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The Upper Elementary Years
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The Upper Elementary Years
Ensuring Success in Grades 3-6


Other Titles in:
Elementary Teaching Methods

October 2008 | 232 pages | Corwin
'This book reminds me that I became a fifth grade teacher because that time in a child's life is amazing and critical. This book should be required reading for every teacher, especially ones going into the upper elementary grade levels' —Tracy Pinnell, Fifth-Grade Teacher

Sheppard Accelerated Elementary School, Santa Rosa, CA

Help your upper elementary school students thrive and achieve!

A positive educational experience in the upper elementary years sets the stage for a child's long-term success in school. With increased testing and accountability requirements, upper elementary teachers are challenged to help students master required content while responding to each child's unique needs and way of learning. This inspiring book presents a child-centered teaching approach for Grades 3–6, one that helps build students' sense of confidence, belonging, and accomplishment.

Written by a passionate advocate for upper elementary students, this guide offers teachers detailed information about child development and effective teaching practices uniquely targeted for 8- to12-year-olds. Readers will find:

A thorough look at how upper elementary children develop as learners, based on comprehensive research

Teaching strategies and assessment techniques to help students master upper elementary curriculum

A discussion of diversity issues, including race and ethnicity, gender, socio-economic background, language, and exceptionalities

Informative case studies and firsthand insights from students, teachers, and administrators

Gain the knowledge you need to grow professionally and serve your upper elementary students more effectively.


 
Preface
Purpose and Audience

 
Background

 
Organization of the Book

 
Data Sources and Collection

 
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Author
 
1. Why Focus on Upper Elementary Grades and Students?
Upper Elementary Children and Grade Levels

 
Defining Upper Elementary Teachers: Their Practice and the Profession

 
Advocating for Upper Elementary Students

 
 
2. Development of 8- to 12-Year-Old Children
Development as Learners

 
Cognitive Development

 
Language Development

 
Development as Individuals and Members of Society

 
Development of Sense of Self

 
Autonomy and Relatedness

 
Doing What Is Right

 
Physical Development

 
Refining the Broad Strokes of Generalizations

 
 
3. Children as Members of Groups
Situating Group Differences: Biological, Cultural, and Societal Influences

 
Biological Influences

 
Cultural Influences

 
Social, Historical, and Economic Influences

 
Ethnic and Racial Group Affiliation

 
Race and Ethnicity: Relation to Achievement

 
Race and Ethnicity: Relation to Social Development

 
Socioeconomic Group Affiliation

 
Socioeconomic Influences on Achievement

 
Socioeconomic Influences on Social Development

 
English-Language Learners

 
English-Language Learners and Achievement

 
English-Language Learners and Social Development

 
Gender Affiliation

 
Gender and Academic Achievement

 
Gender and Social Development

 
Gender and Physical Development

 
Exceptional Learners

 
Achievement of Exceptional Learners

 
Social Development of Exceptional Children

 
The Holistic Child: Mixing Group Identities

 
 
4. Individual Developmental Differences
Individuals as Learners

 
Variation in Cognition and Intelligence

 
Variation in Motivation to Learn

 
Variation in Expressions of Creativity

 
Exceptional Variation

 
Variation in Development of Self-Concept and Social Competency

 
Physical Variation

 
Summary

 
 
5. Children’s Lives Outside of School
The Multiple Contexts of Children’s Lives

 
Family and Home

 
Friends and Peers

 
Neighborhood and Community

 
Other Important Contexts

 
How Children Spend Time Outside of School

 
Adult-Organized, Sponsored, or Supervised Activities

 
Child-Driven Activities

 
Summary

 
 
6. The School Environment: Supporting Accomplishment, Belonging, and Engagement
School Role in Developing a Sense of Accomplishment

 
Defining and Measuring Accomplishment

 
Adult Expectations for Accomplishment

 
Student Expectations for Accomplishment

 
School Role in Developing a Sense of Belonging

 
Inviting Spaces and Warm Adult Relations

 
Belonging Within the Peer Network

 
Extending the Sense of Belonging to Family

 
Extending Belonging to the Community

 
School Role in Engaging Students Academically, Socially, and Physically

 
Academic Engagement

 
Social Engagement

 
Physical Engagement

 
School Culture, Organizational Structures, Policies, and Procedures

 
Summary

 
 
7. The Classroom Environment: Supporting Accomplishment, Belonging, and Engagement
Classroom Role in Developing a Sense of Accomplishment

 
Academic Accomplishment

 
Social Accomplishment

 
Physical Accomplishment

 
Classroom Role in Developing a Sense of Belonging

 
Belonging in a Community

 
Joy and Cooperation

 
Democracy and Equity

 
Care and Nurture

 
Extending Community to Others

 
Classroom Role in Developing a Sense of Engagement

 
Academic Engagement

 
Social Engagement

 
Physical Engagement

 
Summary

 
 
8. Teaching and Learning
Important Knowledge

 
Addressing What Students Are Expected to Know

 
Addressing Student Interest and Knowledge

 
Using Knowledge to Meet Student Needs for Accomplishment, Belonging, and Engagement

 
Selecting or Designing Appropriate Assessments

 
Assessing Acquisition of Desired Knowledge

 
Assessing Students' Prior Knowledge and Knowledge Assimilation

 
Using Assessment to Meet Diverse Students' Needs for Accomplishment, Belonging, and Engagement

 
Delivering Instruction

 
Teaching the Content

 
Teaching the Students

 
Using Instruction to Meet Diverse Students' Needs for Accomplishment, Belonging, and Engagement

 
Importance of Aligning Content, Instruction, and Assessment

 
Putting the Pieces Together

 
Issues Surrounding Teaching and Learning

 
Aligning Content, Assessment, and Instruction to Promote Accomplishment, Belonging, and Engagement

 
 
9. Supporting Upper Elementary Students: Developmentally Appropriate Practice, Professionalism, and Advocacy
A Framework of Upper Elementary Developmentally Appropriate Practice

 
Actions of Students

 
Actions of Teachers

 
Characteristics of the Classroom Environment

 
Characteristics of the Teaching and Learning Process

 
Professional Identity

 
Becoming Upper Elementary Teachers

 
Supporting Upper Elementary Teachers in the Profession

 
National Board Middle Childhood / Generalist Certification

 
Advocating for Upper Elementary Children

 
Compiling and Encouraging Research on Upper Elementary Children and Teaching

 
Examining Policies and Practices

 
What Can You Do to Help Upper Elementary Children?

 
Developmentally Appropriate Practice

 
Professional Identity for Upper Elementary Teachers

 
Advocacy

 
 
References
 
Index

"In most states, tests designed within the context of accountability mandates target students in Grades 3 through 8. The more we understand about middle childhood, the more we as educators are able to meet children's needs and the demands placed on educators by accountability legislation. The author makes a substantial contribution to this increased understanding."

Lorin W. Anderson, Distinguished Professor Emeritus
University of South Carolina

"This book reminds me that I became a fifth grade teacher because that time in a child’s life is amazing and critical. This book should be required reading for every teacher, especially ones going into the upper elementary grade levels."

Tracy Pinnell, Fifth-Grade Teacher
Sheppard Accelerated Elementary School, Santa Rosa, CA

"Finnan elaborates on the needs for educating upper elementary students: acknowledging their strengths, ensuring their engagement in learning curriculum content, and delineating the required professional development and supports for teachers."

Belinda Williams, Cognitive Psychologist
Miquon, PA

"This book introduces the complex, multifaceted world of the upper elementary school student. With so much focus on standards-based learning, teachers must consider the whole child. The author presents research showing that children come from distinct and different backgrounds that affect the way they approach learning. Educators can use this information to help these children navigate the complexities of their lives and the expectations placed on them."

Renee Ponce-Nealon, Third-Grade Teacher
McDowell Elementary School, Petaluma, CA
Key features
    • Provides a solid research base for understanding the unique needs of eight to eleven year-olds
    • Emphasizes developmentally appropriate teaching methods and strategies for this age group
    • Includes case studies of students, and examples of effective teachers and classrooms
    • Addresses a topic which is minimally covered by other resources

    Sample Materials & Chapters

    Preface

    Chapter 1: Why Focus on Upper Elementary Grades and Students?


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