Understanding how children learn and develop cognitively determines the manner i
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Understanding how children learn and develop cognitively determines the manner in which language arts is taught. As a result of children’s thinking becoming more complex as they age, the spiral curriculum is designed to spin back/revisit outcomes as it rises (A drawing of a DNA molecule works as a metaphor), adding more and more complex strategies as the child grows up. Consider the difference in how basketball is taught from Grade 2 to Grade 10.
Another way of saying this is that the general outcomes stay the same (e.g., 1.1 Discover and Explore) in the chart below. See how they are numbered 1.1 in Grade 2 and Grade 3? Then look below them, see how the Grade 3 specific outcome is more complex than the Grade 2 outcome? Read them now.
If you look in the spiral curriculum called “Illustrative Examples in the Language Arts K-9” you can find the same general and specific outcomes. You will be choosing which outcomes to use for this assignment.
Illustrative Examples in the Language Arts: Program of Study (POS) (Often the Program of Studies is referred to as the “curriculum”.) The English Language Arts: Program of Studies: Illustrative Examples for English Language Arts Scroll through the document above, and jump from general outcome to general outcome: eg. “1.1 Discover and Explore” finding it in Grade 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. to get the structure of the document. Skim all the general outcomes until you see the pattern is the same in each grade.
NOTE: The English Language Arts Program of Studies is an example of a spiral curriculum; general outcomes stay the same from grade to grade, while specific outcomes change. WHY? Brain growth. We, therefore, expect more and more of children as they cognitively become capable of higher-level thinking. This is called cognitive development. Piaget and Vygotsky have theories about how this works.
The general outcomes repeat each year. This is why we do writing every year, but do more complex writing over time. This is why the words and novels get longer each year. This is why we ask more complex questions of Grade 3 students than we do of Grade 2 students. How do we know how fast to advance the children? Research on child development. Curriculum and classroom practices are based upon theories of child development.
Cognitive development is the development of our ability to think, to reason. Piaget and Vygotsky have theories on this. Indeed, the two leading theories in child development used today were written by Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky. Refer to your readings about Piaget’s stages and Vygotsky’s ideas in the modules. You must use BOTH of these theorists in your assignment, but you need to use only one theorist per pair of outcomes. If you do not, a deduction of 5 points will be made.
How to do Assignment 1
You will do the following 3 times. Three charts (like the example below) are required. In this assignment, you will locate the identical general outcome (eg. 1.1 Discover and Explore) then select a pair of very similar specific outcomes, one from Grade 2 and one from Grade 3. You will then extract from the illustrative examples a pair of strategies/activities to go with each specific outcome and copy these strategies into your assignment. You will then describe how both the outcomes and strategies/activities change from Grade 2 to Grade 3. Lastly, you will use Piagetian or Vygotskian theories and show how the theory applies to that pair of strategies. An example is below. Please format your assignment as the example below.
On the site provided above, you’ll find the Illustrative Examples (PDFs) for K-9 Language Arts. All the headings in the left-hand column are general outcomes with the specific outcomes listed below the heading still in the left column. The right-hand column contains suggested strategies/activities (Illustrative examples) to achieve the outcomes. Downloading and saving both Grade 2 and 3 Illustrative examples may make comparisons easier (see the additional resources provided below).
Assignment 1 Example:
Please note the points for each section.
1. First, to orient yourself: find the orange specific outcomes and the strategies (below) in the Illustrative Examples in the Language Arts K- 9 document. This will show you how the same general outcomes repeat (eg. 1.1 Discover and Explore) and how the specific outcomes get more developmentally complex from one grade to the next.
2. Second, choose three pairs. To do a pair, match the general outcome (1.1 Discover and Explore or 1.2 or 1.3 etc. in both grades), then find pairs of similar specific outcomes.
Specific outcome + strategy (Grade 2); specific outcome + strategy (Grade 3). Cut and paste them into your table. (You can arrange the table in a different way if you want. Ultimately, as long as you present the same information, the format is up to you).