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Teaching and Learning in the Developmentally Responsive Middle School for Active WV Educators
 
Course Description
    

Course participants will identify characteristics of challenging, relevant, active and integrated approaches to learning in the middle grades, determine the qualities of developmentally responsive instruction, and evaluate the current status of instruction in their school. Participants will also determine the qualities of developmentally appropriate advisory and exploratory programs and evaluate the current status of middle grades exploratory and advisory in their school. This course will conclude with the review of methods by which many data points may be identified and utilized to guide instruction and improve student learning, determine developmentally responsive and appropriate assessment practices specific to your middle level instruction, and analyze developmentally responsive and appropriate grading practices specific to middle level instruction.

 
Course Syllabus
    

By the end of this course, participants will:

  • identify developmental domains of the young adolescents with whom they teach or work,
  • identify characteristics of middle schools and understand how they differ from junior high schools,
  • identify the stages of team development and what makes interdisciplinary teams effective and developmentally responsive to the needs of middle level students,
  • identify effective flexible scheduling options that are developmentally responsive to the needs of middle level students,
  • identify cultural considerations that are essential to developmentally responsive teaching,
  • review state policies and national recommendations that support challenging, relevant, and multiple approaches to learning in the middle grades,
  • identify characteristics of challenging, relevant, and multiple approaches to learning in the middle grades,
  • determine the qualities of developmentally responsive instruction that is challenging and relevant, and provides multiple approaches to learning in the middle grades,
  • evaluate the current status of challenging, relevant, and multiple approaches to learning in the middle grades in school where you are employed,
  • review state policies and research that support advisory and exploratory middle grade programs,
  • identify characteristics of advisory and exploratory programs in the middle grades,
  • determine the qualities of developmentally appropriate advisory and exploratory programs that also include a response to career exploration as well as health and safety promotion,
  • evaluate the current status of middle grades exploratory and advisory in the school where you are employed,
  • review state policies and national recommendations that support active learning,
  • identify characteristics of active learning instruction in the middle grades,
  • determine the qualities of developmentally appropriate active learning instruction,
  • evaluate the current status of active learning in the school where you are employed,
  • review state policies and national recommendations that support integrated learning,
  • identify characteristics of integrated learning in the middle grades,
  • determine the qualities of developmentally appropriate integrated learning,
  • evaluate the difficulties and challenges involved in integrated learning,
  • review state policies and national recommendations that support assessment for and of learning practices,
  • review methods by which many data points may be identified and utilized to guide instruction and improve student learning,
  • determine developmentally responsive and appropriate assessment practices specific to your middle level instruction, and
  • analyze developmentally responsive and appropriate grading practices specific to your middle level instruction.
Course Organization

This course includes several different activity components, all of which are described below. During each session, you will participate in a unique collection of these activity components, depending on the particular focus of that session.


Read
When you see this icon you will be reading relevant articles, resources, and instructional materials that will help inform your online course development process.

Activities
When you see this icon you will be completing activity-based curriculum and inputting various components of your course content into course project.

Discuss
When you see this icon you will be using the online discussion board to share ideas, resources, and thoughtful conversation with your fellow course participants and facilitator.
Prerequisites

This professional development course is designed for currently employed K-12 teachers, technology specialists, curriculum specialists and administrators. Participants are expected to have regular access to computers. Although not a requirement, high speed Internet access definitely enhances the online experience. Participants should be proficient with using email, browsing the Internet and navigating through computer files. 

Microsoft Word is required in order to read, edit and/or create documents for this course. If you have a WVDE k12.wv.us email account, you have access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, etc. as part of Microsoft Office 365. You should see your school/county technology support person if you need help in using/installing Word and/or other Office applications. 

If you do not have a k12.wv.us email account, Word must be acquired through other means. One way to get access to Word Online at no charge is by Creating a Microsoft Outlook Account with Access to FREE Office Online

Format and Requirements

This workshop is divided into an Orientation Session and six one-week sessions which each include readings, activities, and an online discussion among workshop participants. The time necessary to complete each session is estimated to be 6.5 to 7 hours.

The outline for the workshop is as follows:

Session One The Developmentally Responsive Middle School
Session Two Challenging, Relevant, Multiple Learning Approaches
Session Three Advisory and Exploratory
Session Four Active Learning
Session Five Integrated Learning
Session Six Data and Assessment

Session One: What is the difference between a junior high and a middle school? Middle schools address a variety of developmental concerns that typically are ignored in the junior high context. Middle school years are associated with the greatest gains in students' growth and development. At this crucial time, students need their school environments to be invested in the whole child, not merely the student. As perceived by the founders of the middle school movement, all middle schools should have the flexibility to meet the needs of the whole child. In this session you will hear from the founders and reflect on how their visions could be adapted or improved in your teaching context. 

Session Two: Think about the following quotes:

"Education is not to reform students or amuse them or to make them expert technicians. It is to unsettle their minds, widen their horizons, inflame their intellects, teach them to think straight..."--Robert M. Hutchins; American educational philosopher.

"The answer is not to standardize education, but to personalize and customize it to the needs of each child and community. There is no alternative. There never was."-- Sir Ken Robinson, PhD; internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation, and human resources in education and in business.

Together, these quotes reflect the main ideas you will be delving into during this session: educational programs for young adolescents must utilize approaches that are challenging and relevant, and utilize multiple learning strategies. As you work through the readings and activities in this session, you will begin to examine and evaluate the educational program in three areas in your classroom and/ or your school to determine if "the middle school challenge" is being met. Then, based on the information you obtain from the material in the session and a questionnaire you will develop and administer, you will make recommendations for improvement or modifications to the educational program.

Session Three: In this session you will look at advisory and exploratory courses at the middle school level and evaluate these courses in your school. The readings show the positive characteristics of advisories as well as how exploratory courses should be initiated. You will also be provided information on topics to cover in advisories that address the developmental needs of your students. In the activities you will look at advisory lessons and decide how and if you could use them, as well as provide examples of the exploratory courses that are offered in your school. This will all tie into the session project where you will evaluate advisory lessons as well as exploratory courses in your school to see if they are developmentally appropriate for the ages group(s) you teach.

Session Four: In this session you will view numerous websites that showcase active learning instructional strategies. The readings and activities include an extensive range of activities that share the common element of encompassing students in doing activities and thinking about what they have learned. Activities will include an evaluation of active learning lessons as well as self-evaluation of the implementation of active learning in your school. You will investigate obstacles that are commonly reported with the implementation of active learning instructional strategies, and discover ways these barriers can be overcome. Additionally, you will implement an active learning lesson of your choice, create an assessment rubric of that lesson, and share your evaluations and experiences with your peers on the discussion board.

Session Five: In this session you will be working with integrated learning in the middle school setting. Integrated learning incorporates multiple subjects and connects learning throughout instruction. During this session's readings, you will discover the benefits, characteristics, and best qualities of integrated learning, and you will take a look at the potential for integrated lessons in your own school. The activities for this session include evaluating lessons, looking at problems and solutions for integrated curriculum, and discussing the three types of integrated curricula. These activities will be combined and uploaded for the final session project. You will also post to a discussion board to communicate with other participants about integrated learning and what you have learned.

Session Six: Using data and assessments are critical to guide instruction and improve student learning. In this session you will review methods by which many data points may be identified, determine developmentally responsive and appropriate assessment practices specific to your middle level instruction, and analyze developmentally responsive and appropriate grading practices specific to your middle level instruction. You will complete activities that will prepare you for your final project. These activities will include watching a video about data walls, creating a graphic organizer outlining grading practices, and analyzing two types of grading options. Your final project will be to evaluate questions and complete individual and group responses as they relate to data and assessment practices.

Assessment

Each session includes readings, activities, and a discussion assignment, which participants are required to complete weekly. This is a three-hour graduate level course and will require 30 - 45 hours to successfully complete the tasks. Participants should plan to spend 6.5 - 7 hours weekly to read assignments, complete activities including and participate actively in the weekly discussions.

Orientation Quiz: During the Orientation Session, participants are expected to complete the Orientation Quiz. The quiz may be completed as many times as necessary to score at least a 90% accuracy. 

Readings and Activities: Participants are expected to complete the required course readings and activities as posted in each of the session assignment pages. Optional readings may also be completed, but are not mandatory.

Course Products/Assignments:
Session One: 
Session One Presentation Instructions and Rubric and Session One Peer-Review Rubric
Session Two: Session Two Project Template, Session Two Project Rubric, Session Two Peer-Review Rubric
Session Three: Session Three Project Template, Session Three Project Rubric, Session Three Peer-Review Rubric
Session Four: Session Four Activity Four Rubric, Session Four Project Template, Session Four Project Rubric, Session Four Peer-Review Rubric
Session Five: Session Five Project Template, Session Five Project Rubric, Session Five Peer-Review Rubric
Session Six: Session Six Project Template, Session Six Project Rubric, Session Six Peer-Review Rubric

Copyright: Copyright guidelines are to be observed throughout the course project and all course activities. All work associated with the course project is to be the original work of the course participant. Fair use does not apply to the course project.

Discussion Forum: Participants will be evaluated weekly on the frequency and quality of their participation in the discussion forum. Participants are required to post a minimum of one substantial original posting each session in response to the discussion prompt for that session by Sunday evening. Participants are to respond thoughtfully to a minimum of two colleagues' original postings each session by Monday evening. They are to read all original messages by course participants and enough additional responses to make a total of 50% of the messages posted for that session by Tuesday evening. Postings will be evaluated on their relevance, demonstrated understanding of course concepts, examples cited and overall quality.

Read the Discussion Guidelines and the Checklist for Evaluating Discussion Postings. Your facilitator will follow these guidelines and the checklist when evaluating successful participation in the course Discussions. You will also be asked to peer review other participants' projects in the Discussions during Sessions One through Six. Each session's peer-review rubric and the Rubric Review Help Guide will assist you in completing this successfully.

Grades: All grades in the course gradebook must be a "C" for successful course completion. A grade of "C" indicates that all work has been completed and the work meets the expectations for that assignment.

Pre and Post Workshop Surveys: Participants are expected to complete both surveys. The Orientation Survey is to be completed by Sunday during the Orientation Session and the Final Survey is to be completed by Sunday during Session Six. 

Certificate of Completion

Upon successful completion of this course, Teaching and Learning in the Developmentally Responsive Middle School, participants will receive a Certificate of Completion documenting successful completion of the course requirements. Certificates are distributed to each qualifying participant via attachment to the Session Six Dropbox shortly after the completion of the course.

Graduate Credit Information

Participants in this course are eligible to receive non-degree graduate credits from either West Virginia University, Marshall University, West Virginia State University, or Concord University. Credits will be awarded at the end of the semester in which the course occurs. Additional information is available on the course News/Welcome Page.

Content and Technology Standards

This course, Teaching and Learning in the Developmentally Responsive Middle School, will help participants meet the ISTE Educational Technology Standards and Performance Indicators for All Teachers (http://edtechleaders.org/documents/NETSAdminTeachers.pdf), especially Standards II, III, IV, and V. For more information about Technology Integration visit: http://www.iste.org.

About this Course

This course was developed by the West Virginia Department of Education.

Original design (before format modifications) by EdTech Leaders Online (http://www.edtechleaders.org), a project of Education Development Center, Inc, © 2007.  All rights reserved.