Hamline University
Graduate School of Education
EDUC 6998

Small Learning Communities:
Instruction for Student Achievemen
Year-Course June, 2004 - May, 2005
Credits: 2 to 4
Marilyn K. Burns email
1056 13th Avenue SE
Phone/Voice mail: (612) 617-0017
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Course Website

Download copy of syllabus (MicroSoft Word)

Course Description and Outcomes

This course is designed to meet the objectives of the Graduate School of Education. Through reading, discussion, focused inquiry, critical reflection, and projects this course will examine the content of instructional practice and selection of instructional strategies and the affect on student achievement. These strategies will include best practices as determined by research, preparing a differentiated classroom using information from brain based and personality research and the use of individualized rubric assessment for increased secondary student achievement. Participating teachers will participate in practice based discussion, authentic assessment, action research and reflective teaching strategies as they evaluate, develop, teach, reflect upon student achievement changes in new teaching practices.


Teachers will

Course Website

You will develop the “resource on the web” for this course. This site will be used to post 150 to 200 word, book reviews of the third reading for the course. The Book Review Forum can be found the class website. Enter the EDUC 6998 page and click on Book Review Forum. This will take you to where you will “Join a Class”. Enter the Class key and click on “join the class”. At this point you will be asked to enter a name and password. Be sure to include your email address at the sign in so I know who gets the grade credit. This is a secure site in that no one else can enter this forum unless they know the Class Key.
We are also set up for a VIP site. These are sites that will be chosen by you. There is space at this time for two choices. One of these should be a resource for teachers who teach your subject area and the other one could be about any topic we cover in the class or from for the topic of your third book. These could be: multiple intelligences, rubrics, personality traits, individualized learning and instruction, or diversity – exceptionality – multicultural education.


Our classes will consist of
Reading: two required texts and one of personal choice text,
Participation: discussion, question, information sharing time,
Two Presentations: based on teaching strategies selected from texts and personalized for individual classrooms using action research as the evaluation tool,
Writing, two reflective papers based on reading two books with discussion and practicing personalization and changing teaching strategies in individual classrooms and one book review with reflection on use and
Preparation: using web searches and website selection found that might be useful to members of the group and the posting of the third book review for participants to use.

Course Texts:


Marzano, Robert J., Jennifer S. Norford, Diane E. Paynter, Debra J. Pickering, and Barbara B. Gaddy, (2001). A handbook for classroom instruction that works. ASCD. Alexandria, VA.

Tomlinson, Carol Ann, (1999). The differentiated classroom: Responding to the needs of all learners. ASCD, Alexandria, VA.

The third selection of teacher choice: See list

Suggested companion texts to the required books:
Marzano, Robert J., Debra J. Pickering, & Jane E. Pollock. (2001). Classroom Instruction that Works: Research based strategies for increasing student achievement. ASCD, Alexandria Va.
Silver, Debbie (2003). Drumming to the beat of a different marcher: Finding the rhythm for teaching in a differentiated classroom. Incentive Publications. Nashville, TN.

Course Credits: Options Available:

I. 2 credits – attend two of the three FIP workshops (2 days each) given in 2003 and 2004. Write an 8-10 page paper on the process, learning, strategies attempted or tools learned, goals, benchmarks, evaluation presented by your team or school using text references from the books received as a participant of the work shop.
II. 3 credits – attend one of the three FIP workshops (2 days each) given in 2003 and 2004. Participate in the EDUC 6998 course

III. 4 credits - attend two of the three FIP workshops (2 days each) given in 2003 and 2004. Participate in the EDUC 6998 course.

Course Schedule:

September 9, 2004
Session 1: 2:30-4:30 – Johnson Parkway
Topic: Introductions; Syllabus / Class / registration; 8 year study; and classroom environment.
Preparation for Class: Bring your √book.
Assignment Due: October 14, 2004

Session 2: 3:00-5:00 – Johnson Parkway
Topic: Marzano’s Handbook – Discussion of teaching strategies – best practices
Preparation for Class: Read the Handbook – cover the general things for all teachers and thoroughly look at the things for your subject area.
Assignment Due: NONE (MKB – Hand out rubric for Handbook paper.) November 11, 2004

Session 3: 2:30-4:30 – Johnson Parkway
Topic: Achievement through Best Practices; set dates for my class visit to observe you and your strategy at work.
Preparation for Class: Do some internet time and see what you can find out about the practice you have selected to try in your class.
Assignment Due: 5-7 page paper on Handbook; reflection on value to your teaching. I will supply the rubric for this in October. I’ll see you soon!! December 9, 2004

Session 4: 2:30-4:30 – Johnson Parkway
Topic: Personalization, Multiple Intelligences, True Colors, rubrics
Preparation for Class: Pick one of the topics and do an internet search to see what you can find out. Come prepared to share. BE CAREFUL I already have sites up on the web for some of these. Don’t duplicate.
Assignment Due: NONE (MKB – Hand out presentation rubric!!) January 13, 2005

Session 5: 2:30-4:30 – Como Park High School Library
Topic: Presentations of “MY new Strategy Experience!”
Preparation for Class: Prepare a ten minute presentation for the class on the strategy you selected and how it went. I’ll have a rubric for you on this for December.
Assignment Due: Presentations February 14, 2005

Session 6: 2:30-4:30 – Johnson Parkway
Topic: The Differentiated Classroom
Preparation for Class: Read Carol Ann Tomlinson’s book and be ready to discuss.
Assignment Due: NONE (MKB – NO rubric for 3rd book – Let’s see how you do on this one.) March 10, 2005

Session 7: 2:30-4:30 – Johnson Parkway
Topic: Classroom Instruction and Student Achievement – Topic of Choice
Preparation for Class: Prepare a short 5 to 10 minutes on your book of choice.
Assignment Due: 5-7 page write up of third book. Presentation – 10 minutes of third book – book review. (MKB handout Rubric for Differentiated Classroom write up.) April 14, 2005

Session 8: 2:30-4:30 – Johnson Parkway
Preparation for Class:
Assignment Due: Differentiated Learning Classroom paper due. (MKB – Hand out rubric for presentations for final strategy used.) Set up times for me to visit for the second experience. May 12, 2005

Session 9: 2:30-4:30 – Johnson Parkway
Topic: Strategy #2
Preparation for Class: 10 Minute presentation of your second strategy. By now this is a process as comfortable as that old fishing hat!
Assignment Due: Write up of the final experience.

Assignments and Grades:

1. Class participation – 5%
2. Preparation for Discussions – Web postings for VIP and book review – 5%
3. Write a 5-7 page paper reviewing each of the three books used in this course. Include a reflection of how useful you find this book to be. - 30%
4. Use two strategies from two books in your classroom. Pre and Post test students and evaluate the success of the strategy based on student achievement. Prepare a 10-minute presentation with handouts for the two strategies tried. Write a 6-10 page paper describing the research method, lesson plan, pre and post teaching of this lesson, outcomes, and reflection on the success or failure of the strategy. – 60%

Grading Standards: will be assessed based on constructivist philosophy. Believing that all students – even adults - begin where they are comfortable in a learning situation and if the teacher sets the benchmarks for grades than the student has no reason to excel beyond what is already known. Therefore the basic grade for this course, completing all the assignments using the rubrics for guidance will be a “B”. Students who show work that is beyond expectations of the instructor will receive an “A”.

Grading is in compliance with the standards of excellence set by Hamline University. A = 94%, B = 84%. There are no expectations for grades lower than a “B” for Hamline graduate students.


William Glasser - Self-evaluation
Alfie Kohn / Herbert Kohl - Classroom Environments
John Dewey - Progressive Education & the Eight-Year Study
Howard Gardner - Multiple intelligences
Use of rubrics in instruction
Carol Ann Tomplinson –Constructivism and Differentiated learning
Multi-age classrooms
Heterogeneous grouping
True Colors
To name a few!!!!!

Submitting Assignments:
The preferred method is turned in during class. I can also accept word documents attached to email, HOWEVER, occasionally the format for this is garbled.