Education | Methods of Teaching Language Arts
E339 | 5218 | Cynthia Brabson

Class meets 4:00-5:15 pm, on Monday and Wednesdays, in Room 3025.
This course is focused on components of the language arts curriculum
that are being used in elementary schools at the current time.  We
will study a process approach to writing and the belief system that
underlies it.  This approach is often called Writing Workshop and will
be defined for this course as anything associated with the writing
process.  We will apply this underlying belief system to the broader
areas of the language arts curriculum.  Members of the class will
participate in-group projects that integrate language arts into the
curriculum and will be teach language arts to other class members.

As you prepare to become an elementary teacher, you must learn that
your effectiveness as a teacher will be influenced by your regular
attendance at school.  Consequently, it is highly recommended that you
attend this class on a regular basis. as well.

Class Engagements

The Binder
All students should have a 1 1/2" or 2" binder with dividers for the
following sections:
Class notes
Journal entries (4)
Strategy lessons
Pen pal letters
Personal writing samples: rough drafts, personal sketch, cloning an
author, published book and nonfiction piece
Culminating project
The binder should be ready for my inspection on Wednesday, September 6

Journal Entries

In The Art of Teaching Writing, Calkins stresses that authorship
with a sense of awareness.  By using the forms in the back of your
packet, you will heighten your sense of awareness by making journal
entries about things that you observe and/or reflect upon.  As time
passes, you may decide that some of these observations and reflections
have potential as possible writing topics.  You may want to extend
these ideas as a kind of rehearsal before choosing one to write about
as a first draft.   During the course, we will reflect upon the
process of keeping a journal as a support for writing

Writing Strategies

One key aspect of the Writing Workshop is to teach students to
selfless their work so that they can revise as they write.  One way to
give students independence in the revision process is to teach them
writing strategies that support areas they find challenging in the
writing process.  Ralph Flatter stresses such strategies in his book,
What a Writer Needs.  You are to read the book in its entirety prior
to coming to class on ________th.
At the beginning of class, we will discuss Part One: Essentials.
the second part of the class:
 You will decide which craft in Part Two you would like to focus on.
 You will form a group with others who are interested in the same
 You and the members of your group will develop a series of five
lessons that reflect the craft.
 You and your group will teach those lessons to the class.
 You need to hand in two copies of the group lessons.

Inquiry Research Log

Elementary students find research a motivating process when they are
allowed to choose a topic that interests them.  t.  Attendance is
required for this project.  The organizing structure is the Inquiry
Research Log that begins in your packet on page 51.  Using this
log, Mrs. Stockwell will demonstrate how she works with her students
on their research projects.
1. During class time, you will choose a topic that you would like to
research and use the Inquiry Research Log to structure your project.
2. You will use materials that Mrs. Stockwell has in her classroom to
begin your research.  You will be asked to supplement the materials
other books, journals and articles from the web.
3. You will write a four page report with a bibliography.  Your
for this project is a group of elementary students.
4. Mrs. Stockwell will give you suggestions of ways that you might
present your research to the class.  You will select one of those
suggestions and prepare a final presentation.
5. You will write an evaluation of this experience by describing:
 What aspects of the project you felt went well and why.
 What you would revise when using this inquiry log with your class
In summary, the research project includes the following components:
1. Completion of the Inquiry Research Log.
2. A four page research paper with a bibliography.
3. A final presentation.
4. A one to two page evaluation of the project.
Due Monday, April 17th.

Collaborative Group Projects

In addition to the writing process, there are many other interesting
aspects of the language arts curriculum.  You will form a class group
develop a series of lessons to teach to the class on other aspects of
language arts such as drama, poetry, or other ideas you may have. The
last three class periods will be set aside to allow you to teach these
activities to the class.
 You and your group members will develop a handout as to why it is
important to teach the area of language arts you have chosen.
 You and your group members will teach a series of lessons to other
class members on your topic.
 You and your group will hand in both the handout and the lesson
for evaluation.
 You will hand in two copies.

A Culminating Project
Part I: Research

Why are you doing research?  Elementary students of all ages find
research projects a highly motivating and interesting activity.
Therefore, it is important that you participate in the research
as part of the Writing Workshop.  The topic you are to research is
are the major issues educators are discussing in the area of teaching
values to students in elementary schools.  The idea of teaching values
may also be called instruction in mega-skills, life skills, character
development and moral development. First, you need to realize that
is controversy as to whether values should be taught directly to
students, and, if so, what values and how.  While you are researching
this topic, you must keep in mind that our constitution enforces
separation of church and state.  Therefore, in stating the role the
school is to play in values education, you must not focus on a
solution to the problem.
How will you conduct your research?  You should scan the literature to
identify the major issues relating to values education.  It is
that you include different points of view in your research paper.
you have identified what you see as the major issues, you need to
develop the issues in-depth based on the various articles you read.
point of the paper is not to describe a method of how to teach values
but rather to understand the issues involved before starting a values
curriculum.  You should include information from books, journals, and
the WEB.  You should not rely on only one type of resource.
How are you to present your research?
Your research is a major component of your culminating project and
comprise 40% of the grade. Consequently, you need to develop the
you have identified in-depth and integrate them in a coherent fashion.
The research should be a minimum of five pages and may be extended to
length that allows you to express your ideas in-depth.  All articles
should be cited in your paper and only articles you have used should
put in the bibliography.  You need to cite references when
ideas or quoting directly from your sources.  Failing to cite
in a research paper is plagiarism.  Your research should be
in appearance that means composing it on a word processor and using an
essay format.  At the end of the E339 Packet, there is an article on
to cite information from the WEB.  Although it is not possible to say
exactly how many resources you might use, you probably need to cite
to eight to achieve a good sense of the issues.  You will find a
in your syllabus that indicates how the project is to be evaluated.

Part II: Lessons

Why are you preparing lessons?  Although many teachers have a values
curriculum in their classroom, they are finding it challenging to
develop lessons that engage students in participating in developing
those values.  It will be helpful to you to be able to discuss the
issues concerning values education as well as having a project that
includes lessons that are related to values education.  The lesson
will comprise 35% of the grade.

How will you develop these lessons? In this culminating project, you
will use aspects of the language arts to develop lessons for such a
curriculum.  In your lessons, you will want to employ some of the
procedures that we used in the Writing Workshop.  These might include
mini-lessons, cooperative groups, sharing time, and presentations.
might use fiction as a focus for some of your lessons.  Students might
want to write their own books, write a play, poem or song, conduct
interviews or surveys or combine language arts with music, role play,
have a panel discussion, write a play, poem or song.  It is possible
that you will find ideas for teaching values in your research but
remember you must adapt these lessons to have a language arts focus.
There should be a total of 10 lessons, and these lessons need to be
specifically for this class.  They should not be lessons developed for
another project.  You are to use the following lesson plan format:

Sample Lesson Plan
Title: Valuing Personal Experiences

Population: All age groups

Resources: A book that emphasizes personal experiences

Organization:  On the sharing carpet first thing in the morning

Through the teacher's book and object demonstration, the students
to value their experiences and how to rehearse them with peers as
possible writing topics.

1. Read a book that emphasizes personal memories.
2. Have students discuss the book with emphasis on the memories in the
3. Share personal memories that were motivated by memories in the
4. Jot down some notes on a piece of chart paper that are possible
topics for future stories based on memories.
5. Ask the students to get into small groups and to choose one of the
books placed on the table to read to each other.
6. Suggest some questions they might ask each other as they read the
 What parts of the book were about memories?
 Do they prompt any memories for you?
 Would you be willing to share these personal memories with your

 Would you be willing to talk through your ideas as a kind of
for writing a story?
7. Ask the class to gather in a sharing circle and have the groups
something about a memory in the book or a personal memory about which
they might like to write.