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Instruction



A Look at Best Practices: It's All About Teaching


We can't pretend not to know. We know! We know what works and we know what makes the difference. We have a burgeoning portfolio of "best practices" (Marzano, Pickering, Pollock) that are research-based, teacher-tested, tried and true.  There are the nine families of instructional strategies that work. The repertoire of “best practices”, provide the proven pedagogy for teachers. Embedded in this compendium of practices are the higher order thinking skills that challenge students to do their best:  1SD-Finding Similarities and Differences, 2SN Summarizing and Note taking, 3RR Reinforcing Effort and Recognition, 4HP Homework and Practice, 5NR Nonlinguistic Representation 6CL Cooperative Learning, 7OF Setting Objectives and Giving Feedback 8GH Generating and Testing Hypotheses, 9QCA Questions, Cues, and Advance Organizers. Leave this session with a renewed focus on these proven practices.


Blueprints for Achievement with Cooperative Learning


Cooperative learning is the number one strategy to increase student achievement and to enhance self-esteem? That’s why a repertoire of cooperative strategies must permeate K-College classroom practice. Using strategies from the classic text, Blueprints for Achievement in the Cooperative Classroom, in this session, participants will experience competitive, individualistic and cooperative interactions. They will examine the core elements in building effective teams and leave the workshop with an understanding of cooperative learning and a repertoire of cooperative learning strategies they can use immediately in the classroom or in the staffroom.


Blueprints for Best Instructional Practices


The nine strategies investigated in this highly interactive workshop are infused into the elementary, middle and high school lessons in, Blueprints for Achievement in the Cooperative Classroom. As participants explore the nine best practices, the presenters “model the model” as they integrate the strategies into the activities of the workshop. Beginning with an overview of these research-based instructional strategies, and ending with a more in depth look at each of the nine, participants leave the session with a sound knowledge base and an authentic understanding of these proven practices.


Blueprints for Differentiating Learning


Each brain is unique! Every student sitting in your classroom has a different set of wiring, and, that wring is changing as each brain makes critical neural connections.  Even more astonishing is the fact that your brain changes, as you teach. That’s why the concept of differentiation is embodied in brain science. Everyone learns differently because each brain is different. The blueprints for differentiation call for something to change: Change the content!  Change the process! Change the product! Change through the use of cooperative structures and through the use of a multiple intelligences approach to learning, as illustrated in Blueprints for Achievement in the Cooperative Classroom.


Close the Achievement Gap:  Simple Strategies that Work


The achievement gap is about poverty, race, expectations, teacher quality, parenting and test bias, but in the end, it is about literacy and learning. Thirty-eight percent of children across America are not reading at grade level. Within that 38%, seventy percent are African American and sixty-five percent are Hispanic. There are schools making instructional decisions that are getting positive results in student achievement. These schools show evidence of using six simple strategies focused on closing the achievement gap.  In this highly interactive session, participants will explore six concepts that target measurable achievement for all students.  These include the following mandates:  How to...1.Set High Expectations: Get Kids Emotionally Involved 2. Challenge Students to Think: Teach Higher Order Thinking 3. Require Rigor: Require Complete Sentences, Standard English, 4. Leave Nothing to Chance-Revisit! Review! Revise! Re-teach!  5.Make No Excuses-Encourage At-Risk Participation 6. Insist on Results-Emphasize Reading.


The Teaching / Learning Equation


It's time we stopped pretending not to know. We know! We know what works!  We know what makes the difference in the learning journey of the children in our classrooms. What makes the difference is the teaching/learning equation. There are two sides to this equation. One side focuses on the teacher and teaching. The other side focuses on the learner and learning.

For the teacher teaching, we have a burgeoning portfolio of "best practices" (Marzano et al) that are research-based, teacher-tested, tried and true.  There are the nine families of instructional strategies that work. The repertoire of "best practices", provide the proven pedagogy for teachers. Embedded in this compendium of practices are the higher order thinking skills that challenge students to do their best: hypothesizing, comparing and contrasting, classifying, using analogies and metaphors, visualizing, summarizing, analyzing and synthesizing. Leave this session with a renewed focus on these proven practices.

For the learner learning, the research on the brain and learning is capsulated in these twelve principles distilled from a meta-analysis of the literature by Renate and Geoffrey Caine.  The twelve principles provide a rich philosophical foundation for instructional decision-making.  They are the broad, brush strokes that guide the everyday decisions teacher make about instructional input, student groupings, curricular designs and the range of assessments used in classrooms today.

In essence, the session provides a rich and robust repertoire for beginning, developing, and career teachers, as they become more skillful professionals. If, in fact, these are proven practices of quality teaching and promising principles of quality learning, then it is the equation we must master.


Teacher Expectation! Student Achievement!


Tried and true! Teacher Expectation, Student Achievement (TESA) provides a rich repertoire of teaching strategies to close the achievement gap. Focusing on both verbal and non-verbal behaviors that signal teacher expectations, this professional development opportunity is based on the research of Kerman and the Los Angeles County Board of Education and delivered by newly certified members of our premiere cadre of consultants. Still needed and still effective, these fifteen behaviors (listed below) deserve the renewed attention of our teaching staff, today. Come ready to revisit simple and subtle techniques to support your students in their efforts to succeed. Leave with a host of practical and engaging ideas to implement immediately in the k12 classroom.


TESA Studies

1. Equitable Distribution of Response Opportunity
2. Affirmation or Correction
3. Proximity
4. Individual Helping/Coaching
5. Praise for the Learning Performance
6. Courtesy
7. Latency/Wait Time
8. Reasons for Praise
9. Personal Interest Statements and Compliment
10. Delving, Rephrasing, Giving Clues
11.Listening
12.Touching/ Non-verbal Support
13. Higher-Level Questioning
14. Accepting Feelings
15. Desisting

The Middle Years


Middle school is sometimes referred to as the "last best chance!" for teenage students, caught in the middle between children and adults. With that in mind, the workshop called, “Enriching the Middle Years”, has two goals.  One goal is to highlight the middle level student with activities designed to look at characteristics of the early adolescent and the many transformations that occur during these formative years. The second goal is to target the middle level classroom, that safe haven, and to target that rare breed of educator, called, middle level teachers, with strategies to enrich their instructional repertoires.


Who's Doing the Talking?


As part of the compendium of best practices, the idea that the person doing the talking is the person doing the learning seems counter-intuitive.  Yet, that is exactly the case.  When students are required to put their thoughts into words, to communicate their ideas to someone else, they are actually internalizing the learning as they struggle to make their emerging thoughts clear.  The question, "Who's doing the talking?” is a gentle reminder that students must be actively involved and mindfully engaged in the learning experience for authentic learning to occur. They must be doing the majority of the talking in the classroom. They must dialogue with peers, articulate their ideas in small groups and express themselves clearly in front of the entire class. In turn, these oral language skills translate directly into written language skills.
 1. Set High Expectations: Get Kids Emotionally Involved
 2. Challenge Students to Think: Teach Higher Order Thinking
 3. Require Rigor: Require Complete Sentences, Standard English,
 4. Leave Nothing to Chance-Revisit! Review! Revise! Re-teach!
 5. Make No Excuses-Encourage At-Risk Participation
 6. Insist on Results-Emphasize Reading