Seven Simple Secrets for Teachers
Course Outline

Course Fee: $90
Course Numbers: EED x701, SED x701
Standard Course Time: 15 Hours
Semester Credits: One (1) academic credit at the post-baccalaureate level (available for an additional fee)
Credit Issued by: Cal Poly Humboldt (refer to our Graduate Credit page for credit pricing and details)
Subject Area: Special Topics
Authors: Annette L. Breaux, Todd Whitaker, Ph.D.,

Introduction/Course Description:

Want to know a secret? The absolute best teachers are not the absolute best because they were born the absolute best. They're not the absolute best because they have the highest IQs. They were not the absolute best when they first started teaching. So why are they the absolute best? They're the absolute best because they share something in common—seven simple secrets. That's right—seven simple secrets that can and will change your life as a classroom teacher.

Course Objectives/Program Outline

This course is broken into major parts called modules. Each module contains up to seven sections. Within each section, we cover one or more of the outlined learning objectives for the module. At the end of each module, there is a quiz. All modules include a project. The breakdown for modules within this course is as follows:

Module One-The Secret of Planning

Learning Objectives:

  • Define key parts to planning a lesson.
  • Describe the benefit of over planning your lessons.
  • Review strategies for managing your lesson plans in small increments of time.
  • Demonstrate the importance of flexibility in teaching.
  • Evaluate the importance of developing clear objectives for each lesson plan.
  • Apply strategies for promoting student activity in learning.
  • Differentiate between being proactive and reactive in teaching.

Project 1: The Secret of Planning - Checklist
Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Module Two-The Secret of Classroom Management

Learning Objectives:

  • Build key aspects of an effective teacher's classroom.
  • Identify the difference between rules and procedures.
  • Create rules and procedures for classroom management.
  • Name ways to provide reminders and practice for classroom procedures.
  • State the strategy of teaching bell to bell.
  • Evaluate strategies for dealing with discipline challenges in a proactive manner.
  • Create alternatives to raising your voice in frustration.

Project 2: The Secret of Classroom Management - Checklist
Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Module Three-The Secret of Instruction

Learning Objectives:

  • Apply main concepts of your lesson to student's current life to increase engagement.
  • Describe the importance of intentional student involvement in a learning environment.
  • Analyze the importance of teaching to each child's individual level.
  • Create three or more strategies to incorporate technology into classroom.
  • Align lessons to test what and how you teach your students.
  • Define key aspects of setting the pace of your lessons.
  • Create lessons to be able to teach anything to anyone.

Project 3: The Secret of Instruction - Checklist
Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Module Four-The Secret of Attitude

Learning Objectives:

  • Model a positive attitude and behavior to be the most effective teacher.
  • Develop strategies for maintaining a positive attitude around negative teachers and/or administrators.
  • Define ways to temper negative attitudes in your students.
  • Establish guidelines for accepting responsibility in teaching outcomes.
  • Choose ways to defuse negative coworkers.
  • List three ways you can emulate most effective attitude in the faculty.
  • Evaluate your attitude towards parents.

Project 4: The Secret of Attitude - Checklist
Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Module Five-The Secret of Professionalism

Learning Objectives:

  • Justify reasons for dressing professionally as a teacher.
  • List three ways to "fit in" with positive/effective teachers without "falling in" to gossipy/negative teachers.
  • Develop key strategies for maintaining professionalism with social media channels.
  • Define importance of continued professional growth and learning.
  • Describe best attributes of those teachers who exhibit highest level of professionalism.
  • List attributes of teachers that do their best every day.
  • Ask yourself this question with every lesson or decision, "Is this what's best for my students or easiest for me?"

Project 5: The Secret of Professionalism - Checklist
Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Module Six-The Secret of Effective Discipline

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the secret to hiding your inflammatory spots, aka "buttons" from your students.
  • Evaluate your discipline practices to increase consistency.
  • Outline ways to use psychology to relieve stress and discipline problems in your classroom.
  • Choose alternatives to negativity and bitterness.
  • Justify reasoning for giving students what they want and need.
  • Display qualities of self-discipline.
  • Recognize the good in every child.

Project 6: The Secret of Effective Discipline - Checklist
Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Module Seven-The Secret of Motivation and Inspiration

Learning Objectives:

  • Display techniques to motivate your students using excitement and positive attitude.
  • Distinguish how to make every student feel important and special.
  • Recognize the importance in knowing your students personally as well as in the classroom.
  • List the seven components of praise.
  • Identify how to use rewards and recognition to improve the behavior of students.
  • Adapt your personality traits to motivate unmotivated students.
  • Create strategies to maximize the power of you and your influence on your students.

Project 7: The Secret of Motivation and Inspiration - Checklist
Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Final Exam

Multiple choice questions taken from each module

Final Learning Statement

Learning statements should be in a narrative format – as opposed to an outline format. Depending on individual writing styles Learning statements should be 2-3 pages. The learning statement can vary according to individual style. Your learning statement should answer the broad question of "what did you learn?". To help get you thinking, here are some suggested questions:

  • What are the major concepts of the course that you have learned?
  • What new professional language have you acquired relating to the topic?
  • What teaching techniques for implementing new strategies in the classroom did you come away with?
  • Thinking back to your project reflections, were you surprised at the outcomes?
  • What new resources did you find in the study of the content?
  • As an educator, what new concepts will you now integrate into your teaching?
  • Are there any ideas that presented themselves as enlightening and useful?

--- Sample Course Project ---

Seven Questions to Ask Yourself - Project #1 Overview

For this project, please take a moment to answer the following questions. Answering these questions will help you to determine whether you have mastered the Secret of Planning. Even if you have not yet mastered it, you may find that you’re almost there, that you require a little more effort in only one or two areas.

  • Do I plan lessons that focus on clear objectives and are designed to engage my students at each step of the learning process?
  • Do I always plan for more than I will probably need in order to accomplish the lesson’s objectives, making sure that any extra activities build on previous activities and are increasingly challenging?
  • Do I plan my lessons in short segments, ensuring that no one activity lasts too long?
  • Am I flexible when things don’t go exactly as planned, being careful not to allow myself to get bent out of shape when something unexpected occurs that puts a kink in my well-planned lesson?
  • Do I state my lesson’s objectives in clear and measurable terms, ensuring that all lesson activities focus solely on accomplishing those objectives?
  • Do I make every effort to plan activities that promote activity—meaning the students are continually encouraged to think and do as opposed to sit and listen?
  • Am I a proactive teacher who makes every effort to anticipate potential problems (while planning) and thus plans to ward off problems before they actualize?
For Your Project Reflection Submission

Take a moment to review your responses to these questions. For your reflection, share how these questions and answers relate to past learning, life experiences and/or future goals. Is there anything you might be able to improve upon after revisiting the Secret of Planning?

When you are ready, visit the "Module Projects" section located within the Course Dashboard to begin the process of submitting your project reflection.

Cal Poly Humboldt Credit Specifics

  • Academic Credit at the Graduate Level through Cal Poly Humboldt (CPH) is offered after successful completion of this course.
  • The 700 series semester credit is post-baccalaureate level appropriate for credentialed teachers which do not require admission to a graduate program.
  • 700-level classes are graduate level classes meant specifically for credential purposes, and are appropriate for license renewal or recertification.
  • Courses are letter graded on official transcripts from CPH.
  • CPH is the northernmost and westernmost institution in the 23-campus California State University (CSU) system.
  • CPH is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), a regional accrediting agency serving a diverse membership of public and private higher education institutions.

Summer Option

If you are not currently teaching (ie. Summer break, you are a substitute teacher, etc.), each class offers you the ability to complete coursework independent of a classroom assignment.