A Resource Guide for Elementary School Teaching: Planning for Competence

A Resource Guide for Elementary School Teaching: Planning for Competence

by Richard D. Kellough, Patricia L. Roberts

Paperback(2nd ed)


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780023625756
Publisher: Prentice Hall Professional Technical Reference
Publication date: 01/01/1990
Edition description: 2nd ed
Pages: 480

Table of Contents

(NOTE: Each chapter begins with Chapter Objectives and concludes with Summary, Extending My Competency: Questions for Class Discussion, and For Further Reading.)


1. What Do I Need to Know about Today's Elementary Schools?
The Elementary School: Getting to Know It. The Fundamental Characteristic of Exemplary Elementary School Education. Vehicles for Sharing Information and Responsibility: Telecommunications Networks, Members of the Community, and Parent/Guardian Organizations. The Emergent Overall Picture.

2. What Do I Need to Know about Elementary School Children: The Nature of the Challenge?
Dimensions of the Challenge. Supporting the Challenge: Styles of Learning and Implications for Teaching. Meeting the Challenge: Recognizing and Providing for Student Differences.

3. What Are the Expectations, Responsibilities, and Facilitating Behaviors of a Classroom Teacher?
The Teacher as a Reflective Decision Maker. Teaching Style. The Teacher's Professionalism and Commitment. Identifying and Building Your Instructional Competencies. Teacher Behaviors That Facilitate Student Learning.

4. What Do I Need to Know to Establish and Maintain an Effective, Safe, and Supportive Classroom Learning Environment?
The Importance of Perceptions. Classroom Control: Its Meaning—Past and Present. Providing a Supportive LearningEnvironment. Preparation Provides Confidence and Success. Classroom Procedures and Guidelines for Acceptable Behavior. Using Positive Rewards. Managing Class Meetings. Student Misbehavior. Teacher-Caused Student Misbehavior.


5. Why Should I Plan and How Is Curriculum Content Selected?
Providing Successful Transitions. Planning for Instruction. Thinking about the Sequencing of Content. Preparing for and Dealing with Controversy. Aims, Goals, and Objectives: The Anticipated Learning Outcome. Preparing Instructional Objectives. Using the Taxonomies. Integrated Curriculum. Planning for Instruction: A Three-Level and Seven-Step Process.

6. How Do I Prepare an Instructional Plan and Daily Lessons?
The Instructional Unit. Theoretical Considerations for the Selection of Instructional Strategies. Selecting Learning Activities That Are Developmentally Appropriate. Planning and Developing an Interdisciplinary Thematic Unit. Preparing Lesson Plans: Rationale and Assumptions. Constructing a Lesson Plan: Format, Components, and Samples.


7. What Do I Need to Know to Effectively Use Questioning as an Instructional Tool?
Purposes for Using Questioning. Types of Cognitive Questions: A Glossary. Socratic Questioning. Levels of Cognitive Questions and Student Thinking. Guidelines for Using Questioning. Questions from Students: The Question-Driven Classroom.

8. What Guidelines Are Available for Using Grouping and Assignments to Promote Positive Interaction and Quality Learning?
Mastery Learning and Personalized Instruction. Learning Alone. Learning in Pairs. Learning in Small Groups. Cooperative Learning. Learning in Large Groups. Equality in the Classroom. Learning from Assignments and Homework. Project-Centered Learning: Guiding Learning from Independent and Group Investigations, Papers, and Oral Reports. Writing across the Curriculum.

9. What Guidelines Are Available for My Use of Teacher Talk, Demonstrations, Thinking, Inquiry, and Games?
Teacher Talk: Formal and Informal. Demonstration. Teaching Thinking for Intelligent Behavior. Inquiry Teaching and Discovery Learning. Integrating Strategies for Integrated Learning. Learning by Educational Games.

10. What Guidelines Are Available for My Use of Aids and Media Resources?
Printed Materials, Visual Displays, and the Internet. The Community as a Resource. Media Tools. The Placement and Use of Computers: The Online Classroom.


11. How Do I Assess and Report Student Achievement?
Purposes and Principles of Assessment. Terms Used in Assessment. Assessing Student Learning: Three Avenues. Student Involvement in Assessment. Portfolio Assessment: Dealing with Its Limitations. Maintaining Records of Student Achievement. Grading and Marking Student Achievement. Testing for Achievement. Preparing Assessment Items. Types of Assessment Items: Descriptions, Examples, and Guidelines for Preparing and Using. Reporting Student Achievement. Teacher-Parent/Guardian Communications.

12. How Can I Assess My Teaching Effectiveness and Continue My Professional Development?
Professional Development through Student Teaching. Finding a Teaching Position. Professional Development through Preparing an Emergency Teaching Kit. Professional Development through Reflection and Self-Assessment. Professional Development through Mentoring. Professional Development through Inservice and Graduate Study. Professional Development through Participation in Professional Organizations. Professional Development through Communications with Other Teachers. Professional Development through Summer Workshops and Work Experience. Professional Development through Micro Peer Teaching.

Index of Children's Books, Authors, and Illustrators.
Name Index.
Subject Index.


Welcome to the fifth edition of A Resource Guide for Elementary School Teaching: Planning for Competence. The purpose of this resource guide is to provide a practical and concise guide for college or university students who are preparing to become competent elementary schoolteachers. Others who may find it useful are experienced teachers who desire to continue developing their teaching skills and curriculum specialists and school administrators who desire a current, practical, and concise text of methods, guidelines, and resources for teaching in elementary school.


Because of all the activity in education today, the research and preparation for this fifth edition was unusually demanding. Major changes for this fifth edition are described below:

  • Chapter 1 is, we believe, a better organized and more focused overview of elementary school teaching today.
  • A new chapter has been added, Chapter 2, devoted to elementary school children, their development and their diversity, and specific ways of working with them in the classroom, topics that were part of Chapter 1 of the previous edition.
  • Although we strive to keep this book a comprehensive guide of methods and resources for teaching elementary school, we are also sensitive to the book's size and cost to its users. This edition has fewer chapters and, in general, is more condensed than the previous edition. This was accomplished by (a) eliminating material that was dated or worn or that could be moved to the Companion Website, (b) condensing or relocating material that was covered in more than one chapter (for example, cooperative learning was previouslyaddressed in both Chapters 6 and 9; it now is addressed principally in Chapter 8), (c) reorganizing the content of Part II into two rather than three chapters, (d) eliminating what was formerly Chapter 7 and moving its major content to Chapter 6, and (e) eliminating Chapter 12 of the previous edition, which described the various subjects of the elementary school curriculum, material better left to the special methods courses of your program of teacher preparation. There are now 12 chapters rather than the 14 chapters of the previous edition.
  • Despite the blue ribbon commissions, authors, and politicians who vilify what they perceive as the failures of public school education, thousands of committed teachers, administrators, parents, and community representatives struggle daily, year after year, to provide children with a quality education. So that readers can learn about or visit exemplary schools and programs, many are recognized and identified by name throughout this text.
  • Found throughout the text, sometimes at the front of a chapter, are instructional scenarios and classroom vignettes that serve as additional springboards for thinking and class discussion.
  • To reflect the concerted efforts throughout the nation to help students at all grade levels to connect academic learning, personal growth, and a sense of civic responsibility, this edition of the resource guide identifies many sample projects and resources for service learning, especially in Chapters 1 and 8.

Other changes made for this edition are mentioned in the paragraphs that follow.


In the preparation of this book, we saw our task not as making the teaching job easier for you—effective teaching is never easy—but as improving your teaching effectiveness and providing relevant guidelines and current resources. You may choose from these resources and build upon what works best for you. Nobody can tell you what will work with your students; you will know them best. We do share what we believe to be the best of practice, the most useful of recent research findings, and the richest of experiences. The highlighted statements present our beliefs and explain how they are embraced in this resource guide.

The best learning occurs when the learner actively participates in the process, which includes having ownership in both the process and the product of the learning. Consequently, this resource guide is designed to engage you in "hands-on" and "minds-on" learning about effective teaching. For example, rather than simply finding a chapter devoted to an exposition of the important topic of cooperative learning, in each chapter you will become involved in cooperative and collaborative learning. In essence, via the exercises found in every chapter, you will practice cooperative learning, talk about it, practice it some more, and finally, through the process of doing it, learn a great deal about it. This resource guide involves you in it.

The best strategies for learning about teaching are those that model the strategies used in exemplary teaching of children. As you will learn, integrated learning is the cornerstone of effective teaching for the 21st century, and that is a premise upon which this resource guide continues to be designed.

To be most effective, any teacher, regardless of grade level and subject, must use an eclectic style in teaching. Rather than focusing your attention on particular models of teaching, we emphasize the importance of an eclectic model—that is, one in which you select and integrate the best from various instructional approaches. For example, there are times when you will want to use a direct, expository approach, perhaps by lecturing; there are many more times when you will want to use an indirect, social-interactive, or student-centered approach, perhaps through project-based learning. This resource guide provides guidelines that will help you both decide which approach to use at a particular time and develop your skill in using specific approaches.

Learning should be active, pleasant, fun, meaningful, and productive. Our desire is, as it always has been, to present this book in an enthusiastic, positive, and cognitive-humanistic way, in part by providing rich experiences in cooperative and collaborative learning. How this is done is perhaps best exemplified by the active learning exercises found throughout the book. Some exercises have been rewritten, ones that were worn and dated have been deleted, others have been moved to the Companion Website, and some new ones have been added to ensure that you become an active participant in learning the methods and procedures that are most appropriate in facilitating the learning of the active, responsive children present in today's elementary schools.

Teaching skills can be learned. In medicine, certain knowledge and skills must be learned and developed before the student physician is licensed to practice with patients. In law, certain knowledge and skills must be learned and developed before the law student is licensed to practice in a courtroom. So it is in teacher preparation: Knowledge and skills must be learned and developed before the teacher candidate is licensed to practice the art and science of teaching children. We would never consider allowing just any person to treat our child's illness or to defend us in a legal case; the professional education of teachers is no less important! Receiving professional education in how to teach children is absolutely necessary, and certain aspects of that education must precede any interaction with children if teachers are to become truly accomplished professionals.


Competent elementary school teaching is a kaleidoscopic, multifaceted, eclectic process. When preparing and writing a resource guide for use in teacher preparation, by necessity one must separate that kaleidoscopic process into separate topics, which is not always possible to do in a way that makes the most sense to everyone using the book. We believe that there are developmental components involved in becoming a competent teacher. This book is organized around four developmental components: why, what, how, and how well. Each of the four parts of this resource guide clearly reflects one of these four components. Each part is introduced with the objectives of that part and reflective thoughts relevant to topics addressed in its chapters. The visual map on p. iv illustrates how these four developmental elements are divided.

Part I: Orientation to Elementary School Teaching and Learning

To better reflect the why component—the reality and challenge of elementary school teaching today—Part I underwent substantial reorganization and updates for this edition. It now includes four rather than three chapters. Chapter 1 presents an important overview of that reality and the challenge of teaching grades elementary school today. Chapter 2 presents a detailed explanation and explicit guidelines for meeting that challenge. In preparing Chapter 2 we considered the developments in cognitive learning theory that enhance and celebrate the differences in students and their styles of learning. Regardless of gender, social or physical abilities, and ethnic or cultural characteristics, all students must have equal opportunity to participate and learn in the classroom. This belief is reflected throughout this resource guide. Chapter 3 reflects the expectations, responsibilities, and classroom behaviors that are characteristic of competent elementary school teachers. Whereas Chapter 2 is about children, Chapter 3 is about teachers and Chapter 4, is about the learning environment, specifically the classroom. Because a teacher must have the students' attention to effectively implement any instructional plan, guidelines for establishing and maintaining a supportive environment for learning are presented in Chapter 4.

Part II: Planning for Instruction

Effective teaching is performance-based and criterion-referenced. This resource guide continues to be constructed in this manner. Because we also believe that teaching, indeed living, must allow for serendipity, encourage the intuitive, and foster the most creative aspects of one's thinking, we cannot always be specific about what students will learn as a result of our instruction, and hence the occasional ambiguity must be expected. To reflect the planning, or what, component, Part II includes two chapters.

Chapter 5, on the rationale for planning and selecting the content of the curriculum, contains information about standards that have been developed for subject areas of the elementary school curriculum. The section on preparing and using instructional objectives emphasizes the relationship of objectives to planning and assessment.

Chapter 6 presents instructional planning as a three-level and seven-step process, and introduces the topics of unit planning and lesson planning. Also, to bridge the primary topic of this chapter with the strategies introduced in Part II, Chapter 6 provides the theoretical considerations for the selection of instructional strategies.

Part III: Strategies, Aids, Media, and Resources for Effective Instruction

Although it is very difficult to predict what the children of today will really need to know to be productive citizens in the middle of this century, we do believe they will always need to know how to learn, how to read, how to communicate effectively, and how to think productively. We believe that young people need skills in how to gain knowledge and how to process information, and they need learning experiences that foster effective communication and productive, cooperative behaviors. We hope all children will feel good about themselves, about others, and about their teachers, schools, and communities. This resource guide continues to emphasize the importance of helping students to develop these skills, feelings, and attitudes.

The appropriate teaching methods for reaching these goals are those that incorporate thoughtful planning, acceptance of the uniqueness of each individual, honesty, trust, sharing, risking, collaboration, communication, and cooperation. Furthermore, we believe children best learn these skills and values from teachers who model the same. This resource guide continues to be faithful to that hope and to that end.

For this edition, the how component, Part III, has been reduced from six to four chapters. Chapter 7 is about the use of questioning, with enhanced emphasis on the encouragement and use of children's questions. The resource guide contains three micro peer teaching exercises; the first of these is in Chapter 7. Chapter 8 emphasizes various ways of grouping children for instruction, using assignments, ensuring equity in the classroom, using project-centered teaching, and writing across the curriculum. For this edition, several sections in this chapter were enhanced, including but not limited to those of cooperative learning, equality in the classroom, and learning from assignments and homework.

Chapter 9 provides guidelines and resources for the use of teacher talk, demonstrations, teaching of thinking, use of inquiry, and educational games. Also in Chapter 9 is the second micro peer teaching exercise.

Chapter 10 reflects the practical use of instructional aids, media, and resources, including current information about the placement and use of computers in schools, the online classroom, and technological resources.

Part IV: Assessment and Professional Development

Part IV focuses your attention on the fourth component of competent teaching—how well the students and teacher are doing.

Chapter 11 is about assessing what students know or think they know before, during, and after the instruction. In addition to the use of portfolios, scoring rubrics, checklists, performance assessment, and student self-assessment, the chapter provides practical guidelines for parent-teacher collaboration and for marking and grading.

Chapter 12, traditionally considered an important chapter by student users, emphasizes how well the teacher is doing—the assessment of teaching effectiveness and guidelines for ongoing professional development. It also contains the third and most sophisticated of the three micro peer teaching exercises, which, in essence, is a performance assessment-type final examination for the course or program for which this book is being used. Also in Chapter 12 are other items that have been popular with student users, such as emergency teaching kits (a new one for this fifth edition) and guidelines for student teaching, finding a teaching position, and continued professional development.


To achieve professional competency, you need guided learning, guided practice, productive feedback, encouragement, and positive reinforcement. To reach this goal, this resource guide is organized as follows.

  • The four parts serve as advance organizers—that is, they establish a mind-set.
  • Exercises for active learning are found within every chapter. The exercises are designed to (a) require you to assess and reflect continually on your progress in understanding and in skill development for teaching, and (b) involve you in collaborative and cooperative learning. Some exercises necessitate a visit to a school to have a dialogue with children and staff: Review the exercises early so you can plan your visits and work schedule. In fact, because certain exercises build upon previous ones or suggest that you obtain help from teachers in the field, you are advised to review all exercises at the beginning of your study of this resource guide. Because it is unlikely that more than 50 exercises could be (or should be) completed in one course, you, your classmates, and your instructor will have to select the exercises to be done. Pages of the resource guide are perforated for easy removal of the exercises to be available for future reference.
  • Useful Websites for teachers and students are abundant and given in relevant locations throughout the book, such as Figures 1.5, 1.7, 2.2, 5.1 and 8.7.
  • Three micro peer teaching exercises found in Chapters 7, 9, and 12 encourage authentic assessment rather than a paper-and-pencil testing of your teaching skills development.
  • Questions for class discussion at the end of each chapter extend your competencies.
  • Suggested readings at the conclusion of each chapter offer additional sources, both classic and current, that can deepen and broaden your understanding of particular topics.
  • An updated glossary, name index, and subject index are found at the end of the book.


The following ancillaries are available to instructors who adopt this text. To request any of the following ancillaries, contact your Prentice Hall representative or visit our website at http://www.merrilleducation.com. (If you do not know how to contact your local sales representative, please call faculty services at 1-800-526-0485 for assistance.)

  • The Instructor's Manual provides professors with a variety of useful resources, such as chapter overviews, teaching strategies, and ideas for classroom activities, discussions, and assessment.
  • The Companion Website contains additional information for students and instructors to use in an online environment. For more information on what the Companion Website provides, please see the "Discover the Companion Website Accompanying This Book" section following the preface.


We would never have been able to complete this edition had it not been for the valued help of numerous people—former and current students and teachers in our classes who have shared their experiences with us; administrators and colleagues who have debated with us about important issues in education; and authors and publishers who have graciously granted permission to reprint materials. To each we offer our warmest thanks.

Although we take full responsibility for any errors or omissions in this resource guide, we are deeply appreciative to others for their cogent reviews and important contributions in the development of this edition. We express our special appreciation to the following individuals: Linda Current, California State University at Sacramento; Robert W Burke, Ball State University; Margaret M. Ferrara, Central Connecticut State University; Gas R. Johnson, Northern Arizona University; Josefina R. Saavedra, University of South Florida; and Elizabeth A. Simons, George Mason University.

In addition, we want to express our deepest admiration and appreciation to the highly competent professionals at Merrill/Prentice Hall, with whom we proudly have shared a professional relationship for many years. We especially thank Debbie Stollenwerk for her confidence in our ability, her positive attitude, and her healthy sense of humor which she willingly shares with us when we need it the most.

We are indeed indebted and grateful to all the people in our lives, now and in the past, who have interacted with us and reinforced what we have known since the days we began our careers as teachers: Teaching is the most rewarding profession of all.


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