The Shader Croft School

Turning Student Selected Real World Adventures into Stronger Reading, Writing, and Communication Skills.

The Shader Croft School

Turning Student Selected Real World Adventures into Stronger Reading, Writing, and Communication Skills.

Course Outline, Goals, Objectives and Readings for SC course

Course Title: Leveraging Varied Contexts and Instructional Strategies to Maximize Literacy and Youth Development of Middle School Students


Course goals:

Provide educators with knowledge and skills to assess a variety of learning environments and to be able to identify learning theory and associated instructional strategies that are most appropriate for a given context.

Improve educators’ instructional impact with at-risk middle school youths


Course objectives:

Students will compare, contrast and assess a variety of well-known theoretical models of learning and development.

Students will identify how different contexts impacts the applicability and effectiveness of different theoretical models.

Students will develop a working knowledge of the theoretical learning and development model “dynamic skill theory,” a neo-piagetian model

Students will learn the many observable markers of development of young adolescents in the social, emotional and language domains.

Students will explore what “the term “at-risk” might mean as applied to young adolescents.

Students will explore Dweck’s research on mind sets and Duckworth’s research on grit as they apply to at-risk adolescents

Students will learn instructional strategies in the areas of reading comprehension, word knowledge and fluency of informational text

Students will learn instructional strategies for teaching expository writing

Students will learn instructional strategies for teaching oral discourse

Students will learn how to create and effectively use experiential learning opportunities

Students will develop a deeper understanding of  Madeline Hunter’s instructional model of Mastery Learning and Carl Roger’s instructional model of facilitative teaching and how and when to use each.

Students will explore the subtleties of Vygotsky’s concept of “zone of proximal development” and a teacher’s role in it.



Keep a journal of critical analysis of the assigned readings



Identify 10 different learning/teaching contexts in a school and based upon information from the course state how you, as an educator, would take advantage of the elements of the context and support your actions.


Course Outline and Readings


Module 1 Growth and Learning models 

“Summary of Theories Relating to Learning and Human Development”, Citation: Huitt, W. (2013, December). Summary of theories relating to learning and development. Educational Psychology Interactive.

Humanism: Rogers and Maslow:

Carl Rogers and Humanistic Education Chpt 5 in Peterson, C.H. Foundations for a Theory of Instruction and Educational Psychology, (pages 1-16)

Behaviorism plus: Skinner

“Theories of Learning and Student development”, National Forum of Teacher Education Journal, Volume 22, Number 3, 2012

Cognitive Constructivismsim: Piaget

“Theories of Learning,” Ed Psychlogist

Social Constructivismsim: Vygotsky and Dewey

Social Cognitivism Theory summary

Nativism – define and contrast with empiricism


Module 2 Dynamic Skill Theory; (a neopiagetian approach) 

“Webs of Skill: How Students Learn,” Fischer and Rose

The Educated Brain:, Chpt 8: Dynamic cycles of cognitive and brain development: Measuring growth in mind, brain, and education (Fischer) includes micro-development.


Module 3 Development 

Mind, Brain and Education: Neuroscience implications for the classroom, Edited: Sousa, David

Chapter 4: Role of Emotion and Skilled Intuition in Learning

Chapter 5: The Speaking Brain

Chapter 6: The Reading Brain

Chapter 7: Constructing a Reading Brain

“Development: Windows into Children’s Growth Language – Newborn – 13 years”, Grotzer, T.A., Parent Partner Series pages 88-108

“Development: Windows into Children’s Growth Social Development– Newborn – 13 years”, Grotzer, T.A., Parent Partner Series pages 69-99

“Development: Windows into Children’s Growth Emotion – Newborn – 13 years”, Grotzer, T.A., Parent Partner Series pages 75-90


Module 4 Instruction 

Vygotsky and Education: Instructional Implication and Applications of sociohistorical psychology, Edited: Moll, Luis C.

  • Chapter 5: The Social Origins of Self-regulation
  • Chapter 7: Teaching Mind in Society: Teaching, schooling and literate discourse
  • Chapter 15: The Zone of Proximal Development as a Basis of Instruction

“Evolving Kolb: Experiential Education in the Age of neuroscience”: Schenck and Cruickshank, Journal of Experiential Education 2015

Mind In Society, L.S. Vygotsky pages 84-91 (Zone of Proximal Development: A new approach)

Madeline Hunter – The Madeline Hunter of Mastery Learning, PDF

Carl Rogers and Humanistic Education Chpt 5 in Peterson, C.H. Foundations for a Theory of Instruction and Educational Psychology, (pages 16-30)


Module 6 Youth Development 

Motivation and Education: The Self-Determination Perspective: Deci, Edward,

Development of Achievement and Motivation, Chapter 3: “Development of Ability Conceptions”, Dweck, Carol

40 Developmental Assets for adolescents 12-18 (single sheet)

Mind, Bain and Education Journal, “We Feel Therefore We Learn: The relevance of Affective and Social Neuroscience to Education”, Immordino-Yang, Mary Helen and Damasio, Antonio

“A threat in the Air: How Stereotypes Shape Intellectual Identity and Performance,” Steele

Mind In Society, L.S. Vygotsky, chapter 7 (The Role of Play in Development)


Module 5 Literacy 

Minds, Brains and Learning: Byrnes, James (chapter 6: Reading)

Proust and the Squid: The story and science of the reading brain: Wolf, Marianne

  • Chapter 6, The Unending Story of Reading’s Development
  • Chapter 7, Dyslexia’s Puzzle and the Brain’s Design
  • Kath’s resource, Clear Assessments chapter 3: Clear Targets
  • Kath’s resource, “Knowing Your Learning Target”, Educational Leadership, March 2011

Informed Choices for Struggling Adolescent Readers, Chapter 2: The Content of Adolescent Literacy Instruction


Module 7 Putting It All Together 

The Shader Croft School


Human Behavior, Learning and the Developing Brain: Typical Development, Editors: Coch, Fischer and Dawson (Chapter 13: Brain Development and Adolescent Behavior – OK but possibly too scientific)

The solution

Close the achievement gap by providing more high quality, age appropriated, student-centered and community-based learning opportunity for those students who currently lack it. And SUMMER is the most efficient, practical and cost effective time to do that. [Link to WVMT radio interview.]

Shader Croft Services

A. Direct services – add explanation
B. Consulting – add explanation
C. Professional development – add explanation
C. History – see what’s on the website now
1. The Shader Croft story
2. Board of Directors and leadership
D. Accomplishments – add more explanation
E. Support – add more explanation

Help students develop effective literacy and communication skills by valuing students’ interests and connecting them to the world around them in a real and meaningful ways.
Shader Croft School
5 Perrotta Place
Burlington, VT 05401

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As To Students

The Shader Croft School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs and athletic and other school-administered programs.

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