FHSU's CLASSIC project designed to integrate science, literature in elementary school teaching

Teachers of grades three through six in western Kansas have the opportunity to participate in an innovative project sponsored by Fort Hays State University on integrating literature into a science curriculum.

The Creating Literature and Science Subject-Integrated Centers project (CLASSIC) is funded by a grant from the Eisenhower Consortium. Dr. Germaine Taggart, assistant professor of teacher education, wrote the grant and will coordinate the project.

The goal of the project is to foster permanent use of literature to introduce and teach science concepts.

"Science teachers in grades three through six use a tremendous amount of literature, but they cut it off before the discussion goes anywhere," Taggart said. "With this project, we want to use literature but develop the concepts further."

Teachers participating in the CLASSIC project will attend a five-day summer workshop from July 15-19 at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History. Subsequently they will stage field trials, which they will report on at a follow-up session on Oct. 17.

The project is designed for teams of two teachers from the same district who will commit to the goals of the project and mentor each other during the project. Up to 15 teams can participate, but applications from individuals will also be accepted.

During the workshop, teachers will develop two in-depth literature-based units of study for topics in biology and earth science. These units will support hands-on learning and meet state and national standards for science, mathematics and reading. Teachers will also network with colleagues across western Kansas through distance technologies and contribute field-tested units to a journal distributed to all participants.

In addition to coordinating the workshop, FHSU faculty and staff will create a Web site as a forum for interactive discussion among participants and staff; they will also make a national presentation and submit articles to professional publications outlining the project.

Applications for the CLASSIC project will be accepted through May 20. For more information, or to request application forms, please contact Taggart at (785) 628-5847 or gtaggart@fhsu.edu.

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