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University of St. Francis logo · College of Education · Regional Educational Academy for Leadership

Middle School Philosophy, Curriculum, and Instruction
EEND and MEDU-687

  • Template 2015
  • Section TMPL
  • 3 Credits
  • 07/22/2015 to 07/22/2115
  • Modified 07/20/2020

Mission Statement

As a Catholic university rooted in the liberal arts, we are a welcoming community of learners challenged by Franciscan values and charism, engaged in a continuous pursuit of knowledge, faith, wisdom, and justice, and ever mindful of a tradition that emphasizes reverence for creation, compassion and peacemaking. We strive for academic excellence in all programs, preparing women and men to contribute to the world through service and leadership. 


Focuses on the philosophy of the middle school.  It examines the middle school curriculum and instructional methods for designing and teaching developmentally appropriate programs in middle school including content area reading instruction.  The course is required for the State of Illinois Middle School Endorsement.


College of Education Mission

The mission of the College of Education is to prepare competent and caring educators who understand students, serve the community and develop professionally to become ethical decision-makers and leaders.

Understanding Students

Candidates will simulate the planning, organizing and instructional experiences of middle level educators. Candidates will understand and create a balanced and integrated curriculum while adhering to specific standards of learning. Candidates will analyze and evaluate a variety of educational theorists and their impact upon middle level educational settings.

Serving the Community

Candidates will design developmentally appropriate lessons in various content areas to create appropriate learning experiences for adolescents in middle level educational settings.

Finding Our Professional Selves

Candidates will integrate specific content area information and materials through the development of effective units of instruction.


Access to standards referenced in this section can be found HERE

By the conclusion of the course, each participant will be able to do the following:

  1. To examine the origins and development of middle school education including its philosophy, advantages, functions, and developmental tasks (AMLE Principles-B & C)
  2. To examine the middle school teacher as a professional including personal characteristics, professional preparation, roles and functions (AMLE Principle-D).
  3. To learn how to design an effective unit of instruction in a middle school program that includes balanced curriculum, content area reading, and program design (AMLE Principle-D).
  4. To examine different ways to organize instruction in the middle school including team teaching, interdisciplinary teaching, flexible modular scheduling, and graded versus non-graded organization (AMLE Principle-C).
  5. To learn how to develop creative instructional activities, materials, and learning environments for the middle school student (AMLE Principle-B).
  6. To examine systems for assessment practices appropriate for the middle school (AMLE Principle-C).
  7. To examine the “World Work" in relationship to the role of a teacher in a middle school. Emphasis will be placed on professional ethic, performance expectations, roles and responsibilities, and workplace relationships (AMLE Principle-D).


Brown, D. & Knowles, T. (2014). What every middle school teacher should know (3rd ed.). Westerville, OH: National Middle School Association


Content and Text Related Discussions
Specific directions for each assignment or discussion are provided within the online course.

  • Course Outcomes: 1,2,4,5,6,7
  • Standards: AMLE Principles B,C,D

Teacher and Adolescent Characteristics
After examining effective adolescent educator competency and characteristics, candidates will evaluate their personal traits and professional preparation and the positive/negative impact these qualities may have in the adolescent classroom and with adolescent learners.

  • Course Outcomes: 2,7
  • Standards: AMLE Principle D

Middle School Principles, Practices & Beliefs
Candidates will examine the origins and development of the middle school philosophy and determine the roles and responsibilities of adolescent educators in this type of educational program design.

  • Course Outcomes: 1,2,4,7
  • Standards: AMLE Principles B,C,D

Middle School Teaming Assignments
Candidates will examine the personal and professional characteristics required to effectively participate in a middle level Core or Exploratory Team. Key elements of team meetings will be analyzed.

  • Course Outcomes: 2,3,7
  • Standards: AMLE Principles C,D

Advisory Unit Assignment
Candidates are required to create one week of advisory activities that meet adolescent social and emotional needs. The advisory unit includes a rationale for the topic/activities, an outline of daily objectives, procedures, materials, and thoughtful reflection.

  • Course Outcomes: 3,4,5
  • Standards: AMLE Principles B,C,D

Reading and Writing in the Content Area
Candidates will evaluate the readability levels of instructional materials and create a learning experience that effectively integrates reading and writing in the content area.

  • Course Outcomes 3,5,6
  • Standards: AMLE B,C,D

Interdisciplinary Team Project
Each candidate is assigned to an interdisciplinary CORE or Exploratory team. As a group, the candidates will simulate an effective middle school team. Each team will create school and team identity, and the structure for an interdisciplinary unit of instruction. Each member of the team will be responsible for individual and team assignments within the Interdisciplinary Team Project.

  • Course Outcomes: 2,3,4,5,6,7
  • Standards: AMLE B,C,D

Course Policies

Policies for the College of Education at University of St. Francis

CLICK HERE (requires active student account) for policies, including but not limited to:

  • Method of Instruction
  • Expectations of Candidates
  • Online Courses
  • Attendance Policies for Site-Based and Online Courses
  • Minimum Standards for Writing
  • Computer and Digital Information Literacy Skills

Course Evaluations | Surveys

Information gathered through course evaluations and surveys is an important part of maintaining quality and continuous improvement in courses, and it is the University’s expectation that students will thoughtfully participate in this evaluation process.

Institutional Policies

Students should use the USF portal as the first resource for guidance and support on items such as student complaints, safety, security and transportation questions, contact information for various USF departments, student support services such as counseling and academic resources. Information on these resources can be found in the For Students section of the USF portal.

A complete listing of university policies and procedures can be found in the University of St. Francis Catalog and Student Handbooks. 

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity requires that all academic work be wholly the product of an identified individual or individuals. Collaboration is only acceptable when it is explicitly acknowledged. Ethical conduct is the obligation of every member of the University community, and breaches of academic integrity constitute serious offenses. Since a lack of integrity hinders the student’s academic development, it cannot be tolerated under any circumstances. Violations include but are not limited to: cheating, fabrication, facilitating academic dishonesty, plagiarism, and denying others access to information or material. See the University of St. Francis Catalog for further clarification and information on grievance procedures.

Services and Accommodations for Students with Disabilities (ADA)

The University strives to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA). A student who requires special accommodations or arrangements due to a disability should contact the Office of Disability Services. This contact preferably should occur no later than the first week of classes. Early contact before the semester starts is encouraged to allow sufficient time to provide accommodations. Extra time is needed for some types of accommodations such as sign language interpreters or special text formatting. Should a need arrive after the start of a semester; the student is encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services as soon as possible. Note that accommodations are not retroactive. Each case will be reviewed on an individual basis to determine reasonable and appropriate accommodations.

USF is committed to ensuring the full participation of all students in its programs, regardless of the course format. If you have a documented disability and need a reasonable accommodation to participate in a course, complete course requirements, or benefit from the University’s programs or services, please contact the Office of Disability Services at 815-740-3631 or [email protected] . The Office of Disability Services is in the Academic Resource Center (ARC) and is located on the second floor of the LaVerne and Dorothy Brown Library in room L214. Consultations are welcome, please contact the Office of Disability Services for an appointment.

Technology Support

  1. The Department of Academic Technology (DAT) administers the learning management system Canvas. If you are experiencing any difficulty using Canvas or need technical assistance, you have several options to receive support, including:
  1. 24x7 Live Canvas Support. If you experience technical difficulties or have a question about Canvas, you can receive support 24 hours a day 7 days a week through the Canvas help menu. From the help menu, select Chat with Canvas Support for a “live” text-based click-to-chat session,
  2. select Report a Problem to send an email support request, or speak to someone directly by using the toll-free number listed under the Canvas Support Hotline.

NOTE: Responses to Canvas’ email-based Report a Problem request system will go to your USF email account, NOT your personal email.

2. Online Self-Service Help Resources. A student user guide and other resources for solving issues related to Canvas can be found at LearnItNow

3. Telephone Support from DAT. You can also phone the Department of Academic Technology for personal help at (815) 740-5080 or (866) 337-1497 (toll-free) between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Central Standard Time, Monday through Friday.

For any technical support issues that are not related to Canvas, please contact the USF Technology Support Center (TSC). You can reach them via:

Notice of Copyright

This course may contain copyrighted materials that are intended to support the learning experiences of students currently enrolled in the course. No student may retain or further disseminate any copyrighted materials, in their entirety or any portion thereof, under penalty of law.

Academic Support Services

The Academic Resource Center (ARC) located in Room L214 in the Library (815-740-5060) offers various types of academic services.  Online and distance learning students can contact ARC for appropriate resources.  ARC serves students who need tutoring in many areas of study including writing and math.  Library services include a number of online services and full text databases.  Call the Library at 815-740-5041 for additional information.  If you need academic-related resources or assistance, please contact the Academic Resource Center.

Additional Items

Course References

Atwell, N. (1995). In the Middle: Writing, reading, and learning with adolescents. Heinemann Publishers.

Callahan, J., Clark, L., Kellough, R. (1995). Teaching in the middle and secondary schools. Prentice Hall Publisher.

Edwards, C. (2005). Teaching and learning in the middle and secondary schools. Prentice Hall Publisher.

Manning, M. L., Bucher, K. (2005). Teaching in the middle school. Prentice Hall Publisher.

Marzano, R. J., (2003). What works in schools: Translating research into action. ASCD.

Payne, R. (1996). A framework for understanding poverty (3rd ed.). Aha! Processes Inc..

Senge, P. (2000). Schools that learn. Doubleday Publishers.

Wong, H. K., Wong, R. T., (2003). The first days of school. Wong Publications.

Weber, E. (2005). MI strategies in the classroom and beyond. Pearson Publications.

Zemelman, S., Daniels, H., Hyde, A., (1995). Best practice: New standards for teaching and learning in America's schools. Heinemann Publishers.

Additional Course References

Specific Digital References used in Online Course Interactions:
Niska, J. M, Thompson, S. C. (2007). Launching a successful advisory program: Professional development kit. Westerville, Ohio: National Middle School Association.

Ullock, K. (2004). The importance of teaming. Blue Sky Broadcast: National Middle School Association.