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Content Knowledge in Elementary Curriculum

Samantha Miller

Regent University

Content Knowledge in Elementary Curriculum


Being able to integrate content knowledge into curriculum is crucial for teacher also for

students. Time in the classroom is getting shorter and the material teachers must cover is

becoming more in depth. Creating lessons that accommodate multiple subjects at the same time

is the best way for teachers and students to utilize educational time in the classroom.


The first artifact I used to example the use of content knowledge in elementary

curriculum is a lesson plan I did in a fourth-grade class. This was a reading lesson that was on a

day where we had our small group rotations. The writing small group activity was to write a

Thanksgiving proclamation. This proclamation was to include what the students are the most

thankful for. The journal prompt for that week was to make a list of 20 things you are thankful

for. I stated that this proclamation is a document that was not to be in list form, but in formal

writing since this is a formal document. This lesson also integrated social studies in the way that

the word proclamation was defined, and referenced back to proclamations such as the

Declaration of Independence. In the writing center basket for the rotation I included the

directions as well as background information of proclamations.

A Brief History of Thanksgiving Proclamations

The first national Thanksgiving proclamations were issued by the Continental Congress

between 1777 and 1784, and were official statements of gratitude toward God for blessings

received. In the midst of the Revolutionary War, Congress released a proclamation calling for a

special day reserved for giving thanks.


Fast forward a few years to the first presidential Thanksgiving proclamation, made by George

Washington in 1789. With the War over but still fresh in his mind, Washington asked that all

Americans take Thanksgiving to give God thanks for protecting the nation during the war.

During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln focused his 1863 proclamation on giving God

thanks for victorious battles and the overall preservation of order and harmony. Lincoln's

proclamation set the official day of Thanksgiving as the last Thursday in November, which we

still observe today. All other presidents who have issued Thanksgiving proclamations have

followed the same basic theme, a statement of thanks for blessings and benefits the country has

enjoyed(Education.com). The students favorite part of this lesson was being able to crumble

up their proclamation to make it look like old documents from history. Once students completed

this activity, their work was put on display in the hall outside of the class.

The second artifact are a set of pictures and a video. These pictures include students

work, the progress of the activity, and the end results of Thanksgiving Proclamation. I had

already pre-cut construction paper and marked the top of the paper Thanksgiving Proclamation

and created the signature line at the bottom of their documents. Of course, students asked to draw

pictures, I went into a discussion about this and asked the students, when you look at a picture of

documents and proclamations do you see pictures? They answered no, but they had to create a

seal to make the document formal. I pulled 4 students at a time to come back the teacher table

and create the wax seal. I melted the wax from a crayon onto their paper. Once it started to

harden up, the student took a paper clip to begin carving the seal design or their initials.


According to The Glossary of Education Reform the definition of content knowledge is,

The body of knowledge and information that teachers teach and that students are expected to

learn in each subject or content area, such as English language arts, mathematics, science, or

social studies. (The Glossary of Education Reform,2016). Content knowledge commonly refers

to the facts, concepts, theories, and principles that are taught and learned in specific academic

courses. As educators, it is important to also teach manners and life skills that will be used in the

real world. In a math lesson for example, when discussing decimals show how the students will

use decimals such as money, adding up prices to stay in a budget, or calculating the percentage

off when there is a sale. This shows the students that is math will be used when they are adults

and a skill that will be used for the rest of their life.

With any curriculum teachers must know how to properly manage their time. I feel like

there were so many times I just stopped and prayed to God and asking for a peace of mind and

guidance to get lesson materials and content together. Proverbs 16:9 says, A person plans his

way, but the LORD directs his steps (NIV). We as teachers must plan around our busy

schedules and find the time where we have the quietness and the focused mindset to grade papers

or worksheets. We must plan according to the schools activities and there are times where each

lesson might not get finished. There are also times where God takes over and redirects our path

and changes the lesson to what the students need to hear, and that is okay.

I have learned in my student teaching experience that when students know they are

learning and tie into real world scenarios, they are more engaged and will retain the information

more efficiently. The one of many responsibilities of a teacher is not only going through the

lessons content but applying these outside skills and relating the objectives to real life. When

students are learning skills that can be used in the classroom and outside the classroom setting

they will value these concepts more and appreciate the lesson more. Integrated curriculum with

differentiation, and multiple subjects is only the first part on content knowledge in the

curriculum, teacher must be creative to keep the students interest. In general, all the definitions

of integrated curriculum or interdisciplinary curriculum include: a combination of subjects, an

emphasis on projects, sources that go beyond textbooks, relationships among concepts, thematic

units as organizing principles, and flexible schedules (Lake, Kathy, 1994). When properly used,

an effective teacher saves time and energy and keeps students interest. Students will be well

rounded and knowledgeable in a variety of skills that will be used in higher grade levels as well

as in life outside of school.



Hidden curriculum (2014, August 26). In S. Abbott (Ed.), The glossary of education

reform. Retrieved from http://edglossary.org/hidden-curriculum

Lake, K. (may 1994). School Improvement Research Series Research You Can Use.

Integrated Curriculum, #16. Retrieved from