Workshops


Segments from the following workshops can be mixed and matched to fit your individual needs. Contact Ellen for more information concerning any of the following workshops and presentations.

WORKSHOP

# 1

The Multiage Classroom - One Teacher's Way

(This workshop is appropriate for K-4 educators/parents)
This workshop is designed to share with participants a multiage primary classroom model. Philosophy and theory for why one would teach in this type of setting as well as scheduling, grouping of students for instruction, and instructional practices would be discussed. Participants would "peek" into the actual workings of a multiage classroom through the use of actual student work and photographs. The importance of the use of quality literature as well as true student ownership of their learning will be highlighted.


WORKSHOP

# 2

Assessment and Evaluation in the Multiage / Primary Classroom:

What to Keep and How to use it!

(This workshop is appropriate for K-5 educators/parents)
In this workshop, participants will view actual student/teacher artifacts which help to inform the instructional decisions in the everyday life of the classroom. In particular, they will see the types of information gathered and kept by the classroom teacher through the use of miscues, spelling screens, writing samples, anecdotal notes, conference logs and much more. The Literary Assessment Profile will be explored as a means to better organize student information . The Profile's role in parent conferences and written narratives will also be explored. Participants do not need to be teaching in a multiage setting. The information given will work in all types of settings.

Participants will learn how to manage information in the form of student portfolios, teacher portfolios and literacy portfolios. Tips on the care and maintenance of these portfolios will be given as well as ideas on how to share with parents and community members.



WORKSHOP

# 3

Mini Madness...with Mini Lessons

(This workshop is appropriate for K-3 educators/parents)
This workshop is designed to share with participants the many moments and ways to provide students with pertinent skill information within the school day without stepping in to that "lecture" mode. Ellen will share times in her day as a multiage teacher of grades 1, 2 & 3, where she truly centers on direct language arts skill instruction. She will share whole group methods and tips, as well as small group times, and individual student mini lesson opportunities. Specifically she will address: news sharing lessons, proof reading, minimal cue lessons, reading club lessons, lessons derived by student sharing, individual writing conferences, keyword whole group lessons and individual conferences around words, as well as reading conference strategies.


WORKSHOP

# 4

Celebrations: Making the Most of Home / School / Parent / Teacher / Community Connections

(This workshop is appropriate for K-5 educators/parents)
This workshop will highlight the ways to better communicate with the partners that impact the classroom. Participants will view the many ways to involve these groups through actual classroom happenings in Ellen's multiage classroom. Use of class newspapers, letters to parents, fieldtrips, even homework - will be discussed. Of particular interest will be the strong roles of the parents in this classroom and how these roles have been established to support the classroom teacher, teaching style and class configuration.


WORKSHOP

# 5

A Look at a Year Long Theme Study with a Multiage Class - its Teacher and its Parents!

(This workshop is appropriate for K-5 educators/parents)
This workshop will explore the past year in room 6 at Union Memorial School. Participants will learn about the power of this type of theme study as evidenced by student work, video clips, photographs, and parent participation. Wondering why anyone would want to use a year long theme? This workshop is for you! Room design, set-up of expectations, materials, organizational tips, hands on activities, research procedures, and unbelievable student outcomes will all be shared. Techniques for creating your own year long theme in your multiage, looping or single graded classroom will be explored keeping in mind all of those curriculum pieces that you HAVE to teach.


WORKSHOP

# 6

How To Make Your Math Instruction Fit Your Philosophy

(This workshop is appropriate for K-4 educators)
Making math work with multiage/primary classroom practices can be a challenge. In this practical session you will learn real-life ways an experienced teacher has adapted her math instruction to fit her multiage teaching. Math portfolios will be explored as a means of capturing students' problem solving abilities. Examples of integrating math into class theme work will also be explored. Math literature will be shared as a means for teaching new concepts to all students, as well as lots of hands on games to spark up your math program. The NCTM standards will be explored and their links to instructional practice will be highlighted.


WORKSHOP

# 7

Reading and Writing in the Multiage Setting

(This workshop is appropriate for K-4 educators)
This workshop will share strategies for promoting literacy development in the elementary classroom. Reading and writing workshop techniques will be shared that help develop good readers and writers. Tips for scheduling, managing and monitoring these times will be discussed. Participants will have the opportunity to hear real stories about real kids and view real artifacts from Ellen's classroom. Ideas about news sharing, key word development, BIG book making and literature inclusion will be offered.


WORKSHOP

# 8

A Balanced Literacy Approach

(This workshop is appropriate for K-5 educators)
Guided reading, interactive writing, shared reading, guided writing…how to put it all together? This workshop is designed to share best teaching practices to create a truly balanced literacy program in your classroom.
  • How to use teaching strategies such as read alouds, poetry, shared language experiences, and keywords to strengthen your literacy instruction
  • The critical role of phonemic awareness for beginning readers and how you can develop these essential skills
  • Great classroom management techniques to keep the learning happening
  • How to develop independent reading skills in your students
  • How you can teach reading and writing through literature and read alouds
  • How to use the strategies of guided reading in your instructional program
  • Ways to engage low-performing students in the literacy activities which will help them to become more proficient learners
  • Assess your students in meaningful ways that are part of your instructional program


WORKSHOP

# 9

Teaching Spelling in a Classroom Setting - Best Practices in Action

(This workshop is appropriate for K-4 educators)
Learn how to organize your classroom and your expectations to promote a "spelling attitude" that will help your students spell better. Spelling can be an ACTIVE choice for your students. Your spelling program can help create students who make use of spelling strategies throughout their entire life. Learn how to actively "teach" spelling through children's own writing, use of word walls and directed teaching examples right out of Ellen's classroom.


WORKSHOP

# 10

Guided Reading: An Important Part of Your Literacy Program

(This workshop is appropriate for K-3 educators)
This workshop will step you through the how's and why's needed to implement guided reading in your primary classroom. Information on what guided reading is and what it can do for your readers will be shared. Learn more about the three cueing systems used in reading and how to actively teach them in your classroom. Text leveling strategies and management techniques for giving and really using running records will also be shared. Text introduction techniques will be emphasized. And most importantly, time will be spent on how to manage this powerful teaching tool within the confines of your classroom instructional program.


WORKSHOP

# 11

Creating the Writing Classroom - Writer's Workshop

(This workshop is appropriate for K-5 educators)
This workshop will share a real writer's workshop with real stories and examples from Ellen's classroom. Learn how to set up, manage, and monitor the workshop setting. The importance of using mini lessons and a conference structure to bring the teaching directly to the learners will be examined. Ellen will share how her students assess their writing through the use of peer conference techniques and developmentally appropriate rubrics designed to highlight best writing components. Use of portfolios to inform students, parents and next year teachers will be shared as well. Finally, ideas for showcasing student writing with real audiences will be explored and celebrated.


WORKSHOP

# 12

Books and Beyond: Creating a Great Classroom Library

(This workshop is appropriate for K-5 educators)
This workshop is designed to bring the joy of reading quality literature right into your classroom setting. The power of reading novel length books and its impact on your beginning readers as they develop their own independent reading strategies will be explored. Picture books that will make you weep as well as those that will tickle your funny bone. These books will be sure to enhance your classroom curriculum instruction, too. Ideas will be shared for book extensions, such as: making BIG books, book projects, independent written responses, and home activities. This workshop will clearly help you understand why Ellen had over 6000 books in her classroom! Learn from a book selecting master!


WORKSHOP

# 13

Making Math Projects Meaningful in the Primary Classroom

(This workshop is appropriate for K-4 educators)
If your math lessons could use a lift, or if you're just looking for new ways to teach old lessons, then this is a must-attend session. You'll learn how to link math to literature and real world experiences and watch achievement and interest soar! Everything from number concepts to beginning measurement will be showcased in this session. Ellen will share her favorite math books and games. She will show you how to use them to teach important skills and strategies.


WORKSHOP

# 14

The Looping Classroom - One Teacher's Way

(This workshop is appropriate for K-4 educators)
Looping is a great alternative instructional model to improve learning for children. It extends the on-task time between teacher and students providing more opportunities for student learning in a safe, secure, non-threatening atmosphere.

This workshop is designed to share with participants a looping primary classroom model. Philosophy and theory for why one would teach in this type of setting as well as scheduling, grouping of students for instruction, and instructional practices would be discussed. Participants would "peek" into the actual workings of a primary classroom through the use of actual student work and photographs. The importance of the use of quality literature as well as true student ownership of their learning will be highlighted.

This workshop will explore the advantages of teaching in a looping environment. Discussion will involve ideas for communicating and working with parents, as well.



WORKSHOP

# 15

Interdisciplinary Instructional Techniques…for the Classroom Teacher

(This workshop is appropriate for K-4 educators)
As classroom teachers, we know just how limited we are in our instructional time with our students. Yet there always seems to be more curriculum pieces being added on to our already packed days. Teaching in an interdisciplinary manner is the best solution for getting it all done and still maintaining a life outside of school!

This workshop is designed to show participants how to create units of studies which will not only teach your students the content area standards, but will also reinforce the three "r's," as well. Ellen will share tips on how to create these lessons for the studies your school or state requires of you and your students. Participants will have ample opportunity to try out these techniques during the workshop. Ellen will highlight the session with actual student artifacts from her own classroom interdisciplinary studies. She will emphasize the many disciplines each artifact illustrates. Ellen will also share her system for designing assessment criteria and rubrics for interdisciplinary studies.



WORKSHOP

# 16

Instructional Focus - Comprehension!

Strategies to Increase Student Comprehension

(This workshop is appropriate for 1-6 educators)
Learn how to avoid "parrot syndrome" with Ellen's strategies to develop truly engaged readers. She will describe and showcase a true readers' workshop scenario which will work with all ages of children. Routines, classroom management and assessment will all be included. Ellen will center much of her conversation on real, useful ways to engage children in text. Key elements will include:
  • Powerful strategies for conferring about books
  • Book dialogue response journals as a tool for both instruction and assessment
  • Record keeping for both children and teacher
  • Explicit teaching of fluency
  • Instruction and practice using Readers' Theater techniques to increase students' fluency of reading
  • Use of the "talking dictionary" to increase students' reading fluency
  • "My Turn/Your Turn" as a tool to teach and model comprehension of text
  • Use of think alouds as a check for student comprehension and reading strategy use
  • How to use story maps to increase comprehension
  • "Somebody Wanted But So…"
  • Literature circles and group discussions for better understanding and to foster more independent work habits in reading with a group
  • Importance of shared reading and read aloud time as a means to teach and model comprehension and fluency
  • Ways to engage low-performing students in the literacy activities which will help them to become more proficient learners
  • Assess your students in meaningful ways that are part of your instructional program
  • ...and more…