Jamilah Jones-McLean's Portfolio Page
The course is a social studies unit on Ancient Greece. It covers topics in early Greek civilizations like Greek culture, including art, architecture, and religion, accomplishments of ancient Greeks, and early conflicts that helped shape the Greek civilization. My rationale for designing this course was to give students a different instructional mode for learning social studies content. The course contains documentary video with reenactments that give students a visual reference for the information they are learning. There are also interactive activities such as creating a Greek temple and read aloud stories. Designing this course has opened my eyes to the many available resources as well as the difficulty in weeding out appropriate social studies resources, especially for a population of students with disabilities.
6th grade special education students require a variety of modalities to enhance learning. The social studies content for this grade includes ancient civilizations. It will be beneficial for them to be able to interact with the content through a variety of sources including, books, video, imagery, and field trips.
What Is To Be Learned
Students will learn content related vocabulary, about how the geography of Greece influenced early civilizations, how Greek ideas and culture spread in Europe, similarities and differences between Sparta and Athens and the beginnings of democracy, how the Greeks came together to battle against the Persian Empire, and about the development of Athens under the rule of Pericles.
6th grade students are between the ages of 11 and 14 years, 4 girls, 8 boys, in a special education 12:1:1 setting. 2 students require a personal paraprofessional for assistance with academic, behavior, and attention deficits. Students are performing 2-4 years below expected levels for reading and writing. The students have varying learning styles and academic strengths. The students do not have much experience with asking questions that will lead to deeper exploration of a topic. Students come with limited background knowledge on the topic or misinformation gathered from movies and tales and some computer experience. Many visual and tactile components are suggested to elicit questions and increase motivation and interest.
The course will cover a unit on Ancient Greece: Early Civilizations. Students will learn about Early Greek Civilizations through webquest activities, field trips, and guided instruction. Unit lessons will include video, images, short answer and essay questions, and a unit test to assess learning.
Physical: The course will take place in the school computer lab, at home, in the classroom, and museums in New York City. Computers have internet capabilities for access to course content. Classrooms are equipped with Eno Interactive Boards to provide classroom support and media delivery.
"Use": Computers will provide access to instructional materials, media, and data entry and will be used for independent and guided learning activities. The classroom will be used as a support environment to provide a workplace when needed, an arena for questions, guidance, and the creation and delivery of some work product.
Internet access should be accessible to all students. Access to computers with internet is vital to instruction and the success of the course design.Layout of the course should be simple and easy to navigate. All students should be able to participate in the field trip experience. If students are unable to attend field trip, comparable alternatives should be made available. The classroom support environment should not become a replacement for the intended learning environments. The instructional context analysis is stable, further analysis may be needed if availability of content activities and materials becomes limited.
Exploring the Instructional Problem and Solution
Students with disabilities are frequently required to use text heavy resources when learning social studies. Studies have shown that multi-modal, interactive activities are most accessible to these students. In addition to challenges with the traditional mode of learning, social studies for most students is difficult to form positive attitudes with. Students need to feel more connected to the subject and by incorporating technology into a difficult subject may help to form that connection.
"Students will be able to": -follow directions given to navigate various internet websites -take notes from video sources -compose a short essay using video and written materials -provide examples of how geography influenced Greek life -describe the similarities and differences between Spartan and Athenian life, culture, and government -describe how Greek culture spread in Europe -describe how Athens became a powerful city-state under the leadership of Pericles
In planning and designing this course, I believe that finding appropriate social studies resources for my population would be easier due to the topic. I have had experience with selecting social studies resources and it was quite difficult, I believed, because of the topic. This time I tried to choose a topic that seemed more accessible. There is a lot of material out there, not all of it right for the classroom. Planning the lessons was the easy part. Finding the supplemental resources to use was extremely difficult. I began this design project as more of a webquest. It turned out to be more of a hybrid course. I am fairly happy with the resulting mini-course, although I know that it could be more interactive. In a way, I think that I have designed a course that could be the jump off for students that have not used the internet for learning before they try a webquest. In the end, planning a hybrid unit was very difficult and time consuming. Considering designing a course like this for multiple units a year is daunting, but not entirely impossible.
Spielvogel, J. (2006). World History: Journey Across Time. Ohio: McGraw-Hill Glencoe.
A&E TV Network. (2010). History.com. Accessed December 2, 2010: http://www.history.com History.com
ABC. (2003). Winged Sandals. Accessed December 3, 2010: http://www.abc.net.au/arts/wingedsandals/default_lowband.htm
BBC Primary History. BBC Primary History Ancient Greeks. Accessed December 2, 2010: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/primaryhistory/ancient_greeks/