Principles of Emergent Curriculum
Ideas Related to Emergent Curriculum
Activities to Demonstrate Understanding of Emergent Curriculum
The Emergent Curriculum Process for Park Street Elem. Project
Lesson Plans from the Park Street Elem. Project
Pictures from Park Street Elem. Project
Planning Process for Park Street Elem. Project
Flatland BMX Biking as Emergent Curriculum
Physics of Bicycling (Science Connection)
Drawing to Learn
Flatland in Language Lesson Idea by Joel Schallhorn
Pictures of Joel Riding His Unicycle

Principles of Emergent Curriculum:
Our lab school, the C. Ray Williams Early Childhood Education Center is based on the Reggio Emilia philosophy. Here is an explanation of that.
This website has a really good explanation of emergent curriculum.

Another really good explanation.
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Ideas related to Emergent Curriculum
Funds of Knowledge
Bricolage and a Bricoleur

Kids come to school with interests and knowledge. These can be the foundation for school-based learning.
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Activities for Emergent Curriculum:

Interview a person (adult or child, although interviewing a child would be better practice). Find out the types of things the person likes, such as hobbies and interests. Here are some possible questions:
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Who are your heros?
What books do you like?
What is your favorite movie/television show?
Based on the interview results, list possible curricular connections to what the person likes. For example, if the person is really into sports, then sports statistics is related to math.

Choose a topic you really like. Create a web around that topic that includes math, science, social studies, and literacy connections.
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Park Street Emergent Curriculum Lesson
This section of the Emergent Curriculum page features the process that Education 214 students went through on the way to creating a lesson for students at Park Street Elementary School in Grove City.
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Park Street Lesson Plans
Here are the lesson plans that emerged:

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Park Street Pictures
Here are the pictures from this experience:








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Park Street Planning Process
3/4/09 Here are the notes from our discussion:
· 6th grade interests ideas
o Biome puzzle pieces
o Revolutionary War idea
§ two teams
§ facts
o Make the classroom into a biome
§ arctic classroom
§ rainforest classroom
· Use sports
o Soccer habitat
§ necessities for a soccer game
§ expand to animal that lives in arctic: what do they need?
o Divide into groups and each group creates the assigned habitat
§ Students can travel to each habitat
§ Creating a “zoo”
o Show pictures of different spots places
§ Describe different sports environments
§ “You can’t play soccer on a basketball court”
o Make shoe box dioramas
o Have different habitats to choose from
§ Tropical forest
§ Desert
§ Arctic
§ Deciduous forest
§ Antarctic
§ Wetlands
§ Prairie


Part Two:
Please look at the possibilities here and also familiarize yourself with the standards in science and social studies for grades 5-7. We will be working with 6th graders, but it is good to know the standards around the year you are planning to teach. We will be having a class discussion around your ideas.

We have been asked to teach a lesson to a group of sixth grade students.

Here are the students' interests:

Completed a quick open-ended interest survey w/ students today: What are your 3 favorite intereste or hobbies outsied of school?1. 2. 3.
Top responses:13 basketball10 football8 soccer6 ea. - bike riding, playing w/ friends5 ea. - baseball, gymnastice, cheerleading4 ea. - swimming, sports, volleyball3 ea.
- video games, jumping rope2 ea. - board games, reading, writing, running, drawing, working out, church, Girl Scouts, dogs, talking1 ea. - playing games, collecting: baseball cards, rocks, stuffed animals, helping people, TV, talking on the phone, computer, texting, singing, listening to music, toys, pool, ride scooter, teaching neighbors, hang out w/ friends, karate, art, origami, doing work, 4-wheeling, cooking, 4 square

Here are standards they want to meet:
Social Studies ----------------------------Science American Revolution --------------------habitats -Consitiution -------------------------------biomes slavery ---------------------------------------landformsCivil War ------------------------------------ light and sound Westward Expansion -------------------earth space (not outerspace)
We have a choice of social studies OR science--the hyphens in this table mean that the wiki wouldn't keep my tabs between the columns. If you can think of a clever way of doing more than one of these topics in about an hour with kids, great.
Our challenge: come up with a way to incorporate students' interests in a social studies or science lesson. We also want the lesson to be engaging and interesting to students.

Possible Applicable Standards

What has been uploaded are five grades' worth of standards. The idea here is to have plenty of resources to look at when dealing with standards. We want to primarily deal with sixth grade standards, but it would be workh looking at grades 7 and 8 to see where standards are going in the future--if our lesson can set the groundwork for that, it would be wonderful.

Casey's idea:

After reading this my intial thought was to incorporate sports with habitats. You could use each sport that the kids listed, basketball, soccer, and football and discuss the "habitats" of each of these. So for example, you could say soccer ( I am using this as an example because I used to play) and ask the children what is need for a soccer player to "live", what do they use? So naturally the answers would be grass field, goals, ball, etc. You could this for every sport and even talk about how each team has a different habitat/home as in different arenas. I am not sure how "suprising" this is but it was the first thing that came to mind and I wanted to send it before I forgot. I will definitely think about it some more and think of some more ideas. found a habitat art lesson that maybe could be adapted (Carolyn)

Allison's Idea:

I had recently heard about a lesson plan about the planets. I know it isn't listed above, but I thought it was so creative I wanted to share it on the wiki. The lesson plan is for grades 2 or 3 and they learn about each of the planets. Including the descriptions of each planet and such. After learning about the planets, they are given an index card and told to choose their favorite planet. They then can write a post card to whomever they please, as if they had visited that planet and tell them all about it. They can make up their own creativity and use their imagination. They can also draw a picture of the planet on the postcard. For Social Studies, the children could role play the civil war to see both points of view in the war, like blacks and whites, or northerners and southerners.

Ryan's Idea:

The idea that I came up with is to pick four National soccer teams through out the world and divide the class in to four teams and each team gets to be one of the National teams. The class will first talk about what they know about each country that each team is from and then when the class is done talking we as teachers tell what else we know about those countries. After our class discussion on the countries the class gets to play a game of soccer with four teams.

Carolyn's comments:We are doing great on creativity. We gotta keep focused on the topics the teachers need to have covered (above in bold)--we can't just do any topic.

Sarah's Idea:

My idea is to incorporate sports into a lesson about habitats. You can divide the class into groups of four students (depending on how big the class is). Each group can pick either a country or state and research its’ habitat. Then, they can research what sport is the most popular in that state or country. After that, they can then figure out how the habitat effects how the sport is played. When they are done gathering all of their information, each group can write their own story that includes the information they found out on their country’s/state’s habitat as well as their country’s/state’s sport. They can use construction paper and markers or any other materials available. After the book is written, each group can read it to the class and if they want to, they can act out a scene from their story.

Anne's Idea:
It seems the students are really interested in anything active and competitive. We need to come up with something that gets them moving. I was thinking biomes could be really interesting to do an activity on (rainforest, desert. . .). There are lots of good games to test their knowledge, but that's not really teaching the subject to them. A good game is to read T/F statements and have the students move to one side of the room or the other if they think it is true of false. Those who are wrong sit down. (ex. Alligators live in the rainforest T/F?). Maybe we could write out statements about biomes on a huge piece of cardboard. Then cut it into puzzle pieces. The kids then have to assemble the puzzle and then read the statements. Maybe there could be more than one puzzle and teams could compete against each other to finish first. Maybe then do a trivia game to see what they remember? . . .

Ashley's Idea:
I also agree as I was reading through the list of the students interests and also the standards that the teachers want met I feel as though teaching a sports related lesson through habitats would be very fun and rewarding for the children. Taking the different sports and treating them as different habitats in the world would help the students be able to look at them as not just a part of science that they "have" to learn but as something that they are interested in. Getting the kids active to be is also very important. Maybe if weather permitting we could go outside and let the kids play around with some of the different sports, but at the same time tell them to be thinking of things that sports need, have etc.. like habitats what do they need to work, survive, prosper etc... Then after the students have gotten to play for awhile, they could break up into different groups, each group a different sport and work on some sort of chart, etc... to show how this sport is like a habitat.

Molly's idea
Here is my first idea w/ regards to a lesson for the kids.
The standard I focused on is the Revolutionary War. The idea I came up with is to introduce the Revolutionary War to the students by showing a short video. I would then go more in depth with a discussion about the War and explain what each side was fighting for. I would then split the class into two groups, the British and the American Patriots. Each group would then briefly research their “side”. They could look at their culture, attire, recreation, conditions of the war, food, etc. Based on their research, I would then have them create and reenact a scene from the War. This way they can interactively apply their knowledge about the War. This doesn’t involve specific sports listed, however, it will get the kids active. Ideally this lesson would span over a couple days, however, it should be able to fit in an hour, if resources are made available to the kids.

Aaron's idea:
It's obvious that most of the young kids love sports and things of that sort. I was thinking that we could incorporate a game into a very nice learning activity. I was thinking that we could take a game that all kids seem to love, football, and turn it into an educational civil war game. The Teacher could have the kids line up, as if they were in the Civil War, and take turns throwing the ball to the individual Students. Before the ball is throw the Teacher can ask a question regarding the Civil War. If the student catches the ball and correctly answers the question, then the Student is still alive and it goes to the next student. But, if the student incorrectly answers the question and/or drops the pass, then the student is dead and must lie down as if they had been killed at war.

Flatland Biking and Emergent Curriculum
What has emerged in Spring 2009 is that we have a very talented BMX bike rider (who can also handle a unicycle while playing the guitar!). Because of Joel's ability, we are exploring how bicycling can be part of a classroom. We feel this is important for many reasons. One is that a unit on bicycling would be enormously attractive to many students who are less engaged with school. We believe that the entire curriculum can be taught through a focus on bicycles. We believe that a unit on bicycling encourages students to be active in their bodies, which not only counters the unfortunate obesity epidemic but also will address the needs of students who must move in order to learn. We believe these students are often given a label (ADHD) instead of opportunities to learn in the ways that are most natural for them (and actually healthy for all students--so "accommodation" turns into an advantage for everyone in the classroom).
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Here are some physics-related resources. Below that is the meat of this page--Joel's writings about how Flatland riding is similar to a language and how that can be turned into a way of using the bike to teach about language. Below Joel's writing is a series of pictures of Joel.

Collaboration between a physicist and a bmx biker:

Good explanation of the physical effect of various bicycle parts--gear ratios, crank length, etc. author of this series of pages has some wonderful explanations about how center of gravity and other physics concepts apply to BMX biking.[[
Wonderful diagrams and equations relating to riding a curved wall.
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Drawing to Learn: a child draws in order to learn how a bicycle operates

Flatland in language lesson plan idea
By: Joel Schallhorn
This lesson plan stems from a description of the sport of flatland which I've given to people over the years, it parallels flatland to a language. To understand the lesson plan and how the two are incorporated you must understand this.
Flatland BMX is like a language. Each individual trick is like a word, words are strung together to create sentences just like how tricks are strung together to create links. words within a sentence can be taken out and replaced with new word, or words can be added and omitted to create a new sentence. this creates a virtually endless combinations of words into sentences. flatland is the same way, links can be manipulated and transformed into nearly endless combinations. But both are bound by rules, some words are required to have a proper sentence, prepositions for example. within flatland, preposition tricks are required, one can't go from one trick to another without going through certain transition tricks. Although with both the only true limit is one's imagination.
keeping that in mind I would like to incorporate biking into the curriculum through a lesson that would teach the children language, grammar, and sentence structure in unique, fun, engaging, and imaginative way. it is also a way they can see the power of language.
my original idea was to label each trick with a word, give the children the list of these words in which they could arrange into any possible sentence. Once they are done I would reenact the sentence with the link that the sentence represents. If they make an improper sentence the link cannot be done, that's how they would know the sentence wasn't correctly structured.
I love the idea, it's a great idea in theory, but when it comes to creating and implementing it, a daunting amount of work and problems begin to show. problems in which only I, a participant in the sport, can see. I have a broad array of tricks and links I can do, but labeling each trick a word the kids WILL find sentences with associated links that I could not do. That, to me, is a huge problem. It would happen often and would eventually take the novelty away from the whole idea if I can't do it. There has to be a way around this conundrum.
the solution to this is to not label the tricks with words but with types of words, such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, and prepositions. If labeled correctly, this would narrow the amount links into my favor, there would be less links that I couldn't do. Also multiple tricks could have the same labels so that gives me freedom to choose from a few possible links. So if I happen to run into a sentence I can't interpret with a certain link, there could be another one for me to choose from. this could benefit the kids because they could choose their own words, it would be like a mad-libs type games. so this form of the lesson gives them more freedom to use their imaginations.
this version makes it easier to create but there still is alot of work to label each trick. I have to have a deeper understanding of my own riding. right now I'm in the process of mapping out my riding, determining what are my most common tricks, combinations and/or variations of tricks, how often certain tricks link, and much more factors. it's still alot of work, but now it's more manageable.
I think this is a good idea for many reasons. It's progressive, the better I get at biking the more interesting and entertaining it will be for the children thus capturing their attention more. Also the better I get the possibility of running into a link I can't do is reduced, thus making the plan more reliable as time goes on. Lastly from my progression I'll be able to let the children do longer sentences because I'll be able to perform the associated link. That would directly benefit their learning experience with more complex sentences. It's unique, it's an experience the children would possibly remember for the rest of their lives, so therefore the lessons learned they may also remember for the rest of their lives. It is a new way and unconventional way of teaching which could ingrain the lessons in the child's memory forever. It's fun, engaging, imaginative, and educational. It's fun because they get to see a bike trick demonstration, it would engage them because they would quickly get interested in the bike tricks, want to see more, so therefore create more sentences to see more. It utilizes imagination because of the mad-libs quality the lesson possesses, they have to think of their own words to make the sentence. All these factors assimilate into the root purpose for the lesson, for the children to learn. they will learn about language, grammar and sentence structure, things which they will need for the rest of their lives.
there is still much work to be done but I believe in this plan and I believe the end product will be worth the work.

questions, comments, orif you'd like to help me work on this you can get a hold of me at
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Here is Joel riding his unicycle:
Integrating the arts with unicycle riding: Joel rides his unicycle while playing guitar!



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