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A study examined the extent to which literacy tasks were emphasized within a fourth-grade social studies classroom. Subjects, 21 fourth-grade students and their teacher at a private K-8 elementary school located in an urban area of the east, were observed over a 7-week period as they conducted a thematic unit on liberty. Data included audiotapings of the lessons, field notes, and interviews. Results indicated that: (1) non-fictional texts on liberty were used instead of a textbook; (2) when students read, it was most often an independent, silent activity; (3) listening played an important function in the classroom; (4) students were provided the opportunity to elaborate on their understandings of liberty rather than just recall information; and (5) student writing in the classroom served as a means for displaying acquired subject matter knowledge. Findings suggest that language was viewed as an integral part of the learning process in this classroom. (One figure of data is included; 29 references are attached.) (RS)

Descriptors: Classroom Environment, Classroom Research, Content Area Reading, Content Area Writing, Grade 4, Intermediate Grades, Listening, Social Studies, Speech Communication, Teacher Behavior, Teacher Student Relationship, Thematic Approach, Writing Assignments

Autor: King, Caryn M.


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