VSUP CONFERENCES  -  FALL 2013

REPORT & PARTICIPANT COMMENTS

 

 

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Making Connections – Linking Literary Works to Informational Text (Grades 3-5)

10-1REVTuesday, October 1, 2013

Holiday Inn, Charlottesville, VA

Presenter: Dr. Brenda Tanner

Audience: Elementary Teachers and Instructional Leaders

Description: The focus on reading for information has increased and thus there is a greater need to expose students to a wide range of informational text.  Many of our beloved stories are filled with opportunities to read for information, not just pleasure. This workshop will focus on the connections that can be made between literary text and informational text.  Participants will examine fictional works and develop plans to enhance learning by finding ways to connect the reading of fiction with the reading of informational text.  Participants are asked to bring three works of fiction to the workshop.

Comments:

I loved having the chance to network with other professionals and discuss instructional strategies with which we have had success as well as issues with which we struggle in the classroom.

The focus on different approaches to reading quality literature was fantastic, and I got lots of great new ideas.

I appreciated being given time to come up with a plan for how we can use works that we already teach to enable children to practice the essential skill of reading for information.


Using Literacy Strategies to Gain Deep Mathematical Understanding (Grades 3-5)

10-2REVWednesday, October 2, 2013

The Holiday Inn, Charlottesville, VA

Presenters: Kateri Thunder and Alisha Demchak

Audience: Elementary Teachers and Instructional Leaders

Description: In both literacy and mathematics, students need to make inferences, synthesize, and reflect on their thinking in order to build conceptual and procedural knowledge. In this workshop, participants will examine strategies for developing conceptual understanding and procedural fluency in mathematics through talking, listening, writing, and reading. A particular focus will be on the Standards of Learning and how mathematical and literacy processes for problem-solving and metacognitive reflection support each other.  Workshop participants will actively engage in and reflect on rich mathematics activities that can be used with students.  Through problem-solving with manipulatives, games, and truly problematic contexts, participants will analyze the mathematical and literacy processes they used as well as the mathematical concepts and procedures they learned.

Comments from Participants:

I learned to look at literature with more of a math focus and that opened a lot of doors for me.

All of the make-and-takes that we created and even had a chance to try out were fantastic!

There were lots of great ideas for new and different ways for students to represent mathematical concepts.


What Matters Most: A Shift in the “What” and “How” of Teaching Virginia’s Revised Virginia Mathematics SOL (Grades 3-8)

10-8REVREVTuesday, October 8, 2013

The Hilton, Short Pump, VA

Presenter: Dr. Dan Mulligan

Audience: Elementary Teachers, Middle School Mathematics Teachers, and Instructional Leaders

Description: This targeted day of sharing and learning will bring the Virginia 3-8 Mathematics Process Standards to life in the classroom by fundamentally changing the way teachers think about math and how they teach their students. The focus of this relevant and engaging day will assist teachers in deepening their own content knowledge while learning how to develop students’ abilities to think and reason and deepen students’ number sense, computation, and problem solving skills. Participants will enhance their ability to organize instruction for whole-class, small-group, and individual learning. This workshop will enable participants to strengthen math content and pedagogical knowledge relative to the revised Virginia 3-8 math SOL in order to understand various solution paths and students’ reasoning, enhance their understanding of how students learn in order to make instructional decisions about tasks to use and questions to pose to make math accessible to all students, sharpen insight into individual learners’ skills and math reasoning, and cultivate new instructional strategies that promote thinking, reasoning, and sense making. Participants are requested to bring a copy of the appropriate Student Performance by Question from last year’s Math SOL assessment.  A toolkit of new shelf-ready learning structures will be provided for participants.

Comments from Participants:

Someone finally unlocked the mysteries of SOL reporting categories!  I am really grateful to Dr. Mulligan for sharing so much behind-the-scenes information on test design and how to interpret SPBQ’s that I was not aware of before.

Lots of “Aha!” moments on how to enhance rigor in my classroom tomorrow!

I can really use all of the practical, adaptable, hands-on, FREE resources which will help me give students multiple ways to practice.


What Matters Most: Effective Instruction to Empower Each Student for Success with the Revised English Language Arts SOL (Grades 3-8)

10-10REVREVThursday, October 10, 2013

Holiday Inn, Charlottesville, VA

Presenter: Dr. Dan Mulligan

Audience: Elementary Teachers, Middle School Language Arts Teachers, and Instructional Leaders

Description: This action packed day of sharing and learning will provide each participant with a framework of strategies to teach students to think critically, draw inferences, understand scope and global concepts, find or recall details, and infer the meaning of useful vocabulary words as demanded by the revised Virginia English Language Arts SOL. The science and art of modified strategies that address the unique needs of English Language Learners and Special Education students will be modeled during the session. Participants will learn new research-based strategies to incorporate reading and writing mini-lessons into their language arts, math, science, history, arts and P.E. instruction. These dynamic strategies will complement and support guided reading and writing, readers’ and writers’ workshops and literature circles. Topics will include motivation and comprehension techniques; making inferences, drawing conclusions and summarizing; using vivid vocabulary; understanding and applying the domains of writing; compositional risk-taking and understanding elements of informational text. Participants are requested to bring a copy of the appropriate Student Performance by Question from last year’s English Language Arts SOL assessment. A toolkit of new shelf-ready learning structures will be provided for participants.

Comments from Participants:

What a fun-filled, interactive, and informative day!  We got tons of amazing materials and had a great time learning how to use them!

I really appreciated all of the strategies for motivating purposeful, higher-level thinking and for making students accountable for their own learning.  It was great learning how to provide rigor and nurture at the same time.

I cannot believe all of the engaging, reliable, cross-curricular resources that Dr. Mulligan provided.   He is just like Oprah (“You ALL get CARDS!”) with the freebies!

 

Word Study Instruction (Grades K-3)

10-15REVTuesday, October 15, 2013

Holiday Inn, Charlottesville, VA

Presenter: Colleen Spano

Audience: Elementary Teachers and Instructional Leaders

Description: The primary focus of this hands-on workshop will be differentiating word study activities based on student needs.  Participants will examine developmental spelling assessments, determine student needs, and then discuss appropriate instructional activities.  Various activities and strategies will be modeled throughout the workshop.   Participants will have an opportunity to create a set of hands-on instructional materials and will learn how to differentiate these materials based on the different stages of spelling development.   The materials created are intended for use during small group word study instruction as well during extended practice at literacy work stations.

Comments from Participants:

Colleen was incredibly well-prepared and very engaging and enthusiastic as well as knowledgeable.

I really enjoyed being able to tour all of the different displays of books and games that could be used in my classroom.

The different “make and takes” and all of the resources we were provided with were just amazing!


Emerging Technologies for Educators (Grades K-5)

10-21REVMonday, October 21, 2013

Holiday Inn, Charlottesville, VA

Presenter: Chris O’Neal

Audience: Elementary Teachers, Instructional Leaders, and Administrators

Description:  Join us for an exciting day of explorations and conversations regarding the integration of technology into teaching and learning. We will use various technologies to discuss educator productivity and efficiency. Research will be shared on the evolution of technology for learning, as well as current studies on impact of emerging technologies, e-learning, and mobile devices in the classroom. Throughout the day there will be ongoing opportunities for hands-on exploration, sharing of favorite websites and apps, and consideration of strategies for thriving in the fast-paced educational world in which we live.

Comments from Participants:

I loved the casual atmosphere and the presenter’s style; it made all of the new technology less intimidating!

Chis was great because he did not tell participants what to do; he modeled lots of alternatives and let us explore for ourselves all of the possibilities.

It was great to learn about so many new technologies that I can go back and use immediately in my classroom.


Strategies for Improving Students’ Attention and Working Memory (Grades K-12)

10-28REVMonday, October 28, 2013

Holiday Inn, Charlottesville, VA

Presenter: Daniel Berch

Registration Fee: $99 ($129 for Non-Members)

Audience: Middle School Educators (Administrators, Classroom teachers, School Psychologists)

Description: Attention and working memory are two kinds of mental processing that are crucial for middle school students in order to maximize their chances of achieving academic proficiency.  This workshop will help participants learn to recognize the warning signs of problems with attention and working memory and remediate these difficulties.  In addition to presenting a review of recent research, the workshop will engage participants in various activities that demonstrate the demands placed on working memory capacity as well as provide opportunities to explore applying remedial strategies in classroom settings. Although the specific examples used in this conference will be geared toward middle school educators (administrators, classroom teachers, and school psychologists), the information will be relevant for educators at any level.

Comments from Participants:

I enjoyed the small group discussions and got a lot of strategies from talking with other professionals.

Interesting academic studies, but I wanted to learn more about concrete interventions and practical strategies that I can implement with my students.

Good to hear about the latest theories and quality research, which reaffirmed my ideas of why my students are having difficulty.


Evaluating Elementary Literacy Instruction: A Guide for Building Administrators (Grades K-5)

10-29REVTuesday, October 29, 2013

Holiday Inn, Charlottesville, VA

Presenter: Dr. Ottilie Austin

Audience: Elementary School Building Administrators, Instructional Leaders, Reading Specialists

Description:  This session will present the key components of a good literacy program and a system for evaluating literacy instruction within the school.  Participants will discuss their schools’ literacy goals and examine their literacy teams and scheduling for reading instruction.  Since assessment is a driving factor for literacy instruction, we will examine the assessment tools in place and discuss how they should be used to inform instruction in the elementary school.  Assessment results help teachers determine the type of instruction students need in phonemic awareness/decoding, phonics/spelling, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and writing. Participants will also consider how teachers work together in grade level teams and how to support teacher growth using self-reflections and professional development. Come prepared to examine and discuss the nuts and bolts of your school’s literacy program.

Comments from Participants:

The presenter’s style was very encouraging and positive, and she brought up a lot of great questions for discussion and reflection.

I appreciated all of the great resources – surveys, forms, charts, and guides – that were all very applicable to my work.

Analyzing videos and focusing on observation techniques was incredibly helpful.


Using Literacy Strategies to Gain Deep Mathematical Understanding (Grades K – 2)

10-30REVWednesday, October 30, 2013

The Holiday Inn, Charlottesville, VA

Presenters: Kateri Thunder and Alisha Demchak

Audience: Elementary Teachers and Instructional Leaders

Description: In both literacy and mathematics, students need to make inferences, synthesize, and reflect on their thinking in order to build conceptual and procedural knowledge. In this workshop, participants will examine strategies for developing conceptual understanding and procedural fluency in mathematics through talking, listening, writing, and reading. A particular focus will be on the Standards of Learning and how mathematical and literacy processes for problem-solving and metacognitive reflection support each other.  Workshop participants will actively engage in and reflect on rich mathematics activities that can be used with students. Through problem-solving with manipulatives, games, and truly problematic contexts, participants will analyze the mathematical and literacy processes they used as well as the mathematical concepts and procedures they learned.

Comments from Participants:

The concept that I can find mathematical problems in any literature is new and exciting to me!

The presenters worked well together and gave lots of practical examples of how these strategies can be used in the classroom.

I loved the paper bag book, vocabulary word wall, math journals, and all the ideas for hands-on activities.


Emerging Technologies for Educators (Grades 6-12)

11-12REVTuesday, November 12, 2013

Holiday Inn, Charlottesville, VA

Presenter: Chris O’Neal

Audience: Middle School and High School Teachers, Instructional Leaders, and Administrators

Description:  Join us for an exciting day of explorations and conversations regarding the integration of technology into teaching and learning. We will use various technologies to discuss educator productivity and efficiency. Research will be shared on the evolution of technology for learning, as well as current studies on impact of emerging technologies, e-learning, and mobile devices in the classroom. Throughout the day there will be ongoing opportunities for hands-on exploration, sharing of favorite websites and apps, and consideration of strategies for thriving in the fast-paced educational world in which we live.

Comments from Participants:

We learned about so many new apps that I can’t even name them all, but I never felt overwhelmed!

It was refreshing that we were just given a push in the right direction, with lots of good tools and time to play with the presented materials.

Great to have hands-on learning today and the Wiki Site full of useful resources to explore in the future.


Supporting Word Identification Skills for Struggling Readers in Primary Grades (Grades K-3)
 

11-15REVFriday, November 15, 2013

Holiday Inn, Charlottesville, VA

Presenter: Susan Thacker-Gwaltney

Audience: Elementary teachers (K-3, and sped K-5), and Instructional Leaders

Description:  This training focuses on how to select and implement word identification strategies to support struggling readers in the primary grades.  Participants will learn to recognize the warning signs for reading difficulties and practice interactive activities that can be used during small group reading instruction.  Activities will focus on ways to support students with decoding, self-monitoring, and repairing mistakes that may impair comprehension.  At the end of the day, elementary teachers and instructional leaders (K-3, and sped K-5) will walk away with practical activities and ideas to promote word attack skills, to build sight word vocabularies, and to teach word reading strategies to struggling learners.

Comments from Participants:

I loved all of the teacher-friendly strategies, ideas, and resources that I can use immediately!

The “make and takes” were great, and I really enjoyed having time to play the various games and practice the activities.

The conference could not have been better – especially the very applicable ideas for phonemic awareness.


What Matters Most: A Shift in the ‘What” and “How” of Teaching Virginia’s Revised Mathematics SOL (K-5)

11-19REVTuesday, November 19, 2013

The Sheraton, Roanoke, VA

Presenter: Dr. Dan Mulligan

Audience: Elementary Teachers and Instructional Leaders

Description: This targeted day of sharing and learning will bring the Virginia K-5 Mathematics Process Standards to life in the classroom by fundamentally changing the way teachers think about math and how they teach their students. The focus of this relevant and engaging day will assist teachers in deepening their own content knowledge while learning how to develop students’ abilities to think and reason and deepen students’ number sense, computation, and problem solving skills. Participants will enhance their ability to organize instruction for whole-class, small-group, and individual learning. This workshop will enable participants to strengthen math content and pedagogical knowledge relative to the revised Virginia K-5 math SOL in order to understand various solution paths and students’ reasoning, enhance their understanding of how students learn in order to make instructional decisions about tasks to use and questions to pose to make math accessible to all students, sharpen insight into individual learners’ skills and math reasoning, and cultivate new instructional strategies that promote thinking, reasoning, and sense making. Participants are requested to bring a copy of the appropriate Student Performance by Question from last year’s Math SOL assessment.  A toolkit of new shelf-ready learning structures will be provided for participants.

Comments from Participants:

Dr. Mulligan not only told us what we should do, he told us how to do it, modelled that, and let us practice.

Even though I had seen test data many times, new lights went on about how to use data to guide instruction and elevate performance.

I learned so much, my mind is reeling! I only wish our whole faculty could have attended!


Teaching ELLs 101: Strategies for Classroom Teachers (Grades K-12)

12-3REVTuesday, December 3, 2013

Holiday Inn, Charlottesville, VA

Presenter:  Ashley Simpson

Audience: Teachers and Instructional Leaders (K-12)

Description:  This workshop is designed for K-12 classroom teachers without prior training in working with English Language Learners (ELL’s). The main objective for this workshop is for teachers to gain an understanding of how to effectively plan and teach with an explicit focus on language so that they are able to support ELLs in accessing classroom content. The session will begin with an overview of second language acquisition theory and research on effective strategies for working with ELL’s. The presenter will model strategies and approaches so that participants can have first-hand experience in a second language learning context.  The workshop will provide opportunities for synthesizing content in order for participants to apply it to their own teaching when they return to their classrooms. Participants will also receive access to various electronic resources so that they may continue to expand their understanding of teaching linguistically diverse students after the workshop ends.  Please bring a laptop or tablet to access documents.

Comments from Participants:

The presenter was well-prepared and very knowledgeable, but I would have appreciated more specific strategies and useful tips/tools to implement in the classroom.

The quality and quantity of resources (available on GoogleDocs) allow for further learning later.

Vocabulary activities, grouping strategies, and numerous videos were all very helpful, and I found the structured holistic lesson plans quite inspirational.