BEGINNING READING INSTRUCTION

 

Beginning Reading Instruction (BRI) focuses on how children learn to read and the best ways to teach

beginning reading from kindergarten to the end of the primary grades. Because the course contains

considerable information on how students develop basic decoding skills, it is also useful for teachers and

support staff working with older students who still are having difficulty with decoding and fluency. The

course presents a synthesis of the research consensus for beginning reading instruction, and it provides the

most effective instructional strategies—aligned to that research—to help students develop print awareness, phonemic awareness, knowledge of the alphabetical system, phonics/decoding skills, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. The context for this course is set by presenting information about the research consensus reflected in such works as Marilyn Adam’s Beginning to Read; the National Research Council report Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children; and the report of the National Reading Panel. The content in BRI is most closely aligned to the K-5 Reading Foundations Skills strands; to the K-6 Reading Literature and the Reading Informational Text strands, and to the Vocabulary Acquisition and Use section of the K-6 Language strand of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. This course content supports teachers’ ability to meet the criteria of the following domains in the Danielson

Framework:

 

Domain 1: Planning and Preparation

• Demonstrating Knowledge and Content and Pedagogy

• Demonstrating Knowledge of Students

• Setting Instructional Outcomes

• Designing Coherent Instruction

Domain 2: The Classroom Environment

• Creating an Environment of Respect and Rapport

Domain 3: Instruction

• Communicating with Students

• Using Questioning and Discussion Techniques

Domain 4: Professional Responsibilities

 

 

FOUNDATIONS OF EFFECTIVE TEACHING I:

ORGANIZING THE CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING

(This course is used for induction)

 

This core course addresses the fundamental aspects of teaching and learning that are relevant for teachers

and classroom paraprofessionals in all grade levels and subject areas. It examines proven practices for

establishing and maintaining classroom management, maximizing use of learning time, questioning and

feedback skills, homework, interactive guided instruction strategies, and scaffolding techniques. Covering

core topics critical to successful classroom practice, Foundations of Effective Teaching I is recommended as the primary offering for all local sites. It is frequently used as the basis for induction, mentor, and peer assistance programs and is an essential part of local site coordinator training.

 

 

FOUNDATIONS OF EFFECTIVE TEACHING II: BUILDING ACADEMIC SUCCESS

 

This course addresses the challenges teachers are facing today to raise the performance levels of all

students while also closing the achievement gap. It addresses both environmental and instructional

conditions that foster student achievement by (1) examining the effects that teacher expectations and the

social context of the classroom have on student learning, and (2) providing an in-depth study of two

instructional models—cognitive apprenticeship and cooperative small groups—that actively engage

students and address the diversity of their learning needs. This course extends and deepens many concepts

introduced in Foundations I; it can be taken either in consecutive years or as an advanced offering for

seasoned trainers. While Foundations I is ideal to deliver to novice teachers and paraprofessionals, this

advanced course is targeted to more seasoned educators who are prepared to engage in in-depth study and

reflective practice. It also may be used to support school improvement teams or schoolwide initiatives to

raise achievement. Prerequisite: Foundations of Effective Teaching I.

 

 

INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES THAT WORK FOR ALL DISCIPLINES

 

This course provides a cognitive research-based approach to lesson planning and design. To develop a

comprehensive instructional plan, participants consider the concepts of standards, curriculum and a

course map as they generate unit and lesson plans that promote independent learning for students. In this

course, instructional strategies are taught in the context of purpose and appropriateness for supporting

student learning. These cognitive strategies foster critical thinking and advance the transferability of skills learned. Course participants will learn how to develop scoring guides (rubrics) for student tasks; evaluate curriculum materials for any content area and create instructional plans that address the shortcomings of the materials. The information in this course can be applied in K-12 settings and is particularly helpful for students with

special needs.

 

MANAGING ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOR

 

The anti-social actions of a small but powerful number of students in school not only put their own

academic success at risk but threaten the learning environment for everyone. This course presents research on emotional and behavioral problems of students who consistently act out. Participants will learn strategies to reduce and/or prevent the occurrence of disruptive or dangerous outbreaks.

 

MANAGING STUDENT BEHAVIOR FOR SUPPORT STAFF

 

This course is designed for school-related personnel (SRPs) and paraprofessionals, who have contact with

and/or are responsible for overseeing the behavior and safety of large numbers of students outside the

classroom setting, whether that setting is the cafeteria, the school bus, the office, the playground or the

school corridors. The course will teach school-related personnel and paraprofessionals about how to

manage large groups of students as well as difficult and disruptive students.

 

 

READING COMPREHENSION INSTRUCTION

 

Reading Comprehension Instruction (RCI) focuses on the research and exemplary practices that help

students acquire strong reading comprehension skills. RCI is appropriate for all K-12 teachers and support

staff who need to help increase their students’ comprehension of text—whether that text is a literature

selection or informational text. The course provides participants with a synthesis of the research base on

reading comprehension instruction and vocabulary development. Participants examine, discuss and

evaluate the appropriate application of a range of instructional strategies from explicit to implicit teaching

of comprehension skills. Strategies are presented for increasing student comprehension of both narrative

and expository texts. In addition, participants learn how to help students self-monitor comprehension and

apply appropriate “fix-up” strategies when comprehension is not achieved. Practice in using instructional

strategies and examples of student work are embedded in the course.

The content in RCI is most closely aligned to support the K-8 Reading Literature and Reading Informational Texts strands and to the K-8 Vocabulary Acquisition and Use section of the Language strand. RCI course content supports teachers’ ability to meet the criteria of the following domains in the Danielson Framework:

Domain 1: Planning and Preparation

• Demonstrating Knowledge of Content and Pedagogy

• Demonstrating Knowledge of Students

• Setting Instructional Outcomes

• Designing Coherent Instruction

Domain 2: The Classroom Environment

• Creating an Environment of Respect and Rapport

Domain 3: Instruction

• Communicating with Students

• Using Questioning and Discussion Techniques

• Using Assessment in Instruction

Domain 4: Professional Responsibilities

 

 

THE HOME-SCHOOL CONNECTION

 

The primary function of this course is to help school staff understand how they can assist parents to better

support their children as learners. Topics explored include: (1) using effective communication strategies to develop learning partnerships with families; (2) designing more productive homework assignments to

involve families; (3) explaining classroom work and grading systems to parents; (4) developing schoolwide parent involvement plans; and (5) examining the role of school absenteeism on student learning.

• Making Parents and Guardians Partners in Educating Students

Research findings support the understanding that when parents are involved students succeed.

However, how parents should be engaged has been a source of great discussion, debate, continued

research and even legislation. In this session, learn how to engage parents and guardians and

experience what this engagement looks like.

• What Effective Schools Do When Students Don’t Succeed: The Power of Collaboration

Research shows that professional learning communities (PLC) are good for students and teachers

alike, but how can you and your colleagues make a PLC work effectively to improve both classroom

instruction and your school—in other words, to “make the impossible possible”? This module will

examine ways of forming PLCs; developing collaborative and decision-making skills; and using a

proven process for researching, planning and implementing plans that get results.

 

THINKING MATHEMATICS K-2: EARLY GRADES

 

This beginning Thinking Math course focuses on research about how children learn mathematics and

implications of these findings for the classroom. TM K-2 has been intentionally redesigned to help teachers understand the content and practice standards of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and their connection to the research. Ten Principles capture practices that lead to a better understanding of math for all students and are applicable at all levels. The principles—which deal with ideas such as tapping what students know, helping them visualize problems, and building the expectation and ability to justify their work—are exemplified through the research on counting, addition and subtraction. The course takes a broad look at the importance of recognizing and using patterns and relationships throughout math, addresses the kind of questioning that promotes thinking in math class, and provides a framework for implementing curriculum and lessons.

With a detailed lens, topics such as how children learn to count, to understand and use 10 in calculation, to decompose and recompose numbers for mental calculation and understand place value are examined.

With a broader lens, the course focuses on the nature of mathematical proficiency, and how to probe and

record children’s thinking to enhance both learning and teachers’ understanding of students’ thinking.

 

 

THINKING MATHEMATICS 3-5: INTERMEDIATE GRADES

 

Redesigned to assist teachers to examine, understand and make specific links to the Common Core

Mathematics Standards, this course now focuses not only on research findings about how children learn

multiplication and division of whole numbers but also on developing fraction concepts targeted in grade 5, and extending multiplication and division understanding to problems that involve a whole number and a unit fraction. The course opens with a brief introduction to the research-based Ten Principles. Participants consider patterns and relationships in mathematics, including those in the multiplication tables and focus on the Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Practice. They examine the differences between multiplicative and additive structures, including the new role numbers have as they begin to represent not only single objects but also composite units. They review the variety of problem types in the multiplicative structures. Representations to help students understand include diagrams, charts, and t-tables as well as arrays and area models, which receive strong emphasis in Common Core. Use of the distributive property and the beginnings of proportional reasoning are stressed as well as the various treatments that may be required for division remainders in contextualized problems. Stress is placed on the importance of matching language to situations. This course was redesigned to address the Common Core State Standards.

 

THINKING MATHEMATICS 6-8: JOURNEY TO ALGEBRA

 

The middle school course is redesigned to allow teachers to reflect on and connect the Common Core

Mathematics Standards to research on how students learn mathematics. The Ten Principles of Thinking

Math and the Standards for Mathematical Practice are linked and attention paid to how concepts and skills

develop. Substantial time is spent on understanding the rational number system, including fractions,

decimals and negative integers, before the final unit on beginning algebra, emphasizing a fraction as a

single number that can be placed on the number line. How do we help students understand the four

operations with rational numbers? For example, why does the common advice to “just invert and multiply” work? Using geometry as a starting point, participants explore ways to help students understand linear functions and rate of change with emphasis on linking various ways of seeing the same problem. Practices such as reasoning, constructing viable arguments, precision and looking for mathematical structure combine with Principles of Thinking Mathematics such as helping students visualize problems, requiring them to discuss and justify their mathematical thinking, using situational problems to connect mathematics to life, and balancing conceptual and procedural knowledge to develop such understanding. The third emphasis of the course touches on reasoning about expressions and equations and using them to solve word problems.

 

ELL 101

 

This course is for every teacher. It introduces participants to English Language Learners, moving into how language is acquired and how they will learn. It describes cultural, and linguistic diversity in the United States. It defines the civil rights of the students and the state and Federal laws. Then it discusses in depth the beginning classroom instruction for ELL’s. Literacy and Language and more about Language Acquisition, Content Literacy, and the Common Core State Standards and ELL’s.


 

 
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