This document represents the result of an intensive project undertaken by three New Haven elementary classroom teachers to identify those Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute Curriculum Units that, in our opinion, are suitable, either in whole or in part, for use in an elementary classroom. The motivation to create such a document grew from the need to provide elementary teachers with a more direct method of finding those units that might be appropriate for use with younger students. Though the general grade-level focus of each unit is indicated in the Guide to Institute Curriculum Units Fellows write each year, the search through each Guide is sometimes an arduous task, requiring the teacher to look for both subject-matter area and grade-level indication. We felt an easier method of finding appropriate material could be developed. We also wished to examine and identify adaptable material from units written before 1989, the year when elementary teachers first became members of the Institute.
We examined all units written from 1978 to 1999. We then determined whether all or a representative part of each unit, either in its original or an adapted form, could be used in an elementary classroom. The general grade level for which the material seemed appropriate was then indicated. This was particularly important with units not initially written with elementary students in mind. In all, over 1100 units were examined. Six-hundred curriculum units were indicated as being suitable for use in an elementary classroom. The teachers evaluating the curriculum material and making the resulting determinations were individuals with considerable experience working at all elementary grade levels. In this document, elementary grade levels refer to grades K-5.
After much consideration, we decided that units we felt were appropriate would be classified under the general headings used for grading on elementary report cards in most New Haven schools. These main subject matter areas were then subdivided into smaller categories representing topics covered under the main heading. As a result, topics such as African American history and Connecticut were listed under the primary subject matter heading of social studies. Units then were listed in order according to their number, e.g. 98.03.02: year in which unit was written (1998), volume in which unit appears (III), and order of unit within seminar (2). Since there is so much integration of subject matter at the elementary level, many unit summaries contain reference to other dominant themes covered within a particular unit.
After the existing units were divided among us, the next step required each teacher to write a concise summary of each unit that had been accepted as appropriate for elementary students. Along with the general range of grade levels which each unit covers, this summary includes any pertinent points which would make that unit attractive to an elementary teacher. With many units, there are also suggestions regarding ways in which the unit's content could be integrated with other subject matter to enhance the interdisciplinary approach that is followed in most elementary classrooms. Each teacher's portion of the document has been examined by the other two who made appropriate suggestions for change.
We realize that there is probably material existing in other units that we did not select which may apply to a particular elementary setting. As a result, we urge teachers to consult the Institute web site at http://teachersinstitute.yale.edu/ where additional material may be found by using the index of units, unit guide entries, seminar titles, keywords, and curriculum topics. Teachers will also be able to find additional information there concerning the Institute and its resources. We also strongly believe that the material we have listed for elementary teachers is often appropriate for or adaptable to a middle school setting. We urge those teachers to investigate our suggestions. Many units, in fact, were originally designed for middle school classrooms. We also note that, in most middle school buildings, fifth grade classrooms exist as part of the school.
We hope that our classification of units, along with our brief annotations, will assist elementary and some middle school teachers in searching through Institute curriculum units for material appropriate to their particular grade level.