Sonoma State University
Education 420
Child Development in the Family, School, and Community

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Assignments

Reading Responses

Community Resource Report

Internet Site Description

Children's Literature Analysis

In-Depth Study

State of America's Children

Community Resource Report Template

Internet Site Template

Children's Literature Template

Ideas for In-Depth Studies


 

Reading Responses

We will be reading a detailed textbook and occasional articles in this course. It is imperative that you keep up with this reading. You are to read and respond to the weekly readings prior to the class meeting for which they are assigned. Our class discussions and activities are predicated on all of us having read this material.

To share your ideas, comments, and understanding of the readings, you will be participating in weekly class discussion forums on WebCT with your classmates and with me. After reading the assigned chapters, you will share an example or anecdote which pertains to the themes and ideas discussed in the readings. Your examples may stem from many sources: your memories of your own childhood, children you know (either your own or those of friends or relatives), from your work with children, or from the media. In your example, cite the reference to the textbook by topic and by page number.

Your responses on WebCT will be of two different types. The primary response, as described above, you will post bi-weekly. These will need to be posted by Sunday night so that your classmates can read and respond by the next class. On alternate weeks, you will respond to the comments and examples of one of your classmates in a secondary response. This means you will be writing each week about the readings.

Each week has its own discussion forum on the WebCT, so make sure you are in the correct discussion forum for the readings you are responding to. Under subject, write which topic you are discussing. Your classmates can choose to post a primary or a secondary response to your topic or they can define their own topic. It makes it more interesting if students respond to one another's ideas and stories, so try to relate your responses to the topics of your classmates. I suggest that after you complete the weekly readings, and before you write your response, you read some of the postings already in the discussion forum. In this way, it creates more of a discussion flow. At the beginning of your posting, write down whether yours is a primary or secondary response.

I strongly suggest that you write your reading responses in a word processing document and then copy and paste this into the compose window on our course WebCT site. This way you can save your work to refer to it later as well as use spell and grammar check. If you need assistance with the use of WebCT, contact web support at IT.

Twice during the semester I will evaluate your postings and responses and record your score. You can earn up to 4 points each week for these responses. Obviously, when you skip a week on WebCT, you will receive a 0.

Your participation in the WebCT discussion forums will be assessed using the following criteria:

  • Weekly participation in the discussion forums
  • Interaction with a variety of classmates
  • Demonstration of understandings of the readings
  • Making relevant connections between the textbook and real-life situations

 

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State of America's Children Presentation:
With a group of classmates, you will summarize a current issue which faces our nation's children. Each group will focus on a different topic, using the material distributed in class. Your group will summarize the material you've read and highlight the main themes. You will explain, through visual displays or a learning activity, how these issues affect children, especially the different populations in our country (e.g. rural, White, Hispanic, female, etc.)

 

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Community Resource Report:

Each county has a variety of resources that serve children and families in need. The purpose of this assignment is to learn what is available in our area. Choose a community resource agency which offers services to children and/or families. The agency should be located in the county in which you are currently living. After signing up for a community resource agency in class, you will make arrangements to visit or conduct a phone interview with its personnel. Use the template provided on the course website to describe your agency. Post your report in the Community Resource Report folder on WebCT. You will also submit a hard copy to me.

 

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Community Resource Report - Template

  • Name of Agency:
  • Address:
  • Phone Number:
  • Hours:
  • Purpose/Mission of Agency:
  • Specific Population Served:
  • What Agency Offers to Community:(be very specific in your explanation of the services provided)
  • How People Can Receive Services:
  • Agency's Methods of Outreach:
  • How Agency is Funded:
  • Agency's Relationship to Community:
  • Your Evaluation of Agency: (outreach, availability of resources, user-friendliness, effectiveness in the delivery of services, meeting community's needs, etc.)

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Internet Site Description

The Internet is becoming a big influence in the lives of school-aged children. Some of the sites developed for children offer a variety of information and resources. Others are less helpful and less appropriate. You can choose any site to describe and evaluate. Find an online site which is designed for elementary, middle, or high school-aged children. Use the template included below. You will then post this evaluation in the Internet Site Description folder on WebCT and also submit a hard copy to me.

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Internet Site Template

  • Name of site
  • URL (site address)
  • Target age and population of site
  • Purpose of site
  • Description of site's appearance (what the site looks like, be specific)
  • Description of site's content (what specific information/ activities does the site offer, be specific)
  • Your evaluation of site (benefits and appropriateness for children)

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Children's Literature Analysis

Read one chapter book which portrays a developing child. Make sure that you choose a book that depicts, with enough detail, the physcial, cognitive, and socio/emotional development of the main character. Also, do not select a book which is part of an extended series of books (e.g. Goosebumps, The Babysitters' Club). Check with me if you are unsure whether the book is appropriate for this assignment.

Complete an analysis of the book, using the template on the course website. In the analysis section, you are to apply your understanding of child development. Using your textbook as a resource, identify the theories and themes which pertain to your character's developement. Cite the textbooks' pages which you are discussing in your analysis. Also give examples from your story which demonstrate how your main character compares to what we've read in the text. This assignment requires the same depth and thoughtfulness which is required in the essay exams.

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Children's Literature Analysis - Template

  • Title
  • Author
  • Illustrator
  • Publication date
  • Brief plot description
  • Appropriate for what ages
  • Book genre
  • Analysis of how the book depicts children's development. Include a section on each of these domains, physical, cognitive, and social/ emotional development. Use both explicit and implicit messages contained in the book. Give examples for each domain and apply the themes and theories discussed in the textbook and in class. Cite the page numbers from the textbook and examples from the chapter book for the characteristics described.
  • Reasons that children will or will not enjoy this book.
  • Reasons that you enjoyed/didn't enjoy this book.

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In-Depth Study

Choose a topic which holds a personal interest for you and which relates to the content of this course. Any of the ideas which we have discussed in class or are covered in the textbook are suitable to study. You can choose to do a research paper or a creative project. Some possible ideas for papers or projects are included below. You may work with a partner or by yourself. If you work with a partner, the study must include more complex components than an individual study.

Topics must be approved before beginning this project. Complete a proposal form given in class. I will give you feedback on your proposal and return it to you the next week. Please let me know if I can help in any way.

The research paper will have four parts:

  1. Introduction: The question or topic studied and your reason for studying it -- Why is this topic important and relevant?
  2. Summary of research -- Use at least 4 different resources in your research. What have other researchers, authors or practitioners said about this topic? Resources can include scholarly articles, mainstream articles, books, newspaper articles, interviews, etc. At least two of the sources must be from scholarly writings. Make sure that you reference your sources in this summary.
  3. Analysis -- Your personal evaluation of the different points of view that you studied.
  4. Conclusions -- What are your new understandings and insights into this subject? What are your suggestions for how this subject can be addressed differently? How can your new understandings be practically applied? What questions do you still have?


The write-up for the creative project will have four parts:

  1. Introduction: Description of what your project is and why the project is important and relevant?
  2. Relation of project to research -- Use at least 2 different resources to help frame the scope and methods of your project. What is already known about your topic? Resources can include scholarly articles, mainstream articles, books, newspaper articles, interviews, etc. At least one of the sources must be from scholarly writings. Make sure that you reference your sources in this section.
  3. Summary of project -- How you carried out your project and what you discovered.
  4. Conclusions -- What are your new understandings and insights into this subject? What are your suggestions for how this subject can be addressed differently? How can your new understandings be practically applied? What questions do you still have?

Presentations: You will present your study to the class during our last two course meetings. Presentations will last 5-10 minutes, and should include an overview of your study, its relevance, and your findings. One idea is to highlight one aspect of your study that you found interesting or surprising. Feel free to structure your presentation in as creative manner as you want.

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Ideas for in-depth studies:

  • treatment of ADD
  • single sex classes and schools
  • effects of divorce on children
  • transracial adoptions
  • art education in school
  • the Reggio Emilia approach
  • second language acquisition
  • participation in organized competitive sports
  • educating gifted children
  • strategies for teaching dyslexic children
  • high school drop-outs
  • the Mozart effect
  • effects of advertisements on children
  • achievement tests used in California schools

Ideas for creative projects:

  • compiling an annotated bibliography of children's literature
  • compiling an annotated list of children's computer software
  • conducting Piagetian conservation tasks with a variety of children
  • surveying high school students about their concerns
  • observing play patterns in a preschool setting
  • creating a slide show about the depiction of children in art
  • analyzing playground design
  • observing parent/child interactions
  • surveying how p.e. is taught in schools
  • surveying how art is taught in schools
  • surveying how character/moral education is taught in schools
  • observing a variety of classrooms to see how educational theories are applied

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Home | Course Information | Schedule | Assignments | Links | WebCT