Paula C. Denton

Core Faculty
Department of Education

Courses Taught

Integrated Learning: Theory Into Practice
This course provides students with opportunities to acquire an historical perspective of the integrated day classroom. Students will learn to appreciate the value of an integrated approach to learning and gain experience in determining children's characteristics, levels of development and needs through observation. Students will see the learning of creative, social and process skills as important components of the curriculum and learn how to plan and implement an interdisciplinary thematic study, which can satisfy the demands of the curriculum, as well as build on children's experiences and meet the needs and interest of a variety of learners. They will explore issues and learn techniques of management, grouping, documentation, record keeping, display, evaluation, etc., and understand the implications of establishing a democratic classroom and a community for learning and sharing.

Math Methods
This course aims to eliminate math phobia for both children and adults. It is based on the premise that mathematics will be both accessible and enjoyable if understanding is derived from experience and strong links are made between that experience and abstract symbolism. Beginning with a consideration of how children learn mathematics, the course will focus on providing children with opportunities to put together their own mathematical understanding. Using concrete materials and hands on experiences, students will become actively involved with problems from a range of mathematical strands (number sense, geometry, measurement, pattern, probability) to illustrate how children can explore mathematics through problem solving and inquiry.

Discipline as Learning
The word discipline is derived from the latin root, disciplina, meaning "to learn". Our goal as teachers is to guide children as they move from the need to have their behavior monitored and controlled by adults toward a growing ability to self monitor and control their own behavior. This course will provide highly practical and respectful elementary classroom discipline strategies based on the principles of approaches such as Positive Discipline and Responsive Classroom. Topics will include 1) establishing clear expectations together with students, 2) practicing and coaching positive behavior, 3) respectfully stopping misbehavior, and 4) problem-solving behavior issues in collaboration with children. There will be time during each class for students to practice the strategies and consider ways to apply them to their own teaching situations.

The First Six Weeks of School
Using the book, The First Six Weeks of School (Denton and Kriete) as a starting point, participants will have opportunities to plan for the all-important opening weeks of schools in their own classrooms. Topics to be considered will include establishing routines, rules and consequences, creating a sense of belonging and significance for all students, and introducing academic curriculum while simultaneously building the social skills necessary for successful learning in an active and interactive environment. Approaches to classroom management in this course are based upon the work of Rudolph Driekurs and Jane Nelson and approaches such as Democratic Classrooms and The Responsive Classroom.