DISCUSSION BOARD FORUM GRADING RUBRIC
Levels of Achievement
17 to 18 points
15 to 16 points
All key components of the
Most of the components of the
Discussion Board Forum prompt are Discussion Board Forum prompt
answered in the thread. The thread
are answered in the thread. The
has a clear, logical flow. Major
thread has a logical flow. Major
points are stated clearly. Major
points are stated reasonably well.
points are supported by good
Major points are supported by
examples or thoughtful analysis.
good examples or thoughtful
8 to 9 points
Each reply focuses on a meaningful Most replies focus on a meaningful
point made in another candidate’s
point made in another student’s
thread. Each reply provides
thread. Most replies provide
substantive additional thoughts
substantive additional thoughts
regarding the thread and an
regarding the thread and an
explanation of why the student
explanation of why the student
agrees or disagrees with the idea
likes or dislikes the idea presented
presented in the thread. Each reply is in the thread. Most replies are clear
clear and coherent.
Spelling and grammar are correct.
Some spelling and grammar errors.
Sentences are complete, clear, and
Sentences are presented as well.
concise. Paragraphs contain
Paragraphs contain some varied
appropriately varied sentence
sentence structures. Where
structures. Where applicable,
applicable, references are cited
references are cited in current APA
with some current APA
1 to 14 points
The Discussion Board Forum
prompt is addressed
minimally. The thread lacks
flow or content. Major points
are unclear or confusing.
Major points are not
supported by examples or
1 to 7 points
Some replies focus on a point
made in another student’s
thread. Replies could be more
substantive regarding the
thread. Replies lack clarity
1 to 6 points
Spelling and grammar errors
distract. Sentences are
incomplete or unclear.
Paragraphs are poorly formed.
Where applicable, references
are minimally or not cited in
current APA format.
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The thread minimum word count of
400-500 words is met, but not
exceeded by more than 100 words.
At least 2 replies are present, and a
minimum word count of 150-250
words each is met but not exceeded
by more than 100 words.
Thread and replies include the
required number of citations.
The thread word count is 350-399
At least 2 replies are present and
are 100 words each.
Thread and replies do not include
the required number of citations.
1 to 2 points
The thread word count is 300349 words.
At least 1 reply is present, or a
minimum word count of 1-99
words is met.
Thread and replies do not
Page 2 of 2
Chapter 7 Implementing Instruction—Methods and Materials
After reading and thinking about this chapter on appropriate implementation of instruction, you should
be able to
examine block scheduling and how it can be most effectively implemented;
identify a number of instructional methods and strategies;
explain how teaching in block schedules differs from the traditional five- or six-period day;
identify and explain effective instructional behaviors;
discuss what research says about effective teachers;
provide reasons for developmentally responsive teaching methods and strategies that reflect young
adolescents’ physical, psychosocial, and cognitive developmental characteristics; and
discuss several methods of addressing the needs of students who need accelerative or remedial
Scenario A First-Year Teacher Needs Help
It was 8:30 on a Wednesday evening in November when Jarrold Southworth, a first-year eighth-grade
mathematics teacher at Long View Middle School, called Bria Royster-Gregory. Bria had been Jarrold’s
cooperating teacher when he had done his student teaching the previous spring in an award-winning
middle school in a neighboring district. As the telephone rang at Bria’s house, Jarrold tried to focus on
what he needed to tell her. He’d put this off as long as possible, but he had to face the facts. He just was
not cut out to be a middle school teacher. Jarrold was about ready to give up when Bria answered.
Her joy at hearing Jarrold’s voice faded as Jarrold told her, “I’m leaving the teaching profession in
“But why?” was Bria’s immediate response. “You did a great job in student teaching, and I’ve heard
good things from my friends over at Long View Middle. What happened?”
Jarrold tried to keep his voice calm as he talked about the problems he was having with instruction. “I
just can’t seem to find a way to provide effective instruction to so many students, especially considering
their tremendous diversity. On top of the cultural and gender differences, there are the really bright
students and the ones who seem to take forever to learn something. Plus I have some students with
diagnosed learning disabilities and some English language learners. How can I meet all of their needs all
day, every day? Sure, I coped with these things when I student taught, but that was sixth grade and I’m
teaching eighth grade. I’ve tried some of the things you did, but they didn’t work.”
“Have you talked to anyone on your team or in your school?” Bria asked.
“Yes, I shared my concerns with two teachers in the school. The first, Robbie Van Davier, the social
studies teacher on my team, just shrugged off my concerns by saying, ‘I’m sure you can do it!’ The
second teacher I talked to, Logan McCambridge, on the seventh-grade Panther Team, was a little more
sympathetic and offered encouraging advice.”
“I know Logan—he’s a good teacher. What did he tell you?”
“Oh, he gave me a pep talk about not working alone, sharing more of my concerns with other members
of the team, talking to Rachel Benson in the school library to locate a variety of instructional materials,
and asking some of the other specialists for assistance,” replied Jarrold. “He also mentioned something
about planning differently for the block schedule, but I didn’t get him to explain what he meant.”
“Well,” Bria responded, “what’s wrong with that advice? What’s happened that’s so horrible that you’re
thinking about quitting? You’re a good teacher, a little green, but that’s expected in your first year. Why
not take Logan’s advice and get some help?”
“That’s just it. I’m supposed to be a teacher now and I’m supposed to know how to handle these
instructional problems. If I ask for help, I’ll just show that I’m . . . I’m not a good teacher.”
“Jarrold, listen to me! You are a good teacher. And you have the potential to be a great one, but all of us
need advice at times. Yes, even with my experience, I rely on others for help with a lot of things,
including instruction. You saw that when you student taught. Now, I notice that you talked to Robbie
and Logan but not to the others on your own team. Why?”
Jarrold hesitated and then replied, “Because I didn’t want to appear stupid in front of the women on my
team. They seem to expect so much from me, and they’re so good themselves.”
“Jarrold!” interjected Bria. “You didn’t seem to have trouble talking to me last year. And you called me
tonight. You know, I think you need some good old-fashioned motherly advice, so here it is. First, follow
Logan’s advice and talk to your team members and to Rachel in the library. You can’t isolate yourself
from people who can help you. Paige Faulk is your gifted specialist. Ask her for assistance with the faster
students and ask your remedial resource teacher for help with the students experiencing difficulty. Now
let’s see . . . it’s here somewhere in this stack by my chair. Oh, here it is. Get the January 2010 issue of
the Middle School Journal on celebrating cultural diversity and read it! And doesn’t your school have a
first-year mentor program?”
“Yes,” Jarrold replied. “My mentor is Logan McCambridge. That’s why I talked to him.”
“Go back to Logan and really talk to him. Tell him about your problems. I’ll bet he had some of the same
students in math last year in seventh grade. And don’t even think of turning in your resignation. I never
thought you were a quitter.”
“Okay, you win,” Jarrold said. “I’ll try what you suggested, and I’ll put my letter of resignation on hold for
Bria laughed. “Put that letter of resignation on hold for a long time, Jarrold. Teaching is a challenge, but
it’s one you can handle.”
In Chapter 6, you read about the process of planning instruction, especially IDI, in the middle school.
Now, in Chapter 7, you will turn your attention to the actual implementation of instruction. We hope
you have some familiarity with instructional practices from a general methodology of teaching class and
can relate this information on teaching young adolescents to the general instructional practices that you
This chapter is based on three premises that we hope will permeate all facets of instruction. First, we
believe that the instructional methods you use to teach middle school students should demonstrate an
understanding of the early adolescence developmental period and should show your commitment to
the education of young adolescents. In addition, your instruction should be implemented for
heterogeneous groups, with accommodations made for the varying levels of student abilities. This
means that you must keep in mind the unique abilities; interests; multiple intelligences; and language,
culture, and gender differences of young adolescents. Third, we believe that effective instruction in
middle schools must place emphasis on individual young adolescents’ academic achievement and
overall well-being, provide instruction for groups of various sizes, and ensure some degree of success for
all young adolescents.
Organizing for Instruction
“Time is one of the most challenging constraints a teacher faces in trying to achieve curricular goals and
meet the needs of all students” (Stronge, 2007, p. 53). In fact, the use of instructional time is one of the
most important variables affecting student achievement in middle schools (Fisher & Frey, 2007). One
factor affecting instructional time in a school is the schedule.
In an attempt to avoid the rigid scheduling found in junior high schools, middle level educators have
looked at various types of flexible schedules. These schedules organize classes and educational
experiences to allow for daily variations, thus reflecting a sound middle school concept and ensuring
more equal access to all instructional programs and student support services. For example, flexible
schedules permit the allocation of time and effort according to the needs of students and the nature of
the course content (Murray, 2008).
When combined with other middle school concepts such as interdisciplinary teaming and mixed-ability
grouping, flexible schedules also provide opportunities for the use of a variety of instructional strategies,
including both whole-group and small-group instruction and integrated interdisciplinary instruction. In a
middle school, flexible schedules should accommodate the diversity of students’ cognitive and affective
abilities as well as their need for exercise and rest. This means allowing time for exploratory programs,
advisor–advisee programs, extended blocks of uninterrupted instructional time in which a variety of
activities can occur, teacher-planning time, integration of subjects, varied lengths of instructional time,
and innovation and experimentation with varied time schedules.
One type of flexible schedule is the block schedule, which is frequently found in high schools. Within this
schedule, large blocks of time, typically 90 minutes or more, are allocated for each class, with fewer
classes each day and fewer class changes. Almost any class in the core disciplines, the related domains,
or exploratories, can be held within the large blocks of time. Fisher and Frey (2007) found that a block
schedule along with consistent peer groups in classes can have a direct favorable impact on the
transition from elementary to middle school and on overall student achievement.
Block scheduling can take several forms. During a day at Bell Middle School, students on a 4 × 4 block
schedule have four classes each day, whereas teachers have three classes (Fisher & Frey, 2007).
Students may take classes that last the entire year or ones that last only one semester. A Copernican
schedule includes seminars on topics of student interest and classes on a trimester basis. Both the 4 × 4
fo and the Copernican modifications allow students to enroll in more courses than would be possible
under traditional six- or seven-period schedules. Table 7–1 shows a flexible interdisciplinary block
schedule with a team core in the mornings and directly after lunch and then three afternoon class
periods that can be used for the related domains (art, music, health/physical education), specialized
studies (reading, foreign language), and exploratories. Then, Table 7–2 provides a look at suggestions for
effectively implementing block scheduling.
The trend toward block scheduling has resulted in teachers voicing mixed feelings. Some teachers think
block scheduling contributes to instruction by giving them more time for experiments, demonstrations,
simulations, and class discussions. Other teachers believe that students need instruction and practice
every day and find that students’ attention spans make short periods of instruction ideal. Keeping
Current with Technology 7–1 provides additional resources for information about scheduling.
Undoubtedly, teaching in the block schedule requires teachers to change their instructional plans as well
as their instructional methods. Teachers who adopt the attitude of “I will do the same things I have
always done—I will just cover more information” are likely to feel frustrated, as will their students! Case
Study 7–1 looks at a school that adopted block scheduling and shows how some teachers experienced
success, whereas, unfortunately, others did not.
Keeping Current with Technology 7–1
Visit the following Web sites to answer the following questions: What are some forms of scheduling for
a middle school? How do schedules take into consideration the developmental needs of young
adolescents? How are exploratories and advisories included? How are the related domains included?
What are the reactions of teachers to block scheduling? How must teachers adapt to be successful with
block scheduling? How does a block schedule affect students?
A discussion of block scheduling
Block scheduling: A solution or a problem?
Effect of block scheduling on middle school students’ mathematics achievement
Effects of 4 × 4 block scheduling. http://epaa.asu.edu/ojs/article/view/538
Four-block middle school schedule
Middle school block scheduling—Dr. David H. Vawter, Winthrop University
http://coe.winthrop.edu/vawterd/ Presentations/Middle%20School%20Block% 20Scheduling.pdf
National Middle School Association on block scheduling
Implementing Interdisciplinary Team Teaching
It is important to define what we mean by team teaching and interdisciplinary team teaching (ITT). Team
teaching, a teaming approach developed several decades ago, can be defined as two or more teachers
working together to provide instruction to a group of students. The term is often used to describe a
situation in which two or more teachers on the same grade level share students and common planning
Sometimes, ITT is confused with team teaching. ITT involves a team of two or more subject teachers
who share students and planning time and who work to draw connections between their subjects.
Although these teachers might sometimes teach together, it is not a requirement for ITT. The real
distinction between team teaching and ITT is a curricular one;
Case Study 7–1 Brookside Adopts a Block Schedule
When Brookside Junior High School was switching to the middle school concept, the Organization
Committee, chaired by Cheryl Walker, realized the problems and pitfalls (i.e., the lack of flexibility)
associated with their six-period day. After careful deliberations, the committee recommended a switch
to flexible interdisciplinary block scheduling. However, because the magnitude of such a change would
require careful planning, the committee also recommended hiring a consultant. Inviting their colleagues
to join them, the committee members also planned visits to middle schools to talk with teachers who
had firsthand experiences with block scheduling.
Question 1: Before reading further, what things do you think the Organization Committee should do
before implementing block scheduling?
After the switch was approved by the Brookside faculty and the administrators, Cheryl and her
committee worked with the consultant to develop a model for planning the flexible block schedule and a
detailed implementation plan. Approximately 12 of the 48 Brookside teachers, including 4 of the
members of Cheryl’s committee, received training in flexible scheduling and its implementation. Then,
these 12 teachers (in many cases, former grade-level or subject leaders) worked with and trained the
remaining 36 teachers. Parts of both faculty meetings and the new interdisciplinary team meetings were
devoted to discussions of flexible block scheduling, its advantages, and the potential problems to
consider and address. Two PTA meetings were devoted to the possible implementation of block
scheduling, and the input of both parents and young adolescents was actively sought. Building a
schedule to meet the needs of as many students as possible was not easy, but Cheryl and 2 other
teachers of the initial 12 worked with the assistant principal.
The next year, flexible interdisciplinary block scheduling was implemented in a format similar to that in
Table 7–1, with times for exploratories and advisory programs. It reflected This We Believe: Keys to
Educating Young Adolescents (NMSA, 2010) in that it provided flexibility to use enrichment groups,
cooperative learning, and independent study groups; and it allowed teachers to design and use
educational experiences, to collaborate across teaching specialties, and to share responsibility for
literacy development, guidance and advocacy, and student life.
Two years later, most teachers at Brookside agreed that the implementation of flexible interdisciplinary
block scheduling was successful, but even with the careful planning, problems did exist that had to be
addressed. For example, teachers had to plan differently, and some teachers felt uncomfortable
teaching without formally structured class periods. They were overshadowed, however, by the teachers
who liked the longer periods of time and the accompanying flexibility. In addition, the flexibility and the
heterogeneous groupings that accompanied the new schedule had a positive impact on student
attitudes and performance.
Question 2: Using the information in Table 7–2, identify the instructional strategies you would suggest
the teachers at Brookside consider ...
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