Curriculum Construction – Week 9 – Reading Notes 

Jacob, B. (November 2001). Implementing Standards: The California Mathematics Textbook Debacle, Phi Delta Kappan, pp. 264-272.

  • Math Textbooks
    • “I examine California’s recent ‘standards-aligned” mathematics textbook adoption process, which provides a lens to scrutinize the impact of high-stakes policies on classroom practice”
  • Background on California
    • Standards by content areas
    • Revised every 7 years
    • K-8 only, High schools chose their own
  • 1996-1997 Math Adoption
      • Drafted by 4 voluntary Standards Commission
      • Met for 1 year with researchers, mathematicians, and educators
      • Published for review and comment
      • State Board of Education rejected and created a new one
        • 4 Stanford mathematic professors wrote it
        • Removed examples and clarifications
        • Done without input from the teachers
        • Problem solving techniques substituted by extensive practice and direct instruction!!
      • Dixon report
        • Douglas Carnine of the University of Oregon
        • Research review – selection biased towards board’s ideology – rote computation, not mathematical reasoning
      • 1999 Adoption
        • Story repeats itself – still rote computation + tell teachers exactly what to do
      • 2001 Adoption
        • Professor Hung-Hsi Wu from UC: could not explain his math reasoning “I’m puzzled as to why this is so difficult…”
        • Scripted instruction – “Teacher stupidification movement”  Richard Allington

Woodward, A., & Elliot, D. (1990). Textbooks: Consensus and Controversy. In Textbooks and Schooling In the United States, 89th Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 146-161.

  • Stakeholders are resistant to change in education
  • Publishers have to adapt content to political ideologies
  • Cost effective to have a national, neutral, and bland textbook as opposed to local books

Curriculum Construction – Week 8 – Reading Notes

Eisner, E. (April 2002). The Kind of Schools We Need. Phi Delta Kappan, pp. 576-583.

  • Education is not a science (more of an art) and assessments can’t be void of judgment
    • “Artistry and professional judgment will, in my opinion, always be required to teach well, to make intelligent education policy, to establish personal relationships with our students, and to appraise their growth.” (Eisner, 2002, p577)
    • “Although good teaching uses routines, it is seldom routine. Good teaching depends on sensibility and imagination. It courts surprise. It profits from caring. In short, good teaching is an artistic affair.” (Eisner, 2002, p578)
  • Kinds of school’s desired and concerns about the desires
    • Time for teachers to build a community of practice
      • Teachers need a paradigm shift – they haven’t seen what is expected of them – not taught that way to begin with.
    • Teaching as a professionally public process – share what they do behind closed doors
      • Primary ignorance – what you know you don’t know
      • Secondary ignorance – what you don’t know you don’t know – need guidance and discourse
    • School Principals in the classroom
      • Time and scale constraints
    • Look at teaching exemplar examples on video, discuss, and reflect
      • Time and expert facilitation constraints
    • Questions students ask are more important than answers they give
    • Differentiation for more variance rather than reducing gaps
      • “The idea that getting everyone to the same place is a virtue really represents a limitation on our aspirations.” (Eisner, 2002, p580)
      • “The British philosopher and humanist Sir Herbert Read once said that there were two principles to guide education. One was to help children become who they are not; the other was to help children become who they are.” (Eisner, 2002, p580)
    • Develop child’s personal signature
      • “Of course, their ways of seeing things need to be enhanced and enriched, and the task of teaching is, in part, to transmit the culture while simultaneously cultivating those forms of seeing, thinking, and feeling that make it possible for personal idiosyncrasies to be developed.” (Eisner, 2002, p581)
    • Literacy with a broader definition / application
      • “I want to recast the meaning of literacy so that it refers to the process of encoding or decoding meaning in whatever forms are used in the culture to express or convey meaning.” (Eisner, 2002, p581)
    • Learning that transfers to outside of school skills
      • “The point of learning anything in school is not primarily to enable one to do well in school – although most parents and students believe this to be the case – it is to enable one to do well in life. ” (Eisner, 2002, p581)
    • The joy is in the journey
      • “It is the quality of the chase that matters most.” (Eisner, 2002, p582)
      • “Alfred North Whitehead once commented that most people believe that a scientist inquires in order to know. Just the opposite is true, he said. Scientists know in order to inquire.” (Eisner, 2002, p582)
      • “There is a huge difference between what a child can do and what a child will do.” (Eisner, 2002, p582)
      • “It is the aesthetic that represents the highest forms of intellectual achievement, and it is the aesthetic that provides the natural high and contributes the energy we need to want to pursue an activity again and again and again.” (Eisner, 2002, p582)
    • Encourage deep conversations in the classrooms – they are lacking in schools and in personal life
      • “… that is why we often tune in to Oprah Winfrey, Larry King, and other talk show hosts to participate vicariously in conversation. Even when the conversations are not all that deep, they remain interesting.” (Eisner, 2002, p582)
    • Responsibility for own learning
      • “Helping students learn how to formulate their own goals is a way to enable them to secure their freedom.” (Eisner, 2002, p582)
      • Teachers should also be responsible for what is taught – contextual content
      • “… in discourse about school reform and the relation of goals and standards to curriculum reform the teacher is given the freedom to formulate means but not to decide upon ends.” (Eisner, 2002, p582)
    • Public education should educate people outside of school as well
      • “And so I invite you to begin that conversation in your school. so that out of the collective wisdom of each of our communities can come a vision of education that our children deserve and, through that vision, the creation of the kind of schools that our children need.” (Eisner, 2002, p583)

Pope, D. (2001). Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students. New Haven: Yale University Press. pp. 1-28, 149-175.

  • Points of view
    • Administrators show off their students.
    • Students are overwhelmed – they are “doing” school
  • Cases
    • Kevin – the people pleaser
    • Teresa – hard worker
  • Must listen to students’ needs, frustrations, and desires

Curriculum Construction – Week 7 – Reading Notes

Martin, D. S., Saif, P. S., & Thiel, L. (1987). Curriculum development: Who is involved and how. Educational Leadership, 44, 40–48.

  • Research questions on national survey
    • What curriculum changes are needed at the district level?
    • Who at the district level should make decisions about curriculum development?
    • Who should be actively involved in curriculum development?
    • What are the advantages and disadvantages of having teachers participate in curriculum development?
    • What roles should administrators and parents play in curriculum development?
  • Curriculum Development Process Model
    • Aimed at maximizing teacher involvement in curriculum development – 2 to 3 years and 10 steps:
      • Teacher committee – rationale and objectives – peer review
      • Revise rationale and objectives – form subcommittees if necessary
      • Materials and evaluation methods – peer review
      • Train selected pilot teachers and test the curriculum
      • New teacher committee collects and evaluate the pilot-test data
      • Revise committee based on pilot-test results
      • Present curriculum to administration and school board for final adoption
      • Pilot teachers become the trainers
      • Third committee revises curriculum and monitors the implementation
      • Higher-level training
  • Findings
    • Teacher involvement is high
    • Do your own curriculum redesign is preferred method – followed by ‘hire a consultant’ and ‘use another district’s’
    • Little parental involvement – must be actively supported by the school
    • Use little use of research to implement curricular change

Brodhagen, B., Weilbacher, G., & Beane, J.  (1998). What We’ve Learned from “Living in the Future.”  In L. Beyer & M. Apple (Eds.) The Curriculum:  Problems, Politics, and Possibilities.  (2nd Edition).  Albany:  State University of New York Press.  pp. 117-133.

  • Curriculum integration – definition
    • “… curriculum integration as something more than simply an instructional method. Rather we see it as a possibility for creating democratic classrooms in terms of both collaborative precesses and use of knowledge.” (Brodhagen, Weilbacher, & Beane, 1998, p.118)
    • “… curriculum be organized around themes found at the intersection of self/personal concerns of young people and issues affecting the “common good” in the larger world.” (Brodhagen, Weilbacher, & Beane, 1998, p.118)
    • “… planned and carried out based on questions and concerns of the your people and without regard for subject area lines.” (Brodhagen, Weilbacher, & Beane, 1998, p.118)
    • “… teachers must be careful not to cross the lines between this kind of authentic planning and that of illusory participation in which three is “engineered consent” toward acceptance of preconceived teacher ideas. Instead, the intent is to play a facilitative role with regard to concerns of young people, to help the see connections between their concerns and the larger world, and thus to bring the most powerful kind of meaning to the curriculum.” (Brodhagen, Weilbacher, & Beane, 1998, p.119)
  • Planning the unit
    • Make a list of words or phrases you would use if asked to tell about yourself.
    • What questions or concerns do you have about yourself?
    • What questions or concerns do you have about the world you live in?
    • Find and group common questions and concerns.
    • Suggested activities that would inform about these questions and concerns.
    • What knowledge and skill are needed to answer these questions and concerns?
  • Lessons learned
    • What are the problems when doing this kind of curriculum work?
      • A lot of work and time required + exhausting for teachers and students
      • Teachers need to give up a certain degree of controlled
      • “The teacher-controlled ‘empty-vessel’ analogy appears to be alive and well in the minds of many educators.(Brodhagen, Weilbacher, & Beane, 1998, p.127)
      • Lack of appropriate resources to support an integrative curriculum – they are always organized into separate subjects
    • What are the politics of doing this kind of curriculum?
      • Parents may think children are missing out
      • Lack of support from other teachers and administrators
    • What are the possibilities of this kind of curriculum?
      • Validation of self and experiences
      • Sense of control and ownership
      • Democracy in practice
    • “We believe they, like us, have had a profound experience forever changing the way they teach, rejecting how we were taught to teach, or the we were teaching as a result of the kind of texts being used or the teaching observed going around us.” (Brodhagen, Weilbacher, & Beane, 1998, p.132)

Darling-Hammond, L., Pecheone, R., Jaquith, A., Schultz, S., Walker, L., & Wei, R. C. (2010). Developing an internationally comparable balanced assessment system that supports high-quality learning. In National Conference on Next Generation K–12 Assessment Systems, Center for K–12 Assessment & Performance Management with the Education Commission of the States (ECS) and the Council of Great City Schools (CGCS), Washington, DC. Retrieved from (Links to an external site.) (Please read to the end of p. 26)

  • US lagging behind in curriculum design and implementation
    • “European and Asian nations that have steeply improved student learning have focused explicitly on creating curriculum guidance and assessments that focus on teaching central concepts in the disciplines in a thoughtfully organized way, as well explicitly higher‐order cognitive skills: the abilities to find and organize information to solve problems, frame and conduct investigations, analyze and synthesize data, apply learning to new situations, self‐monitor and improve one’s own learning and performance, communicate well in multiple forms, work in teams, and learn independently.” (Darling-Hammond, Pecheone, Jaquith, Schultz, Walker, & Wei, 2010, p.4)
  • US mass testing hurts curriculum design
    • “Whereas U.S. tests rely primarily on multiple‐choice items that evaluate recall and recognition of discrete facts, examinations in most high‐ achieving countries use primarily open‐ended items that require students to analyze, apply knowledge, and write extensively.”  (Darling-Hammond, Pecheone, Jaquith, Schultz, Walker, & Wei, 2010, p.4)
    • “Because these assessments are embedded in the curriculum, they influence the day‐to‐day work of teaching and learning, focusing it on the use of knowledge to solve problems.” (Darling-Hammond, Pecheone, Jaquith, Schultz, Walker, & Wei, 2010, p.4)
  • An Assessment System that Promotes High-Quality Learning
    • Priorities for Assessment
      • Assessments are grounded in a thoughtful, standards‐based curriculum and are managed as part of a tightly integrated system
      • Assessments include evidence of actual student performance on challenging tasks that evaluate standards of 21st century learning.
      • Teachers are integrally involved in the development of curriculum and the development and scoring of assessments
        • Assessments are structured to continuously improve teaching and learning.
        • Assessment systems are designed to emphasize the validity and quality of external assessment
        • Assessment and accountability systems use multiple measures to evaluate students and schools.
        • Assessment and accountability systems are used primarily for information and improvement.
  • How to do it?
    • Curriculum must be explicit on what kind of learning is sought: usable knowledge
    • Learning that supports transfer
      • “Learning that supports transfer involves organizing facts around general principles and understanding their reach, understanding why things happen as they do, drawing explicit connections among ideas, evaluating ideas in ways that draw distinctions as well as identifying commonalities, having multiple opportunities to apply learning in deliberate practice under increasingly complex conditions, and receiving feedback around both thinking and performance that helps students develop metacognitive abilities (self‐regulated planning, learning and problem solving strategies, and reflection) that can drive further independent learning.” (Darling-Hammond, Pecheone, Jaquith, Schultz, Walker, & Wei, 2010, p.9)
    • Learning progression – roadmap for teaching
  • Theory of Action
    • “Tests worth teaching to” (Resnick, 1987)
    • System must include
      • Summative tests that assess student progress and mastery of core concepts and critical transferable skills using a range of formats: selected‐response and constructed‐response items, and performance tasks, designed together to assess the full range of standards.
      • Formative assessment tools and supports, shaped around curriculum guidance that includes learning progressions.
      • Focused professional development around curriculum and lesson development as well as scoring and examination of student work
      • Reporting systems that provide first‐hand evidence of student performance (beyond scores), as well as aggregated scores by dimensions of learning, types of students, schools, and districts.
  • Governmental Roles
    • Federal – general guidance and support for research
    • State – create standards and curriculum frameworks + assessments that compare initiatives
    • Districts and Schools – formative assessment + professional development
  • Assessment System Operation
    • Develop curriculum frameworks
    • Create a digital curriculum and assessment library
    • Develop state and local assessments
    • Incorporate principles of universal design
    • Emphasis on evaluating student growth over time
  • High-school level options for assessment
    • Course‐ or syllabus‐based systems
    • Standards‐driven systems
    • A mixed model
    • Develop moderation and auditing systems for teacher‐scored work
    • Provide time and training for teachers and school leaders
    • Develop technology to support the system
    • AI for scoring/assessing
  • Multiple choice questions can be designed to assess much deeper knowledge
    • Who was president of the United States at the beginning of the Korean War?
      • a) John F. Kennedy
      • b) Franklin D. Roosevelt
      • c) Dwight Eisenhower
      • d) Harry Truman e) Don’t know
    • A feature common to the Korean War and the Vietnam War was that in both conflicts:
      • a) Soviet soldiers and equipment were tested against American soldiers and equipment.
      • b) The United States became militarily involved because of a foreign policy of containment. c) The final result was a stalemate; neither side gained or lost significant territory.
      • d) Communist forces successfully unified a divided nation.

McLaughlin, M., Glaab, L., & Carrasco, I. H. (2014). Implementing Common Core state standards in California: A report from the field. Palo Alto, CA: Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE). Retrieved from the PACE Website: Http://edpolicyinca. Org/publications/implementing-Common-Core-State-Standardscalifornia-Report-Field. Retrieved from

  • Common Core State Standards (CCSS) – August of 2010
    • “The adoption and implementation of the CCSS coincides with the implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), which shifts responsibility and ac- countability in California’s education system from the state to local schools and school districts.” (McLaughlin, Glaab, & Carrasco, 2014, p.1)
  • CCSS increased teacher collaboration
    • “For instance, practitioners across the state point to enhanced teacher collaboration as an immediate, constructive consequence of CCSS implementation, and under- score the many benefits of teachers working together to develop strategies and materials consistent with the CCSS.” (McLaughlin, Glaab, & Carrasco, 2014, p.4)
  • Lack of time to implement CCSS & shortfalls in materials, capacity and preparation.
    • “As former state superintendent Bill Honig wrote, “The Common Core State Standards state what students should master, but they are not a curriculum. Jumping from the standards to create lesson plans misses a crucial middle step of developing a coherent curriculum…the complex work of creating a local curricular framework for the district.” (McLaughlin, Glaab, & Carrasco, 2014, p.5)
    • “I would like to see the state un- dertake a major teacher education initiative—that may be the most important component of Com- mon Core implementation in the long run.” (McLaughlin, Glaab, & Carrasco, 2014, p.8)
  • Insufficient Professional Development
    • “At one professional development session, for example, teachers were asked if they knew what “project based learning” was. In a room of about 80 teachers, three raised their hands, and all three had been teaching for more than 15 years.” (McLaughlin, Glaab, & Carrasco, 2014, p.11)
  • Implications for state and local action
    • Curation of CCSS compatible materials.
    • Quality professional development for Teachers and Administrators
    • More and better communication with parents and the public.
    • Increased financial and political support for COEs.
    • Review and strengthen pre-service teacher education programs.

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Article from EdWeed: “Two Districts, Two Approaches to Common Core Curriculum: To meet common core, one opts for publisher, other writes own materials” By Catherine Gewertz

  • One bought available material, the other designed their own curriculum for CCSS
  • No real conclusion presented – benefit on both ends


Wei, R. C., Pecheone, R. L., & Wilczak, K. L. (2015). Measuring what really matters. Phi Delta Kappan, 97, 8–13.

  • Performance assessment vs large-scale assessments
    • “We continue to see political contexts as the biggest obstacle for including performance assessment in large-scale assessments today.” Wei, Pecheone & Wilczak, 2015, p.11)

  • The standards are:
    • Research- and evidence-based
    • Clear, understandable, and consistent
    • Aligned with college and career expectations
    • Based on rigorous content and application of knowledge through higher-order thinking skills
    • Built upon the strengths and lessons of current state standards
    • Informed by other top performing countries in order to prepare all students for success in our global economy and society

Curriculum Construction – Week 7 – Class Notes

Denise wasn’t there so the CAs Molly and Stephanie led the class very well.

We did a Jigsaw exercise where the class was divided into their preassigned roles/lenses we did the readings with. The roles were:

  • Expert teacher
  • Novice teacher
  • Parent with a high performing student
  • Parent with a low performing student
  • School principle (my role)
  • School board member

After feeding off of each other about the issues, stances, and solutions we went into the simulation or role playing group, where one of each role was present.



During the second half of the class we split into our Project Groups do have some time to get organized and define the next steps for the Curriculum Redesign Final Project.

We split the work like this:

(Lucas) – Rationale / Context
TODO: Review feedback and update

(Lucas) – Goals
TODO: Review feedback and update

(Lisa & Mohamad) Learning Activities
TODO: Do the “filtering process” → Updated Syllabus
TODO: Come up with the key learning activities

(Celine) Assessment
TODO: Figure out assessment at every level

(All) Process Log (Why)
TODO: Take photos and sum up notes


Some useful handouts:

Lesson Plan Template:

Assessment activities – Ways to Show What I KnowIMG_2024.JPG

Pedagogical Moves Used in Class

Curriculum Construction – Week 7 – Curriculum Critique Assignment

Curriculum Critique – – Programming 100

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Curriculum Construction – Winter 2016 – Lucas Longo

Tynker is an online platform that aims to teach programming to children from 7 to 14 years of age or grades 1 through 8, through interactive tutorials in creating the logic for video games. Virtual characters guide the student through each challenge, showing step by step what has to be done. These challenges increase in complexity and gradually introduces new concepts and commands available in the environment. The tool is extremely attractive in term of design and flexible enough to attend to the various age groups it is intended to. An interface for teachers is also available to create lessons, register students, and assign the several lessons they offer in their course catalog. Finally, the teachers can track the student’s progress and response to quizzes presented during the challenges.

I analyzed in more detail their first programming course that introduces the basic mechanics of controlling the game such as moving a character on the screen, verifying if a character is touching another object and react accordingly, and the concept of repetition or loops. The student must drag and connect instruction ‘bubbles’ that will create a chain of commands the character will perform once the ‘play’ button is pressed. If the commands are correctly positioned, the goal is reached and the student progresses to the next challenge. At the end of each lesson a short multiple-choice quiz is presented to the student to ensure that some basic concepts and terminology were understood.

Nowhere in the website there is an explicit declaration of what particular curriculum ideology they based their design. The nature of the interactions and affordances provided by the tool show that there is very little presentation of underlying concepts, but the immediate engagement with acting upon, using, and testing their instructions. One might argue that several ideologies are present in the curriculum – which includes the technological tools, the nature of the challenges, and ways of engaging with the concepts. “If you are going to teach a kid to swim, put them in a swimming pool” – Dewey’s constructivist concepts and the project based learning methodology is evident. The challenges also move on a clear learning progression offering the students a very scaffolded continuity of experiences that build upon each other and provide the basic concept that the student will need in subsequent ones.

“From this point of view, the principle of continuity of experience means that every experience both takes up something from those which have gone before and modifies in some way the quality of those which come after.” (Dewey, 1938, p.35)

Cognitive Pluralists would argue that the subject matter itself, programming, taps into one of our innate abilities. “As a conception of knowledge, Cognitive Pluralism argues that one of the human being’s distinctive features is the capacity to create and manipulate symbols.” (Eisner, 1994, p.79) It is also a very practical activity where you learn by doing.

“Its meaning has shifted from a noun to a verb; intelligence for more than a few cognitive psychologists is not merely something you have, but something you do.” (Eisner, 1994, p.81).

Another powerful concept the curriculum exhibits with its video-game based interface and activities, Nodding’s (1992) care framework describes why students might engage with the content.

“We need a scheme that speaks to the existential heart of life – one that draws attention to our passions, attitudes, connections, concerns, and experienced responsibilities.” (Noddings, 1992, p.47).

I believe that we can make a generalization nowadays that children are fascinated by video-games and thus might find it relevant and interesting to design their own games. In the process, they are exposed to the concepts of programming, video game creation, and even design, once they start customizing their characters and game environments.

The implicit assumption of this curriculum is that programming is an important skill to learn for the future. Explicitly, the curriculum matches several Common Core Mathematics, Common Core ELA, and CSTA Computer Science standards that students develop in each lesson. Clear charts map lessons to Common Core standards by grade. Through their lessons/activities, students are able to learn and explore several Math and English Language concepts. The company has several courses beyond the Programing one I explored that include English, Science, and Social Studies projects. Each course contains several lessons, exercises, and activities the students can complete.

The design of the lessons are such that teachers do not have to a deep knowledge of programming to use it. As their website (, 2016) puts it, “Built for Educators. No Experience Required.”  since their “Comprehensive Curriculum” has “Ready-to-use lesson plans and STEM project templates for grades K-8.”  The requirement for using this curriculum is one computer or tablet per child and an internet connection. Even though this might not be a reality in all schools, I believe it is a matter of time that the “1 laptop per child” dream to come true. In any case, the site also provides challenges for students to complete on their own computer or tablet, in the case the school might not provide adequate access. In other words, parents could use this site/curriculum to encourage their children to engage with programming.

The lessons provided are all geared clearly towards and support the intended goals and learning activities. For example, to introduce concepts of angles, the student has to program a spaceship to trace the lines of a star by giving it commands to go forward, turn at a certain angle, and repeat the process again until the star is complete. I felt that an explanation on how to figure out how many degrees each turn should be depending on how many points a star has was missing. The aim of the activity was to introduce the concept of loops and was intended for a second grader, therefore it might have been by design that they left out this explanation. I would have to pay and get access to the more advanced lessons to find out how they introduced such derivations – which apparently are present in the organized course catalog.

The assessment tool presents in a clear manner how students are progressing through the activities. A chart indicates the learning outcomes per student with icons indicating their speed and accuracy in completing each task. I was not able to have access to actual assessment tool which made me curious about how detailed these assessment results are. I would like to know if the teacher could see which exact questions the students got wrong. My guess is that it does provide it simply because of how carefully and throughly thought through the tool is implemented.

One unintended consequence I foresee in implementing this tool in the classroom is that younger students might get distracted with the character customization capabilities the tool offers. I’ve seen this happen firsthand when teaching using Scratch, a similar tool which this one bases it’s block programing style. Students end up spending a significant time playing with the color of the hair, clothes, and other such customizations instead of attending to the task at hand. The tool though, cleverly limits what the student can do in each exercise and establishing a time limit when customizing the characters. Only in more advanced lessons can the students more freely engage with all the features the tool offers.

If we apply Wiggins & McTighe’s (2005) WHERETO evaluation of learning activities, one could say that the tool attends to them all:

W = help the students know Where the unit is going and What is expected.

The lessons have clear goals and measures of success.

H = Hook all students and Hold the interests

I was actually entertained by the challenges presented and attracted by the design of the scenarios and characters.

E = Equip students, help them Experience the key ideas and Explore the issues

The interactive nature of the challenges do provide a rich tool to attend to these criteria.

R = Provide opportunities to Rethink and Revise the understandings and work

The challenges themselves provide opportunities to redo and revise their programs in order to achieve their goals.

E = Allow students to Evaluate their work and its implications

The evaluation of the work comes directly from attaining the goals therefore the feedback is immediate. The quizzes also provide an opportunity for the students to evaluate what they have learned and reflect upon them, even if on their own.

T = Be Tailored (personalized) to the different needs, interests, and abilities of learners

The different lessons attend to different levels and abilities the students might have and the tool is flexible enough to allow students to go as far as they wish with their programming explorations.

In conclusion, I was very impressed with the quantity, quality, and breadth of the tool. The introductory lessons are easy enough and scaffolded enough for the ages it is intended to. There is a high ceiling as well in the sense that you can move from block-based programming to actual programing in Java and connecting to robots to enhance the tangibility of the learning experience.

“The artistry in pedagogy is partly one of placement – finding the place within the child’s experience that will enable her to stretch intellectually while avoiding tasks so difficult that failure is assured.” (Eisner, 1994, p.70)


Dewey, J. (1938/1997). Experience and Education. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Eisner, E. (1994). The Educational Imagination: On the Design and Evaluation of School Programs. (3rd. Edition). New York: MacMillan. pp. 47-86.

Noddings, N. (1992). The Challenge to Care in Schools. New York: Teachers College Press.

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding By Design. (Expanded 2nd edition) Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Curriculum Construction – Week 6 – Reading Notes

Banks, J. (1993). The Canon Debate, Knowledge Construction, and Multicultural Education. Educational Researcher, 22(5), pp. 4-14.

  • Dominating groups
    • Western traditionalists
    • Multiculturalists
    • Afrocentrism
  • Polarized debate, primarily in popular press, no productive interactions
  • Positionality – started with feminist movement
    • “Positionality reveals the importance of identifying the positions and frames of reference from which scholars and writers present their data, interpretations, analyses, and instruction (Anzaldúa, 1990; Ellsworth, 1989).”, (Banks, 1993, p. 5)
  • Five types of knowledge
    • Personal/cultural knowledge
    • Popular knowledge
    • Mainstream academic knowledge
    • School knowledge
  • The rules of power
    • “Delpit (1988) has stated that African American students are often unfamiliar with school cultural knowledge regarding power relationships. They consequently experience academic and behavioral problems because of their failure to conform to established norms, rules, and expectations. She recommends that teachers help African American students learn the rules of power in the school culture by explicitly teaching them to the students.” (Banks, 1993, p.7)
  • From academia to the classroom – takes time
    • “Consequently, school knowledge is influenced most heavily by mainstream academic knowledge and popular knowledge. Transformative academic knowledge usually has little direct influence on school knowledge. It usually affects school knowledge in a significant way only after it has become a part of mainstream and popular knowledge.” (Banks, 1993, p.11)

Sleeter, C. (1996). Multicultural Education as Social Activism. Albany, New York: State University of New York Press. pp. 91- 115.

  • Multiculturalism as a form of dialogue and acceptance of several points of view
  • Curricula often attempt to include/induce minorities into the dominant’s culture
  • “Oppressors” say that all the differences have been ‘resolved’ in order to maintain status quo
  • Move away from trying to integrate towards discussing and understanding the different

Eisner, E. W. (1993). Forms of understanding and the future of educational research. Educational researcher, 22(7), pp. 5-11.

  • Representations of meaning
    • “Representation, as I use the term, is not the mental representation discussed in cognitive science (Shepard, 1982,1990)but, rather,the process of transforming the contents of consciousness into a public form so that they can be stabilized, inspected, edited, and shared with others.” (Eisner, 1993, p.6)
  • New forms for new understandings – but how to assess these multiple forms that go beyond text and numbers?
  • Must explore
    • “Working at the edge of incompetence takes courage.” (Eisner, 1993, p.10)

Gardner, H. (1999). The Disciplined Mind. New York: Penguin Books. pp. 186-201, 208-213.

  • Enhance understanding by:
    • Providing powerful points of entry
      • Narrative entry points
      • Numerical entry points
      • Logical entry points
      • Existential/foundational entry points
      • Aesthetic entry points
      • “Hands-on” points of entry
      • Interpersonal points of entry
    • Offering apt analogies
      • Powerful analogies and metaphors
    • Providing multiple representations of the central or core ideas of the topic
  • Issues
    • How does one orchestrate the three approaches to important ideas?
    • How does one spread this orientation to the rest of the curriculum – and with might the limitations be?
    • How does one assess the success of such an approach?
    • How might this approach be misunderstood?
    • In the end, what is the status of the true, the beautiful, and the good, and of their possible interconnections?
  • Possibilites and limits
    • Mensures of success
    • Possible misunderstandings of the approach
    • Once more: the true, the beautiful, and the good