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Course Syllabus
 Title:Middle Grades Curriculum, Instruction, and AssessmentCredits:3Instructor: Kathleen BrinegarMeeting dates and times
June 25 –June 29, 2012
 Location: 
On the Campus of Vermont Technical College
Course Description: 
This course is designed to meet the curriculum cluster of competencies for the Vermont Middle Gradesendorsement. As such, it will explore the complexities of middle level curriculum, from its espoused focus on theneeds of young adolescents -- through the planning of learning opportunities and methods of assessment– to district and State expectations. It will, by necessity, encompass an examination of some theory on the macro issue of curriculum, as well as the crafting of instructional practices and assessment strategies that engage students in theirown learning.
 
Goals: 
The goal for this course is for you to be able to thoroughly answer the following guiding question:
How does one create engaging, rigorous, and safe learning-centered instructional experiences for young adolescents? 
 
Learning Outcomes: 
Through an exploration of this guiding question, you will have the skills and knowledge to meet
the following VTMiddle Grades Knowledge and Performance Standards:Understand curricular design and instructional techniques that engage the unique intellectual and psychosocialnature and needs of early adolescent learners.Design and implement curricula that are personally and socially relevant, that incorporate real world topics, andthat are based on integrative themes that bring to bear the habits of mind and dispositions of various disciplines.
Collaborate with other teachers to integrate themes, skills, and content from multiple disciplinary areas within theclassroom curriculum.• Learn and develop a variety of instructional strategies to ensure that all students learn the central concepts withinthe disciplines, are engaged in active learning, and to promote individual development and social cooperation.Learn and develop assessment strategies and methodologies that require students to take increasingresponsibility for understanding themselves as learners, evaluating their own work, and setting their own learninggoals.
General Course Information
Course Policies: 
"[Click here and type course policies]"
Attendance Expectations: 
Consistent with the middle level philosophy, the learner should be
actively engaged in the learning process
.Therefore, participants are expected to be willing to participate in discussions and exercises during class and tobe 100% present.
 
- 2 -
Contributions in Class: 
The middle school model is based on the premise that educators are most effective in working with youngadolescents when
collaborating with other professionals
. For this reason, students in this course will beencouraged to work together during class and in the creation of some learning products. As such, attendance ateach class session is important. Please be punctual, contribute willingly and complete readings andassignments in a timely way. If you are unable to attend a class session, we will expect to be notified. Sincemuch of the success in this kind of course depends on learner to learner interaction,
your presence andparticipation is essential
.
Academic Honesty & Professionalism: 
Students will be held accountable to the UVM Code of Academic Integrity, which can be found athttp://www.uvm.edu/policies/student/acadintegrity.pdf
Required and/or recommended readings:
 Anfara and Waks. (2002).
Developmental Appropriateness vs. Academic Rigor.
Middle School Curriculum,Instruction, and Assessment, pp. 41-55.Beane (1997).
A Special Kind of Unity.
Curriculum Integration, pp. 1-18.Beane (1997).
In the Place of High Pedagogy.
Curriculum Integration, pp. 48-70.Bishop, Allen-Malley, and Brinegar (2007).
Student Perceptions of Curriculum Integration and Community.
TheYoung Adolescent and the Middle School, pp. 91-120.Black et al. (2004).
Working Inside the Black Box: Assessment for Learning in the Classroom.
Brinegar and Bishop (2011).
Student Learning and Engagement in the Context of Curriculum Integration.
Burke (2010).
Why Do Questions Matter in Curriculum? 
What’s the Big Idea?, pp. 1-21Caskey (2002).
Authentic Curriculum.
Middle School Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, pp. 103-118.Casas (2011).
Motivational Theories & Early Adolescence.
Enhancing Student Learning in Middle School, pp.51-80.Casas (2011).
Designing and Enacting the Curriculum.
Enhancing Student Learning in Middle School, pp. 131-157.Meo (2010).
Curriculum Planning for all Learners.
 Marzano (2000).
The Mandate to Change Classroom Grading.
Transforming Classroom Grading.McTighe (1996-1997).
What Happens Between.
O’Steen et al. (2002).
Curriculum Integration: Theory, Practice, and Research for a Sustainable Future.
MiddleSchool Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, pp. 1-22.Prensky (2010).
Partnering: A Pedagogy for the New Educational Landscape.
Teaching Digital Natives, pp. 9-30.Prensky (2010).
Moving to the Partnering Pedagogy.
Teaching Digital Natives, pp. 31-52.Rose and Gravel (2010).
Technology and Learning: Meeting Special Students’ Needs.
Vatterott (2009).
Effective Homework Practices.
Rethinking Homework, pp. 87-124.
 
- 3 -Vermont Middle Grades Task Force (2009).
Middle School is Not a Building 
Wiggins and McTighe (2005).
Backward Design.
Understanding by Design, pp. 13-33
Student Evaluation/Assessment
Grading: 
The following are graded assignments:MicroTeaching Workshops and ReflectionYou will be planning and teaching 2 mini-lessons to a small group of peers.Integrated Unit PlanAs preparation for your action research project, you will work in a mock interdisciplinary team to develop a unitof study centered on an essential question of interest to middle level students and a culminating activity. Yourunit will include the following:
Essential Question
Culminating Activity
Common Core Standards/GE’s addressed
Clearly Defined Learning Sections
Assessment Plan Grounded in Learning Objectives
Examples of Universal Learning
Integration of Technology
A Service Learning ComponentAction Research ProjectAs part of the work in your strand you will propose and implement an action research project during the fallsemester and present your findings at the Vermont Middle Grades Conference on January 12, 2013. During theweek you will work on developing a proposal for your project that you will implement during the fall semester.The proposal will apply some aspect of teaching and learning that you learned from your strand. The projectmay include but not limited to: an integrated unit that you teach early in the fall semester, an investigation ofstudent learning over time, or an analysis of assessment data you develop and collect over time.Whatever the project topic it must demonstrate your application of middle level principles in promoting studentachievement and apply to the principles learned in your strand. In consultation with your strand instructors youwill develop this proposal before you leave the institute and refine it before you implement it during the fallsemester. The proposal will be 3-5 pages.Final ReflectionIn this final assignment you will compose a written piece that references course materials to summarize yourspecific course learning in light of the stated course objectives and essential question.
Percentage Contribution of Each Assignment: 
Participation: 30%MicroTeaching Workshops & Reflection: 10%Integrated Unit Plan: 10%Action Research Proposal: 30%Final Reflection: 20%
 
Instructional Sequence: 
 
Course ScheduleSession/Date Topics Reading/Tasks Due

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