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Chapter 6. Curriculum Development: A Guide to Practice Jon W. Wiles and Joseph C . Bondi. Elementary School: Programs & Issues . Which school configuration would you prefer?. Pick one Go to that side of the room Discuss for 5 minutes to brainstorm pro’s and con’s

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Chapter 6

Curriculum Development:

A Guide to Practice

  • Jon W. Wiles and Joseph C. Bondi

Elementary School:

Programs & Issues

Susan Dulong Langley and Diane Modest

American International College

EDC 475 Curriculum Design & Development

February 12, 2013

Which school configuration would you prefer?

  • Pick one

  • Go to that side of the room

  • Discuss for 5 minutes to brainstorm pro’s and con’s

  • Be ready to share with the class

K – 5;

6 – 8

K - 8



  • Soup to Nuts (but not much meat…)

    • Examine the factors affecting elementary school configurations

      • Historical

      • Social and cultural

      • Economic

      • Political

    • Compare/contrast the varying levels of attention & resources in developing content in different disciplines

    • Understand the considerations and accommodations needed to ensure equitable access for populations with diverse needs

Tic-Tac-Toe ~ Five in a Row

  • Everyone receives a game board and tokens

  • Throughout the presentation, keep an eye out for KEY POINTS (WORDS, PHRASES, IDEAS, ETC.)

  • Cover each key point with a token

  • When you have five in a row (column or diagonal)

    • Raise your hand

    • When called on, announce “Tic-Tac-Toe – Five in a Row”

    • BUT, then be prepared to synthesize those five points into a statement about the related topic.

    • Pick your prize!

Game Board Sample


  • The 19th Century had a two-tier model: Gr. 1-8 and 9-12

  • The 20th Century went to three tiers: K-5, 6-8, and 9-12

  • The 21st Century’s emerging model is a return to K-8 and 9-12 with 21 large US districts already adopting it.

Pro’s for K-8

  • Greater parental choice

  • Better testing achievement

  • Perceived cost effectiveness

  • Smaller, more personal learning environments

  • Lowered secondary school dropout rates

  • Ability to retain community support

  • Seamless grade transitions

  • K-8 alignment of standards

  • Research showing that pre-and early adolescents do better academically and socially in K-8

PreK- 5: Issues

  • NCLBemphasis on literacy and testing

  • Standards-based curriculum

  • Impact of immigration

  • Redefined basics of higher standards, benchmarks, and more rigorous curriculum

PreK-5: Includes

  • Content

    • National reading, writing, and math standards

    • State standards and frameworks with assessment items and benchmark tests

    • Alignment of curriculum for systematic and sequential instruction of essential learning skills

  • Assessment

    • Academic skills placement tests

    • Performance-based assessments with rubrics

    • Competency-based instruction

    • Portfolio assessment systems

PreK – 5: Program Elements

  • Inclusion

  • Cultural diversity

  • Mobility of parents

  • Socio-economic needs

  • Being all things to all children

PreK – 5: Considerations

  • Struggle between narrow curriculum to testable areas and broader school programming

  • Now with daycare prevalence, earlier socialization function of early grades needs updating

  • Immigration increasing our non-English –speaking populations

  • Cultural and socio-economic diversity

  • School choice pro’s and con’s

  • Balancing increasing academic expectations against developmental exploration needs

Elementary School Curriculum

  • Overview

    • Evolved over past 200 years from narrow (reading, writing, and arithmetic) to broad (variety of learning experiences)

    • Schools are mechanisms for social change; schools become battlegrounds for diverse groups with conflicting interests

    • Elementary schools responding to needs of expanding and increasingly diverse society

American Beginnings

  • Rights; Highest ideals for our citizens

  • No national system; states rights

  • 1647 – Old Deluder Satan Act by Massachusetts Bay Colony to establish schools so men could read scriptures and escape the clutches of Satan

  • 1693 – Legislation for selectmen to levy school taxes with consent of majority of townspeople

  • Discipline along religious lines (ex. Flogging to drive out the devil)

  • Also political purposes; rallying support for new American political system

New England Primer

The primary text – bible verses and other resources to teach reading and number skills

Westward Expansion and Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi- 1801

  • Child growth & development are organic, not mechanistic

  • Narrow curriculum was inadequate to prepare intelligent citizens

  • Teacher training programs

  • How Gertrude Teaches Her Children

Horace Mann and Public School Revival 1826-1876

  • Prussian influence

  • Grading students on ability

  • Improving methods of instruction and discipline

  • State agency for education

  • Teacher-training institutions

  • Increased funding

  • Enriched curriculum

Expansion & Reform

  • Industrialization of 1876-1930’s

  • Schools became instruments of social change

  • Enrollments doubled

  • New subjects taught

  • School day lengthened

  • World War I resulted in demands for new skills

1918 Curriculum Change

  • Greater literacy training

  • Addition of vocational programs

  • Psychology introduced in teacher training

Woodrow Wilson


  • Standardized tests to determine achievement in school subjects

  • Individual and group intelligence tests

  • Differentiation emerged for “slow, average, and above-average” elementary children

1920’s – 1950’s Progressive Movement

  • John Dewey and educational philosophers

  • Schools as agencies of society designed improve democratic way of life

  • Studying home, neighborhood, and community

  • Study familiar to build curiosity about science, geography, and math

  • Learning by doing; Beyond rote to creative activities

  • Build on interests of students

  • Represent real life

1956 Sputnik

  • Reexamine purpose of elementary school

  • Censured progressive education as failing to provide necessary skills and knowledge for scientific world

  • Congressional acts gave millions to fund science and math programs, materials, and training

1960’s Innovation

  • organizational changes

    • absence of grades

    • open classrooms

    • team teaching

    • however, lack of preparation and confusion of organization means with ends did not produce true change

Pine Run School, PA

1970’s & 1980’s

  • first enrollment declines

  • retrenchment, funding problems, and dissatisfaction with 60’s experimentation

  • new legislated accountability and increased testing

  • by late 1980’s,

    • enrollment became to grow again,

    • curriculum had expanded in variety of learning experiences

    • but narrowed focus to basic skills of written and oral communication and math;

    • unbalanced curriculum

Organizing Curriculum

  • Elementary curriculum is organized around

    • Bases of knowledge

    • Needs of society

    • Human learning and development

1960’s – 1990’s

  • new programs to accommodate

    • young learners

    • special needs

  • free public kindergarten

  • special education programs for physical and mental disabilities

  • gifted learners

  • nursery programs

  • extended-day centers

  • parent centers

Individualizing Instruction

Not simply by rate of progress


  • materials for study

  • method of study

  • pace of study

  • sequence of study


  • learning focus

  • place of learning

  • evaluation of learning

  • purpose of learning

Accommodating Differences

  • grouping

  • materials of varying difficulty

  • special programs for students at the greatest points away from group norms


  • Flexibility is key

  • Common groupings

    • Whole class

    • Reading level groups (by achievement)

    • Reading need group (by skill need)

    • Interest groups

    • Practice or tutorial groups

    • Research groups

    • Individualization by project or series of lessons

  • Mobility; based on need; a variety of groupings throughout the day

Selection of Content

  • Language arts, math, social studies, science, the arts, and health

  • National, state, and local levels help select content

  • Because we do not have a national system, curriculum developers and researchers must fit a variety for the 14,000 school districts in the country


  • Controversial, emotional, and sometimes political

  • Concern of parents before entering school

  • Focus of national rage, research studies, and federal crusade in past 25 years

  • Millions of dollars into development of reading programs

  • Scores available that all work, but still many nonreaders

Reading: A vast array…


  • Basals

  • Language Experience

  • Individualized Approach

  • Linguistic Approach

  • Phonics

  • Alphabetic Approach

  • Programmed Instruction


  • Flesch Reading Ease Score

  • Wheeler and Smith Index Number

  • Cloze Technique

  • Lorge Grade Placement Score

  • Fry Graph

  • SMOG Grading Plan

  • Space Grade level Score

Grouping concerns – usually….

  • High Ability Groups

    • First when alert, eager

    • Longer time frame

    • Warmer, receptive teacher

    • Criticized respectfully

    • Disciplined with warnings

    • Read 3x as much as other groups and make more progress

    • Read silently 70% time

    • Expected to self-correct, with help at end

    • Asked comprehension and higher level thinking questions

  • Low Ability Groups

    • Less time, later in day when tired

    • Negative teacher body language

    • Read more orally, slow halting and labored, so less time and get further behind

    • Read silently 30% time

    • Each error pointed out; less time for self-correction

    • Asked more literal questions


Two Methods

  • Invented spelling

    • write how they think it is spelled and check later

    • allows concentration and flow

  • Traditional spelling

    • memorize 10-20 words a week

    • tested on spelling rather than ability to apply rules to new words

    • focus on dictionary use, handwriting, and rewriting words several times

      However, new models suggest spelling be seen as part of a total language system of writing and reading


  • Focus of elementary schools; respond to demands of colleges, increasing instructional time

  • Focus on skill instruction in grammar and spelling comes at the expense of composition

  • Daily writing, conferences, and focus of skills in context of writing appear more effective

  • Increased emphasis on integrating composition and literature into language arts

    • At center of language arts curriculum

    • Place skills instruction within rather than before genuine reading and writing

    • Integrate various components of language arts through content rather than skills

    • Insist all readers and writers (not just most able) gain equal access to genuine reading and writing


  • Early objectives centered on computational skills; 1920’s and 30’s shifted to more practical application of math; todaybalanced with understanding math concepts and reasoning

  • 1990’s professional standardsby NCTM redefined elementary math

  • Dictated by standards and benchmarks; Effective if adapted to developmental characteristics

  • Delivery of content and skills: Computers, whole curricular approaches, and interdisciplinary units

  • Approaches

    • Cooperative learning

    • Use of themes and real-life programs

    • Use of group grading on cooperative assignments


  • 1960’s reform towards understanding processes; Recently, shifted toward technologicalapplications

  • Inquiry based programs foster seeing orderly arrangement in natural world and explain continual change

  • Develop functional competency with the tools of science

  • “Whole approach” has interdisciplinary scope in a thematic approach

    • Incorporate reading, writing, and math

    • Cooperative learning and a team approach

Social Studies

  • Focuses on interaction of people with one another, and natural and human environments

  • Less reform in this than other areas

  • Children are more open to diversity in early elementary years; citizenship education helps foster positive self-concepts

  • Prime importance in

    • teaching critical thinking

    • developing civic responsibility

    • building self-concept

    • and improving human relationships

Health and Physical Education

  • Core components of a complete education

  • Health ed includes all aspects of healthful and safe living

  • Physical ed includes adaptive and developmental activities that lead to better coordination and psychomotor skills

  • Should interrelate the physical, mental and social aspects of students

  • Aids Education…

The Arts

  • Aesthetic education brings cognitive, affective,, and psychomotor areas of learning

  • A shift from math and reading being cognitive, with arts being affective to an understanding through research that all involve

    • Both intellect and feelings,

    • Include communication through various modes of symbolization

  • Arts contribute a ‘language’ and experience adds cognitive data to the functioning brain

  • Should be considered a basic part of curriculum

Diverse Needs of Children

Diverse Needs: ADD/ADHD

  • Symptoms

    • Difficulty remaining seated; Calling out without request; Interrupting others; Talking excessively

  • Challenges

    • Easily distracted; Disorganized; Lacking motor skills; Limited attention span

  • Most in regular classrooms

  • 3-5% of school age children; 6-9% more in boys

  • Teachers can support through

    • organization skills

    • effective instructions

    • consistent discipline

    • nonverbal cues

    • developing child’s self-esteem

    • communicating with parents

  • Self control strategies are important, but must determine any other behavioral or cognitive deficits to be remediated before self-control strategies are implemented

Diverse Needs: Impoverished Families

  • President Johnson “War on Poverty” in mid-1960’s.

  • The younger the family; the poorer the children

  • 50% of all US children have head-of-household under 25

  • Headed by a woman, chances are better than 50% for poverty

  • 50% children born in 2000 lived with a single parent

  • Majority of poor people life in semi-isolation in towns rather than cities

  • 2/3 of Americans who are poor are white

  • 2006 – 200,000 children were homeless each night

  • Foster children and displaced children often come from poor families

  • Drug and alcohol abuse by parents contribute to children in juvenile detention center.

  • ¼ Mothers no prenatal care

  • Teachers seeing more learning disabilities from poor healthcare and drug use by mothers

Diverse Needs: Different Cultures

  • Many languages, religions

  • Large increases in Spanish as first language

  • Asian population continues to grow

  • ESL programs allow students to learn English while retaining cultures

  • Encouraged to express themselves and relate their experiences

  • Working with parents with take-home materials and techniques

  • Teachers and aides who speak languages is a challenge, especially beyond majority-minority languages

Diverse Needs:Disabilities – Rights & ID

  • 1975-2010 significant progress

  • laws guaranteeing access to curriculum and public dollars

  • Education of Al Handicapped Children Act of 1975 is a “bill of rights” for those with disabilities

    • Procedures

    • Due process

    • Ages 3-21

    • Emphasis on regular classroom settings

    • Eligible for all programs and activities

    • Non-discriminatory testing and evaluation

    • No single test or procedure as sole criterion

    • Requires substantial diagnostic information about present and past academic and social performance

    • Project the specific needs of each child and prescribe special programs

Diverse Needs: Disabilities – Services

  • Individualized Education Program (IEP)

    • Collecting diagnostic data

    • Setting goals and objectives

    • Selecting instructional materials

    • Evaluating student performance

  • Mainstreaming – moving children with disabilities from segregated special education classes into normal classrooms

  • Mandates most appropriate education must be the least restrictive environment; but with cautions as to needs

  • Coordination of classroom teachers with special educators

Diverse Needs:Disabilities – 2 New Areas

  • Early identification in preschool, with services

    • Federal and state mandates

    • Currently age 3; predicted to start at birth

  • Transition from school the world of work

    • Vocational schools

    • Help seeking employment

    • Job coaches for successfully employment

    • Employers encouraged to hire them while in school and then keep them after graduation

Defining Inclusion

  • Mainstreaming?

  • All special needs children in the regular classroom while retraining the special staff?

  • ‘Inclusion’ means some children; ‘full inclusion’ means all children?

  • Teachers of students with disabilities who accompany their students to regular classrooms?

  • COMMON AGREEMENT: keeping special education students in regular education classrooms and taking support services to the child rather than the child going out

    • Question of risk for other students in placing severely dysfunctional children in a regular classroom without adequate training or support for the teachers

    • Without training and support, it could take up instructional time for distractions, disruptions, and possibly violence

    • Clear philosophy needed for success

      • Include goals for all students

      • Curriculum balances needs of general and special education students

Diverse Needs: Gifted Students

  • 2.5 million or 6% - academic, artistic, or social talents far beyond peers

  • All levels of society, races, and genders

  • All states have programs for gifted children*

  • Problems with identifying and providing services

  • Multi criteria, not multi-hurdle; not IQ tests alone

  • Measure creativity, advanced social skills, or other aptitudes

  • Tend to learn faster and retain more than peers

  • Divergent thinkers

  • Not always a good fit in class – can lead to trouble, boredom, or alienation

  • US DoE has definition with six specific ability areas

    • General intellectual ability;Specific academic aptitude;Creative or productive thinking;Leadership ability;Ability in the visual or performing arts;Psychomotor ability

  • A debate over equity versus excellence; ‘fairness’

  • Cooperative learning controversy – holding students back or bringing out the potential of each child?

  • Tracking is under fire (and NOT recommended), whereas identification, providing for demonstrated needs, and flexible grouping are recommended

  • Need special attention whether separate programs, differentiated instruction

  • Organizational procedures include magnet schools, cluster grouping, mainstreaming, and part-day groupings

Diverse Needs: Early Intervention

  • Transition from home to school and K to upper grades

  • Stress shared learning experience

  • Developmentally appropriate physical, cognitive, social, emotional and creative development

  • Student role models

  • National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) founded in 1977 promotes developmentally appropriate curriculum and instructional methods

  • Constructivist view of learning from Dewey, Piaget, etc. has been affirmed by cognitive psychology; students are more active agents in their own education


  • K as ‘real’ school; whole day; academic - - - with many children failing kindergarten

  • Academics are inappropriate for those children, but there is increasing pressure to step up formal instruction

Styles and Approaches

Learning Styles

  • Research studying whether individual differences can result in different concept formation, problem-solving techniques, and shared meanings

    • Understanding the big picture before focusing on specifics OR

    • Benefiting from personal relationship importance in the classroom OR

    • Doing best when verbalizing what they learn OR

    • Preferring structured and systematic approach

  • Caution over teacher affect coloring their instruction; provide for a variety of styles

Cooperative Learning

  • 1980s and 90’s

  • Children trained to use one another as resources for learning

  • Specific role in group such as facilitator, checker or reporter

  • Teachers delegate authority

  • Engage in discovery learning

  • Requires assignments and materials that are different from traditional instruction

  • Teacher training is required to support organization and monitoring of small groups

Grade Level Retention

  • Two 1993 papers summarized studies on grade-level retention

    • Showed that grade level retention is not effective for students not achieving their potential

    • When held back, they fall behind entering students

    • More likely to drop out of school

    • Self-esteem is lowered

  • Alternatives include continuous progress model, involving parents, earlier intervention

Which type of team approachwould you prefer as a TEACHER?

  • Pick one

  • Go to that side of the room

Grade Level Teams

Cross Grade Teams


Which type of team approachwould you prefer as a PARENT?

  • Pick one

  • Go to that side of the room

Grade Level Teams

Cross Grade Teams


Which type of team approachwould you prefer as an ADMINISTRATOR?

  • Pick one

  • Go to that side of the room

Grade Level Teams

Cross Grade Teams


Organization & Grouping


  • Self contained classrooms

  • Grade level teams

  • Cross grade teams

  • Ungraded structure

  • Or any combination

  • Organization of students

    • Vertical – movement from grade to grade

    • Horizontal – grouping of students within a grade and assignment of teachers

      • Team teaching – with a team of teachers jointly responsible for a group of students

        • Interdisciplinary teams – teach all disciplines or lead teachers in each who take the responsibility for that subject

        • Within a grade level or across grade levels

    • Organize basedon student need, teacher abilities of teachers, and available facilities/resources

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