Curriculum Sermon Illustrations

Curriculum Sermon Illustrations

The Council for Basic Education, in Washington, has received the following definition of a "core curriculum" from a school superintendent, who says the author is unknown.

"A core curriculum is one in which the children bring apples to school and eat and plant the cores in the school grounds. They watch them sprout and grow into leaves and blossoms and then fruit. This is Science. They paste pieces of bark and twigs and leaves on paper and they paint pictures of the apples in a dish This is Art.

"The children sit around under the trees singing 'In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree.' This is Music. The story of Johnny Apple-seed is told them. This is Library Study. They climb up in the tree and pick the apples. This is Physical Education.

"They count the apples, 'taking away' the wormy ones. This is Arithmetic. In their own words, they tell what a tree is and what they felt when they saw the cores turn into trees. They also write letters to the National Apple Growers Association. This is Language Arts. The gifted children do enrichment research by reading Kilmer's 'Trees' or by finding out about Isaac Newton, the Apple of Discord, the Garden of Eden, William Tell and other apple-y events.

"They learn such words as arbor, l'arbre, apfel, baum, manzana. This is Foreign Languages.

"The boys build boxes to store the apples. This is Industrial Arts. And the girls bake them and sauce them and pie them. This is Homemaking. Then everyone eats them and learns about their nutritional value. This is Health Education.

"These activities have been performed without a textbook or a workbook.

"When all the apples are gone, they take the cores once again and plant them in the school grounds and watch them grow and flower and fruit. Pretty soon, you cannot see the school for the trees. This is called The End of Education."—New York Herald Tribune


One morning of a spring-like day I spied a school-house by the way—the sort of school you seldom find—the little red, old fashioned kind. Upon the porch I chose to light, perchance to hear a class recite. But not a voice I heard intone; the only sound, a green-head's drone. I tiptoed close and gazed, intent. I saw each pupil closely bent above some lengths of tangled string, each striving to undo the thing. The master saw me watching there, and called me forward to a chair "I wonder at this task," I said.

The master smiled and wagged his head. "I teach them how to read and spell, and names and dates and towns to tell. But once a week, from fall till spring, they practice at untangling string. No better labor can you find to breed a strong and patient mind. I make them struggle with these strings, for life is mainly tangled things."—George L. Kress, Sunshine Magazine

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