This course is designed as a guide when developing fully online courses. Throughout this course, I will be creating an online class for my students I will have again next year in the 4th grade. My charter school typically pairs students with teachers for up to two years at a time, so while this semester I am teaching my 3rd grade students basic computer skills, I believe that by this time next year they will be fully prepared to enroll in my online course. My goal will be to have a trial run this summer with current 4th and 5th grade students at my campus to analyze what could use adjusting by the time my students enroll next year.

What follows is an introduction, the learning goals, desired results, class audience, and course outline. As this class progresses, I will post updates.


What follows is a Literacy unit centered around developing one’s own Growth Mindset. This unit was build using Wiggins & McTighe’s (2005) Understanding by Design model in which planning is approached with the end goals in mind. This helps teachers and students know what is expected and how to master each concept while remaining focused on the intended goal. This unit not only addresses reading comprehension and literacy strategies, but helps students gain necessary skills to develop their growth mindset and resiliency when taking a fully online course. Taking a course online without the face-to-face guidance of the instructor requires students to be able to independently navigate not only the learning management system (LMS) in this case, Schoology, but understand how to connect the information provided meaningfully. George Siemens (2004) coined the term known as “connectivism” which is a learning theory that suggests that learning is less about gathering information but developing the skill necessary when managing knowledge and connecting information. This online course I will be creating uses more of a constructivist and connectivist approach in which students begin building upon what they know, and are given ample opportunities to choose, own, and voice their learning with classmates via discussions and ePortfolios. The standards are listed under “established goals” and represent a progression of reading comprehension, social-emotional skills, and online learning tools. I created this course because I am passionate about embedding social-emotional learning in all content and believe it is possible to create lessons no matter the curriculum that help our students build character and grit. In the long run, character building will grant students the skills that help them attain difficult academic challenges, remain calm under pressure, and work both collaboratively with others or independently. Students will begin by identifying character relationships in a novel of their choice and digging deep to determine deeper motives. They will connect with these motives, and relate cause and effect with learning from setbacks both for the characters in their novel and in their own life. We will build on this understanding until students understand the power of their own words, and use this to create a persuasive book trailer highlighting major themes and overarching message. The main goal for this course is for students to understand how to connect to the hearts of their audience and to themselves through literacy and social-emotional learning.

Learning Goals:

Students will be able to:

  • Communicate effectively based on purpose and audience using appropriate vocabulary and conventions.
  • Develop a conscious reflection of self by exploring character development and pursuing viable options based on interests, experiences, and aspirations.
  • Advocate based on personal needs to determine an appropriate solution.
  • Demonstrate self awareness by reflecting on how every action causes an effect on their surroundings.
  • How to engage in academic discussion and collect others’ experiences as well as their own for later reflection.
  • How to choose a platform and create a blog, ePortfolio, and animation.
  • Use the art of persuasion to influence new readers.

Desired Results:

Students will reflect a growth mindset when presented with difficult or new concepts. They will have created an ePortfolio with evidence of this growth and develop a life-long love for learning whether it be online or in person. Students will ultimately prepare a presentation via a book trailer with reflections in each module to represent each stage of their growth. My hope is that students will continue to use their ePortfolio in upcoming classes and come to understand that learning is about making meaningful connections.


4th & 5th Grade Elementary Students

Course Outline

Online Course created from UbD template


Siemens, G. (2004, December 12). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning, volume 2, number 1. Retrieved from: