Curriculum Enhancement

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Birnbaum, B. W. (2001). Using computers to modify the curriculum for students with learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 11(1), 19-25.

Birnbaum provides practical ways to modified curriculum using technology. The author identifies five areas to consider when teachers incorporate technology into curriculum for students with learning disabilities. These areas include: (a) criteria for the selection of software, (b) using computer games, (c) the Internet as a tool for teaching across the curriculum, (d) using multimedia, and (e) using hypermedia. A list of Web sites useful across subjects is provided for teachers.

Bray, M., Brown, A. & Green, T. D. (2004). Technology and the diverse learner: A guide to classroom practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, INC.

This book is designed for those who are teaching diverse learners and who want to incorporate technology into instructions. The diverse students on whom this text is focused include female and male students, students with different cultural background, English second language learners, students with disabilities, and gifted and talented students. The authors provide practical ideas of technology solutions for each group of diverse students as well as overviews of each group’s characteristics. The appendixes in the end of this book include useful resources of which particular technology and instructional strategies are suitable for a particular group of students.

Buxton, C. (1999). Designing a model-based methodology for science instruction: Lessons from a bilingual classroom. Bilingual Research Journal, 23(2&3), 113-143.

The authors of this article present empirical findings from a three-year longitudinal science project, the Science Theatre Project, in which modified science curriculum was provided to elementary aged Spanish-English bilingual children in a two-way bilingual program. The researcher reported that the effectiveness of modified science curriculum to student’s academic success. Buxton emphasizes on the consideration of students’ cultural backgrounds on the process of modification.

Cawley, J. F. & Parmar, R. S. (1990). Issues in mathematics curriculum for handicapped students. Academic Therapy, 25(4), 507-521.

Cawley & Parmar explain the curriculum modification procedure in mathematics necessary for students with handicaps. The authors describe that curriculum modification in mathematics has to include curriculum reorganization, which focuses on the concepts relevant to a specific subject rather than simply on material and the amount of information. Theoretical backgrounds and examples of curriculum reorganization are presented within the framework of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards.

Clarke, S., Dunlap, G., Foster-Johnson, L., Childs, K., Wilson, D., White, R. & Vera, A. (1995). Improving the conduct of students with behavioral disorders by incorporating student interests into curricular activities. Behavioral Disorders, 20(4), 221-237.

In the empirical study the authors suggest that curriculum modified with students’ personal interests was effective on their behavior management and the increase of task productivity. Functional analysis and functional assessment were used to determine students’ interests. Qualitative data obtained through questionnaire demonstrate that students preferred modified curriculum to the conventional curriculum.

Comfort, R. (1990). On the idea of curriculum modification by teachers. Academic Therapy, 25(4), 397-405.

Comfort presents a theoretical perspective of curriculum as a teacher-directed modification process and provides suggestions for teachers in terms of their professional responsibilities. Comfort also provides four elements conductive to fostering curriculum modification: (a) a school system curriculum of appropriate breadth and specificity, (b) curriculum development and implementation processes that include an integral role for teachers, (c) expectations for greater collaborative relationship, and (d) provision of orientations to and encouragement of the practice of curriculum modification.

Cummins, J. (2000). Language proficiency in academic contexts: Language, Power, and Pedagogy: Bilingual Children in the Crossfire (pp. 57-85). Toronto, Canada: Multilingual Matters LTD.

Cummins provides the rationale for the distinction between the acquisition of conversational language and that of academic language from multidisciplinary points of view in this chapter. The author describes the distinction using the framework in which students’ language proficiency is categorized by the fundamental dimensions of contextual support and cognitive demand. This framework highlights the way in which the educational interventions for ELL students relate to various factors, such as students’ language and culture, societal power structure, instruction, and assessment.

Dunlap, G., Foster-Johnson, L., Clarke, S., Kern, L. & Childs, K. (1995). Modifying activities to produce functional outcomes: Effects on the problem behaviors of students with disabilities. Journal of the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps, 20(4), 248-258.

Dunlap et al., in this empirical study suggest that modified curriculum was effective to reduce students’ disruptive behaviors and increase their task productivity and completion. Curriculum was modified with students’ personal interests determined through a functional assessment.

Dunlap, G., Kern-Dunlap, L., Clarke, S. & Robbins, F. R. (1991). Functional assessment, curricular revision, and severe behavior problems. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 24, 287-397.

In this case study, functional assessment was used to determine student’s behaviors, preferred physical movement, choices, and curriculum was modified according to the findings of the assessment. Dunlap et al. report findings that functional assessment process and curriculum modification were effective to reduce the student’s severe behavior problems.

Fradd, S. H., Lee, O., Sutman, F. X. & Saxton, M. K. (2001). Promoting science literacy with English language learners through instructional materials: A case study. Bilingual Research Journal, 25(4), 417-439.

Fradd et al. report the effectiveness of curriculum modification implemented in two large-scale science projects, the Promise Project, and the Science for All Project. Curriculum modification included the incorporation of more open inquiry and the integration of language and literacy aspects into curriculum for English Language Learners. The researchers concluded that modified curriculum was effective to increase the students’ academic achievement in science.

Igoa, C. (1995). The inner world of the immigrant child. New York: St. Martin's Press, Inc.

This book describes the immigrant children’s psychosocial experiences in schools. Igoa uses qualitative research methods and provides rich narratives expressed in children’s voices in order to illuminate the issues of being immigrant children in this country. As a teacher who were involved in this participatory action research, Igoa presents three major suggestions to the educators of immigrant children: (a) step-by-step teaching methodologies sensitive to the immigrant children’s needs and feelings, (b) specific classroom practices that contribute to the children’s literacy development and their self-empowerment, and (c) program designs for more personalized teaching.

Johnson, G. M. (2000). Schoolwide enrichment: Improving the education of students (at risk) at promise. Teacher Educator, 27(4), 45-61.

Johnson presents theoretical and practical aspects underlying the Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM). The main point of this article is that the SEM can benefit not only gifted and talented students but also students who are identified as at-risk. The process of curriculum modification techniques, as well as curriculum compacting, is explained as a part of the SEM.

Kern, L., Bambara, L. & Fogt, J. (2002). Class-wide curricular modification to improve the behavior of students with emotional or behavioral disorders. Behavioral Disorders, 27(4), 317-326.

Kern et al. examined the effectiveness of modified curriculum for six teenage boys with behavioral challenges. Curriculum modification in this study involved more choice-making opportunities and high-interest activities. The authors reported that modified curriculum contributed to the reduction of student’s disruptive behaviors and engagement in their academic tasks.

Kern, L., Childs, K. E., Dunlap, G., Clarke, S. & Falk, G. D. (1994). Using assessment-based curricular intervention to improve the classroom behavior of a student with emotional and behavioral challenges. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 27, 7-19.

The authors of this case study reported that modified curriculum in English, math, and spelling was an effective way to increase on-task behavior of a child with severe emotional and behavioral challenges. Kern et al. used functional assessment to examine students’ behavior and to develop hypotheses for modifying curriculum based on the students’ unique needs. Curriculum modification in this study included the change to the content, length, and mode of performance in instructions. This study contributes to the justification of incorporating a functional assessment into a curriculum modification process for children with behavioral issues.

King-Sears, M. E. (2001). Three steps for gaining access to the general education curriculum for learners with disabilities. Intervention in School and Clinic, 37(2), 67-76.

King-Sears presents a three-step process for teachers to determine the degree of accessibility of their classroom for their students with disabilities and introduces checklists, examples, and rubrics, and suggestions for strengthening and modifying the curriculum as she categorizes curriculum modification into four: Accommodation, adaptation, parallel curriculum, and overlapping curricula. The three-step process includes: (a) analyzing the general education curriculum, (b) curriculum enhancement, and (c) curriculum modification. The author’s emphases are on the importance of teacher collaboration and individually designed curriculum modification. King-Sears’ view contributes to the notion of curriculum enhancement and curriculum modification effective for all students.

MacMackin, M. C. & Elaine, M. B. (1997). A change in focus: Teaching diverse learners within an inclusive elementary school classroom. Equity & Excellence in Education, 30(1), 32-38.

MacMackin & Elaine suggest that the modifications of curriculum and those of instruction are both necessary to meet diverse needs of students in inclusive classrooms. This article provides the concepts of curriculum modification for many general education teachers who are interested in meeting the diverse needs of students, but do not know how to make appropriate modifications. The authors also describe three categories of curriculum and instructional modification: (a) modifications of the context for learning, (b) modifications of instructional strategies/instructional materials, and (c) modifications of organizational and study skills.

Moon, T. R. & Callahan, C. M. (2001). Curricular modifications, family outreach, and a mentoring program: Impacts on achievement and gifted identification in high-risk primary students. Journal for Education of the Gifted, 24(4), 305-321.

Moon & Callahan report the effectiveness of curriculum modification implemented as a part of Project Support to Affirm Rising Talent (START). Modified curriculum, when combined other interventions in the project, was helpful to prevent academic failure among primary grade students from low-socioeconomic environments, especially those who were identified as at-risk.

Olenchak, F. R. (1990). School change through gifted education: Effects on elementary students' attitudes toward learning. Journal for Education of the Gifted, 14(3), 66-78.

In this empirical study by Olenchak, the author shows that curriculum modification implemented through the Schoolwide Enrichment Model had a positive impact on students’ attitudes toward learning. The subjects involved a large population of middle school students. Olenchak emphasizes the effectiveness of the SEM for all students and suggests that our preconceptions of gifted education as a limited educational opportunity for only selected students, need to be changed.

Olenchak, F. R. & Renzulli, J. S. (1989). The effectiveness of the schoolwide enrichment model on selected aspects of elementary school change. Gifted Child Quarterly, 33(1), 36-46.

The researchers of this empirical study illustrate that a one-year implementation of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) was effective for a large number of elementary school students, not only gifted and talented students but also general education students, on their creative productivity and attitudes toward overall learning and the concept of gifted education. As a part of the model, curriculum compacting was used.

Reis, S. M., Westberg, K. L., Kulikowich, J. M. & Purcell, J. H. (1998). Curriculum compacting and achievement test scores: What does the research say? Gifted Child Quarterly, 42(2), 123-129.

The authors of this empirical study examined the effectiveness of curriculum compacting on the achievement test scores of gifted and talented students. Curriculum compacting was used as an enrichment and involved eliminating about a half of already learned curricula. The results reported indicate that students who received compacted curriculum performed as well as those who received regular curriculum without any elimination. The findings of this study help reduce teachers’ fear to compact curriculum for gifted and talented students.

Reisberg, L. (1990). Curriculum evaluation and modification: An effective teaching perspective. Intervention in School and Clinic, 26(2), 99-105.

Reisberg presents a format for curriculum evaluation based on the literature on effective teaching for students with disabilities, including the ideas suggested by Englert, Rieth & Everson & Rosenshine. Reisberg’s format includes six domains: (a) scope and sequence, (b) organization, (c) presentation, (d) guided practice, (e) independent practice, and (f) periodic review. Rosenshine posits that the curriculum evaluation should reflect the components of effective teaching, such as the completeness and organization of the curriculum, response requirements, and opportunities and procedures for measurement.

Salisbury, C. L., Mangino, M., Petrigala, M., Rainforth, B., Syryca, S. & Palombaro, M. M. (1994). Promoting the instructional inclusion of young children with disabilities in the primary grades. Journal of Early Intervention, 18(3), 311-322.

Salisbury describes how curriculum adaptation successfully promoted physical, social, and instructional inclusion of elementary age students with mild to severe disabilities. Curriculum adaptation involved the change to the contents and objectives of curriculum based on students’ IEPs. Four suggestions for successful curriculum adaptation process for inclusion are recommended by the author.

Sparks, S. (2000). Classroom and curriculum accommodations for Native American students. Intervention in school and clinic, 35(5), 259-263.

Sparks suggests a culture-specific approach to curriculum accommodations for culturally diverse students, especially Native American students, and provides theoretical ideas to practice this approach. Some ideas include: learning about a student’s life, including specific tribe culture and individual family lives; building the curriculum on the positive images of students’ culture not on negative stereotypes; using effective ways of communication; developing cultural sensitivity; learning about the characteristics of Native American learners.

Switlick, D. M. (1997). Curriculum modifications and adaptations. In D.F. Bradley & M.E. King-Sears & D.M. Switlick (Eds.), Teaching students in inclusive settings (pp. 225-239). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

The authors of this chapter describe methods to modify the curriculum and daily instructional activities for teachers to meet the diverse needs of students. The types of modification include accommodation, adaptation, parallel instruction, and overlapping instruction. The author recommends teachers make systematic adjustments to curriculum and presents useful tables describing the planning processes, including preplanning, interactive planning, and post-planning.

Tieso, C. (2001). Curriculum: Broad brushstrokes or paint-by-the numbers? Teacher Educator, 36(3), 199-213.

In this qualitative study focusing on general education students Tieso demonstrated that modified math curriculum was positively perceived by a teacher and students. The author interprets the positive perspectives as a necessary element for students’ academic achievement.

Valdes, G. (2002). Expanding definitions of giftedness. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associations.

In this book, Valdez describes the way in which immigrant children engage in interpreting tasks for their families. Valdes presents the empirical findings suggesting that children who interpret show sophisticated levels of meta-linguistic abilities as well as bilingual proficiency and social maturity. Based on the findings, Valdes challenges the existing definitions of gifted and talented and a monolingual biased view of bilingual children in educational settings.

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