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Intent of Project

American Revolution Through Mindful Engagement

This mini-course is intended to help teachers (participants) create a student centered approach towards reading about the American Revolution. Participants will help students become proficient in reading primary source material. They will use this material to help foster activities that promote classroom discussion and collaboration.


Throughout the course participants will be able to:


- Help their students use prior knowledge and incorporate it into new knowledge.

- Help their students monitor their own learning through reflection and collaboration.

- Create lesson plans that use conversation about text to help develop a deeper meaning of the material.

- Provide students with the opportunity to exert a large degree of control over their own learning, using the teacher as a facilitator rather than a giver of knowledge.

- Use strategies that utilize class discussion to help refine ones own understanding of the text.

Needs Assessment

1. Class Information

This mini-course is designed to instruct teachers in methods for teaching the American Revolution to 11th grade high school students.

2. Rationale

The main point of this mini-course is to show how through the use of "Mindful Engagement" students can derive new meaning of the American Revolution (from roughly 1775-1789). The framework of Mindful Engagement is used to help foster academic achievement and understanding by focusing on student interest and motivation in the reading context. Students work collaboratively with each other through book talks and group work to help create deeper meaning of the text provided in the class. Participants will make use of students prior knowledge and pay careful attention to the theory of multiple intelligences in creating the class material. It is the belief of the course designer that text can help alter knowledge structures in a way that can be meaningful for the student. Also, participants will ensure that motivation is top priority to help foster Mindful Engagement in the classroom.

The sequencing of the course is designed to help participants build upon their lesson each week. Important aspects of the lesson planning process are introduced in each lesson and help participants focus on a certain topic (ex. Objectives, Assessments, ect). Course material was chosen to add texture the class. Students will read a variety of texts (scholarly, popular, ect.), visit different instructional websites, and watch videos based on important topics. By the end of the mini-course participants will complete a finished sample lesson that utilizes discussions based on text from the American Revolution period.

3. Instructional Problem

Participants must understand that students all have differing levels of prior knowledge and experience. Additionally, students may all fall in different intelligences (Logical, Spatial, Inter/Intrapersonal, Linguistic, Musical, ect) and these factors influence what is to be taught and how the instructor will approach his/her instructional design. Having a variety of instruction available (differentiation), participants will be able to critically analyze primary source material from the American Revolution era.

4. Instructional Content

Materials that participants will use in this course course to help facilitate learning will include writings from Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Patrick Henry. Additionally, students will read copies of 1) Common Sense 2) Dec of Independence 3) Articles of Confederation 4) Federalist and Anti Federalist Papers 5) United States Constitution

The goal of this course is to have participants help students analyze the shifting American mindset from the beginning of the American War of Independence to the Ratification of the United States Constitution through mindful engagement. The years covered will focus primarily on 1775-1789.

Additionally, participants will use the Blackboard Learning System for discussion during this mini-course. They will be expected to discuss relevant material after reading several articles provided by the course designer.

5. Learner Characteristics

Participants in this course will be teachers (Grades 7-12) looking to create better educational opportunities for their students. They are all looking for better ways to create discussion activities that help connect a specific text to real life situations.

6. Instructional Characteristics

This course will be taught as a self paced and highly interactive graduate level course. Participants will engage in discussions on a given topic throughout each of the lessons. Before discussions begin, participants will be expected to either read articles or watch videos relevant to the lesson topic. Each lesson will have a different focus and will act as building blocks for the participant to create his/her own sample lesson. The course is designed to encourage students to think critically through discussions. Also, two reflections will be written by participants throughout the course.

The instructor will be facilitating discussions and will ensure students are engaged and motivated.

7. Goals

Participants will be able to:

- Understand the theory of multiple intelligence and be able to apply that theory to the diverse set of students in a give class.

- Help students use primary source materials to come to rational conclusions about the American Revolution through mindful engagement.

- Facilitate group discussions that will sharpen cognitive skills and encourage high levels of motivation.

- Develop different kinds of assessments to help guide students understanding of the American Revolution by accessing prior knowledge, promoting collaboration, and monitoring thoughtful discussion.

Performance Objectives

1) Given the proper literature, participants will discuss several major components of the lesson planning process by interacting with classmates through an online discussion forum.

2) Participants will be able to make connections between motivation, background knowledge, multiple intelligence theory and engagement to create discussion activities based on text that are stimulating and allow students to think critically in collaborative environment.

3) After creating appropriate lesson activities, participants will be able to use Mindful Engagement techniques to tap into students prior knowledge and in turn foster the creation of new knowledge through text.

4) Participants will be able to create assessments that adequately measure a students ability to think critically about text through discussion, collaboration and/or any other means that reveals a deep understanding of a given text.

Task Analysis

Course Purpose

The purpose of this course is to help participants create lessons that will help students gain a better understanding of the political changes that occurred in the United States from the Declaration of Independence to the ratification of the United States Constitution through mindful engagement. The use of collaboration and primary/secondary source documents will be used to help their students understand the evolution of the American political system during this time period. Both face to face (F2F) and online instruction will be used.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the mini-unit, participants will be able to:

- Understand the importance of Mindful Engagement and its ability to create collaborative classrooms where students use prior knowledge to create new knowledge.

- Create activities and assessments that help students identify some of the major events of the American Revolution through discussion and collaboration.

- Participants lesson will develop mindful engagement by showing an understanding of students prior knowledge and motivation in their lesson by tying the material with real world application.

- Discuss several components involved in the lesson planning process and how it connects with the promotion of mindful engagement in the classroom.


Prerequisite Skills

Essential Prerequisites

In order to reach the Learning Outcomes listed above, the participants must be able to:

- Understand the different levels of Bloom's Taxonomy and how it applies to creating classroom objectives.

- Understand how to use the Blackboard Learning System and its functions.

- Understand how to create thoughtful and meaningful discussion between students in an online and classroom setting.

- Know the functions and differences between formative and summative assessments.


Supporting Prerequisites

In order to reach the goals and objectives of this mini-unit, participants will need to:

- Possess a positive attitude and understanding that the development of the American political system during this time period still has profound effects on today's political landscape.

- Understand the political, social and economic context of the late 18th century.

- Understand the importance of the American Revolution and the important issues that are still relevant today.

- Participants must be able to respect others and treat their classmates with respect in the discussion forum.

Curriculum Map

Click Here For Curriculum Map


Lesson 1: Understanding Our Students Through Multiple Intelligence Theory


Lesson 2: Understanding Students Background Knowledge, Motivation, and Engagement Levels


Lesson 3: Developing Objectives Based On Mindful Engagement


Lesson 4: How To Facilitate Meaningful Discussion Around Text


Lesson 5: Rubrics and Other Assessments/Finishing Your Example Lesson

Resources and References

1) Callahan, Mekiva. "How Do I Motivate My Students?" Texas Tech University (n.d.): n. pag. Web. <http://www.tlpd.ttu.edu/teach/TLTC%20Teaching%20Resources/Documents/How%20do%20I%20Motivate%20My%20Students%20white%20paper.pdf


2) "Creating Rubrics." - TeacherVision.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2013.


3) Darling-Hammond, Linda. Powerful Learning: What We Know About Teaching For Understanding. 1st ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008. Print.


4) Ediger, Marlow. "Objectives In Teaching Social Studies`." College Student Journal 34.1 (2000): 45. Web.


5) EDUtopia. Authentic Assessment at School of the Future. 10 Jun, 2012. YouTube Video Clip. Accessed on 30 Apr, 2013.


6) Fisher, Douglas, Nancy Frey, and Diane Lapp. "Building and Activating Students' Background Knowledge: It's What They Already Know That Counts." Middle School Journal 43.3 (2012): 22-31.


7) Gagne, Robert. Principles of Instructional Design. 5th ed. Belmont: Thompson-Wadsworth, 2005. Print.


8)Kinnear, Terry. "Beyond Motivation: Engagement, Mindfulness and Learning." Faculty Center For Excellence in Teaching and Learning 18.1 (2005): n. pag.


9) Larson, Bruce. "Influence on Social Studies Teachers' Use of Classroom Discussion." The Clearing House 73.3 (2000): 174-81. Web.


10) Moley, Pauline, Patricia Bandre, and John George. "Moving Beyond Readability: Considering Choice, Motivation and Learner Engagement." Theory and Practice 50.3 (2011): 247-53.


11) "SCAFFOLDING DISCUSSIONS - Design Patterns 101." SCAFFOLDING DISCUSSIONS - Design Patterns 101. Google Sites, n.d. Web. 08 May 2013.


12) Smith, Richard. Instructional Objectives- Technology and Education Today. 09 Apr, 2013. YouTube Video Clip. Accessed on 30 Apr, 2013.


13) "Student Engagement & Motivation Strategies." 11 June, 2011. YouTube Video Clip. Accessed 07 May, 20132