Pre-Conference Sessions

Thursday, January 18, 2018 from 9:00 - 16:00

Oxygen Masks For Everyone: Money Lessons For Kids And Teachers with Andrew Hallam

I have a confession to make. I didn’t like school. When I was a middle school student I often asked myself, “How is this going to apply to the real world?” Most of us were given a raw deal when it came to school because we didn’t learn about money. This session moves towards rectifying that on two different levels.

In the morning, we’ll look at some engaging, hands-on strategies for integrating financial learning into the middle school classroom. And no, this isn’t just for math teachers. I’ll present strategies to complement the Mathematics, English Language Arts and Social Studies curriculums, as well as an advisory program.

In the afternoon, we’ll switch gears. You’ll learn how to determine the amount of money you should be saving to gain financial independence and you’ll learn how to invest it.

As educators, we were drawn to our professions (in part) to make the world a better place. Few Wall Street types (or financial planners) share that incentive. I’ll show how to identify an industry dolphin from a shark. It’s important to know the difference.


Creating a Culture of Dignity in Your Community through the Owning Up Curriculum with Rosalind Wiseman

Whether you’re a core curricula teacher, counselor, administrator, or staff this training is designed to transform the way we understand youth culture and create educational communities where children can thrive. Owning Up is a flexible, dynamic curriculum that respects your knowledge of young people and the communities you serve.

This Owning Up session for is about ….

  • Defining realistic definitions of bullying, by-standing, teasing, drama and social conflict.
  • Identifying dynamics that lead to discrimination and bigotry.
  • Recognizing the value of a growth mindset for educators as well as the students.
  • Teaching students to effectively intervene in social conflicts with their peers.
  • Outlining challenges educators have to teach these topics effectively and obtain student buy-in.
  • Understanding the influence of social media

Participants of this pre-conference are encouraged, but not required, to obtain the Owning Up curriculum for use during the session.

Known and Lesser Known Amsterdam with José Femenía-Macias and Florence Verniolle

Amsterdam is known for its artistic heritage, elaborate canal system, houses with gabled façades, the Golden Age, etc., but is also a city with a great way of life and a thriving cultural scene. Our goal this year is to share our long experience of living in this remarkable city, and let participants discover major historical places such as the Royal Palace, the Begijnhof, the Red Light District, Onze Lieve Heer op Zolder, old café In ‘t Aepjen, World Heritage Canal district, Eye Filminstituut, and Museumplein!

This workshop will explore ways to expand creativity while focusing on how to see and to absorb the city. It is an ideal pre-conference day for language and arts teachers, as it will stimulate imagination and explore the process of creativity in writing and/or in composing art in the Middle School years. We will discover how to find inspiration in "the known and lesser known surroundings, in the awkward and awesome settings". A spirit of curiosity and the desire to experiment will be "a must."

This active day will give participants opportunities to learn, connect, and share didactic ideas around various city landmarks by exploring mindfully how to improve creative writing (fiction, memoir, storytelling), film, and photography. On their way back to school, participants will leave full of artistic passion, inspired and motivated with tools to enrich lessons and to deeply reach students.

Be ready for an atmospheric Amsterdam stroll! Make sure to wear warm clothes and comfortable walking shoes. As an option, you could bring your umbrella!

Florence Verniolle, Foreign Languages Advisor, Paris France, The Hague.

José Antonio Femenía, Spanish teacher ISA Amsterdam.

Talking in Class: Synthesize! Building synthesis skills through student dialogue activities with Brianna Gray and Jacob Rosch

Research - and personal experience - tells us that students often have trouble synthesizing information, whether it is part of a conversation, lesson, or unit. This is understandable: synthesizing is a complex skill; as defined by author and researcher Jeff Zwiers, it involves “remembering, highlighting, and fitting together key ideas into a coherent thought… whittling them down into a shared conclusion.” However, with strong ties to communication, prioritization, and organization, synthesizing is a critical competence that can and should be taught and practiced, and middle school is an ideal time to advance the skill.

This session will explore the use of student dialogue activities to develop students’ ability to synthesize larger pieces of information into a thoughtful conclusion. Through paired student conversations, students can explore, practice, and build their understanding of synthesizing in any middle school content area, from science to art and beyond. It will include lesson examples, implementation videos, and reflective student/teacher interviews. Participants will have opportunities to try peer-dialogue activities and discuss ways to incorporate the relevant student discourse into their already-established curricula.


Inquiry, Student Agency, and Service Learning with Margareth Harris

Inquiry, taught, guided and practiced over time, is both a process and an outcome of learning that has impact. Inquiry gives voice to students’ ideas, issues and perspectives, empowering them to decide what matters, why it matters and the impact their learning will have. In the inquiry classroom, students engage in purposeful learning that calls them to respond to a need, design a solution or apply their knowledge and skills towards meeting an authentic community need.

This pre-conference is divided into six practical sessions simulating an inquiry-based approach, providing a collaborative space to work with different strategies and tools which can provoke our students to act, react and respond to ideas and issues of personal, local and global significance.

Differentiation and Goal Setting with MAP with Pat Reeder

In this pre-conference workshop, participants will learn to use data from Measures of Academic Progress (MAP®) and instructional resources from the Learning Continuum to inform instructional planning and differentiated instruction. Participants will learn to integrate standards, MAP student readiness data, and local curriculum to design tiered instructional plans (instructional ladders).

This workshop also supports participants in developing both language and a context to write growth goals to meet the needs of various stakeholders. The use of MAP Growth data in identifying both strengths and areas for growth and looking at patterns at various levels (student, classroom, grade, or school) assists participants in setting goals. The activities in this module support learners in using MAP data to set growth goals which impact student learning and school and district improvement plans.

A Walk through Amsterdam - The Golden Age: Sites of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and West India Company (WIC) with Trudi van der Tak

The Netherlands was home to the world’s first joint stock company at the beginning of its Golden Age during the 17th century. Trade, finance and a pragmatic outlook has continued to be a focus of this small country, securing for it a place on the international stage. As in many European cities, various structures that played a part in this process still stand. We will start the day with an interactive lesson focusing on an introduction into the understanding of basic economic concepts. We will then walk through Amsterdam and see several of the original buildings and sites of both the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and West India Company (WIC) and hear stories that contributed to making Amsterdam a vital port and trade center which has lasted, in one form or another, through 4 centuries. After lunch, we will visit the Scheepvaartmuseum (Maritime Museum) for a tour that includes a reconstructed VOC ship.

This field trip is designed to give middle school teachers ideas on how to incorporate the history of a host country in a multi-disciplinary study which can include math, modern languages, art and literature.


Design Thinking in the Classroom with Sarah Woods

We’re going to submerse ourselves in a design project - learning about how to engage learners in the various stages of the design cycle by making a product ourselves. We’ll dabble in 3D designing and printing to gain a better understanding of how it might be used in the classroom. We’ll finish up the day with an afternoon field trip to see the design process at work in the real world!