Pre Conference Workshops

Friday, November 10
8:15 AM – 12:15 PM

Cost per person: $189.
By advance registration only. Select one of six.
Add $25 fee if you are not attending the conference.




1. The Practical Science of Teenage Attention in the Distracting Age of Snapchat and Instagram (Grades 6-12)

Recent research in neuroscience and psychology offers surprising insights into our students' attentional systems. Once teachers understand how attention truly functions in the brain, we can work more effectively with the underlying neural systems that help teenage students focus and learn. The workshop begins with Posner’s Tripartite Theory of Attention, and explores alertness—the first mental process essential for all student attention. We then look at our students’ capacity for orienting and for executive attention. By understanding these cognitive capabilities—and, in particular, by recognizing the effect that technology has on all of them—teachers can create that rarest of educational experiences: a digital classroom full of highly focused students.

Andrew C. Watson, EdM, MA, President, Translate the Brain; Graduate of the Mind, Brain & Education Program at Harvard Graduate School of Education; Advisor, The People’s Science; Editor, Learning & the Brain Blog; Author, Learning Begins: The Science of Working Memory and Attention for the Classroom Teacher (2017)




2. Build, Tinker, Hack: Fostering Agency Through Maker-Centered Learning

Educational initiatives that emphasize making, engineering, and tinkering are becoming increasingly popular in K-12 education. Makerspaces, fab labs, and design classes are bringing with them exciting new tools, technologies, and curricula. But what is truly worthwhile about maker-centered learning? What are the most salient benefits of these maker-centered experiences? This interactive workshop will present a series of hands-on activities aimed at exploring these questions and considering how pedagogical practice and the development of thinking dispositions can support the core principles of maker-centered learning. It will highlight key aspects of the framework for maker-centered learning developed by the Agency by Design research project at Project Zero and participants will consider what it means to foster student agency and develop a sensitivity to the designed dimensions of their worlds by looking closely, exploring complexity, and finding opportunity. In addition to gaining a familiarity with the Agency by Design framework for maker-centered learning and its associated educator resources, you will also have an opportunity to make connections between these new concepts and their home teaching and learning environments.

Edward P. Clapp, EdD, Senior Research Manager, Agency by Design Research Initiative, Project Zero; Research Associate and Lecturer on Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Co-Author, Maker-Centered Learning: Empowering Young People to Shape Their Worlds (2016)




3. Upgrading Curriculum: Integrating Print, Digital, Media, and Global Literacies

Part I: Integrating Print, Digital, Media, and Global Literacies

Heidi Hayes Jacobs will show you how to integrate the teaching of literacy skills into your daily curriculum. This workshop will provide practical ideas for teaching reading, writing, speaking, and listening in any subject area or grade level. It also shows you how school-wide collaborative planning and curriculum mapping can sustain literacy between grade levels and subjects and how to integrate digital, media, and global literacies, which are essential to student success in today’s world.

Heidi Hayes Jacobs, EdD, Creator, Curriculum21; Founder and President, Curriculum Designers, Inc.; Author, Active Literacy Across the Curriculum: Connecting Print Literacy with Digital, Media, and Global Competence, K-12 (2017) and Curriculum 21: Essential Education for a Changing World (updated 2014)


Part II: Bytesized Potential in a Digital World of Possibilities and Literacies

Can we make compassion, curiosity, and citizenship go viral by improving students' digital publishing literacies? Around the world, millions of students share the narratives of their lives in bite-sized chunks through SMS, status updates, videos, podcasts, or images. These are our learning rituals in our digital society. Our students create, produce, direct, summarize, translate, and share stories outside of learning institutions daily and these messages go viral. Shelly Terrell will explore, with you, these learning trends and will help you discover ways to integrate them in your classes to support digital publishing in writing and crafting messages with positive impact. We will also explore the potential and test the possibility of supporting our students in making compassion go viral.

Shelly S. Terrell, MEd, eLearning Specialist; Author, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers (2015) and Learning To Go: Lesson Ideas for Teaching with Mobile Devices, Cell Phones, and BYOT (2013)




4. Teaching/Hacking Project-Based Learning

Ross Cooper and Erin Murphy are passionate about creating learner-centered classrooms and schools. During this interactive workshop, they will share their turnkey framework for implementing project-based learning. The pair's approach to PBL focuses on a series of high leverage practices designed to supercharge your PBL experience. Each practice implemented in isolation can make an impact on instruction, but together they help streamline PBL process. So whether you are a PBL novice or PBL veteran, you will leave this session with resources and ideas to fine-tune your craft.

Ross Cooper, EdD, Supervisor of Instructional Practice K-12, Salisbury Township School District, PA; Apple Distinguished Educator and Google Certified Innovator; Co-Author, Hacking Project Based Learning: 10 Easy Steps to PBL and Inquiry in the Classroom (2016) and Erin Murphy, EdD, Assistant Principal, Eyer Middle School in the East Penn School District, PA; Certified Literacy Specialist who also coordinates the middle level ELA department; ; Co-Author, Hacking Project Based Learning: 10 Easy Steps to PBL and Inquiry in the Classroom (2016)




5. From Snorkelers to Scuba Divers: Engaging in Deeper STEM Thinking and Learning (Grades PreK-12)

Explore the latest research on student engagement and how to create an environment that fosters and nurtures engagement, as well as invites students to dive deep into learning. In this workshop, Dr. Almarode will take you on an “out of your seat and on your feet” experience that models promising principles from the science of learning for deep thinking, learning and understanding: from simple to complex, concrete to abstract, and the idea that memory is the residue of thought. He will show you how to strike the right balance between surface (snorkelers) and deep (scuba divers) learning and will address challenges students face in STEM education.

John T. Almarode, PhD, Co-Director, Center for STEM Education and Outreach; Associate Professor in the Department of Early, Elementary, and Reading Education, James Madison University; Co-Editor, Teacher Educator’s Journal; Co-Author, From Snorkelers to Scuba Divers: Making the Elementary Science Classroom a Place of Engagement and Deep Learning (2017), Visible Learning for Science (2017), and Captivate, Activate, and Invigorate the Student Brain in Science and Math, Grades 6 – 12 (2013)




6. The Science and Future of Learning (All Grades)

Explore the findings from brain and learning sciences on how students learn, ways to improve memory retention and retrieval and effective strategies for teaching and learning. Learn about the latest discoveries in the learning sciences, ways that brain scans may help predict learning future learning problems, efforts by the MIT’s initiation to integrate learning science, psychology, technology and other fields to improve learning and teaching.

John D.E. Gabrieli, PhD, Director, MIT Integrated Learning Initiative; Grover Hermann Professor in Health Sciences and Technology; Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences; Co-Director, Clinical Research Center; Associate Director, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Megan A. Smith, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Rhode Island College; Co-Founder, The Learning Scientists; Co-Author, "Four Simple Strategies from Cognitive Psychology for the Classroom" (2017, Excellence in Teaching), "How Psychological Science Can Improve Our Classrooms" (2015, Translational Issues in Psychological Science), and "Retrieval-Based Learning: The Need to Guide Retrieval in Elementary Children" (2014, Applied Research in Memory & Cognition)