Friday, January 3, 2014

Learning from Rick Wormeli

We are fortunate to have Rick Wormeli, internationally acclaimed educator, author, speaker, and NBCT as our keynote speaker at this year's 10th Annual Conference, Unlocking Potential. Here's a look at some of the Breakout Sessions that he will be leading throughout the day:
Differentiated Grading: Fair Isn’t Always Equal
Differentiated instruction is a nice idea, but what happens when it comes to grading students?   Being sensitive to students’ readiness levels, interests, and learning challenges while holding them accountable for the same standards can be a challenge.  What’s fair and leads to real student learning?  Join us for a candid look at what grades really mean, and how to handle students’ failures, averaging, zeroes on the 100-point scale, homework, late work, feedback, re-done work, setting up the gradebook, 100 vs 4.0 scale, extra credit, group projects, grading exceptional students, formative vs summative assessments in grading (or not), and much more.  While offering practical tips, this workshop reveals participants’ core beliefs about teaching and learning and has an unusually high incidence of transforming classroom practice.   Don’t miss it! 
Metaphors and Analogies: Power Tools for Teaching any Subject 
Every third sentence a teacher uses has an embedded metaphor in it, but many students don’t understand what we’re teaching because they do not understand the analogy we’re using.  They achieve an, “A-HA!” moment, however, when we use just the right comparison that works for them.  Even better, they move content into long-term memory when required to defend their construction and deconstruction of metaphors.  Metaphors are a highly effective bridge between students’ developmental stages and course content, and in our increasingly technological world, we can no longer rely on tangible objects to explain new ideas.  Since society relies on citizens to accept unperceived yet defined patterns and relationships on a daily basis, a command of cognitive linguistics is one of our students’ new currencies.  Critical to 21st century learning and based on the best-selling book of the same title, this session explores how to use metaphors strategically in any subject to improve, deepen, and assess student learning. Don’t miss this opportunity to open your mind’s eye!
21st Century Homework Success: Principles, Practicalities, and Products
Dealing with homework is a big stress for students, teachers, and parents.  What’s ethical and doable, and what gets in the way of student success?  Boost your students’ homework completion rate with these highly motivating, easily applicable homework practices for the modern classroom.  Yes, you can assign complex homework, get it returned with thoughtful responses, and have a life outside of school!  We’ll look at when to give homework and when not to give it, as well how to assess it, how to motivate students to do it, how to design developmentally appropriate assignments for diverse students, how much homework to assign, and much more.  Join us for research-based and insightful ideas from a 30–year classroom veteran that generate inspired efforts by your students.  ‘Tonight’s assignment?  Reserve a spot in this session! 
Be sure to mark your calendars for January 25th for this exciting day of professional growth. Our conference is open all educators and preservice teachers, so bring along a colleague and multiply your professional learning. If you have not registered, do so soon. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to drop us an email or contact us through Twitter or Facebook. We look forward to see you on the 25th!

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