Sonoma State University
Education 420
Child Development in the Family, School, and Community

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Library Research
Moodle Forums & Queries
In-Depth Study Proposal
Book Group
Community Resource Report

In-Depth Study Requirements and Grade
In-Depth Study Presentation
Presentation Rubric

Ideas for In-Depth Studies

Comprehension Quizzes From Theory to Practice Project Requirements and Grade

Weekly Homework
On some weeks there will be a short written assignment due.  In this assignment you will be either responding to the reading or applying some of the concepts learned. Assignments are designed so that you can make personal connections to the subject matter and facilitate your understanding of the course material. 

I will either review or collect your homework on those weeks.   For the weeks that you will be posting on Moodle, you do not need to submit a hard copy, though you may wish to print up your responses for the class discussions and comprehension checks. No late homework is accepted.

The homework assignments and important resources are listed below.

Library Research: (10 pts.)
As an SSU student, you have access to several excellent databases.  For this homework assignment, please use the library research page for education:

Use either the ERIC, Ebsco, or the Academic Search links.  Look for an article that pertains to child development, family relationships, or educational practices in schools.  Be specific in your search; don’t type in “child development” but instead a topic of interest to you (e.g. growth hormones, sibling rivalry, diagnosing ADHD.)  Make sure that the article is from a peer-reviewed, professional journal.  If you are not sure, a full list of references at the end of the article is an indication of the academic rigor of the authors. Bring this article to class with a 1-paragraph synopsis.

To access these databases from your home computer, you must set up a library pin code.  If you would like more support in conducting research, the library offers several workshops each week. 

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Moodle Forums & Queries:
Moodle can be accessed at the SSU login page . Look at the instructions for the week on Moodle. The assignment must be posted online prior to our class meeting.  You will be posting both your own reflection and also responding to at least one classmate’s reflection.

Moodle Forum Introductions - Profile and Forum (5 points)
You will navigate to the course Moodle page to complete your profile and upload a photograph. You will also participate in a discussion forum writing an introductory paragraph about yourself and respond to 2 of your classmates' posts.

Moodle Forum - Multiple Intelligence Survey Reflection (5pts)
After completing the MI Survey, write a 1-paragraph reflection on what you discovered about your dominant and least dominant intelligences as identified in the survey. Comment on how closely this survey relates to what you know about your own patterns of thinking. Respond to a classmate's post.

Moodle Forum Debate on juvenile justice (5 points)
After reading about adolescent development in the textbook and the supplemental articles, consider this question:  Should teenagers be considered as adults in the legal system, regarding age limits for drinking, driving, smoking, enlisting in the military, and for court sentences for incarceration and for the death sentence?  Write either a pro or con response, then post your response in either the subject for pro or con.  Respond to a classmate’s posting on the other discussion side.

Moodle Reading Queries (5 points apiece)
After completing the assigned reading, post 1 question that you still have about the reading that you'd like to discuss in class. Your post will include your question and the context that your query arises from. For instance, after reading about parental discipline strategies you might ask: what is the long-term effects of parents spanking their kids? I have this question because in the text on page 77, the authors say that it is best to use an authoritative parenting style, but I wonder what happens if parents do use spanking as their way to discipline.

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In-Depth Study Proposal – Include all of this information in your posting on Moodle (5 points):

  • Name:
  • Topic of study:
  • Why are you researching this topic; why is it relevant to you and to society:
  • Your inquiry question (for research paper):
  • If doing a creative project, describe its structure:
  • What assistance can you use:

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Book Group Discussion - As you are reading the book, use post-it notes to identify relevant passages that relate to the discussion questions for your book. Come to class prepared to comment on each question, but only submit a written response to question #1 and another question decided upon with your group members.
( 15 pts.)

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Community Resource Report:  Research a local community agency that offers services in the area that you are studying for The State of America's Children. Visit or phone the agency that you are describing and complete this template. Post your report on Moodle under the relevant subject heading.  (10 points)

Resource Report Template

  • Name of AgencyAddress
  • Phone Number
  • Internet address if applicable
  • Purpose/Mission of Agency and what is offered to the community (be very specific in your explanation of the services provided)
  • Specific Population Served
  • Your Evaluation of Agency: (outreach, availability of resources, user-friendliness,   effectiveness in the delivery of services, meeting community's needs, etc.)

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Comprehension Quizzes (20 pts apiece + 20 pts for Team participation) There will be 5 multiple-choice quizzes throughout the course that will demonstrate your understanding of the weekly assigned readings and class discussions. Quizzes will be open notes; you may use both class notes and reading notes. Each quiz will include all of the material assigned and discussed since the last quiz. That means there will be some content that has been both read and discussed and other material that was just recently read. The questions based on subject matter that has been discussed in seminar will be more complex than those questions on material that has yet to be discussed. Students will first take an individual quiz; then you will work with your Team to decide on your group responses to the same questions. Quizzes will be graded both on individual effort and your Team responses. Additionally, Team members will also be grading one another at midterm and at the end of the course on effort and preparation. The lowest quiz score will not be calculated.

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In-Depth Study (80 pts.)
The goal of this assignment is to use existing scholarly research to answer a question about child development.  Choose a topic which holds a personal interest for you and which relates to the content of this course. Any of the ideas which we have discussed in class or are covered in the textbooks are suitable for study.  Topics must be approved before beginning this assignment. Some possible ideas for papers or projects are included below. To complete this assignment, take the following steps:

  1. Formulate a question relating to your topic. Submit your proposal form on Moodle.  I will reply to your proposal with feedback on Moodle. Gather and read sources that relate to your question (books or peer-reviewed, scholarly journal articles).  Your sources must include four sources, three of which are peer-reviewed, scholarly journal article or books.
  2. Using the information you gathered in your research, provide a clear and complete answer to your question.

The research paper will have five parts. Make sure that each part is clearly labeled:

  1. Introduction -- Include your inquiry question, why this topic is important to study, and the topic’s relevance to you and/or society at large. Also discuss background information and statistics on the topic.  (For instance, if you are studying the effects of video games on children’s development, it would be interesting to include how much money is spent on games each year and how this amount has changed over time.)

  2. Discussion of research -- Use at least 4 different resources in your research. What have other researchers, authors or practitioners said about this topic? Resources can include scholarly articles, mainstream articles, books, newspaper articles, interviews, etc. At least 3 of the 4 sources must be from scholarly writings (not including the textbook). The other sources can be from mainstream articles, general information websites, interviews or the textbookWhile you may use Wikipedia for your own background knowledge, do not use Wikipedia as one of the sources.
    Make sure that you reference your sources with in text citations using the APA style.

  3. Conclusions -- Answer your inquiry question. Give a brief and non-repetitive summary. Also discuss: what are your new understandings and insights into this subject? How can your new understandings be practically applied? What are your suggestions for how this subject can be addressed differently? What questions do you still have?

  4. Reference page using APA format. Remember to alphabetize by author's last name.

  5. Appendix of the research articles used and the drafts and feedback from your peer reviewer and instructor. Submit hard copies of all your articles included in your research.  If articles are over 6 pages, you may print up the first 2 pages and the last page.  If books are used in your research, copy the pages used and the title page; if over 6 pages, copy the title page with publisher information.

This assignment requires academic thinking and writing. If you need guidance, take advantage of the SSU Writing Center and coming to my office hours. Additionally, you should look at some of the student samples included on this website. To be successful, you will need to be mindful of the due dates for the proposal and drafts.

In-Depth Research Paper Grade

Discussion of Research
Reference page
Paper organization, clarity and voice
15 points
35 points
10 points
5 points
5 points
10 points
80 points

Presentation of In-Depth Study
Each student will present his/her study in a 10 minute sharing-out with the class. Be prepared to explain your study and to answer your classmates'questions. You will also need to prepare an abstract of your study to distribute to your classmates. There is only one class session set aside for presentations. If you are absent, there will be no other opportunity to present your research.

  • What your inquiry question is
  • Why is this a relevant and important topic to study
  • What you learned from your research – if there’s conflicting points of view, describe these
  • Your conclusions

You may create a poster and/or other visuals to supplement your presentation. Your presentation will be worth 9 points and will be calculated by the feedback from your classmates using the rubric below.

Abstract:  (6 pts.)
Your abstract is a 1-page summary of what you wrote in your paper and will contain each of your paper sections. This is not a traditional abstract format, so use the abstract format that we discuss in class and that is included on this website as an example. Bring copies for each student in the class.  Your abstract will be worth 6 points, evaluated by the instructor.

Make sure that your abstract includes the highlights from each section of your paper:

  • Introduction
  • Research
  • Conclusions
  • Selected references

Presentation Rubric
Your presentation grade will be based on the following rubric:





to the

* Topic’s relevance is clearly described
* Background information is fully explained
* Creativity present

* Topic’s relevance is partially described
* Background information is partially explained

* Vague explanation of the topic’s relevance
* Little backound information given

*  No introduction included


Discussion of the Research


* Findings fully explained
* Thoughtful analysis present
* Clear articulation of ideas
Originality present

* Findings partially explained
*Analysis is present, but lacks depth
* Adequate articulation of ideas.

* Findings poorly explained
* No analysis
* Weak articulation of ideas

* Findings not explained

Responses to Questions
rom Audience
* Responses show strong command of topic
* Responses adds new information and depth
* Responses show adequate command of topic
* Limited new information added
* Responses show little command of topic
* Responses lack clarity
* Difficulty in responding to questions

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Ideas for in-depth studies:

  • treatment of ADHD
  • single sex classes and schools
  • sleep patterns of teenagers
  • bilingual immersion programs
  • art education in school
  • the Reggio Emilia approach
  • developing creativity in children
  • participation in organized competitive sports
  • genetic links to autism
  • effects of preschool on a child's later success
  • effective discipline strategies for parents
  • high school dropouts
  • effects of video gaming on children
  • achievement tests used in California schools
  • effectiveness of charter schools
  • children who are homeless
  • effects of the digital divide
  • effective playground designs
  • cooperative games for p.e. (or any other subject study)
  • reading aloud to children

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From Theory to Practice Project (80 points)
To demonstrate understanding and synthesis of the course content, students will work in groups to create a project which will focus on a specific age group and identify ways that developmental and learning theorists explain and interpret the child’s development. The group will suggest strategies that can support a child at that age level, both in the home and in the classroom context. There will be both an individual grade and a group grade for this assignment.
There are 2 components to this project:

  1. Describe the most important developmental characteristics of this stage, addressing each domain: physical, social/emotional and cognitive. Consider what would be most important for a parent and/or teacher to know about this age.
  2. Describe what each theorist has said about your age group, both with general information about the theory itself and specific information about his/her theory related to the age group focus. Then identify at least one strategy that can be used to support the development and learning of the child, either in the home or at school. Refer to each theorist separately and explain why the strategy(ies) is connected to the theorist.You will not need to cite sources or prepare a bibliography. Discuss 6 theorists:
    • Erik Erikson
    • Jean Piaget
    • Lawrence Kohlberg
    • Lev Vygotsky
    • Howard Gardner
    • your choice of theory or theorist

Your group will decide a creative and effective way to present this information. You will share this project during our last class meeting. Take some chances and explore your artistic side. Some ideas are:

      • creating a webpage - try wikispaces
      • filming a video - imovie is cool or upload a video to YouTube
      • composing a rock opera, rap song, or adding new lyrics to a familiar song
      • preparing an informational powerpoint presentation as if for parents or teachers
      • assembling a scrapbook or baby book
      • writing a script and acting it out (e.g. a play group or peer group interacting with "the teacher" highlighting and analyzing developmental behaviors; a panel of experts meeting to discuss the age being addressed; etc)

Project Grade for the Group - 70 points

Summary of developmental domains: physical, cognitive, social/emotional

Application of 6 theorists with suggestions and explanations for each
Creativity of project with thoughtful explanations, analysis and suggestions
12 points (4 pts /domain)
48 points (8 pts/theorist)
10 points

Project Grade for each Individual - 10 points:
calculated by adding these scores

Your group's evaluation of your contribution to the final project
Instructor evaluation of individual participation and effectiveness

The final grade and feedback form can be downloaded here.

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