Sonoma State University
Education 437
Integrated Curriculum: Preschool Through Elementary

Home | Course Information | Schedule | Assignment Criteria | Course Materials | Links | Interactive

Assignment Criteria

Reading Responses


Lesson Plans

Final Unit Plan

WebCT Criteria

Framework Groups

Jigsaw Unit

Final Unit Criteria

Reading Responses

We will be reading a variety of texts and articles in this course. It is imperative that you keep up with this reading. You are to read and respond to the weekly readings prior to the class meeting for which they are assigned. Our class discussions and activities are predicated on all of us having read this material.

You are to post your reading responses on WebCT each week. Every two weeks, you will post a primary response in which you will include: your new understanding and insights into the themes discussed in the texts and articles, your analysis of the ideas and strategies suggested by the authors, comparing/contrasting related articles, or your personal experiences from your fieldwork which apply to the topics read. On alternate weeks, you will post secondary responses where you will respond to the reading reflections of two of your classmates.

Each week has its own discussion forum on the WebCT, so make sure you are in the correct discussion forum for the readings you are responding to. Under subject, write which topic you are discussing. Your classmates can choose to post a primary or a secondary response to your topic or they can define their own topic. At the beginning of your posting, write down whether yours is a primary or secondary response. Some weeks I will include a question or topic which I'd would like you to comment on. Be sure to check whether there is a specific assignment in the discussion forum before you write your reflections.

I strongly suggest that you write your reading responses in a word processing document and then copy and paste this into the compose window on our course WebCT site. This way you can save your work to refer to it later, as well as use spell and grammar check. If you need assistance with the use of WebCT, refer to the handout distributed the first week of class.

The URL for Ed 437's WebCT is:
or can be accessed at, then scrolling to course websites.

[top of page]

WebCT Criteria

Your participation in the WebCT discussion forums will be assessed using the following criteria:

Weekly participation in the discussion forums

Interaction with a variety of classmates

Demonstration of solid understanding of the readings

Usage of critical thinking and analysis of the readings and the reflections of classmates

Making relevant connections between the textbook and real-life situations

Twice during the semester I will evaluate your postings and responses and record your score. You can earn up to 4 points each week for these responses. Obviously, when you skip a week on WebCT, you will receive a 0.

GRADED: October 14 and December 2

[top of page]

Educational Philosophy

Your educational philosophy is the basis for all of your decisions as a teacher, from the physical arrangement of classroom furniture to the ways that you communicate with parents. This is an opportunity for you to reflect on all that you believe about teaching and learning, synthesizing educational theory with your own experiences with children.

You will be asked to articulate your teaching philosophy throughout your teaching career, from the time that you are being interviewed for a job, to discussing your program with parents at Back to School Night. Organize your beliefs into a cogent statement. Your tone should be confident and professional. It's fine to include material which you've written for another course. Find a format and sequence which best reflects your ideas.

Make sure your writing style is also professional and articulate. Proofread carefully for spelling and usage errors. Also watch for grammar. Watch for these common errors: affect and effect; and matching subject to objective pronouns (e.g. "It's important for the child to feel like they are valued.") If you use a singular noun you can not use they. It's easier to use plural nouns, but sometimes that might not create the effect that you want.

Possible components to include in your philosophy:

  • Purpose of education, why you're a teacher, role of the teacher
  • How children learn
  • Curriculum -- how to organize, what are curricular sources, use of technology
  • How to teach diverse learners -- language, cultural, racial, economic, academic, etc.
  • Assessment -- how you'll assess, assessment sources, what to assess, when to assess, how you'll use assessment
  • Class Management -- long-term management - developing class community;
    short-term management - dealing with daily challenges
  • Physical environment and schedule, in broad terms
  • Parent and community involvement and connections
  • Professional development

Another way to organize your philosophy is to use the criteria outlined in the California Standards for the Teaching Profession and to discuss your beliefs and practices for each standard. You can view the Standards for the Teaching Profession at:

The first draft of your educational statement should include all of the themes that we've discussed up to the midterm, and the final draft should include all of the themes covered in this course.

DUE: 1st Draft - October 21 ungraded, feedback given;
Final Draft - December 9


[top of page]

Framework Expert Groups

You will work with a group of colleagues to study, outline and present to the class one of the California State Frameworks and its corresponding state standards. These documents are the basis for much of the educational reform which is being directed from the state to each school district. Assessment, funding, and textbooks are tied to these documents, and as a new teacher, you will be expected to be adept at using them in the design of your lessons.

This assignment has three objectives, that you will become an expert on one of the state frameworks and present its contents to your classmastes, that by becoming an expert on one of the frameworks you will then become familiar with all of the state frameworks in order to access them throughout your teaching, and that you will be an effective member of a cooperative learning group, applying the skills and dispositions which we are reading about in Designing Groupwork by Cohen. While you have all worked on group projects in your previous curriculum coursework, for this assignment you are to conscientiously and reflectively practice the techniques from this text.

With your group, you will:

  1. Study the framework, understanding: the subject content being addressed (K-6), the goals of the framework and the instructional strategies which are suggested.
  2. Read through the state standards for two grade levels, understanding the progression of skills and content.
  3. Study one grade level concept throughout the K-6 standards, tracing how it is addressed in each of the seven years.
  4. Evaluate the framework -- its content appropriateness, its suggestions for implementation, and its usefulness to teachers.
  5. Design a 1-page handout which includes a summary of #1,#3,and #4. Provide all class members with a handout of your framework summary, either as a hard copy or on WebCT.
  6. Help each member design an investigative play activity using a play/debrief/ replay format based on a concept or standard addressed in your framework. As a group, you will choose the concept or standard to be focused on, but you will each choose a different grade level for your lesson. You will have the opportunity to teach this lesson during your presentation.
  7. Ensure that all group members are involved in each component of this project and that each group member understands the material included in the framework, the design of investigative play activities, and the play/ debrief/ replay lesson plan format. (Remember the work we did with our Broken Circles activity: your group was not done until each member had constructed a circle.)

DUE: October 14

[top of page]


Lesson Plans

You will learn two different formats for writing lesson plans, the play/ debrief/ replay lesson plan design by Wasserman and the 5-step lesson plan. Use the templates demonstrated in class. Let me know if you aren't confident about writing either type. You can submit as many redos of these lesson plans as you wish.

Play/ debrief/ replay lesson plan:
Design an investigative play activity that is based on a concept and/or standard which is addressed in the framework which you studied. Make sure that the activity has opportunities for discovery, exploration, and reflection. Use a
play/ debrief/ replay lesson plan format to write up this lesson. You will coordinate with the other members of your framework group so that each of you are investigating the same concept at different grade levels. You will teach this activity during your framework presentation. Provide all class members with a copy of your lesson plan.
DUE: October 14

5-step lesson plan:
Design a lesson integrating a piece of literature with one or more other subject areas. Use a 5-step lesson plan sequence and follow the
5-step lesson plan format described in class.
DUE: October 21

Lesson plan modification:
Sometimes in teaching, you will not be creating an original lesson, but using one from a Teacher's Edition or from the Internet. Because the lesson authors do not know your particular group of students, their prior knowledge. their learning strengths, or their personal interests, adapting the lesson would lead to greater teaching success. For this assignment, you will find a published lesson plan, either from a teacher's edition or from the Internet. You will modify the lesson so that learning opportunities and concept development will be enhanced. Include your rewrite of the lesson along with the original lesson.
DUE: November 18

[top of page]

Unit Plan Jigsaw -

You will join with experts of other state frameworks to design an outline for a 2-3 week integrated unit. The theme of the unit should represent the interests of all of the group members and should also reflect the objectives defined in the State Frameworks and State Standards. Use the template for integrated unit planning.

Select a grade level(s) for your unit. Activities should be designed to engage children from diverse backgrounds and include a variety of instructional and grouping strategies.

  1. the big ideas or guiding questions of the unit
  2. the unit objectives
  3. the curriculum web
  4. assessment strategies for the unit objectives

DUE: October 28; ungraded, feedback given

[top of page]


Final Integrated Unit Plan

You will design a 4-8 week integrated unit, individually or with a partner. This unit will synthesize all you have learned in this course and demonstrate your understanding of all the course objectives. The theme must be different than the one you worked on with your jigsaw group, and have the potential for sustained investigation for the age level that you select. To review the steps to take in the design of an integrated unit, refer to the template for integrated unit planning.

Your unit will contain ten different components. The list of required unit components and the grading criteria are listed below. If you are working with a partner, your unit will span 8 weeks and you will include twice as many required elements as described. (For example, rather than writing 6 lesson plans, you will each write 6 plans.)

During our last two course meetings you will present your integrated unit to the class. Make a copy of your unit plan to include in the multiple subject resource library. Submit a self-addressed stamped envelope with your unit for a 1-page grading sheet which I will return to you with my unit feedback and your course grade.

Due: November 11: Draft copy of final unit big ideas, unit objectives, unit assessments
Due: December 16: Final unit plan

[top of page]


Final Integrated Unit Grade Criteria

Your final unit plan will be graded based on the following criteria:

  • Introduction -- 10 pts;
    (includes the unit's context, purpose, relevance and grade level, a summary of how you've addressed the state standards and frameworks, and how your instructional strategies will meet the learning needs of a diverse population of learners)
  • Big Ideas or Key Concepts: 10 pts
    (explores the important concepts and the enduring understandings of the unit)
  • Unit Objectives: 10 pts
    (these should be phrased clearly; in language that can be assessed, specific enough so they can be taught by another teacher; and explores the depth and breadth of the theme appropriate to the grade level chosen)
  • Unit Assessment: 10 pts
    (will assess unit objectives; are integrated meaningfully into the unit, includes both long-term projects and formative assessments)
  • Curriculum Web: 10 pts
    (includes at least 20 activities in a variety of subject areas, uses a variety of instructional and grouping strategies, with opportunities for accessing technology, and will ensure that the unit objectives will be achieved; over half of these must be original lessons, others can be adapted from other sources if sources are included)
  • Assessment Tool: 15 pts
    (a specific assessment which you've designed with thoughtful instructions, procedure, and provisions for grading; if students are to create a report, project or presentation, then a timeline with appropriate check-in points must be included)
  • Lesson Descriptions and Lesson Plans : 60 pts total
    (formal lesson plans for six of the activities on web, one per subject area;
    brief lesson descriptions for all other lessons included on curriculum web with the state standards or framework concepts being addressed included for each lesson described):
    • Content of Lessons: 15 pts
      (accomplishes unit objectives, engages students, allows for critical thinking, accesses multiple intelligences, addresses multicultural perspectives, includes opportunities for student reflection and creativity)
    • Lesson Plan Write-ups: 30 pts
      (6 lesson plans: written with clarity, contains all components - objectives; standards addressed; procedures: intro, instruction, closing; materials; assessment)
    • Integration of Standards : 15 pts
      (references concepts and skills from state frameworks and content standards for all lessons included on the web)
  • Timeline: 10 pts
    (dramatic flow with activities designed for introduction, discovery, & synthesis; weekly focuses are useful to organize information and activities)
  • Bibliographies: 10 pts
    (Resource: teacher resource books and Internet sites which can be used
    Children's Literature: fiction and non-fiction books and teacher read-aloud books)
  • Visual Presentation: 5 pts
    (an aesthetic presentation of your unit plan with a logical organization)

[top of page]

Home | Course Information | Schedule | Assignment Criteria | Course Materials | Links | Interactive