COLUMBUS, Miss.—Eight elementary education seniors from Mississippi University for Women presented their inquiry learning project at Fairview Elementary School’s professional development session Wednesday, March 22.

“This project has provided senior teacher education candidates with opportunities to collaboratively plan for integration of trade books into instruction, while sharing ideas with and obtaining feedback from current educators,” said April Coleman, assistant professor of education.

Seniors Heath Barker, Jessica Duncan, Anna Griffin, Sara Beth Holt, Abigail Jenkins, Kaley Johnson, Nicole Sayre and Nicole Sparks presented “Using Trade Books to Teach Content Area Skills and Concepts in Grades 3rd through 5th.”

For the spring 2017 semester, the senior block preservice teachers decided to create a series of traveling trunks to provide local elementary teachers an opportunity to teach content area skills using trade books. At the beginning of their project, the preservice teachers surveyed Fairview Elementary classroom teachers to gain knowledge of their interests and needs for using trade books to teach integrated content skills/concepts through a literacy center approach. After gathering the feedback, the preservice teachers created lesson plans and activities that integrated trade books and manipulatives.

This professional development session will introduce the benefits of using trade books in the content areas, focusing on increasing students’ interest and promoting literacy across the disciplines. In addition, the eight senior block preservice teachers will share their lesson plans and activities, and the local classroom teachers will have opportunities to use these traveling trunks in their classrooms.

“The books are related to state content standards, and they are the heart of the traveling trunks. Each trunk contains copies of multiple books, with related instructional resources like lesson plans and student activities our students have developed,” explained Coleman.

The Senior Block Inquiry Learning Project is an assignment that allows preservice teachers, during the first semester of their senior year, to focus on improving teaching and learning through a collaborative approach with local schools, parents/guardians and agencies in the larger community.


March 23, 2017