by using table of contents,
index, legends, and other aids
7. Developing ability to evaluate, to appraise, and to judge
the validity of material read
8. Developing a positive attitude which promises a con-
tinued interest in reading for pleasure and information.
Listening and Speaking
Listening. Listening is receiving oral language. This is one of
the most important skills taught in the elementary school; no
matter what occupation or station in life the person has enjoyed,
he has constant need for effective listening habits. The process re-
volves around perceiving words, comprehending ideas, and using
ideas to build understanding. Primary teachers plan to give boys
and girls opportunities to develop these skills by first helping
them associate the spoken word with its symbol and meaning. As
children mature, they learn that the sound of words is related to
the sound of individual letters and syllables in a word.
Beginning help in comprehending spoken ideas may involve
selecting specific details and following directions. Later it will
include detecting clues that show the speaker's main points and
organizing them into main and subordinate ideas.
Many teachers find that oral reports and discussions as in social
studies, science, and health provide situations in which listening
is a vital part of successful participation. This type of listening
situations provides opportunities for children to evaluate infor-
mation that comes to them. They will weigh it in the light of
things they already know and their past experiences. For exam-
ple, when a child hears the statement that crops are planted in
the spring, he may be encouraged to contrast the statement with
the fact that fall is the season in which his father plants many
crops. A discussion of the statement may lead to a broader un-
derstanding of seasonal planting.
Another way to develop understandings through listening in-
volves practice in drawing inferences. For example, children
should learn to listen to facts, judge them in the light of past ex-
periences and other knowledge, and thus come to sound conclu-
sions inferred from what they hear. For instance, after hearing a
report on how hookworms enter the body, children may conclude
that they should wear shoes when out-of-doors. This instruction
in listening comes all during the day and in connection with all
areas of work.
Listening can often be classified into four areas, according to
purpose, situation, and material involved:
Passive-intermittent or partial listening, with the listener
not personally involved nor responsible for a reaction
Appreciative-listener entering imaginatively into the ex-
perience, and enjoying the story, drama, or music
Attentive-accuracy of comprehension and remembering as
the goals, seeking of information
Analytical or critical-weighing what is heard, comparison
with past experience, making judgments.
Teachers can help children gain in listening skill in the above
1. Clarifying the purpose for listening in a given situation.
2. Keeping the discussion groups small enough to permit
genuine appraisal of what is being said and to allow op-
portunity to react to it.
3. Assuring reasonable physical conditions for hearing with-
4. Remembering that a friendly emotional climate is neces-
sary for freedom from the distraction of anxiety and
5. Encouraging children to listen for details and for new
sensory awareness and discrimination, as in rhythm and
in sounds of nature.
Speaking. The overarching purpose in giving attention to
speaking is to help children grow in their power or richness of
communication, not just to free them from gross errors in oral
language. Children usually need help in:
Expressing their thoughts and feelings clearly
Increasing poise and assurance when speaking to others
Obtaining experiences that will promote constructive emo-
tional responses in oral language situations
Improving voice quality and control
Achieving acceptable speech patterns, appropriate to both
formal and informal circumstances
Learning modes of courtesy and even phrases permitting
friendly disagreement with peers.
Levels of Usage. In helping children acquire appropriate
speech patterns, it is important to remember that at least four
levels of usage are discernible in the American culture and that
educated adults usually draw upon the last three according to
1. Illiterate (Containing such gross errors as the double neg-
2. Homely or colloquial (Often used in casual conversation)
4. Literary (formal or artistic).
The elementary school is concerned primarily with freeing
children from the social penalties that accompany the illiterate
level. It takes much oral instruction and practice to enable some
children to move from the illiterate to the colloquial and stand-
The Study of Language
The study of the structure of language is so interwoven with
reading, spelling, writing, and the content fields that it is often
quite impossible to draw lines of distinction. Thus, when a
teacher is developing with his class the ideas of prefixes, he is
working with language and reading simultaneously; or when a
class or group is outlining a report on the cave dwellers, he is
dealing with social studies, a reading skill, and language. Indeed,
language operates through all the activities of the pupil's in-
school and out-of-school living. Language may be defined as the
expression of ideas by means of words; and language, as a school
subject, is for the purpose of helping pupils express ideas clearly,
easily, and effectively.
It will help children learn to use the tools of expression, if they
have opportunities to:
Develop ideas as a result of experiences
Think about what is to be said or written
Learn to apply the skills needed
Know the listener's or reader's reaction to his communica-
It is a normal part of school life to make use of talking and
writing about activities of the entire day. As ideas are expressed
and reacted to, pupils become aware of the responses of the lis-
teners or readers as indication of their success in communication.
Learning to speak in complete sentences, spell words correctly,
write legibly, stick to the point, use words correctly, punctuate
sentences, and capitalize words should be introduced as children
need these skills. Practice in each of these skills should be pro-
vided for individuals or small groups that need help. Teachers
should help children learn to find and correct errors in their
work. Textbooks, writing scales, and teacher-made charts are
valuable when used to meet specific needs of children.
The ultimate goal of instruction in writing is to help children
become creative and careful writers. Two broad kinds of writing
are often recognized:
Practical, which provides some assistance with the work a
child is doing; for example, taking notes, making a report,
or filling out a form.
Personal and creative, which satisfies a need of the indi-
vidual to communicate or to express himself; for example,
a personal letter or a story.
Much encouragement from the teacher is needed before chil-
dren are convinced that they have ideas worth saying and worth
the effort required to put them into written form.
Typically teachers help children through four stages:
Dictating to the teacher
Copying the story dictated by the class or by himself
Writing with all the help needed
Writing with increasing independence and self-reliance, with
responsibility for proof-reading own work.
Children who make progress in creative writing usually need:
Varied experiences and a chance to discuss them
An enthusiastic teacher
A relaxed, but orderly, classroom setting
Time for exploratory thinking and provisional trying
An inviting table or secluded corner with writing materials
Interested, responsive classmates.
Handwriting and Spelling
Handwriting and spelling, two of the language arts, are a
means to an end and not an end in themselves. From the very
first, children should be aware that writing is for the purpose of
expressing an idea. It is only when pupils are conscious that
handwriting, spelling, and written language are for serving their
needs that they develop genuine interest in improving their skills
in these areas and maintain attention and effort while practicing.
A good teacher understands why children who cannot spell cor-
rectly or write legibly are reluctant to put their thoughts on pa-
per. The more vital and interesting the total school program is,