Closing the Gap: Focusing on Critical Literacy and Math Skills

(Grades K-5) / Flex Course

PDI Course Number: 157T02 / UCSD Course Number: EDUC42528


Course Description

Are you struggling to find ways to identify and reduce the achievement gap you are seeing in your classroom? Do you want to learn how to shift your mindset from a loss perspective to sustainable learning? Teachers across the nation are searching for best practices to close the achievement gap, especially as it applies to the essential skills of literacy and math. Instead of focusing on learning that has been “lost,” the consensus is that there is a need to “slow down to speed up.” This online course is designed to equip K-5 teachers with numerous strategies to help students master essential literacy and math skills by taking learning deeper, not wider, making it sustainable. The course begins by outlining the learning process and discussing several factors that promote deeper learning, or mastery, of content. Teachers will learn that a critical piece of teaching these essential skills is fostering collaborative learning. As the course progresses, teachers will take a deep dive into each essential learning skill as it relates to literacy and mathematics. Numerous strategies to assess and teach each of these critical skills will be provided. Finally, teachers will be introduced to the Paul-Elder Critical Thinking Framework, and they will learn how to promote cross-curricular thinking. Using a strengths-based approach to learning, teachers will understand the relationship between literacy and math and how these seemingly different content areas can be used to leverage one another. By the end of this course, teachers will feel more confident and successful in their quest to embed a variety of evidence-based strategies into their own teaching habits to help foster sustainable learning and promote future college and career success. This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units/5 quarter units (50 hours of training) from University of California San Diego (UCSD) Division of Extended Studies. For detailed information on university credit, click here.


Enrollment Options

Course Only

$127 with the discount

Course with Credit from UCSD

$323 with the discount

This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units or 5 quarter units of graduate-level credit from UCSD.

You have up to one year from the date you are enrolled to complete a flex course.


Click here to view the course syllabus.

Print our customized course approval form to share with your school district.

UCSD Course Number: EDUC42528
Unit One
  • Essential Skills: The Building Blocks of Success
  • Taking It Deeper, Not Wider
  • Collaboration: A Critical Piece of the Essential Skills Puzzle
  • Assignment #1: Write an autobiography
  • Test #1
Unit Two
  • Literacy Pathway: An Overview
  • Essential Skills for Speaking and Listening
  • Essential Foundational Reading Skills to Empower Learning
  • Assignment #2: Article reflection
  • Test #2
Unit Three
  • Strategies to Empower Sustainable Learning in Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, and Decoding
  • Strategies to Empower Sustainable Learning in Vocabulary and Fluency
  • Strategies to Empower Sustainable Learning in Comprehension
  • Assignment #3: Share your expertise
  • Test #3
Unit Four
  • Essential Writing Skills for Grades K-5
  • The Reading and Writing Connection
  • Strategies to Empower Students’ Writing Skills
  • Test #4
Unit Five
  • Mathematics Pathway: An Overview of Essential Skills
  • Every Child a Mathematician: Embracing Math Practices
  • Bridging the Gap with Project-Based Learning
  • Assessing Essential Mathematics Skills in Grades K-5
  • Test #5
Unit Six
  • Problem Solving and Critical Thinking Progression
  • Strategies to Empower Students’ Mathematical Skills
  • Integrating Reading and Math
  • Assignment #4: Design literacy and mathematics lesson plans
  • Assignment #5: Course Reflection

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