Improved Instruction

In-Person, On-Site Professional Development Workshops

Improved Instruction Workshops

Professional Learning Communities (PLCs): Building Capacity for Success

This is the third workshop in our PLC series (the first two geared specifically towards administrators). In this workshop, participants will begin by gaining an overview of the PLC process in addition to the research-supported benefits PLCs offer to a school’s climate. From there, participants will work on identifying and defining roles, expectations, and norms of PLCs. As a whole group, multiple implementation ideas and best practices will be shared, modeled, and discussed.

Intended Audience:
Grades K-12 Instructors, Curriculum Specialists, and Administrators
Workshop Length:
2-3 hours
Download for our vision of the PARCC Road to Success.

Thinking Inside the Block: Transitioning to a Block Schedule

The block schedule is really meant to offer students more time for skill practice. During this workshop, participants will consider the block construction, evaluate their present practices, and consider how to rethink instruction and reconstruct their practices. The focus will be on "learning from bell to bell" as opposed to "teaching from bell to bell." Teachers will consider the elements of a block lesson to include an introduction, mini-lesson/direct instruction, shared practice, individual practice, and a closure. Participants will consider instructional activities that include 21st century skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, and the use of technology. Participants will also consider classroom management and differentiation as they strive to maximize learning time in the block.

Intended Audience:
Grades K-12 Instructors, Curriculum Specialists, and Administrators
Workshop Length:
2-3 hours
Download for our vision of the PARCC Road to Success.

Creating Multiple Intelligence Lessons and Units

This workshop is designed for curriculum support personnel to create a common perspective and approach to apply the theory of multiple intelligences (Howard Gardner’s approach) to lesson and unit design.The workshop begins with an exploration of the participants’ multiple intelligences and an explanation of the development and definition of each area. The participants are then led through a process of enhancing existing lessons with MI approaches, followed by a step-by-step process to create new MI units of study. Next, the presenter discusses approaches for evaluating student progress. Lastly, the participants explore 1.0 and 2.0technology tools that can help address unit goals and objectives. The workshop concludes with a self-evaluation of participants’ reflection of what they know and what they need to further hone.

Intended Audience:
Administrators, Supervisors and Curriculum Specialists
Workshop Length:
2-3 hours
Download for our vision of the PARCC Road to Success.

Best Practices for Student-Centered Classrooms

This workshop will focus on four key principles of a student-centered classroom: culture, community, collaboration, and common language. Participants will have the opportunity to look inside classrooms to view best practices in action as well as practice techniques with hands-on activities. The implementation of academic language in the classroom will be a major focus of this workshop as well. Participants will be provided with instructional strategies as well as resources to support students at various ability levels, and encourage a community of learners who actively collaborate, taking ownership of their learning.

Intended Audience:
Grades K-12 Instructors, Curriculum Specialists, and Administrators
Workshop Length:
2-3 hours
Download for our vision of the PARCC Road to Success.

Classroom Management: Maximizing Learning Time on Task

Classroom management is the first step to highly effective teaching. Respect for all, setting up routines and procedures, expedient transitions, and high expectations all set the stage for rigorous instruction.This workshop will lead teachers through aspects of classroom management that include fostering self-efficacy, effectively and positively dealing with behavioral issues, setting up the physical space, and delegating responsibility.

Intended Audience:
Grades K-12 Instructors, Curriculum Specialists, and Administrators
Workshop Length:
2-3 hours
Download for our vision of the PARCC Road to Success.

Applying a Backward Design Approach to English, Mathematics, Science, or Social Studies

This workshop will provide an overview of the backward design process. Throughout the workshop, participants will consider how each element of backward design pertains to the subject of English Language Arts,Mathematics, Science, Social Studies or some combination of subjects selected by the school/district. The presenter will lead the participants through the three stages: Identify Results, Determine Acceptable Evidence, and Plan Learning Experiences to create units of study. Towards the end of the workshop, participants will be provided with time to initiate the construction of a unit of study that employs backward design.

Intended Audience:
Grades K-12 Instructors, Curriculum Specialists, and Administrators
Workshop Length:
2-3 hours or 6-8 hours
Download for our vision of the PARCC Road to Success.

Creating Thematic Units

A thematic unit organizes a curriculum around a central theme. During this workshop, instructors explore how to create thematic units that integrate subjects across the curriculum, including reading/language arts, social studies, science, and mathematics, that all tie into the main theme of the unit. By the end of the workshop, participants will have created a complete unit of study.

Intended Audience:
K-12 Instructors, Curriculum Specialists, and Administrators
Workshop Length:
2-8 hours (depending upon the school’s or district’s needs and interests)
Download for our vision of the PARCC Road to Success.

Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning is an approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges. With this type of active and engaged learning, students attain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they're studying. During each workshop, participants experience an introduction to the elements of PBL units of study, a presentation of different topics, themes, and formats of PBL units of study, and a discussion of the various formative and assessment practices that instructors can utilize to ascertain student progress when implementingPBL units of study. Additionally, during each workshop, the participants will construct an outline of a PBL that incorporates all identified elements.

Intended Audience:
K-12 Instructors, Curriculum Specialists, and Administrators
Workshop Length:
2-3 hours
Download for our vision of the PARCC Road to Success.

Establishing the Differentiated Classroom

True differentiation is a hard-to-achieve goal for most educators. This workshop provides the steps to assist teachers in identifying student learning styles, attitudes, and interests. It also explores methods, approaches and tools to create effective differentiation in the classroom. This workshop will provide the tools for teachers to help their students believe that learning involves effort, risk, and personal triumph. Student abilities and learning styles drive content, process, and product. Participants will explore how to differentiate the material that is taught (content), encourage critical thinking (process), and provide a variety of opportunities for students to demonstrate what they have learned (product).

Intended Audience:
Grades K-12 Instructors, Curriculum Specialists, and Administrators
Workshop Length:
2-3 hours
Download for our vision of the PARCC Road to Success.

Co-Teaching from Good Practice to Best Practice

The purpose of this workshop is to provide both an overview of co-teaching, as well as detailed information about planning, implementing, and evaluating co-teaching programs. Participants will have the opportunity to explore both the conceptual and the operational aspects of this innovative approach to service delivery, as well as learn other collaborative skills that can help co-teachers succeed in teaching all students. This workshop will trace the historical origins of co-teaching, the legal rationale for co-teaching, and the benefits of co-teaching to students, schools, and teachers. Both the general education and special education teacher will share hopes, attitudes, responsibilities, and expectations for their students and classrooms.

Intended Audience:
Grades K-12 Instructors, Curriculum Specialists, and Administrators
Workshop Length:
2-3 hours
Download for our vision of the PARCC Road to Success.

Providing Better Quality Instructional Feedback

Providing high quality instructional feedback to students is crucial to their learning. This workshop assists educators in improving their ability to provide meaning and timely feedback to their students. Participants watch uncut videos of classrooms and consider the students place in relationship to the objectives, as well as what the instructor needed to do to get them there. Participants come away with a sharper ability to critique their own feedback techniques and provide better quality instructional feedback going forward.

Intended Audience:
Grades K-12 Instructors, Curriculum Specialists, and Administrators
Workshop Length:
2-3 hours or 6-8 hours
Download for our vision of the PARCC Road to Success.

Fostering Self-Efficacy: The Development of Perseverance

Perseverance is a skill that is essential to success. In this workshop, educators will gain awareness of the value of this character trait and recognize it as a performance value that can be taught. Participants will be introduced to specific techniques and activities to develop this skill in their students, resulting in a strong work ethic and power over their own successes and failures.

Intended Audience:
Grades K-12 Mathematics Instructors, Curriculum Specialists, and Administrators
Workshop Length:
2-3 hours
Download for our vision of the PARCC Road to Success.

Enhancing Instructional Question and Discussion Techniques

During this workshop, the participants explore methods for developing effective questioning and discussion techniques that elicit students’ previous knowledge and generate their interests on the topic being presented. The presenter leads the group through the stages of questioning that may begin with basic recall(because it is appropriate to the lesson or topic) to the point where students are involved in high level questioning and discussion with their classmates. This workshop is intended for both educators that are just beginning to concentrate on question and discussion techniques and those seeking to further hone their abilities to implement higher levels of technique in their classrooms.

Intended Audience:
Grades K-12 Instructors, Curriculum Specialists, and Administrators
Workshop Length:
2-3 hours or 6-8 hours
Download for our vision of the PARCC Road to Success.

Implementing Instructional Strategies to Fully Engage Students

In this workshop, participants experience the full breadth of active engagement processes. The workshop begins with an explanation and rationale for constructing a fully engaged classroom. The audience considers all aspects of their classrooms, such as procedures, rules, classroom construct, and coping with interferences. Next, the participants will discuss strategies and activities that they can employ to assure active engagement during every part of the lesson plan process: initiating instruction, modeling and guided practice, independent practice, evaluating student progress, and checking for understanding.

Intended Audience:
Grades K-12 Instructors, Curriculum Specialists, and Administrators
Workshop Length:
2-3 hours or 6-8 hours
Download for our vision of the PARCC Road to Success.

Strategies for Identifying and Creating Programs for the Gifted

Once your district has decided to create a gifted program, how do you begin to sift through the myriad identification tools and processes? What type of program best fits your students? Maybe your district already has a gifted program. How do you assess its effectiveness? The best programs offer a continuum of services. This workshop will outline and provide explanation of the testing and assessment mechanisms for identifying your most able students. Participants will begin the process of assessing =students’ needs, including acceleration, pullout programming, and more.

Intended Audience:
Grades K-12 Instructors, Curriculum Specialists, Gifted Specialists, and Administrators
Workshop Length:
2-3 hours
Download for our vision of the PARCC Road to Success.

Addressing the Needs of Gifted Students in the Regular Classroom

How can teachers develop lessons, programs, and activities that intrigue all learners, while providing challenges specific to our gifted students? What are traits that set gifted children apart from others?Even if students spend part of their school time in a gifted pullout program, they are gifted all of the time. This workshop will help teachers implement strategies in their classrooms, regardless of subject area, to better meet the needs of their gifted students.

Intended Audience:
Grades K-12 Instructors, Curriculum Specialists, Gifted Specialists, and Administrators
Workshop Length:
2-3 hours
Download for our vision of the PARCC Road to Success.

A Guide to Rigor in the Classroom

This workshop begins with a discussion of what rigor is and is not. Next, the three areas that BarbaraBlackburn identifies with rigor (environment, instruction, and demonstrated learning) will be addressed.Specifically, we will take a deep dive into these areas through the lens of the Danielson (Domains 2 and 3) and Marzano(Domain 1) frameworks. Tools such as Blooms Taxonomy and Webb’s Depth of Knowledge will be explored through hands-on activities. Participants will then use “Look Fors” to identify these best practices in video clips of real classrooms. Lastly, participants will begin planning how to apply strategies learned for immediate use in their classrooms.

Intended Audience:
K-12 Instructors, Administrators and Curriculum Specialists
Workshop Length:
2-3 hours
Download for our vision of the PARCC Road to Success.

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