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

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 Assignments

Reading Responses
Analysis of a
Children's Book
Presentation Board
and Rubric
State of America's Children
In-Depth Study
 Ideas for
In-Depth Studies

Reading Responses

We will be reading three textbooks and occasional articles in this course. It is imperative that you keep up with this reading. You are to complete the 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. Many class sessions will begin with a discussion during which reading reflections are shared. Students' preparation and participation will be noted.

 

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State of America's Children Presentation:

With a group of classmates, you will summarize and analyze the status of children, focusing on a specific issue: child health, child welfare and mental health, early childhood development, education and youth development, and family income and jobs. We will primarily use the information compiled by the organization The Children's Defense Fund, which is found at its website: http://www.childrensdefense.org/
Look on the left side of the CDF's home page for "Meeting Children's Needs".

Your group will research your topic, using the CDF's information and links. As a group, decide which information would be most relevant for your classmates to learn. Then decide how best to present this information. You will share your findings in a 30 minute class presentation and a one-page brochure or handout.

In your presentation or handout, include these items:

  1. define the main concerns which are detailed in your issue
  2. define how the problems affect the different populations in our country and/or state (e.g. rural, White, Hispanic, female, etc.)
  3. highlight some of the ways in which the government addresses these issues
  4. a list of Internet resources, with annotation, which presents additional information on this topic (see the Links page on the course website for some ideas)
  5. the names of local agencies which support our community in this matter

Your presentation may take any form, though the most effective ones include an active component that your classmates will remember. Consider designing a learning activity which will help explain the issue to us. It is not necessary to discuss each of the 5 elements above, as long as the information is included in your handout. If you want help preparing any audio-visuals for your presentation, let me know (e.g. PowerPoint presentations, overhead transparencies, posters, etc.) Each group will have 30 minutes to present. Make sure that you allow enough time for each member of the group. Also take care that each group member's ideas and contributions are valued.

Your grade on this assignment will be based on your preparation for your presentation and the effectiveness of the presentation and handout. Both your classmates and I will be grading your efforts, and you will receive an individual grade as well as a group grade.

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Analysis of a Children's Book

Books which are designed for children, whether fiction or textbooks, are written with the children's development and learning in mind. In this assignment you will read either a children's chapter book or a school textbook to apply what you are learning about child development and analyze the author's theoretical perspective.

There are two options for the type of book you read and analyze. If you are in the SSU multiple subject credential program, you may wish to take option B, and use this assignment as evidence for the Performance Expectation #5 in your digital portfolio CSW1.

Option A:

Read a chapter book that portrays a developing child who is in middle childhood or adolescence. (A chapter book has chapters and is written for children approximately 3rd grade and up.) Make sure that you choose a book that depicts, with enough detail, the physical, cognitive, and socio/emotional development of the main character. Also, do not select a book that 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.

Your analysis will have two parts:

  1. Describe the character's development in the book in all domains: physical, cognitive, and social/emotional. Use examples from the children's book to analyze the character's development and to make comparisons with the normative development defined in Meece. Identify the theories of development that are portrayed in the book: behavioral, cognitive, social-cultural and ecological.
  2. Define the themes that are developed in the book and explain how they are relevant to the child-reader. Why would a child-reader enjoy/not enjoy this book? How are cultural, linguistic, economic and learning differences portrayed in the book? How accessible is the book to children who are from diverse backgrounds? What are the underlying assumptions that the author makes regarding children and their relationships to family, peers, and school?

Option B:

Read a current textbook for any grade level, kindergarten to grade 6. You may choose any subject area: language arts, social sciences, math or science, though a social studies or language art text may be easiest to analyze.

Your analysis will have two parts:

  1. What must a child reader be able to accomplish physically, cognitively, socially, and emotionally to be successful with the book? Use examples from the children's textbook. How does the content of the book compare with what you know about children's development? How does the content address the diversity in learners and learning styles?
  2. Describe what are the theoretical perspectives of the authors of the children's text.  What are the authors' underlying assumptions about how children learn, the relationships among children in a classroom, the role of the teacher, and how parents and the community influence a child's learning?

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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 for 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.

If you choose to work with a classmate on this study, make an appointment to discuss with me how each of you will contribute to your research and presentation.

The research paper will have six 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 the summary using the APA style: http://www.dianahacker.com/resdoc/social_sciences/intext.html
  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?
  5. Works cited page using correct format: http://www.dianahacker.com/resdoc/social_sciences/intext.html
  6. Appendix of the research articles used.


The write-up for the creative project will have five 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?
  5. Works cited page using correct format.
  6. Appendix of the research articles used.

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 Presentation Board and Rubric

Each student will present his/her study in a gallery format during the last two course sessions. Be prepared to explain your study and to answer questions. You will need the following for your presentation:

  1. A presentation board - Purchase a 3-sided poster board and make a visually interesting and informative display. Your presentation board will summarize what you studied. It will include the main points of the first 5 sections of your write-up. Since the purpose of your presentation is to convey your research to your classmates, find ways to give the necessary specifics without overwhelming us. It is not necessary to write anything new, but I suggest that you use bulleted points to highlight:
    • Why the topic is relevant
    • What you learned in your research
    • Your analysis (paper) or a description of your project (creative project)
    • Your conclusions
    • Your research sources (Don't list all of your works cited, only those which you would recommend to your classmates if they wanted to learn more about your topic.)

    You may add anything else to your presentation board which will add to our understanding of your topic (e.g. photos, graphs, tables, illustrations). Those of you who are completing a creative project should bring in your project or photos of the product.

    The following website is a great resource for creating presentation boards: http://www.lcsc.edu/ss150/poster.htm

  2. A 1-page abstract that includes a brief summary of the five sections included on your poster board, copies for each student in the class.
Your presentation poster grade will be based on the following rubric:

Outstanding - A
Good - B
Adequate - C
Inadequate - D
Poster
Text

All requirements included:
* topic's relevance
* research
* analysis (paper) or
project description
* conclusions
* research sources
Text demonstrates depth of understanding of topic.
Analysis is complex and original.

All requirements included:
* topic's relevance
* research
* analysis (paper) or project description
* conclusions
* research sources
Text demonstrates modest understanding of topic.
Analysis is present, but lacks depth.

Most requirements included.
Text demonstrates vague understanding of topic.

Few requirements included.
Little unders-tanding of topic is apparent.

Creativity

Excellent spatial design layout.
Uses many images and graphics.
Understanding of the topic is enhanced by visuals.
Poster is very original & aesthetic.

Good layout of information.
Uses some images and graphics.
Some originality apparent.
Aesthetic presentation.

Material presented with little originality or interpretation.

No special efforts made to present creative display.

Format

Text size and font very easy to read.
No spelling or grammar errors.
Good quality writing.
Bibliography uses correct citation format.
Professional presentation.

Text size and font easy to read.
Minor spelling errors.
Writing quality adequate.
Bibliography with some minor citation format errors.
Good presentation.

Text is difficult to read.
Frequent spelling errors.
Writing quality meets minimal levels.
Bibliography with major citation format errors.
Adequate presentation.

Text is illegible.
Writing quality deficient.
No Bibliography.

Responses to Questions from Audience

Responses to questions show strong command of topic.
Responses add new information and depth.
Clear articulation of ideas.

Responses to questions show good command of topic.
Limited new information added.
Adequate articulation of ideas.

Responses show little command of topic.
Lacks depth.
Lacks clarity.

Difficulty in responding to questions.
Deficient command of content.
No depth.
No clarity.

Abstract

Clearly describes:
* topic's relevance
* research
* analysis (paper) or project description
* conclusions
Sources included.

Describes:
* topic's relevance
* research
* analysis (paper) or project description
* conclusions
Sources included.

Not all components included.
Too long, too short.

Information incoherent or incomplete.

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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 dropouts
  • environmental terratogens
  • effects of advertisements on children
  • achievement tests used in California schools
  • effectiveness of charter 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
  • compiling a reference of health and safety resources for families

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