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    Professional Development Topics

                                                                                    Touching the Future Today

                                          Creative Encounters for the 21st Century Learner

                                                        Deborah Walker and Kathy Frazier

                                             "Creativity does not have to be sacrificed to meet content standards.”

                                                             Topics for Professional Development Experience

                                                                            The Art of Teaching


Building a Classroom Community

Supporting research presented by Barbara Clark and Eric Jensen

Creating a responsive learning environment engages all students by providing opportunities for them to feel emotionally strong and safe in a social and academic environment. Students need to play an active role in their education. Strategies are presented that enable teachers to create a classroom setting which promotes personalize learning and a classroom community that recognizes and respects diversity.


An Introspective View and Strategies That Teach Metacognition and Mindfulness

Supporting research presented by Eric Jensen, Howard Gardner, and Branton Shearer

Educators need to not only recognize their own learning style, but also have a comprehensive knowledge of how each of their students learns best. Strategies to assess learning styles will be presented along with tools to increase student awareness of the importance of metacognition and how to extend their thinking.


Creative Thinking Strategies

Supporting research presented by Alex Osborn, Bob Eberly, Sir Ken Robinson, and M. Csikszentmihalyi (Flow Theory)

The Framework for 21st Century Learning has developed a holistic vision that effectively prepares our students for the challenges of the future. One component of this model is Creativity and Innovation Skills.  Educators will experience and learn creative thinking techniques and how to facilitate them across disciplines creating a foundation for students to successfully synthesize ideas.

Creative Problem Solving

Supporting research presented by Edward DeBono, E. Paul Torrance, and Roger Von Oech

Creative Problem Solving is a process that challenges individuals to re-define problems and create imaginative and innovative solutions.  Teachers will be actively engaged in the problem solving process as they collaborate to solve The Balancing Act Challenge and a Hairy Situation, a problem solving scenario. Sample lessons to integrate the process into the core curriculum will be modeled to enable teachers to better integrate the problem solving process into their content.


Service Learning

Supporting research presented by E. Paul Torrance, Barbara Lewis, and The Giraffe Project

Students sometimes think, “I’m only a kid – how can I make a difference in the world?"

Service Learning is a teaching method and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with content instruction. It enriches the learning experience by providing opportunities for reflection and civic responsibility, as well as strengthening community partnerships.  Teachers will be guided through the steps of implementing a service learning unit. Examples of successful projects (K-12), excellent resources integrating music, visual art, drama, dance and movement, and literature will be presented. Links to grant writing and integration of technology will also be provided.

Design Thinking:

Supporting Research presented by Tony Wagner (Harvard Innovation Lab) David Kelley (IDEO U), Steve Jobs, and John Spencer (Launch)

Everyday new challenges arise in our rapidly changing world. It is paramount that we teach our students “non-routine” 21st Century Learning skills such as critical thinking/ problem solving, creativity, communication, and collaboration. Teaching and modeling the design teaching process in our classrooms integrates these skills and provides authentic learning experiences.  Teachers will be engaged in developing the following strategies:

  • Creating a Classroom Culture of Creativity 

  • The Design Thinking Mindset

  • Creative Thinking Tools

  • The Design Thinking Model

Teachers will be actively engaged in a design thinking challenge. Sample lessons to integrate the design thinking process into the curriculum will be modeled to help teachers to better connect design thinking to their content.  Reflection and alternative assessments will be explored.

Arts Integration

Supporting research presented by Piaget, Erikson, Maslow, C. Cornett, and Howard Gardner

Research studies have concluded that there is a strong positive relationship between the creative arts and academic success. Theorists support arts integration as a moral imperative to challenge student thinking and enhance social and intellectual development. It has been stated that teachers are the single most important factor in raising student achievement. Our Arts Integration Taxonomy (Experience, Connect, and Immerse), together with strategies integrating visual art, music, movement and dance, drama, and literacy, will be explored. This combined approach aligns with content standards and inspires educators to energize their curriculum and provide creative opportunities for students to construct meaningful life experiences.  Teachers will discover their innate, creative ability to develop lessons that are “hands on/minds on,” intrinsically motivating, and cognitively stimulating through integration of the arts.


Strategies for Differentiating Instruction

Supportive Research studies by Dewey, Carol Ann Tomlinson, June Maker, Bernie Kingor, and Barbara  Clark

Carol Ann Tomlinson, in her book, The Differentiated Classroom, states that differentiation is a way of thinking about teaching that challenges how educators envision learning in their classroom, use of time, and curriculum.  She advocates June Maker’s Model of differentiation through the modification of Content, Process, and Product. Differentiating the curriculum to respond to diverse students’ needs can be a challenge.  Based on this research, participants will discover their creative ability to develop lessons that incorporate successful, engaging, opportunities that meet the diverse needs of all students.


Meeting the Needs of the Gifted

Supportive Research studies by E. Paul Torrance, Jim Delisle, June Maker,  Carol Ann Tomlinson, Jim Webb, Joseph Renzulli, George Betts

Every morning, gifted students from kindergarten through high school enter their classrooms waiting to be inspired, challenged, and educated.  These 21st Century students depend on their teachers’ expertise to prepare them for a successful future. Because there has been a huge decline in services provided by credentialed gifted specialists, in many school districts the gifted population is being served by general classroom teachers. The myth that “gifted students will do just fine on their own,” has been noted. Learning the key elements of how to create a responsive classroom environment that will challenge the gifted and enhance their performance, supports the centrality of the characteristics and needs of gifted students. The integration of instructional strategies to engage these students are emphasized in this workshop series providing educators with skills to meet the individual social and emotional needs of this population. Teachers will learn the key elements of how to create stimulating classroom environments that will promote the growth and development of gifted learners and inspire, motivate, and enhance student performance by providing learning experiences that will challenge students to think critically, problem solve, and synthesize information. Content, process, and product modifications that support these instructional strategies will be presented and participants will acquire a new perspective on differentiation. Using these techniques and strategies that support the gifted learner will enable them to effectively communicate with their students promoting motivation, student engagement, student growth and achievement that result from a creative teaching style. Presenters will support teachers as they apply these learning strategies to meet gifted students needs and interests within their classrooms. Teachers need to be empowered to develop the skills to teach their gifted students creatively and acquire a sense of efficacy; demonstrating the ability to reflect on their effectiveness in helping all students learn and develop to their fullest potential.


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