Middle School Curriculum ED 441/641 Section 400 Lecture Six

Introduction I hope everyone is doing well and is able to keep up the good work I’ve seen from most of you in this class. Summer Sessions can be rough on both student and teacher, especially when we have so much to cover. From your writing, I can see that your thinking is evolving regarding the MSC, and that’s great. Most of you have been to relate (either positively or negatively) to the TWB model for best practice in MS education. A few of you (myself included) draw a different picture of your MS experience when compared to best MSC practice, while many of you can relate reflect on your experiences and see the attempts by your school and teachers to incorporate the elements of TWB into your education during those vital years. We just finished an introduction to Differentiating Instruction. This concept is used at every level of K-12 education and came originally from models used to design instruction for Gifted and Talented Students. Like most good pedagological techniques, it has spread to all student groups in the K-12 model. For those of you who are pre-service teachers or who are looking for a position as MS teacher, here is some practical advice. If a principal or other hiring official asks you how you would teach students of mixed ability in the same classroom, they are asking you how you would differentiate instruction. In the Masters program at Clemson and in the Middle Grades program at Mercer, I teach an entire course on differentiating instruction (DI). It is that important. However, many teachers resist using that model, out of ignorance of it or inability to change. It is very much a constructivist model of teaching, and a concept that is actually reflected in many other models as well. As we go over the models commonly used in MSC, I will ask you how those models compare with differentiating instruction. • Instructional Techniques for Early Adolescents The article “Unlocking the Potential of African-American Students” is a research-based application of DI, using the ideas of DI in an attempt to motive students to learn. Please take the time to read this article carefully – I am giving you some extra time for this week’s assignments to pause and reflect, especially since we will soon discuss your big paper for this course, which is a statement of your own ideas of teaching middle school. While some of Jackson’s ideas may seem to be common sense, ask yourself as you read this article “is this something I saw in my own educational experience?” “Is this something I would dare try?” Be honest with yourself. • Core Practices of the Middle School Concept

Juvonen neatly summarizes many of the common and prevalent practices in MSC, She takes a long, critical, and well-balanced look at these practices, all the cornerstone of MSC’s best practices. Pay close attention to the terms she uses in order to acquaint yourself with these models and how they are perceived in practice and in her evaluation of their effectiveness.

Teaming – deferred to next class!

Reading Chapter Three, FWY “Unlocking the Potential of African-American Students” Writing (Both Due 7/15/2010, 10:00PM) Assignment: Discussion In Juvonen’s critical review of the middle school, she asks questions about the vary core of the MSC and common techniques used in the MS. Many of these questions come form Chapter After reading that chapter, answer the following questions. What is the underlying rationale for each of the core practices? How extensively are they implemented in today’s schools? What do we know about their effectiveness?

3. .

Assignment: Reflection While some of Jackson’s (Unlocking the Potential of African-American Students) ideas may seem to be common sense, ask yourself as you read this article “is this something I saw in my own educational experience?” “Is this something I would dare try as a teacher?” Be honest with yourself. Then summerize your thoughts, with examples of why you would or would not use it and how you might go about meeting the needs of students.

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