Session Topics

Keynote Address

If I Knew Then . . .

Every teacher has the potential to be a superhero to a student. You will sing the song (to the tune of Spiderman), perhaps wear the T-shirt, be actively involved with all of your senses, and learn that the job of teaching can be one of the most rewarding careers in the world. Enjoy a fun-filled, action-packed walk down Memory Lane that looks back on four decades of teaching. Laugh along as you listen to anecdotes and poetry about how you spend your life as a teacher. By tying together the lessons learned, the struggles and triumphs, and experiences only educators can appreciate, each audience member will be sure to come away being proud to be “a teacher!” SUITABLE FOR ALL LEVELS

Session Topics
(unless otherwise noted, sessions are best suited for Language Arts teachers
who teach students from grades 5 to 9)

Assessment: Practical Ideas for the Team

When discussing assessment for a given student, remember that the “practical ideas” are classroom-proven methods of appraising student work and that the “team” consists of the student, fellow students, the parent(s), and as many teachers as possible – core and option. All have important roles to play.

Beginning Teachers – Adding to the Toolbox

How do I get to know every student’s name?  What is a proven way to create a year plan and then fine tune for the details?  Which methods of classroom management help solve discipline problems?  When do I plan, teach, mark, report, and celebrate successes?  Who do I turn to for guidance and encouragement?  Where do I find the best resources?  This session offers answers based on a lifetime of experience (and borrowing from knowledgeable colleagues). SUITABLE FOR ALL LEVELS

Classroom Management: No Fears, No Tears

Part of what we must do is proactive; some has to be reactive. Learn about the strategies, the mindsets, and the intrinsic and extrinsic rewards that help everyone be more successful in your classroom. (Okay, maybe a few fears and tears are inevitable.)

Differentiated Instruction Need Not Be So Different

The term “differentiated instruction” really means what good teachers have always been doing – meeting student needs in interesting and challenging ways. When viewed from the “I will do the best that I can whenever it is humanly possible” perspective, differentiated instruction is an achievable goal. Learn about the big picture and then the details.

Essay Writing: The Basics

The planning, the research, and the organization of the information are important steps to take prior to the actual writing of the essay.  Students need to learn about narrowing topics, using scattergrams and webs, selecting sources of information, collecting the information, outlining, ordering ideas, preparing effective introductions and conclusions, and revising before editing.  Learning to “plan your work, and work your plan” is essential for an effective essay.

I.P.P.’s (Individual Program Plans) – Effective Strategies

The I.P.P. has earned the status of a four-letter word. In this session, you will be involved in understanding what is in a cum file, deciding what is most important for an I.P.P., and hearing ‘real school’ stories about what works (and doesn’t). You will also be given and/or directed to the resources that will help achieve the true goal of an I.P.P. – helping a student in need.

Learning to Remember (Hooks and Things to Hang on Them)

There are a variety of ways to remember the many things that we, as teachers, need to remember.  The same methods can be offered to our students to assist them as they attempt to deposit the knowledge that we share into their own memory banks. This session will deal with “learning to remember” by showing a series of “hooks” that we can use.  It will also give examples for life inside and outside of school to show what can be hung from these hooks. SUITABLE FOR ALL LEVELS

Literacy for Boys: Successful Strategies

It can be argued that the strategies to improve literacy skills for boys should be the same ones used to help girls. What I do know is this – the strategies I have employed to make the strands of language arts come alive for boys have been very successful. That they also work for girls is a happy bonus. This session offers practical, use-them-on-Monday ideas and activities.

The Middle School Philosophy

If you teach in a middle school but aren’t fully aware of the “Middle School Philosophy,” or if you teach in a junior high school but are interested in seeing how you could adopt the four essential attributes, learn Jock’s practical application.

Middle School Teachers as Reading Teachers

Content area specialists seldom see themselves as “reading” teachers.  With the current emphasis on standardized tests, the pressure on students to be good readers is more evident.  Whether it is a case of the tail wagging the dog, or the realization that teaching reading comprehension really is everyone’s responsibility, students need reading strategies.  Learn how to help your students to read with understanding in daily classes and on test days.  This session is intended for Science, Social Studies, and Math teachers . . . and Language Arts teachers too.

The Other Parts of Language Arts

Listening, speaking, viewing and representing are four strands of a language arts program that seem to take a back seat to reading and writing. Listen to currently popular songs your students bring, speak to one another in pairs and then groups of four about events in your life, view movie clips from a variety of genres, represent with color and creativity. Learn ways to integrate these important life skills in innovative, interactive and interesting ways.

The Plot Thickens: Writing Short Stories

Before students write stories, they need to be able to plan them and tell them.  Knowledge of the normal plot structure (3I-RACER), sequencing of ideas (e.g. rearranging cartoons with and without dialogue bubbles), understanding the concept of building suspense (e.g. The Fortunately-Unfortunately Game) and having a Plot Outline form are several of the key elements.

Poetry and Song

Teach skills and add excitement to this unit by taking a new approach. Write new words to old songs, and learn new methods for working with rhythm and rhyme, syllabication, figurative language, recitation, and compressed thought. Create from Hink Pinks to Hinkety Pinkety Swinkety Thinketies. Discover the “pictures” of poems – couplets, quartains, limericks, and more. This session concentrates on rhyming and rhythmic poetry so come prepared for a stressed and unstressed session of rhyme time.

Pre-writing to Celebrating: Improving Student Writing

Student writing can be improved through a clearer understanding of the “Writing Process” and creative ways to involve students at each step.  From the “getting ready” stage to “publishing and sharing” at the end, this session will give practical examples of ideas and assignments that engage student interest and add reality to the writing process.

Student Engagement: New Term or A Cornerstone of Good Teaching?

The term “student engagement” has been used to describe students who truly care about their work, who become involved and excited about it, who persist against obstacles and who delight in their accomplishments. Good teachers have been engaging students for years. Against the numerous attractions outside school, engaging students at school has become more challenging. This session offers exciting and proven ways to get students involved in meaningful ways.

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