This course is designed to fill in potential knowledge gaps “in the nick of time”—as needed when the topic is scheduled in the curriculum. A perfect fit for those who work with gifted and talented students, it is also a lifesaver for educators dealing with the effects of inconsistent school attendance and forced home school instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stressful home schooling and random and inconsistent school closings have affected student education at all levels, not only for this year, but with ramifications for years to come.
As all teachers know, one bad teacher (in this case, one bad year) can “turn a student off” for the rest of their academic career, causing them to lose interest in education or even to lose confidence in their ability to learn. Focus with Topics to Accelerate Learning provides the opportunity to fill in potential gaps and scaffold student learning so students can move forward with grade-level tasks instead of stepping back for remediation. You will take a close look at your subject’s topics, standards, and required learnings within a specific unit and across the year to identify essential prerequisite skills and knowledge your students will need to prepare them to learn grade-level content on schedule with their on-level curriculum. Recent studies have revealed that taking time out for remediation often results in putting students further behind. Instead, you will focus on specific skills and concepts students must know to be able to master their grade/age level material. Once you’ve identified the needed skills and content, you will create materials and build lessons that fill in learning gaps and support student learning at the appropriate level. You can then submit samples of your updated lesson plans, completed projects, revised teaching materials, etc. for evaluation and credit.
The coursework can be tailored specifically to your goals and educational setting. Although suggestions are provided on what type of coursework (learning activities and projects) you may complete, the actual experiences, work you develop and implement, and content you encounter are driven by you. Now is the time for you to select a topic of interest, possibly an area of concern, one that needs improvement, or perhaps a new approach that you have not been able to study or implement.
Suggested activities and projects to help you earn credit:
Development or revision of classroom curriculum, rubrics, lesson plans, educational games, learning activities, PowerPoint presentations, video presentations, worksheets, educational websites, classroom visuals, classroom assignments and projects, bulletin boards, learning centers, anchor charts, assessments, teacher-created books, physical education activities, self-evaluation/reflection reports, technology-related activities, storytelling activities, units of study, STEM-related projects, Common Core Standards, mindfulness strategies, etc.
Designed for busy teachers like you, you will get up to 6 months to complete your coursework requirements, and extensions are always granted if needed. The projects you choose to develop will ultimately demonstrate the application of time you invest in professional development experiences, such as research, videos, readings, etc. An additional expectation is that you keep a time log that documents the time spent for this course. The specific requirements concerning your chosen projects and the time log are dependent what resonates most with you and how many credits you take per course.
Overview of Requirements
1. Define your course objective(s): When registering you will be required to provide a short description of the prospective activities and/or projects that you plan to create and implement. You may always modify, change, adapt or incorporate new ideas throughout the entire course duration.
2. Develop a self-created time log: Create a log to document the effort and time that you dedicate to the process of completing your coursework requirements. You can also document hours for activities and projects that you have created previously by back tracking the date in your log. Your log must be specific and include dates, times and accomplishments as proof of completed objectives. For each graduate-level credit, you will document 15 hours of academic involvement.
Whether you spend time brainstorming, researching, reading, typing, writing, watching educational videos and films for ideas, constructing visuals, or putting together new curriculum & rubrics, you are able to document all the professional time you have invested in amplifying and enriching your professional needs.
3. Provide proof of completed objectives: When all your goals are finally met, you will submit proof of completed objectives (activities & projects) and your self-created time log.
*Additional course guidelines, formatting requirements, and information will be provided upon course enrollment.
Completed courses are letter graded and will appear on an official transcript from University of the Pacific, Benerd College. An Official Transcript with your final course grade(s) is available from Pacific upon successful completion of coursework. The course ending date that will appear on your transcript will reflect the date on which your completed coursework was reviewed and graded.
About University of the Pacific
University of the Pacific, established in 1851, is California’s oldest private chartered university and is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
The credits offered are post-baccalaureate, graded, graduate-level semester units of credit, provided directly through University of the Pacific, Benerd College. They are specifically designed to meet the needs of educators for Salary Advancement and Recertification. The credits/units are acceptable where local districts approve and applicable to state licensing where authorized. We always encourage you to check with your employer for acceptability of these credits/units. Course participants are responsible to determine acceptability of these credits for their intended use. Each graduate-level semester credit is equivalent to 15 hours of academic involvement.
Upon successful mastery of this course, you will be able to:
- Assess and identify specific skill and concept gaps that must be filled to enable individuals or groups of students to master your current curriculum.
- Analyze students’ needs, and then scaffold instruction up, not down, to grade-level expectations through the use of multiple strategies (e.g., modeling, targeted instruction on specific objectives/goals/skills, individualized instruction, differentiation).
- Develop accelerated lessons targeting learning gaps and providing support for on-level student learning.
- Apply intervention strategies to address unfinished learning (e.g., extra time, extra support, scaffolding).
- Reflect on how filling these learning gaps will impact future student growth.
- Integrate and apply relevant strategies and insights acquired to the creation of scaffolding techniques, strategies, and materials you implement in your classroom.
- Reflect on the professional development experiences, specific to your future growth.