Teaching Strategies (TSTX)
TSTX 500 A Practical Approach to Partnering Pedagogy 3 credits
Traditionally, classrooms and instruction involved the teacher standing in front of students handing down the information they needed to know. However, current pedagogical theory encourages students to be self-directed learners who take ownership over their own education. How can you reconcile these two methodologies in your classroom? In this course, you will gain the resources you need to implement partnering pedagogy in your classroom. With a focus on the need for real-world links to classroom lessons, this approach allows students to lead the learning experience while you provide guidance and direction. You’ll learn how to select lesson topics, create “guiding questions,” and incorporate technology as a learning tool. You’ll also cultivate strategies for evaluating the effectiveness of your partnering-based lessons, including how to involve students in suggesting changes to the learning process. Using the techniques from this course, you will be able to introduce partnering pedagogy into your classroom to combine the best of your unique teaching style and your students’ diverse learning styles and interests. This course is offered through Advancement Course.
TSTX 501 An Educator's Guide to the Common Core 3 credits
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were developed to ensure that students in every state adhere to the same level of expectations as they gain the knowledge and skills they need for college and careers. Whether you are new or experienced with the standards, it can sometimes feel intimidating to figure out how to navigate them or how to fulfill them on a practical level in your classroom. In this course, you will learn how and why the CCSS was developed, and what implementation looks like in math, English Language Arts (ELA), and other subject areas such as science and social studies. You’ll develop teaching approaches that will help you weave together content and practice standards so your students will understand content deeply and also be able to apply it practically. In addition, you’ll cultivate ongoing assessment strategies to help you understand how assessment works within the CCSS (beyond year-end summative evaluations). With the knowledge and techniques from this course, you will be able to navigate the CCSS with confidence and apply the standards to your curriculum so you can set your students up for success well beyond your classroom. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 502 An Effective Guide For Integrating Debate in the Classroom 3 credits
Rhetoric and debate used to be standard classes in schools’ curriculum. Although these classes have fallen by the wayside, the need for effective debating skills and critical thinking has not. As students face the constant communication on the Internet and today’s divisive political and social issues, it is more important than ever that they know how to express their knowledge and opinions skillfully and effectively. Incorporating debate as an instructional strategy in your classroom will help them do just that. In this course, you will review the debate process and how it can promote critical thinking and a deeper connection to content regardless of what subject matter you teach. You’ll learn how to help students form effective arguments, analyze resources, research debate stances, and participate in small-group and whole-class debates. In addition, you will create a series of graphic organizers and scaffolding strategies that will help you engage all of your students in the debate process regardless of natural interest or ability. Debating will help your students improve their public-speaking skills, work collaboratively, and be a more active part of the assessment process. By the end of this course, you will have an actionable plan for integrating debate into your classroom and a strong foundation for making debate an essential element of learning and instruction. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 503 Applying the Habits of Mind in the Classroom and Beyond 3 credits
Problem solving and critical thinking are buzzwords we hear all the time. But how do you teach these broad concepts to your students, particularly in a way that they will continue to use after they’ve left your classroom? In this course, you will explore personal mindset and the role that mindset plays in developing your beliefs about how you learn as well as how your students learn. Habits of Mind consist of 16 behaviors that people can learn to utilize to make them more effective learners. Using the intentional strategies from this course, you will be able to select and create activities that support Habits of Mind and create an environment that encourages their use. In addition, you will be able to assess students’ abilities to use Habits of Mind to ensure that they are internalizing thinking processes that they can use for the rest of their lives. Using the techniques from this course, you will be able to incorporate Habits of Mind into your classroom and school to prepare your students to handle any intellectual challenge that comes their way. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 504 Bell Ringers and Exit Slips: Creating Powerful Beginnings and Endings 3 credits
Getting your students quiet, focused, and primed for learning during the first five minutes of class can be extremely challenging. However, integrating bell ringers (i.e., quick, targeted start-of-class activities that students do at their desks) and exit slips (i.e., activities completed during the last five minutes of class) into your instruction can make beginning and ending a class less difficult. In this course, you will develop concrete, actionable strategies for choosing bell ringers and exit slips based on curricular objectives. You’ll learn how to differentiate bell ringer and exit slip activities for diverse learners (e.g., English language learners, students with special needs) and formatively assess student work so you can modify instruction going forward. In addition, you’ll review examples of bell ringers and exit slips for different subject areas so you can engage students in creative and critical thinking and incorporate these activities into daily instruction. Using the techniques and resources from this course, you’ll be able to easily implement best practices for using bell ringers and exit slips to start and end every class period successfully. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 505 Better Teaching and Learning With Formative Assessment 3 credits
Nothing is more disappointing than grading a big test or paper only to find that your students performed poorly despite weeks or months of faithful teaching. You wonder where you or the students went wrong, and it feels too late to rectify the situation. Formative assessments provide both you and your students with an opportunity to check students’ progress and understanding. Formative assessments are a range of informal and formal assessments that give you the feedback you need to modify instruction to better meet students’ needs. You can use them in any subject or with any age group, making them a versatile tool for all teachers. In this course, you will learn how to use formative assessments to quickly and effectively gauge student learning. If you find that students are struggling, you’ll be able to analyze and apply the data from formative assessments to modify your instruction immediately. In addition, you will develop techniques for effective questioning and feedback to help students course-correct long before a final test, project, or writing assignment. By the end of this course, you will be armed with numerous strategies for ensuring that all of your students are truly mastering the material for each step of your instruction. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 506 Beyond Survival Mode: Maintaining your Passion Throughout your Teaching Career 3 credits
Why did you become a teacher? For many of us, the inspiration to teach springs from a deep desire to serve the next generation and make the world a better place through learning. However, the path to becoming a master teacher is filled with challenges that can seem to be roadblocks toward those dreams. How do successful teachers keep that fire burning within them? What traits do they share that push them to sustain a high level of effectiveness? In this course, you will explore your past and your inner motivations to help you reawaken the passion that will sustain you throughout your career. Whether you are seasoned or brand new to teaching, you’ll benefit from examining excellent teachers to learn how to tackle your fears, move through the stages of teaching, and discover what it means to become a complete teacher. In addition, you’ll cultivate techniques for building a strong community among your colleagues so you can learn from and support one another. Using the techniques from this course, you will be able to move beyond survival mode and nurture the passion that led you to teaching throughout your entire career. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 507 Building Blocks for Success: Scaffolding in the Classroom 3 credits
Each student enters the classroom with a different set of skills and needs, a common occurrence that can make instruction challenging. Scaffolding is an effective educational technique that considers every student’s initial abilities and supports your students’ progress toward academic proficiency and independent learning. But how do you scaffold without overwhelming yourself or your students? In this course, you’ll examine the concept of the zone of proximal development (ZPD), determine the ZPD’s relationship to scaffolding instruction, and learn the benefits of scaffolding in the classroom. You’ll explore best practices for creating (and gradually removing) initial scaffolds that are appropriate for each student’s skill level and needs, and the relationship between instructional scaffolding and differentiated instruction. You’ll also learn methods for evaluating your students’ progress that will help you identify when to remove these scaffolds to promote student success. Using the techniques from this course, you’ll be able to use scaffolding to provide each of your students with differentiated instruction that will support their personal academic development and promote their shift toward greater independence.This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 508 Building Cultural Competency to Improve Instruction and Student Achievement 3 credits
Although our society’s dedication to serving diverse populations has increased dramatically in the last few decades, it can be easy to miss the subtle ways cultural background can impact students’ learning in your classroom. Whether it’s other students’ behavior or your own methods of communication, small differences in culture can confuse and alienate different populations of students. In this course, you will learn strategies for how to teach with cultural competence so that all students receive active support in the classroom, thus limiting their risk of dropout. You’ll start by examining your own cultural background and how that impacts your thinking, and also learn how to assess students’ backgrounds, including identifying gifted and talented, special needs, and at-risk students. You will cultivate tools and resources for fostering an inclusive learning environment; communicating clearly both verbally and nonverbally; and working with families and support services to help students succeed. By learning more about your own and others’ cultures, you’ll be able to handle even the most culturally sensitive scenarios to ensure a safe space for all students to learn and grow. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 509 Building Effective Communication Skills in the Classroom 3 credits
Communication is essential for any relationship, whether it’s a spouse, friend, or colleague. The need for good communication increases tenfold when you are dealing with an entire classroom of students with whom you need to communicate and who need to communicate with each other in a healthy, effective way. In this course, you will learn how to communicate effectively with students, parents, and co-teachers to create a strong classroom environment of open communication. Such an environment will aid students in developing and strengthening their communication skills by focusing on interpersonal and group communications. Key topics include verbal and nonverbal communication, listening and giving feedback, written communication, and modeling effective communication in the classroom. You’ll also learn strategies for improving multicultural communication and integrating social media and other modern forms of technology to facilitate open dialogue in your class. Using the techniques from this course, you will become a strong communicator who can effectively manage relationships with parents, students, and colleagues, and model good communication to help your students grow to be skilled and thoughtful communicators. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 510 Building Presentation Skills for Success 3 credits
Although technology has changed our methods and modes of communication, the need for good presentation and communication skills is still the same. Whether you have a class of talkers or shy students, native or non-native English speakers, all of your students need to be able to organize and communicate their thoughts clearly to succeed in their future education and careers. In this course, you will discover how to create a classroom environment that helps students strengthen their presentation skills. Key topics will include presentation types, effective speech writing, delivery skills, remembering the audience, researching for your presentation, and persuasion. You’ll be able to model good communication skills and lead your students through every step of creating a presentation, from brainstorming to delivery. In addition, you’ll learn how to incorporate technology into your own and your students’ presentations. Using the strategies from this course, you will be able to prepare your students to be effective, persuasive communicators who can succeed in the workplace and beyond. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 511 Classroom Management Strategies for an Organized Classroom 3 credits
Classroom management encompasses all of your interactions with your students, the classroom environment, rules and procedures, instructional strategies, and development of engaging work. If any aspect of classroom management is weak, student achievement will suffer. Sometimes this can feel overwhelming in the face of disorderly students and the numerous expectations placed on teachers. In this course, you will develop practical, effective classroom management techniques based on current research and best practices. You’ll create a toolkit of behavior management approaches, including how to address off-task behaviors and develop positive rapport with students. When you arrange your classroom effectively and create appropriate structures, you’ll be able to teach students self-regulation and enhance social–emotional learning so that they will be more engaged in the topics at hand and less likely to be off task. Using the strategies from this course, you will be able to create a classroom environment of mutual respect, positive interactions, and engaged, self-controlled learning. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 512 Classroom Management Strategies for Student-Centered Instruction 3 credits
In the past, classroom management techniques have focused on teachers—giving advice on how to instruct students and manage their behavior. In contrast, effective classroom management in the 21st century calls for a shift to student-centered approaches that place students at the center of the learning experience. In this course, you will learn how to work with your students to set up a classroom that supports exploration, motivates students, and authentically engages them in meaningful learning experiences. You will develop techniques for building positive teacher–student relationships and dealing with difficult students to prevent power struggles. With student-centered instruction, your students will practice taking responsibility for themselves, making good choices, and taking ownership over their own learning. You can aid them in this process by creating activities with high levels of engagement and nurturing a prosocial learning environment that drives positive academic and social outcomes. With the strategies you learn in this course, you will be able to transform your classroom into an environment where students take charge of themselves and their learning. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 513 Coaching for Character 3 credits
Coaches play a unique role in their students’ lives that impacts much more than their athletic performance. In a position that lies somewhere between parent, friend, and teacher, coaches have the ability to help students grow not only as athletes but also as human beings. In this course, you will learn how you can use coaching to connect with your students and instill important, lifelong values in them. You’ll examine how the psychological benefits of playing sports contrast with the dangers of developing negative attitudes and behaviors, and how to help your student athletes overcome these difficulties. In addition, you will assess your approach to sportsmanship, particularly in terms of building individual character and showing respect for the team, opponents, officials, and other coaches. Finally, you will explore different coaching philosophies and create a plan for implementing a character education curriculum with athletes. Using the techniques from this course, you will be equipped to teach your student athletes how to excel not only on the playing field but also in their day-to-day lives for years to come. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 514 Cognitive Coaching in Education 3 credits
We often emphasize the importance of feedback for students, but what about feedback for our own teaching practices and techniques? Annual reviews and occasional observations don’t always provide the information we need to understand our unique teaching styles and make essential improvements. However, through a process of deliberate questioning and analysis, cognitive coaching can provide the insight you need to meaningfully examine your teaching. In this course, you will learn how to improve your own and your colleagues’ teaching practices and professional growth mind-sets through cognitive coaching. You’ll explore the process of cognitive coaching, including both the coach and the “mentee” role, and brainstorm ways you can implement the practice at your school. The practice of cognitive coaching will provide you and your colleagues with an in-depth analysis of your teaching practices and give you tools to help you reflect and improve so you can increase your students’ success. Using the methods from this course, you will be able to use cognitive coaching techniques to give and receive feedback that will positively impact students, teachers, administrators, and your school culture. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 515 Constructing and Evaluating a Curriculum 3 credits
Whether you’re starting from scratch or adding your own flair to material someone else created, constructing a curriculum can be overwhelming. There are so many decisions to make and factors to consider that you can sometimes feel defeated before you start. In this course, you will take an in-depth look at curriculum development and delivery. The information and activities within the course will help you determine your students’ unique needs so you can create student-centered learning outcomes. To figure out what works best for you, you’ll examine research-based curriculum approaches such as integrated studies, project-based learning (PBL), and growth mindset. In addition, you’ll learn how to evaluate curriculum, from curriculum mapping to instructor evaluation, to ensure that your curriculum is effective and engaging for all involved. Using the tools from this course, you will be able to confidently build and evaluate your curriculum to ensure that your students’ needs, your teaching style, and your learning standards all align and work together to create a dynamic educational experience. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 516 Co-Teaching Strategies 3 credits
Co-teaching can have enormous benefits for both you and your students. However, co-teaching requires careful planning and coordination to ensure that students receive unified, cohesive instruction—and that you and your co-teachers have a smooth, stress-free experience. In this course, you will learn strategies and best practices for how to build a successful instructional team that can effectively meet the diverse needs of today’s classrooms. You’ll examine six different co-teaching models and how to best apply them in your context, and you’ll also gather tools for effective classroom management, lesson planning, and differentiation in a co-teaching classroom. In addition, you’ll learn how to define the various co-teaching roles and responsibilities; plan for and execute instruction to optimize learning in a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework; and establish and maintain a positive rapport with your co-teaching partners and students for a powerful and engaging learning experience. By the end of this course, you will be equipped with the knowledge, skills, and resources you need to co-teach successfully and create positive student and teacher outcomes. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 517 Creating a Cooperative Learning Classroom 3 credits
Cooperative learning encourages students to work together to maximize their own and one another’s learning. When structured well, it helps students learn to work together more effectively. Cooperation offers not just a way of learning, but a positive way of life. In this course, you will take an in-depth look at the cooperative learning approach, including tools for integrating cooperative learning into all aspects of your practice. You will learn to transform your curricular design, teaching strategies, classroom environment, classroom management, and assessments to favor cooperative learning and improve student learning and engagement. In addition, you’ll develop strategies for creating student groups that will maximize students’ participation and create a healthy interdependence among all group members to learn. Using the techniques from this course, you will be able to structure your classroom to enjoy all the benefits of cooperative learning to increase students’ engagement and critical thinking skills. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 518 Creating a Highly Engaging Lesson Plan 3 credits
Have you ever spent hours researching and planning a lesson only to be met with bored stares, complaints, and lackluster participation from your students? No matter how important or exciting the content is, the lesson design must be equally engaging to capture students’ attention so they’ll be motivated to focus and retain the information long after the lesson itself. In this course, you will examine how to develop and execute highly engaging lesson plans regardless of what grade or subject you teach. You’ll learn how to identify the signs of student engagement and analyze highly engaging lessons so you can replicate effective strategies in your own instruction. In addition, you’ll create differentiated activities and assessments tailored to diverse learning styles and achievement levels so you can keep all students engaged based on their unique interests and abilities. Using the resources and techniques from this course, you will be have a plethora of engaging learning opportunities you can use in your classroom to help students learn more deeply. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 519 Cultivating Student-Centered Classrooms 3 credits
In the traditional approach to teaching and learning, the burden of designing and communicating learning tasks falls primarily on the teacher. In student-centered instruction (SCI), much of this heavy lifting is shifted to the students, even at the earliest stages of learning. SCI facilitates increased motivation to learn, greater retention of knowledge, deeper understanding, and more positive attitudes toward the content and the work involved in learning. But how do you shift your classroom from traditional to student centered? In this course, you will explore how student-centered instruction can extend and enhance students’ learning, improve 21st-century skills, and engage reluctant learners. You will learn how to incorporate SCI into every aspect of teaching and learning, including planning, management, assessment, and meeting the needs of diverse learners. In addition, you will develop strategies to help students become independent learners who can create, explore, discover, problem solve, and innovate—all valuable skills they will need to thrive in college and careers. By the end of this course, you will be equipped with the knowledge, skills, and resources you need to implement SCI in your classroom and increase your students’ achievement and engagement in your class and beyond. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 520 Designing Blended Learning for Student Engagement and Achievement 3 credits
Students are now digital natives: tech-savvy individuals whose regular interaction with technology influences how they learn, think, and communicate. With this major change to the way students understand and interact with the world, it is essential that teachers integrate technology in their instruction to build students’ digital literacy, engagement, and career and college readiness. This course is designed as a guide for teachers who are interested in integrating blended learning in into their classrooms to increase student engagement and achievement, differentiate instruction, and connect students to meaningful, community-driven learning experiences. By the end of the course, you will be able to design and implement meaningful blended learning experiences with objective-aligned assessments and activities that address students’ unique characteristics as digital natives and foster core 21st-century skills. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 521 Designing Online Assessments for Students 3 credits
Online assessments are becoming more and more popular even in the traditional K–12 classroom. Online assessments give you more options for creativity and also reinforces vital computer proficiency skills for students. But how do you incorporate online assessments into your class? What types of activities are possible, and how do you offer useful feedback to your students in this medium? In this course, you will learn how to leverage the resources and tools currently available to you to develop effective formative and summative assessments. You will explore ways to create authentic and engaging assessments online and how to provide meaningful and instructive feedback in an efficient and timely manner. In addition, you’ll develop strategies for implementing collaborative group projects to help your students learn how to work together in an online space. Using the techniques from this course, you’ll be able to incorporate online assessments in your class in a way that makes sense for your context and that will help your students learn and grow on a deeper level. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 522 Differentiated Instruction 3 credits
If you’ve been a teacher for any length of time, you know that all students learn differently. They have different learning styles, abilities, and preferences, and in a typical classroom, their skills can vary from below grade level to at grade level to above grade level. This leaves you with the challenge of planning instruction that reaches a wide range of learners so that all students have the individual support they need to achieve at their highest level. Differentiated instruction (DI) is an educational approach of tailoring instruction to meet the needs of individual students. When you use DI effectively, students will be engaged in learning in the manner that suits them best without adding significant planning or instructional time for you. In this course, you will master the skills necessary to effectively differentiate instruction for optimal achievement by all students. You will learn how to identify individual students’ needs and learning styles, and create activities and tiered lessons that will meet those needs. You will cultivate different strategies for grouping students, arranging your classroom, and using cognitive approaches that help students take ownership of their learning. Using the practical and easy-to-implement strategies from this course, you will be equipped to reach and teach every student regardless of proficiency level and learning style. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 523 Effective Classroom Management for the 21st Century 3 credits
The needs of students in today’s classroom are so diverse that they can be overwhelming. Several students may speak different languages at home than they do at school. Some students come to school hungry or unsettled from the challenges they face at home. Regardless of students’ socioeconomic background, they may enter the classroom with various personal struggles that affect day-to-day learning and interaction with peers. How do you address these classroom management challenges in ways that cultivate your students’ sense of self, support them in making more appropriate choices in the future, and create an environment in which they can thrive emotionally and academically? In this course, you’ll find answers to these questions and more. You’ll explore 21st-century research-based approaches to classroom management. Using these strategies, you’ll be able to create a classroom that enhances students’ emotional intelligence and academic achievement, boosts their confidence, and equips them with skills that will help them succeed in your class and beyond. You will build routines and expectations that empower students to choose positive behaviors and take ownership of their actions, thus cutting down on interruptions and power struggles while you are teaching. The techniques in this course will enable you to create thriving, positive learning environments for your students—and for you. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 524 Empowering Students through Educational Equity 3 credits
If you teach in a low-income school, you may have noticed that your students don’t respond well to traditional educational methods or that they show signs of having experienced academic inequity. To alleviate these difficulties and prepare your students for future scholastic and social challenges, teachers in urban schools should take advantage of new pedagogical approaches that consider your students’ circumstances, provide them with a safe educational environment, and help them thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. In this course, you’ll study various factors that influence the social, emotional, mental, and academic development of students from diverse backgrounds and standards of living. You’ll learn strategies for extending the classroom and for developing and modifying effective, meaningful instruction and activities that engage these students, meet their needs, and prepare them for college and a career. In addition, you’ll examine the benefits of creating assessments that measure your students’ performance based on new criteria for achieving academic success. By the end of the course, you’ll be able to cultivate a learning environment that supports your students’ academic and socioemotional development to prepare them for 21st-century opportunities. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 525 Essential Teaching Practices for the 21st Century Teacher 3 credits
Teaching in this century requires a new approach that actively meets the needs of digital natives (students who have always had personal technology in their lives). To engage your technologically savvy students, you need to incorporate educational strategies that integrate technology and differentiation into your instruction and assessments. In this course, you’ll learn how to inspire 21st-century students to think critically about the world, engage appropriately with digital tools and social media, and build the creative, collaborative, and communicative skills they’ll need to succeed. You’ll review best practices for improving achievement, such as aligning lessons to the Common Core State Standards and targeted learning outcomes. In addition, you’ll acquire strategies for connecting instruction to real-life experiences, improving classroom management, providing targeted feedback on formative and summative assessments, activating prior knowledge to enhance learning experiences, and using technology, differentiation, and student-centered instruction to support diverse learners. Using the techniques from this course, you’ll be able to incorporate technology into your instruction and assessments to engage your students in solving complex real-world problems, foster cooperative learning in the classroom, and ensure their success in the contemporary world. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 526 Flexible Seating 3 credits
The physical space of our classrooms is one of the components of our teaching practice over which we have some control. The way we utilize the space we are given can help or hinder classroom management, facilitate or limit collaboration in group work, and impact how we are able to differentiate instruction. For these reasons, more teachers are turning to flexible seating design to best meet the needs of their students. Flexible seating is one of the cornerstones of the student-centered classroom and is backed by research that supports the impact of movement on learning. Flexible seating is more than just a variety of seating; instead, it’s a space organized to provide academic growth and student engagement with accountability and ownership of learning. Teachers who choose flexible seating need to know that there is some prep work involved and guidelines to follow to ensure flexible seating works for you and your students. This course will provide the tools for you to implement flexible seating in your classroom. In each module, we will look at how teachers content guides the organization of the space for student learning. The course will provide ways for you to look at the purpose of flexible seating and how to assess the needs of the classroom with your philosophy of teaching in mind, but also setting up an effective classroom for active learning and increasing student accountability. The modules will also explain research on brain-based methods for improving learning that can be achieved through changing a classroom from traditional to flexible seating. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 527 Flipping Your Classroom: Redefining Homework and Instruction 3 credits
Would you be willing to turn your traditional classroom on its head if you thought it would increase student engagement and achievement? Flipped learning—a new framework for instruction—does just that. In a flipped classroom, the teacher inverts traditional teaching methods by delivering instruction online and through videos outside of the classroom and moving homework into the classroom. This method provides students with ample opportunities to engage in authentic, application-based learning with timely and consistent feedback from the teacher. In this course, you will examine different flipped learning models and select one that works for your students’ diverse interests and needs. Next, you will develop strategies for overcoming the potential challenges of switching to this model, and also set up a learning management system to help you streamline your course content. Finally, you will plan differentiated learning activities and assessments that will help your students master the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. In a flipped learning environment, you can increase student motivation, manage student behavior, and differentiate instruction in a brand new way. This course gives you all the tools you need to flip your classroom in a way that works for your teaching style and your unique population of students. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 528 Fostering Teacher Collaboration within Small Groups 3 credits
In the midst of grading, lesson planning, parent communications, and the myriad other responsibilities teachers have, collaborating with other teachers can sometimes feel like the last thing you want to add to your plate. However, when you have the right tools and mind-set for it, collaboration can actually make your teaching and lesson planning a stronger and less stressful experience. In this course, you will explore your personal mind-set about collaboration among teachers. Whether or not you’re experienced with this type of collaboration, you’ll learn the benefits of partnering with other teachers to improve your own practice and benefit student learning. You’ll also explore how building on social capital can create an improved learning environment and how you might be able to plan lessons and projects with other teachers. In addition, you’ll gather the resources you need to facilitate professional learning communities, including book studies, action research projects, lesson studies, and peer observation. Using the strategies from this course, you will be able not only to find the time for building a strong learning community, but also to maximize your collaboration for the benefit of yourself and others. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 529 Grading for Mastery: Guiding Students Though the Learning Process 3 credits
As teachers, we’ve all had the frustrating experience of students memorizing enough to get an “A” on the test, only to forget the material a week later. This type of grading and learning doesn’t help students grow and doesn’t help you know where they are actually succeeding or needing additional help. Mastery grading may be just the solution you need to solve this problem. Unlike traditional grading, mastery grading focuses on evaluating whether students have actually mastered a learning standard (rather than whether they attained a certain letter grade) before they move on to the next level. In this course, you will examine the history and purposes of grading, including your own beliefs about the practice. You’ll compare and contrast traditional grading with mastery grading and see how mastery grading aligns with Common Core State Standards. In addition, you’ll consider the impact of zeros, deductions for late submissions, homework completion, and test redos on student learning. Finally, you’ll learn how to incorporate mastery grading principles even if your school or district doesn’t, and how to create buy-in among parents and colleagues. Using the techniques from this course, you will be able to implement mastery grading in your classroom to encourage students to focus on learning, not simply earning a grade. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 530 Highly Effective Questioning Strategies for Teachers 3 credits
According to Brandon Cline (2018), “while asking questions may seem a simple task, it is perhaps the most powerful tool we possess as teachers.” Through questioning, we have the power to push our students’ thinking to the highest levels. We have the power to create challenging, rigorous tasks that help our students grow academically, think deeply, and spark their curiosities. In this course, you will learn exactly how to implement highly effective questioning strategies into your daily instruction so that your students can reach beyond their potential. This course will introduce you to highly effective questioning strategies by clearly explaining the purpose behind questioning and how it impacts student achievement. After developing a clear understanding of why teachers ask questions, you will begin to explore the Bloom’s Taxonomy framework and use it to create questions at various levels. Next, you will learn exactly what makes a question “high quality” and then use this knowledge to create your own rigorous questions. After creating questions, it is important to know what to do and how to respond after your students answer your questions. You will learn how to give specific feedback that addresses confusion as well as pushes students to think even more deeply. Finally, you will apply all that you learned in this course to shift the balance of power in your classroom so that your students become good questioners and take charge of their own learning. By the end of this course, you will be equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to use questioning as a daily instructional strategy in your classroom. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 531 How to Stop Playing Catch-Up: Time Management for Teachers 3 credits
For many teachers, it feels like there is never enough time to do everything for work and still have time to breathe, reflect, and spend time on outside interests. Time management is the thread that runs through almost all aspects of teaching — planning and organizing the day/week/month/year, dealing with interruptions, communicating with colleagues and parents, planning lessons, grading, and the list goes on. With a more efficient approach to instruction, teachers experience increased work performance and less stress, and, as a result, better personal and academic outcomes for students. In this course, teachers will gain concrete, practical tools to assess how they currently spend their time, identify where they can streamline or eliminate tasks, manage the challenges posed by unplanned interruptions and distractions, and increase efficiency with work email, lesson and assessment planning, grading, and other daily tasks. By the end of the course, teachers will be equipped with an actionable set of best practices to successfully tackle any time management challenge—and stop playing catch-up. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 532 Level Up! Student Achievement Through Gamification and Game-Based Learning 3 credits
Video games are characterized by compelling storylines, immediate feedback, and rewards for achievements, all of which make them engaging and motivating to players. Game-based learning and gamification use these and other game-based strategies to transform how students learn. In a gamified learning environment, the coursework is the game and the students are the players! In this course, you will take an in-depth look at games, gaming culture, and game design to identify the characteristics of gameplay that make it such a powerful learning tool. Regardless of whether or not you use technology, you can incorporate best practices to gamify your instruction to leverage the benefits of gameplay, and develop strategies to move the classroom from teacher centered to student centered. In addition, you’ll learn methods for transforming lessons into multiplayer games that engage all types of learners, including gifted learners and students with special needs. By the end of this course, you will be equipped with strategies for creating and selecting educational games that are best suited for your content, your grade level, and your students’ unique interests and needs. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 533 Making the Grade: Crafting Measurable and Meaningful Learning Outcomes 3 credits
Learning outcomes have become a staple of most educational settings. However, many teachers still struggle with creating learning outcomes that are both measurable by assessment and meaningful to their classroom and students’ learning. In this course, you will learn the basics of learning outcomes, including their importance to student learning and their role in assessment. You will explore how to write measurable learning outcomes using frameworks such as Bloom’s taxonomy and ensure that these outcomes are meaningful in immediate learning as well as 21st-century learning skills. In addition, you’ll cultivate specific strategies and practices for improving learning outcomes and assessments and explore the role of backward design in creating learning outcomes that will most benefit your students and overall practice. Using the techniques from this course, you will be able to create learning objectives that truly measure the skills you want your students to demonstrate and ensure that your lessons and assessments align to create a powerful, cohesive learning experience. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 534 Making Thinking Visible 3 credits
What is thinking? It’s a process you probably reference in your classroom every day, but how often do you stop and consider what effective thinking really looks like? What are the best instructional practices to promote active, higher-level thinking that is visible to both you and your students? In this course, you will learn to create an environment that fosters and supports an active culture of thinking and learning in the classroom. You’ll plan explicit instruction that encourages students to “show” their thought processes so both you and they can measure their level of understanding. As students develop a greater awareness of their own metacognitive strategies and problem-solving skills, they become more independent and capable of directing their own learning through the use of specific thought mechanisms. With the techniques you learn in this course, you will be able to guide your students to be deep, independent thinkers who can approach any new topic using sound metacognitive exercises. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 535 Motivating Unmotivated Students (Research and Practice) 3 credits
Students come to class with varying levels of motivation. Some are ready and eager to learn, while others struggle to engage in content. Why do students’ levels of motivation differ so greatly? And is there anything you can do to motivate unmotivated students? For better or worse, motivation affects student learning, but luckily, you have the unique opportunity to positively impact all students regardless of their motivation level when they enter the classroom. In this course, you will explore the major theories of motivation, your role in encouraging and promoting student motivation, and strategies you can implement to develop students’ mind-set toward learning. You’ll examine learning approaches, the concepts of growth mind-set and grit, and the importance of encouraging academic risk. In addition, you’ll learn how to set up your classroom physically, socially, emotionally, and intellectually so the environment itself is motivating to your students. Using the techniques from this course, you will be able to motivate even the most reluctant student to come to class ready to learn. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 536 Operation Organization: Establishing Order in Your Classroom 3 credits
A well-organized classroom is an important instructional tool. When everything has a place and there is a clear system for maintaining order, students and teachers can focus on learning. In an organized classroom, desks are tidy, papers are filed, materials are accounted for, and the physical layout matches the needs of instructional activities. But with the many tasks and responsibilities teachers juggle on a daily basis, keeping the classroom organized often loses top priority. In this course, you will garner practical, proven methods for creating and maintaining an organized classroom throughout the school year. You will design a personalized organization plan that best supports students and instructional goals, including everything from eliminating clutter to creating a functional filing system for storing important resources and curriculum materials. In addition, you’ll learn how to motivate students to be active participants in your classroom’s organization and take ownership of your shared space. By the end of this course, you will be able to implement organizational strategies that reduce distractions and promote productivity, a sense of control, and efficiency for the benefit of both you and your students. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 537 Personalized Professional Development Practicum 3 credits
How many times have you sat through a professional development session that had little to do with your professional situation or learning needs? Research tells us that differentiated instruction leads to positive outcomes in the classroom, and teachers are no exception to this idea. That’s why it’s so important to know that what you’re learning is relevant, useful, and worthy of your time. Personalized professional development allows you to customize your professional development to ensure that the content is meaningful to you and fuels your passion for the art of teaching. In this course, you will have the opportunity to create your own personalized professional development experience. You’ll develop your own goals, learning objectives, learning methods, and timeline for pursuing the knowledge and skills you need most for where you are in your career. Using an ePortfolio to track your journey, you will curate and build highly practical artifacts that will help you in a way that is authentic to you and your teaching situation. In addition, you’ll develop methods for sharing what you learn with others. Reflect on these questions: • What do you feel passionately about when it comes to teaching? • In which area could you improve the most as a teacher? (This one can be hard to confront, but remember, you want to grow from this experience.) • What trends have you noticed in education (pedagogy, content, behavior management) that inspire you? What trends concern you? • Is there a unit that you would love to develop for your class? Perhaps a unit you have taught before that needs revamping or a completely new topic that supports the standards in your content area? • Have you led (or will you lead in the near future) an extracurricular experience that you could use as inspiration for your professional development? Could you use your experience (for example, a trip with students to Washington, D.C.) to create a virtual experience for future students? • Have you attended (or will you attend in the near future) a professional conference? Could you share that learning with colleagues? By the end of this course, you will learn how to leverage learning experiences that are meaningful to you and create tools that you can start using in your classroom today.This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 538 Project-Based Learning in the Elementary Classroom 3 credits
If you want to create consistently engaging lessons that promote critical thinking, capture student attention, and provide real-world connections, project-based learning may be for you. In project-based learning, students work for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a complex question, problem, or challenge. This approach engages students in solving real-world problems and often encourages them to reach across subject areas and see connections between disciplines. In this course, you will learn exactly how project-based learning works and review numerous examples of a variety of projects. You will then brainstorm project ideas, driving questions, and culminating products. Using backward design, you will create projects based on student interests and curricular requirements to ensure that students are mastering important topics in an authentic and engaging way. By the end of the course, you will be equipped to plan and implement project-based learning in your classroom in a way that inspires and motivates your elementary school students. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 539 Project-Based Learning in the Middle and High School Classroom 3 credits
If you want to create consistently engaging lessons that promote critical thinking, capture student attention, and provide real-world connections, project-based learning may be for you. In project-based learning, students work for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a complex question, problem, or challenge. This approach engages students in solving real-world problems and often encourages them to reach across subject areas and see connections between disciplines. In this course, you will learn exactly how project-based learning works and review numerous examples of a variety of projects. You will then brainstorm project ideas, driving questions, and culminating products. Using backward design, you will create projects based on student interests and curricular requirements to ensure that students are mastering important topics in an authentic and engaging way. By the end of the course, you will be equipped to plan and implement project-based learning in your classroom in a way that inspires and motivates your middle and high school students. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 540 Rewiring Education: Teaching and Assessing Essential 21st Century Fluencies 3 credits
We hear about 21st-century skills all the time in education, in the news, and in governmental policies. But what does this term really mean? What skills are essential for young people to succeed in this digital age? In this course, you will learn the essential skills and techniques you need to effectively integrate 21st-century fluencies into your curriculum. You’ll develop strategies for cultivating students’ knowledge and skills in solution fluency, information fluency, creativity fluency, media fluency, and collaboration fluency. In addition, you’ll learn practical methods for integrating technology into your teaching, and for assessing 21st-century fluencies. Using the techniques from this course, you will be able to define and teach your students the skills they need to succeed in the digital world and workforce. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 541 Study Smarter, Not Harder: A Practical Guide to Teaching Study Skills 3 credits
Effective study skills are essential to student success at every grade level. Students must know how to identify what to study, develop a study plan, and implement effective study tactics without having to rely constantly on their teachers. However, researchers have found that many of the study methods that are taught in schools are ineffective and do not advance learning or memory retention. In this course, you will build pedagogical approaches for teaching study skills that increase students’ independence, retention, and confidence. You’ll learn practical, scientifically based best practices grounded in cognitive science and educational research to help your students succeed. In addition, you will examine common study weaknesses and how to model and scaffold metacognitive techniques to help students build strategies that will work for them. Using the techniques from this course, you will be able to integrate explicit study instruction into your existing curriculum so you can build students’ skills for academic success and lifelong learning. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 542 Teachers as Leaders 3 credits
Teachers lead their students every day in the classroom, but there are so many more opportunities for teachers to make an impact. Through leadership roles, teachers can help support retention in their schools, create a pathway to school-wide and district leadership, encourage professional development, participate in sustained school improvement efforts, and more. In this course, you will explore the various roles of teacher leaders in your school and district. You’ll learn the value of distributed leadership in the school community and how you can establish yourself in leadership roles to support these structures. In addition, you’ll gain concrete tools for running effective meetings, supporting colleagues in engaging in constructive dialogue, and implementing practices that build leadership and collaborative structures. Finally, you’ll examine the impact of teacher leadership on school improvement through research and case studies. With the knowledge and techniques from this course, you will be able to sharpen your leadership skills so you can better serve your colleagues and improve your team, school, and district.This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 543 Teaching for Rigor in K-12 Classrooms 3 credits
It seems everywhere you turn, there’s an article or blog post emphasizing the importance of “rigor” in the classroom. But what exactly is rigor, and how do you incorporate it on a practical level in your classroom? In this course, you will examine how to effectively implement rigorous instruction in every stage of the lesson cycle and in the classroom as a whole. Through an interactive and hands-on approach, you will learn how to promote participation, independent thought, and critical thinking, and how to structure rigorous activities to best facilitate meaningful and purposeful engagement in the classroom. Examples include using gamification, project-based learning, small-group discussion, Socratic questioning, and writing exercises to challenge students to interact more deeply and authentically with content. In addition, you’ll either gather or create a set of activities, scaffolding devices, and graphic organizers that you can start using in your classroom immediately to help your students grow and succeed. Using the strategies from this course, you will be able to prepare your students for life outside the classroom by pushing them to learn and grow in a way that’s appropriately rigorous for their level of understanding. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 544 Teaching The African-American Student 3 credits
It’s no secret that an achievement gap exists for many African-American students in the U.S. education system. But what are the real causes behind this gap, and what can you do to help bridge it for your students? In this course, you will take an in-depth look at the cultural, political, and socioeconomic factors that contribute to the statistically lower performance among African-American students. You’ll learn to create culturally responsive classroom practices that aim to overcome the barriers and biases that impact African-American students. This includes a series of guiding principles in assessment, instruction, and cultural enrichment that engage and support this population of students. In addition, you’ll learn instructional and assessment strategies that will help even the most vulnerable students feel confident, motivated, and included. Using the techniques from this course, you will be able to create a classroom environment that is inclusive and supportive of all students, regardless of cultural or socioeconomic background. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 545 The 4 C's of Project Based Learning 3 credits
The idea of project-based learning (PBL) has been around for a while now, and as with any popular strategy, its impact can become diluted over time if not used correctly. Although students working on a long-term project may have some inherent benefits, there’s always a risk that class projects can drift into directionless (albeit related) busywork that doesn’t look beyond the classroom. To solve this problem, PBL has evolved to include a new Gold Standard that incorporates the “Four Cs” of the Partnership for 21st Century Learning: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. These are the core skills students will need to succeed in modern-day careers, and you can effectively instill them in your students through Gold Standard PBL. In Tthis course, you will take an in-depth look at will examine project-based learning (PBL) and discuss its evolution to Gold Standard PBL practices and how they compare to the projects you currently use in your classroom. You’ll practice creating PBL questions and units that address the Four Cs, and review a number of ideas and examples of projects and rubrics you might be able to use in your classroom. In addition, you’ll consider the challenges you might face when instituting PBL and create plans for addressing those challenges.We will compare and contrast PBL and adding projects to a classroom assignment. We will also explore the rationale for using PBL. We will address how the components of the “Four Cs"" of 21st-century learning––communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity––relate to PBL. After completing the courseUsing the strategies from this course, the studentyou will be able to know how to implement a Four Cs-focused PBL unit into his or heryour classroom and provide reasoning for its useto set your students up for college and career success. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 546 The 4 Levels of Depth of Knowledge (DOK) 3 credits
Recent educational standards and best practices have put a great deal of emphasis on “rigor” and “college and career readiness.” Although important, these concepts can be difficult to define, much less apply to classroom activities. Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK) tool can help all teachers, regardless of grade or subject, ensure that students are engaging new concepts at the appropriate level to help them build the knowledge and skills they need to grow. In this course, you will learn how to design lessons that are appropriately complex, rigorous, and engaging for students in the 21st-century classroom. You will review the historical foundations of Webb’s Depth of Knowledge, explore the four DOK levels, and use Webb’s DOK in conjunction with Bloom’s Taxonomy to design lessons. In addition, you will evaluate student objectives, activities, questions, and assessment tasks to ensure that they are appropriately aligned and challenge students at various levels of mental processing. Using the resources and techniques from this course, you will be able to develop lessons that vary in complexity and engage students in deeper levels of thinking. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 547 The What, Why, and How of Universal Design for Learning 3 credits
Are you looking for ways to engage all students? Do you notice how students learn in different ways, but aren’t quite sure how to address all of their needs? Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework that can help you plan lessons that meet the needs of all of your students. Based on brain research, UDL will help you meet the needs of diverse learners by planning lessons that consider the wide variability among learners. In this course, you will examine the brain research behind UDL principles and how you can leverage that knowledge to create deeper engagement and comprehension. After gaining a clear understanding of these principles, you will be able to plan lessons that engage students in making sense of the information presented to them while expressing their knowledge in meaningful ways. You’ll learn how to incorporate student choice and technology into lessons while still fulfilling Common Core State Standards. With the knowledge and strategies you learn in this course, you will be able to use UDL to implement your standards, meet your learning objectives, and support all students in your classroom. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 548 Using Anchor Charts: Teaching Tools to Maximize Instruction and Differentiation 3 credits
Anchor charts are not new, but their purposes and benefits continue to grow. In the past, teachers bought laminated anchor charts to hang on the walls for students to reference occasionally. But now, you can use them as a teaching tools, allowing your students to create their own anchor charts to help them become more engaged and take ownership over their learning. In this course, you will explore best practices for creating anchor charts and their many benefits in academics and classroom management. You’ll review the different types of charts and how you can use them, including how to create charts that are interactive (i.e., that students can fill out and change throughout the year). In addition, you’ll learn how to design charts for a variety of purposes, such as personal goal setting, making abstract concepts more concrete, creating expectations for group behaviors or projects, and much more. Using the techniques from this course, you’ll be able to work with your students to create personalized, classroom-specific anchor charts to increase their engagement and deepen their learning. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.
TSTX 549 Using Data to Drive Continuous Improvement in Education 3 credits
Changes in culture and mind-set can be overwhelming to implement, and even more challenging to do so with a positive, hopeful attitude. However, by adopting a cycle of continuous improvement, you can foster large-scale change by focusing on daily cycles of renewal and by creating a shared mind-set among all stakeholders in an educational setting. Such change will result in a more positive, celebratory school culture that is always looking to do what is best for its students. In this course, you will learn how a continuous improvement mind-set leads to multifaceted success in the modern learning community. You will also examine the continuous improvement process and see how it connects to having a shared vision among students, families, and colleagues. You will determine how to collect and analyze quality data to inform the continuous improvement process, and explore best practices for addressing the needs you identify based on the data. With the knowledge you gain in this course, you will be able to develop a school improvement initiative that fosters collaboration, responsibility, innovation, best teaching practices, and success for all stakeholders. This course is offered through Advancement Courses.