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Online Elementary Education Degree: Curriculum

Curriculum Details

120 total credits required

Greenville University’s online Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education features a curriculum that prepares you for the edTPA exam and initial teaching licensure for grades one through six in the state of Illinois. This flexible program consists of 15 courses, which are eight or 16 weeks in duration.

In addition to courses needed for the elementary education major, you will need to complete general education and elective courses for a total of 120 credits. You will also complete approximately 400 classroom hours as part of your program.

This program is based on a 2+2 model, in which students begin their elementary education courses at the associate level and transfer the credits they earn to Greenville. This model allows community college students to save on tuition costs by completing some courses needed for the elementary education major at lower tuition rates.

When you begin your studies at Greenville, you will have completed an initial semester of elementary education-related coursework and field experience, allowing you to make the most of your associate degree credits and fast-track your bachelor’s degree. Most students finish their bachelor’s degree in two years after transferring their previously earned associate credits.

Greenville has special partnerships with six institutions to allow for a seamless transfer of associate degree credits into the B.S. in Elementary Education program. Partner schools include:

  • Kaskaskia College
  • Lake Land Community College
  • Lewis and Clark Community College
  • Lincoln Christian University
  • Lincoln Land Community College
  • Southwestern Illinois College

Please note that students who transfer from non-partner institutions may be missing prerequisites and other required courses for the B.S. in Elementary Education program and will complete those courses at Greenville, which will increase their time to completion.

Greenville’s elementary education programs are nationally accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and approved by the Illinois State Board of Education.

Core Courses

This course explores the theories and practice that identify communication skills and competencies in diverse educational settings, including virtual and remote, with multiple stakeholders. The course will also introduce educators to the pedagogy and integration of instructional technologies. Emphasis will be placed on interpersonal and intercultural communication, critical listening and questioning techniques, professional collaboration, digital communication and instructional tools. Students will build a professional, digital portfolio and the option to earn a Level 1 Google Certified Educator certification.
The content of this course focuses on using art, music, and movement to enhance student learning in the elementary classroom core curriculum. The course includes the study of tools, techniques, and technology of art, music, and movement. It provides candidates an understanding of the educational, communicative, and aesthetic values of dance, music, and visual arts and the role fine arts plays in reflecting history and culture. Field experiences required.
A course in the reading sequence designed to acquaint candidates with a variety of reading programs and approaches used in contemporary elementary school classrooms. Emphasis is on the reading process and product from the early stages of readiness. Attention is given to strategies that aide in word identification such as using sight words, phonics, contextual analysis, and structural analysis. Attention is given to comprehension fostering strategies. Specific strategies for Content Area Reading are examined as well as strategies to be used with ESL students and Special Needs students. There are 15 hours of field experiences required.
Emphasis is on the identification and remediation of reading problems at the elementary school level. Prevention of reading problems through early intervention is addressed. Informal assessment and teaching strategies are stressed. Field experiences required.
This course explores methods and materials used in the teaching of the language arts at the elementary school level. Emphasis is placed on speaking skills, critical listening skills, using literature across the curriculum, and the writing process which includes grammar, spelling, handwriting, and word processing. Attention is given to writing in the Content Areas. Strategies to be used with ESL students are also presented. The integration of technology, diversity in the classroom, critical thinking skills, and assessment and evaluation are also examined. There are 15 hours of field experiences required.
This course explores methods, materials, and techniques used in the teaching of social studies. Emphasis is placed on the social studies goals, writing objectives and lesson plans, and the integration of other curricular areas. History, Geography, Civics and Government along with the Economics of Illinois, the US and World are examined as they apply to classroom methods. Cultural diversity, the integration of technology, and small group activities are also explored. There are 15 hours of field experiences required.
The course examines effective teaching strategies for teaching mathematics to elementary school students. It emphasizes placing students in a role where they actively think, reason, problem solve, and make sense of an inquiry-oriented, problem solving classroom environment. Students will examine children’s strategies for making sense of various mathematical concepts and consider means of facilitating the development of these strategies. There are 15 hours of field experience required.
This course examines strategies for teaching science to elementary school students. The students will be exploring the nature of inquiry and strategies for promoting, supporting, and assessing students’ scientific inquiry. This course will seek to provide students with instructional tools to help children develop conceptual understanding of scientific concepts. Students will examine strategies for questioning, sequencing of lessons, assessing students’ understanding, meeting students’ needs in multi-ability settings, and involving more girls and minorities. There are 15 hours of field experience required.

Our everyday wellbeing and sustenance are connected to our environment in many ways, but many of these connections are not obvious. This course focuses on how human society relates to and depends on the environment. This course incorporates the topics of human population, patterns of resource use, energy, and pollution while considering how to move toward a sustainable future for the Creation. Some aspects of the following disciplines are included: ecology, animal and plant biology, physics, chemistry, oceanography, and atmospheric science. (Three hours of lecture and two hours lab per week.)

Students must select either BIOL 108 Environmental Science and Stewardship or BIOL 115 Plants and People.

Major emphases in this course are the scientific method; structure and function of plants, and their economic and ecological importance; and discussion of current issues such as genetic modification of crops. (Three hours lecture and two hours lab per week.)

Students must select either BIOL 108 Environmental Science and Stewardship or BIOL 115 Plants and People.

A writing intensive course with special attention to the uses of expository writing and group discussion in interrogating culture, a sense of self, and one’s calling. Through discussion of both fiction and non-fiction texts, students enhance the critical thinking ability required for meaningful academic communication (both written and oral) within the disciplines. Emphasis given to the development of thesis statements, logical organization, and the honest and effective use of sources in summary, analysis, and argument. Students should complete this course during their first year.
A comprehensive survey of the various types of poetry and prose for children, with considerable attention to the significant historical and folklore backgrounds.
Study of why the world works the way it does, how its unique regions have taken shape, and how those regions are increasingly interconnected.

This course examines the settlement, colonization and nation-building of the United States from roughly 1600-1865. This course focuses on the context in which European settlers and the Africans whom they enslaved built a nation, wresting North America from native tribes. We will investigate the loyalties that guided settlers’ beliefs and actions; the multi-faceted conflicts that led future generations to demand liberty; and the conflicted notions of equality, democracy and justice that guided the United States in its first eight decades.

Students must select either HIST 304 American History I or HIST 205 American History II.

In this course, we will consider how Americans responded to rapidly changing conditions that followed the Civil War. We will consider how a national culture developed in the post-Civil War period, and we will evaluate the benefits and liabilities of this transition. Further we will examine the ways in which the United States assumed a new global identity through the course of the mid-nineteenth to the late twentieth century and consider the repercussions of this new consciousness. Finally, we will study the ways in which Americans placed limitations on state power in order to provide more consistent equality and equity for all.

Students must select either HIST 304 American History I or HIST 205 American History II.

An elementary study of the formal and historical aspects of architecture, sculpture, painting, and music, and an examination of their relation to Western civilization at its high points.

This course articulates the value of physical education for the elementary school student and trains elementary teachers in the design, development, implementation and evaluation of elementary physical education programs.

Students must select either PHED 254 Elementary Physical Education or PHED 356 Adapted Physical Education.

This course provides experience in formulating individualized performance objectives, key teaching and therapy skills, and programming for specific problems in organization and administration of students with disabilities. Provides a brief review of the legislative and history of adapted physical education.

Students must select either PHED 254 Elementary Physical Education or PHED 356 Adapted Physical Education.

Professional Education Courses

This course covers general and fundamental areas of physical sciences that are important to educators. Readings and assessments will address scientific principles and underlying relationships from various branches of physical sciences, including earth and space sciences. In-class work revolves around some of the most common misconceptions of the physical sciences. Students use inquiry skills as they: investigate phenomena; collect, interpret, and analyze data; and generate evidence-based arguments and explanations. Students will explore and debate one current event topic where science, technology, and society intersect.
Examines structures, functions, and policies of the national government.
This course prepares the candidate for admission to Teacher Education. Course content includes the characteristics of the Greenville University Teacher Education Program, a survey of the legal, social and ethical issues involved in public school education, an introduction to program portfolio development, and a correlation of psychological principles to varied learning styles and milieus. This course is conducted on campus and includes field experience in school settings that have a large minority population. This course will give students the opportunity to determine whether they want to persist in the Teacher Education Program.
The purpose of this course is to explore race and poverty issues that impact the classroom environment. Candidates will search for effective strategies to better meet the needs of under served populations. The hidden rules of economic class and characteristics of generational poverty will be studied, with emphasis on the impact this has on instruction. Students will spend time assisting in a classroom which serves a high minority and low socioeconomic population.
This course will examine the historical context, diverse characteristics, and individual planning for the exceptional child. Students in this course will explore how individuals develop and learn within the context of their cultural, linguistic, and academic experiences. Co-teaching instructional plans based on diverse student characteristics, student performance data, and curriculum goals will be developed. Thirty hours of field experience in a special education classroom are required.
This course will provide a current and comprehensive overview of research and theory related to human learning. The course will emphasize major concepts of learning theory but will also cover relevant motivational and developmental theories. The course will underscore the relationship between theory, research, and practice.
This course will investigate the structures of a safe and healthy learning environment that facilitates cultural and linguistic responsiveness, positive social interaction, active engagement, and academic risk-taking. A three tiered level of positive behavior supports (PBS) will be explored as a framework for creating plans to accomplish a productive learning environment. Twenty hours of field experience required.
This course is designed to explore classroom evaluation of student growth as an integral part of instruction. Candidates explore the purpose of evaluation as it relates to planning instruction. Professional, social, ethical, and philosophical considerations related to teaching/learning are also explored.
After admission to the professional internship, candidates receive student teaching placements. Candidates work with their cooperating teachers during the first week of school. Five days of clinical experience required.
This course is a general methods course to prepare candidates for teaching at the elementary level. It is conducted with a major emphasis on actual clinical experiences focusing on the role of the elementary school teacher within the community, school, and classroom. Methods and techniques of classroom management, lesson planning, student assessment, and reporting are also considered, as candidates work with clinical instructors. As part of this clinical experience, students will complete a practice edTPA. Professional ethics and dispositions are also covered.

For candidates completing the elementary program. Fifteen weeks of student teaching are required.

The seminar addresses professional topics within the field of education. In addition, the seminar provides an opportunity for teacher candidates to focus on the required performance assessment. The performance assessment, aligned with state standards, is an authentic assessment tool that shows how teacher candidates develop and evaluate student learning. The centerpiece is a portfolio that describes and documents authentic practices from the candidate’s teaching experience. The portfolio addresses planning, instruction, assessment, analyzing teaching, and academic language to reveal the impact of a candidate’s teaching performance on student learning. As a capstone seminar, the course requires students reflect mastery of self-reflection and critical self-awareness, collaboration across disciplines, communication in multiple modes with multiple audiences, and reflection on how Christian faith impacts and guides their daily work. The seminar topics and tasks guide and support the candidate’s progress in the teaching profession.

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