Learning across the curriculum is an interactive way to allow students to construct meaning through a variety of problem solving experiences. The use of literature and other resources such as hands on projects and experiments provide students the opportunity to both construct meaning and knowledge by building connections between subjects. Literature provides educational value for content area learning. The literature selection that will be used in my unit is The Chocolate Ice Cream Sundae Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner. This story is part of Warner's Box Car Children series. The characters of the series are four orphaned children, Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny Alden who live in an abandoned boxcar. In the Chocolate Ice Cream Sundae Mystery, the children are working in the oldest ice cream parlor in the town of Greenfield. There's a new owner and things are going well until chocolate ice cream, sundae glasses and whipping cream begin to disappear. It's up to the Alden children to find out who is trying to ruin the ice cream parlor.
This series is written in a puzzle-solving format. The series is provides students with clues and situations that students must determine their relationship to the mystery. Such skills as cause and effect, making inferences and sequencing are necessary to solve the mystery, however, these same skills are vital for success in every academic area. This series, especially this book, will provide students opportunity to explore the detective mystery genre and apply their skills across the curriculum. This series is very appropriate for academically diverse classrooms.
I am a special education teacher presently teaching in a sixth grade inclusionary setting at Fair Haven Middle School. The inclusion model at Fair Haven is made up of two regular elementary education teachers and one special education teacher. The special education population I serve has learning disabled, mentally retarded and social, emotional and disturbed students within the classroom setting. The ability range of the regular education students I teach range from below average to gifted. I team-teach with two regular education teachers. Our team consists of 30 students, 11 receive special education services. I am responsible for modifying regular curriculum as well as addressing goals and objectives set forth in each special education student's individual educational plan. I hold a Masters of Science in elementary education.
This unit divided into five sections. In the first section a synopsis of the story is provided. Also, biographical information about the Gertrude Chandler Warner is presented. Warner's popular series is a reflection of her childhood and love of teaching. This information will provide both teachers and students insight as to how her wonderful stories came about. The second section tells the story of chocolate. Chocolate is pleasure food that is nearly desired by all. Chocolate is not just a desired food but a craved one. It is important to explore the historical, social and scientific aspects of chocolate in order to realize the significance this incredible food in our culture. The third section looks at the story of ice cream. Though ice cream's history is not as rich as that of chocolate, however, this food shares the same irresistible qualities, especially for Americans. Incorporated into the unit is trivia on both chocolate and ice cream that will provide teachers and students a tasty look of these two delicious treats. The fourth section provides the objectives for the unit in each content area. Lastly, lesson plans for language arts, math, science, social studies are presented. Activity sheets are included in this section.
This unit incorporates several approaches that will take this delicious theme across the curriculum. Students will be reading the book The Chocolate Sundae Mystery while the unit is being taught. It is important that students read the mystery at the same time as the unit is being taught. The skills needed to solve the mystery, cause and effect, making inferences and sequencing will by applied throughout the unit. First, a whole language approach will be used to involve students in all forms of communication. Communication skills such as reading, writing, observing, listening, speaking and illustration will be a part of each lesson. Communication skills will be integrated into each lesson. This approach allows language skills to grow when stimulated by interest in the topic.
Second, thematic planning is a useful tool for implementing an integrated whole language approach. Thematic planning allows students to practice and apply skills in meaningful context. Students tend to learn and retain more. Thematic units build on students' prior knowledge and interests by focusing on topics that are relevant to their lives. Students build knowledge relationships and authentic learning takes place. Thematic study supports students in a variety of interactive and collaborative ways. It is essential in a thematic study to incorporate corresponding literature. Literature provides a cohesive, in depth study of a theme.
Third, students need to develop social skills as well as academic and content skills. This is an area of development that is vital to student success. Students must be able to work cooperatively in groups in order to function in society. This unit will incorporate one lesson in a content area that will use cooperative learning.
Finally, journal writing is an excellent opportunity for students to respond to the unit. Journal activities need to incorporate all subject areas. Journal writing should not be restricted to the language arts. Responses should reflect each content area involved in the unit. Each lesson in my unit will have a corresponding journal entry. The cumulative journal provides an excellent means of documenting the writing process.
The lessons for this unit either use chocolate or ice cream as a basis. There will be six lessons in the unit. The first lesson, language arts, will be a cooperative story creation involving missing chocolate. This is an oral language activity that allows students to create stories based on a set of story components. This activity will be done in cooperative groups. This activity is a wonderful way to bring out the detective skills in students. The second lesson that is introduced will be math. This activity will provide students with the following skills: predicting, recording data, graphing. The third lesson, science explores the concepts of volume and weight in relation to ice cream. The fourth lesson, also a science lesson, introduces students basic fingerprinting techniques. This lesson is designed to incorporate the detective fiction aspect into the unit. The final lesson, social studies, students will construct a class time line of the history of ice cream.