TE 401

Michigan State University, Fall 2010

Course description: Examining teaching as enabling diverse learners at the elementary level (K-8) to inquire into and construct subject-specific meanings. Adapting subject matter to learner diversity. Exploring multiple ways diverse learners make sense of the curriculum.

I worked with an enthusiastic group of 26 senior-level students, who were working in classroom placements while taking this course. The students concentrated on developing their knowledge of social studies content, lesson planning, and instructional methods. The four pillars of social studies education from the Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations guided their study and work.

In our classroom, we used primary sources, student materials, children’s literature, online resources, and a variety of readings from social studies scholars. The students discussed their work in the placement classrooms each week on a wiki. The aim in this course was to give students opportunities, not only to learn but also to share their learning and work with peers.

Digital Storyboard Assignment

Early in the semester, the students visited the Michigan Historical Center. After a great session with museum educators at the MHC about object-based learning, the students worked in groups to develop digital storyboards about a social studies topic. They will be able to use these storyboards with their current or future students.

Screenshot of a digital storyboard about transportation, showing an old photograph of a freight depot scene.

Here is a screenshot of a storyboard created by the group working on transportation content. Other groups focused on childhood, clothing, food, and tools.

Field-based Lesson Assignment

In cooperation with their school cooperating classroom teachers, the students developed their own lesson plans and presented them to the elementary social studies students.

Seeing Student Thinking Assignment

The students interviewed and observed one elementary school student from their placement classroom andreport on the student’s concepts in one social studies area.

Microteaching Assignment

In groups of five or six, the students designed, enacted, and reflected upon a lesson they have designed to teach to the rest of the TE 401 class. Each group was designated one of the following instructional strategies: simulation, literature circles, inquiry, discussion, and cases. Microteaching provides a safe and valuable set of experiences for learning to teach children and developing best practices.


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