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Learning Differences Conference 2013

WORKSHOPS (& MINI INSTITUTES & INNOVATION SUMMIT TALKS)

Saturday's Workshops take place on the May 10th starting at 9:00 till 16:45 with breaks throughout as needed... The sessions are grouped as follows:

(alphabetical by session name)
  • Best Practice Teaching Strategies for Students with ADHD
by Zeigler Dendy, Chris, M.Sc., Tuckman, Ari, Psy.D., MBA

Description

Students with ADHD often struggle terribly in school.  The symptoms of ADHD, executive function deficits, and problems with medications are often the primary reasons for their academic struggles.  Roughly 50 percent of students with ADD and ADHD may have serious learning disabilities.  This session will provide an overview of the link between ADHD, deficits in executive function skills and common ADHD related learning challenges.  The most effective teaching strategies for students with attention deficits will be discussed. Practical interventions strategies will be suggested for common ADHD learning challenges: written expression, math performance and spelling.  In addition tips will be given for improving organizational skills plus timely completion of homework.  The importance of ADHD education for students, parents and teachers will be emphasized.

  1. Describe the impact of the ADHD three-year delay in brain development on school performance and behavior
  2. Describe two ways that ADHD and executive function deficits impact either learning or behavior
  3. Identify two common learning problems often linked to ADHD and executive function deficits
  4. Describe two best-practice intervention strategies to address each of the two learning problems
  5. List two of the effective strategies for enhancing retention of information taught
  6. Explain how immature and impaired “self-talk” in students with ADHD play a role in academic performance
  7. Give tips for addressing two of the major reasons why students fail classes—difficulty getting started and completion of homework

Workshop Plan

Lecture will be enhanced with group discussion and the modeling of good teaching strategies. The PowerPoint presentation will include specific examples and pictures of effective teaching strategies. In addition an educational video clip will be shown.

 

  • Co Teaching the Why, the Who and the What

Description

This workshop will explain our school’s (The International School of Brussels) journey to co teaching and will include both a theoretical and our ‘embodied knowledge’ experienced accounts as teachers about why this model works.  We will share practical components with different models of co teaching, demonstrating concrete strategies for getting started with co teaching, and information to take away with you to bring back to your school to support where you are on this journey.  Many schools and teachers believe in collaborative teaching practice to support student learning but often do not know where to begin and how to support this level of professional work.  Reading about co teaching is one thing but actually living it is another!  Come along to hear some of our accounts both the ‘ups’ and the ‘downs’ but a lot of ‘ups’ in the level of success for students who require this level of support.  We hope that you will share your questions with us before the workshop so that we can be sure to try to give you some tips and suggestions about what has worked for us.

 

  • Developing an International Individual Learning Plan

Description

This workshop will explain the purpose behind the IILP and participants will spend time creating their own IILP.  The IILP was developed with grant support from the European Council of International Schools (ECIS), and is now widely used around the world in international schools.  Individual learning plans are essential components of good learning support programmes.  One of the more difficult aspects of writing a good IILP is in writing goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic or relevant, and timely.

Participants should bring a laptop to this session with the latest version of Adobe Reader.

 

  • Differentiation for Students with Specific Learning Difficulties in Primary Years: Reading & Writing

Description

The purpose of the workshop is to provide primarily educators (and other interested specialists/parents) with hands on activities and ideas that will help them enhance their teaching with differentiation techniques.  These techniques can be used across the curriculum and with all students.  However, the workshop will focus on differentiation techniques for primary students with specific learning difficulties in the areas or reading and writing.

Differentiation means teachers proactively plan varied approaches to what students need to learn, how they will learn it, and/or how they will show what they have learned in order to increase the likelihood that each student will learn as much as he or she can, as efficiently as possible.  Tomlinson (2001) says: differentiation is classroom practice that looks eyeball to eyeball with the reality that kids differ, and the most effective teachers do whatever it takes to hook the whole range of kids on learning.

During the 75 minute workshop participants will have the opportunity to actively engage with one another and with the instructors by reviewing well known strategies (visual/auditory discrimination; memory building; scaffolding; motivational learning plans; organization of time; strategies that focus on content, process and product).  Keeping in mind students’ readiness, interests and learning styles, during the activities, the participants will have the opportunity to make connections between differentiation and Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences as well as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs in order to develop a sound theoretical basis for the many practical ideas and techniques.

The participants will also be encouraged to offer their own strategies, theories and perspectives on differentiation making the workshop a wonderful opportunity for dialogue, interactive processes and creativity.  The end result will be to support all students, empower them and provide them with as many skills as possible so they can achieve self-efficacy.

 

  • Intelligent Improvisation: How to use Improvisation to Teach Skills and Boost Learning Across the Curriculum
by Petroutsa, Mary, M.L.A.

Description

This workshop will provide you with improvisational techniques that can be adapted across the curriculum to make instruction come alive.  I combined my acting and teaching experience to leverage the power of play, to enhance children’s self-esteem and team work.  Students learn by doing, through experiential learning, rather than by lectures in ready- made formulas.  Improvisation is a wonderful mean of reinforcing what has been read, as well as to prepare for any final test or project.  As studies have shown, students are able to take more ownership in their learning when they are an integral part of what is being taught.

Come and learn how these methods can be applied in numerous areas of the curriculum. Lessons can be aligned to curriculum standards.

 

  • iteach2 – Students Teach Peers with Objects to Interpret and Master Learning
by Dimas, Stavi, M.A.,  Moros, Sophia , M.A.

Description

This workshop aims to engage its participants in hands-on activities which establish the setting of a constructivist learning environment. The experience will provide educators with practical means for “constructing” an understanding of their world as they build on their personal knowledge, interact with other participants, and uncover the uses of interpretive learning tools across the curriculum. The workshop will provide evidence of the potential success of collaborative initiatives between formal and informal education as well as present the independence and autonomy students acquire when they learn to “iteach2”!

The participants will be given the opportunity to recognize their own schematic knowledge through a set of interpretive tools offered by the presenters, such as stories, technological media, and everyday objects. This procedure of educational discovery will provoke the participants to “see” issues, ask meaningful questions and then work within a team to decide how these questions can be answered. Through the discussions and sharing of ideas, participants will be presented with the value of inquiry-based learning as well as a respect for each other’s interests and views.

All educators share the common goal, to have their students make connections to their learning and communicate these connections effectively. “iteach2,” aims at achieving an autonomous environment in which all learners feel successful in their attempt towards learning. The workshop will therefore conclude its collaborative lesson by challenging its members to create an appealing inquiry based project or unit for their classrooms. With the support and guidance of the presenters, you will also master how to have your students say “iteach2”!

Usage of tablets and laptops is encouraged!

Learning Objectives

  • To provide tools which can be implemented in the classroom through the facilitation of constructivist learning techniques
  • To motivate educators to utilize new teaching practices which appeal to the differentiated learning styles of students
  • To engage educators in hands-on activities that identify and build on the prior knowledge and experiences of students

 

  • Math!  Is it Really Difficult?  "A Thematic Approach"

Description

Man’s highest achievements seem to stem from the successful integration of both left-brain intellect and right-brain intuition.  Knowledge is retained longer, if children connect orally, physically and emotionally to the material presented to them.

With these thoughts in mind, Ms. Andrikopoulos created a series of three math books for Elementary and Middle School students, titled: "Mathematics A Thematic Approach".  Through many lessons, examples, exercises and problem-solving, students consolidate, use, apply and extend their thinking in mathematics.  Through many activities, investigations, games, and extended projects, students are given the opportunity to breathe life into their own creations and designs, to become involved and passionate about their learning and to go beyond the walls of the classroom, enriching their knowledge and feeling emotionally complete and satisfied.

Furthermore, Ms. Katsiyianni has created a series of math texts for High School students titled: "Extended High School Units" with the intention to help them to prepare for college entrance.  These texts emphasize that any math question can be completely solved with a solid understanding of basic concepts in mathematics.  Specific examples are demonstrated to help students follow mathematical processes.

"Mathematics A Thematic Approach" and "Extended High School Units" can be a living example of the i2Flex (Internet, Independent, Flexible) methodology, as it enables students to work independently.  The lessons and instructions are explicitly outlined and designed to be used by students online and with assessments that can be submitted electronically.

i2Flex is a tool for attaining the ultimate goal of flexibility and personalization of education through the use of technology.

It is our hope that students using these texts can reach their ultimate goals and finally enter the best fit institution to achieve their dreams!

 

  • Practical Applications of NLP in the Classroom and at Home

Description

Our five senses inform us about the world around us and we also create our internal representations with elements of our five senses.  In doing this, each one of us shows a preference for one (sometimes more) sense; this is usually the sense one accesses first in moments of stress.  According to this preferred sense, human beings are classified into sensory types, each type exhibiting specific characteristics in their behavior and psychology.

There are simple and clear ways a teacher can respect and utilize the characteristics of the various sensory types of the students.  By doing this, the communication between teacher and students is greatly improved, in a way that results in easier and deeper learning by the students.  The workshop will describe a part of a unique and very effective system of easy teaching and learning, which has been introduced in selected greek schools with great success.  We will focus on specific techniques that the participants, who are teachers, will be able to apply in the classroom immediately.  The same techniques can also be applied by the parents at home, to better communicate with the children and help them more effectively in all aspects of their development.

Aristotle’s principle of association can be roughly expressed as: if a stimulus is associated with an internal experience, then the introduction of that stimulus triggers the associated internal experience.  This simple principle has very powerful applications in all aspects of our life. The workshop will focus on applications that can be used by teachers and parents, to help children at school or in life, as well as to help the teachers and parents themselves.

Teachers and parents, who will apply the techniques given in the workshop, will soon observe an outstanding improvement in the performance of children in class and in life.

Learning Objectives

The ability to apply specific teaching techniques that respect and utilize the students’ sensory types and the principle of association, for quick improvement of the students’ performance in class and in life.

 

  • Response to Intervention in an International Context

Description

This workshop will show how RTI can be implemented in an International School.  Response to Intervention is a highly researched topic that encourages sustained improvements in academic performance, a decrease in behavioral referrals, and also a decrease in inappropriate learning support referrals and special education placement rates.  RTI integrates assessment and intervention within a school-wide, multi-level prevention system to maximize student achievement and reduce behavior problems.   This workshop will enable participants to have an understanding of the essential components of RTI. Participants will then engage in workshop activities that could lead them to introducing an RTI model in their own unique international settings.

 

  • Science and Social Learning for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A School, Museum and Occupational Therapy Partnership Model

Description

Science museums, as community-based public institutions, can provide meaningful opportunities for a diverse range of audiences, including students of varying abilities, allowing them to experience informal science learning, inclusion, competence and social participation. (Reich, et al, 2010).  With this understanding, a new partnership model was established to promote the inclusion of middle school students impacted by autism spectrum disorders into science and social learning interactions in a community setting.  This workshop will describe strategies and resources used by educators from multiple settings who collaborated to implement a program with the goal of enriching the science education and social participation of students with autism spectrum disorders through museum experiences.

Educators from the Museum of Science in Boston will discuss strategies on how to create successful partnerships to support multiple partnership needs and utilize strengths that each bring to the project with educators from the Museum of Science in Boston.  Explore resources including "social stories" that were developed to assist students with ASD in preparing for museum visits. Review samples of student work showing evidence of their learning in the Museum that will be used in assessment and student portfolios.  Work in small teams to create a sample project given a measurable goal/outcome, identifying local experiences, activities, etc. to meet the learning and behavioral goals of the students as well as the institutions in the collaboration, given their community resources.

 

  • Seeing with the Senses... and Our Memory

Description

How does art stimulate the mind's eye of those who are blind or partially sighted?  How do we deal with visual signs and symbols, colors and lines, pictorial composition, distorted perspectives, artistic gesture and movement, if we lose vision from disease or if our ability to see is limited because of a genetic disorder?  Is there a continuum of sight in blindness?

That’s how far I have been able to go, or, how much of Ariadne’s Thread I have been able to follow since childhood, when the lack of a certain enzyme – tyrosinase – and the resulting condition of albinism started to affect my life.  The above questions are some of those I am facing now as an artist who, also, happens to be involved in various library and museum access programs for people with vision loss.

The present workshop will explore these questions leading participants to see with the senses and their memory and offering hands on experiences about how people with limited sight depict our world (either on paper or in their minds).  It will also attempt to reveal the value and subjectivity of low vision through examples of known painters from the history of art and through techniques that make art accessible.

 

  • Telling a Story with Data and Visuals: Critiquing and Creating Infographics in the Classroom

Description

"Infographics" or information graphics are visual representations of complex data and information. Students who can critique and create science infographics will be better prepared to deal with the scientific "data deluge" in the 21st century and better understand the graphic design, information design, and scientific visualization used in the media today.  They will also gain valuable experience related the kind of data analysis and communication with graphical representations gaining increasing importance on many types of standardized assessments.

In this two-day institute, participants will explore the use of science infographics in a high school classroom.  Participants will in analyze and critique published science infographics in small groups, learning to model expert critical thinking skills for students around journalistic representations of science and data.  The group will then be guided through an infographic creation process, a process which has been tested and refined with a diverse group of teen learners as part of a National Science Foundation grant (Cyberlearning: Transforming Education Program.) Participants will learn to use graphic design principles in conjunction with data analysis and visualization to create science infographics for submission to the online publication Scijourner.org.

We will explore a wide range of graphic design software, data visualization tools, web-based data and research resources, in addition to collaborative technologies to aid infographic creation and publishing in the classroom.  A variety of student-created and published infographics will be presented, along with teacher resources available freely on the web.

 

  • The Carbon Busters Clubs Bust a Move for Science and Saving the World

Description

What is The Carbon Busters Club?
The Carbon Busters Club is a new eco-science adventure club that uses storytelling to entertain, educate, and activate 6 to 11 year old children and their caregivers to restore a balanced friendship with Planet Earth.

Workshop participants will be the first to share pilot findings of this newly launched values-based learning platform that a) reinforces reading as a gateway to knowledge, b) complements existing core academic and sports curricula in schools, and c) tackles real world problems of growing relevance to parents and society.

Club creator Laurel Colless will be joined by local education specialists to present a case study of the first Carbon Busters Pilot Club in Greece.

How will the workshop unfold?
Workshop attendees, presenters and guest carbon busting children will dive head on into theme-based adventures, while keeping their minds on the issues, and working hands on with the solutions.

A short session of storytelling will lead participants into a series of environmental science quandaries, followed by some easy-step lab experiments, ranging from modeling energy efficiency to creating solar power, all culminating in a chance to wrap findings back into the broader cultural and climate energy debate.

Less staid participants will be invited to rap the results in an impromptu hip-hop opera performance led by a guest beat boxing tree spirit, while more introverted group members will make murals using plastic pulled fresh from the Aegean or bury their hands into mounds of Athenian clay, remolding their thinking and confirming their earth-loving values along the way.

What's in it for me?
Attendees will take away sample eco-adventure modules as well as receive training on how to maximize their impact in their own teaching and learning spheres. The Carbon Busters Eco-adventure packages are ideal for adaptation to a range of venues and requirements, including Elementary school curriculum, after-school enrichment, museum and library pedagogy, or special needs, deaf and hard of hearing, and English second language learning programs.

Why is this important right now?
The world has just reached a Climate Tipping Point, with the concentration of CO2 topping 400 ppm for the first time in human history. This 400 ppm threshold is widely recognized as a dangerous level that could drastically worsen the global effects of a warmer planet, including acute water shortages, the disappearance of 30% of the world's plant and animal species, a dramatic decline in crop yields, a rapid rise in sea levels and higher-devastation super storms and forest fires.

Why children and climate change?
In this context, the world is poised for a major behavioral shift in the way people confront environmental concerns and conduct their lives – on policy levels, at industry frontlines, and in their individual actions. Change is being driven by young people. Even children as young as elementary age are pushing to affect bold changes in local behavior at home, at school and in their broader spheres of influence.

While the Carbon Busters Ecodemia stories are ostensibly about friendship and childhood adventure, each explores a specific non-right-answer issue that the grown-up world is grappling with now. The genre of the books is magical realism – magic because children love and need magic in their lives and nature itself is magical; and realism because words like carbon, pollution, biodiversity loss, and climate change mitigation and adaptation must become part of the lexicon and thinking of our upcoming generation of citizens and decision makers.

Learning Objectives

  • Experience and learn how to use storytelling as a spring board for science and citizenship
  • Gain tools, talking points, and action scenarios that help learners explore non-right-answer issues around energy and climate change, and low carbon behavior in societies that succeed
  • Gain new opportunities for international networking and foreign exchange for your students as the Carbon Busters Clubs network begins to expand to geographies outside Greece
  • Receive project based-learning packages, including props, lesson plans, and storybooks

 

  • The NESA Virtual Science Fair: the 21st Century Paradigm Shift in Science Learning

Description

The NESA Virtual Science Fair is a cross-curricular project that uses learning communities to extend the walls of the classroom.  It allows students to shift from the traditional science fair to a hybrid science fair which allows for virtual modes.  Using Moodle as the platform to create virtual communities of schools, students use the power of e-learning to enhance their “hands-on” science skills above and beyond the realm of the lab: sharing and interacting with other students, e-mentors and scientists.  In this session, the presenters will describe a new cutting edge science fair that uses Moodle as a platform so that students display a virtual science fair project through wikis and collaborate with their e-mentors through the use of the e-diary.  Participants will learn new techniques for science fair and how to integrate the science fair into literacy, writing across the curriculum and blogging.  Tools for integrating technology into the project will be shared through specific student-generated projects.   Furthermore, ways to re-think science learning through the science fair project by learning through creative projects with a real-world application.  Teachers from all disciplines who would like to integrate technology in the classroom and create virtual learning communities can benefit from this session.

Learning Objectives

  • The NESA Virtual Science Fair as an example of a virtual project
  • Ways to integrate writing into the project through blogging and writing across the curriculum
  • Technological integrations used in this project
  • Ways that Moodle can be used as a platform for virtual learning
  • Creative ideas for science fair projects

 

  • The Power of Language as an Access to Empowering Learning

Description

Participants will leave understanding and experiencing the power of language as a key ingredient in the learning Process.  How to recognize self-defeating language and invent new language. Participants will leave with a new understanding of the Word "transformation" – and the power that it represents.

 

  • The Wondershop: Building Creative Thinkers in Today's Classroom

Description

Nurture children who think, wonder, and love to learn!  Come learn ways to nurture creativity and thinking skills in all children.  Together, we’ll explore a variety of positive, research-based ways to encourage creative thinking and how children can develop a strong sense of self, confidence in personal thinking in the world around them, and the ability to build their own learning.  Come on in, and explore your wonder!

Participants will receive an iBook copy of Ms. Carlson’s book Child of Wonder: Nurturing Creative and Naturally Curious Children.

Participants will:

  • Understand the characteristics of creative thinking and how to uniquely nurture them in the classroom setting
  • Learn questioning techniques to guide thinking and creativity
  • Consider practical applications for creativity in a classroom setting
  • Consider the effect of popular culture and media representations on personal expression and critical thinking
  • Rethink environmental and gender expectations
  • Discover practical ways to nurture natural instincts and lead children in unique personal expression, including technology integration

 

  • Tinkering through and with Mathematics - Engagement in Collective Designs and Productions

Description

Mathematics is about abstraction, generalization and rigor. It is also about communication, creativity, construction and play. Surprised? Of course, if you've only thought about mathematics in traditional schooling. But mathematics is inherent in our experience, in the ways we communicate, explore, argue and explain and provides us with means to understand and create things. Traditional schooling tends to expose us to mathematics as a monument of human knowledge which is to be understood and admired in its abstract form. How can anyone really understand deep and beautiful mathematical ideas such as fractions, functional co-variations, rate of change when they have not encountered them in meaningful situations and when they have not themselves engaged with abstractions from the concrete?

In my talk, I'll give some examples of how students generate meanings by collaboratively tinkering with digital models embodying mathematical properties. They are placed in the role of designers, debuggers and creators of figures, models and games animated through the use of the mathematical properties they have been built with. These students collaboratively explore, inspect, argue and justify the properties and behaviors of digital objects which in turn they change, fix, expand and enhance.  Mathematics educators have been using manipulatives for many years as objects and representations to help students get at the essence of ideas such as place value, multiplication, long division and the handling of large numbers.  Digital media can help go even further by providing students with experiences in building dynamic constructions with diverse representations connected to each other to make concepts more distinct, visible and useable. Social media can get students doing this collaboratively in collectives, allowing ideas to flow and flourish.  So, I'll be showing some examples of student talk and digital productions in learning environments especially designed to bring these experiences forward and also some designs for such environments created by our teachers and teacher educators. I'll be arguing that digital technologies allow all of us to use mathematics while we tinker away creating fancy animations and to tinker with mathematical ideas while we are doing so.

 

  • Transformative Approaches to Teaching Second Language Learners with Learning Differences: A Counseling Curriculum Model for Teachers
by Gouleta, Eirini, Ph.D.

Description

There has been focus on the problems and issues impacting teachers in their effort to reach Culturally Linguistically Diverse and Exceptional (CLDE) students who experience difficulties in school.  In every classroom, there is at least one student that may have learning or emotional differences and may present a challenge for the teacher in effectively serving this child.  Regardless of the excellent teaching skills of the teachers, they have to be equipped to deal with a broad range of emotional, social, and developmental student issues.  Teachers can make important contributions to students and families using skillfully counseling strategies and techniques.

The purpose of this workshop is to help teachers acquire counseling knowledge and skills for working with students and parents from diverse backgrounds.  They will use counseling strategies and techniques in their effort to assist students who deal with developmental, academic, emotional, physical, medical, mental, social, linguistic, cultural, and familial issues and become aware of the processes for making appropriate referrals to counselors, school psychologists, social workers, and other school professionals to help children and families.

At the end of the workshop, participants will be able to: identify counseling techniques and their applicability on various student issues; use multicultural counseling strategies in their interactions with CLDE students and families; analyze various types of counseling interventions in a classroom setting; interpret student and parent behavior and body language and choose the appropriate counseling approach in their communication efforts; outline the differences and similarities between the role of the teacher and the role of the counselor; and evaluate student issues for appropriate intervention and referral decisions.

 

  • Transforming All Students into Readers and Writers through Balanced Literacy

Description

Helping students become great readers and writers is no small challenge in a class full of diverse students with varying ability levels, and through Balanced Literacy best practices we can achieve success with each child in our classrooms. Assessment based instruction guarantees each child has a program specifically designed to fit their needs.

This workshop will offer participants an overview and basic understanding of how they can use different elements of Balanced Literacy to enhance their literacy instruction. This will include an introduction to guided reading, strategy groups, conferring, and interactive read alouds. Participants will get an opportunity to further understand how assessment can guide reading and writing instruction in a way that will transform each student in the classroom. Participants will get an opportunity to see video clips, as well as take their own turns at practicing certain elements of Balanced Literacy through role-playing scenarios.

Participants will:

  1. Understand how assessment based instruction can address all learners
  2. Learn how to teach through Guided Reading
  3. Learn how to pull strategy groups
  4. Practice creating an IRA (interactive read aloud)

Learning Objectives

  • Educators will learn how to create a Balanced Literacy approach to reading and writing so that it is effective for all learners
  • Educators will learn to use literacy assessments to build individualized lesson plans to address students' needs
  • Educators will learn ways to keep kids engaged at all levels during their literacy instruction