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Speed Learning Sessions

Thursday, November 7
1:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Middle Level Literature as a Genre
Linda Wedwick Haling
Drawing from a developmental approach of readers' cognitive development and emerging identity, this presentation illustrates the need to carve out space for literature that we can define as middle level and to consider the implications of unrestricted student choice for independent reading. This presentation will propose criteria that situate a new literary genre of Middle Level Literature and demonstrate how this genre is distinct from children’s literature and adolescent literature.

The ABC’s of Language Arts: A Vocabulary Project
Jennifer M. Denmon
The session will provide attendees with a deeper understanding of how to incorporate a fun vocabulary project into their curriculum. The ABC Book helps students to connect vocabulary they learn in Language Arts to other subject areas, and is engaging and a student favorite. Participants will partake in discussion regarding how they can institute this activity into their curriculum.

Journaling, Comprehension, and Vocabulary Acquisition
Helen Markey
Writer's workshops have always appealed to students and teachers alike. You can continue to embed them into RTI-based instruction and garner results that will make your principal wonder. If time investment is what is primarily needed to master a skill that should be attainable when you consider that writing is merely "talking on paper" and we know our students can talk quite how can you make them write and love writing? Come and find out!

iMovement: Pay it Forward!
Michelle Koussa, Ken DeAngelis
Come learn how one team changed the world by reading books! This team challenged students to raise money for reading books, and then use the money to Pay it Forward to the local community. The planning and organization of the day will be shared along with practical tips on how to take this life changing service learning project to your school. This project is guaranteed to change not only the lives of you and your students, but your entire community!

Thrive with Common Core
David Moose
Do you feel like you’re on the right road to Common Core implementation? Driving toward successful collaboration using teaming with Literacy Common Core Curriculum, we at Siloam Springs Middle School include Collegial relationships with teammates, Common Core Curriculum designing, and Collaborative planning. Come and “Thrive” with us!

Increasing Empathy and Reading Skills with Critical Literacy
Jude Matyo-Cepero, Patricia Bruner
As teachers of adolescents, our future world leaders, we must be concerned that our students academic knowledge extends beyond facts. Our reality must be that our classrooms represent a microcosm of the world. Students must be given the opportunity to be taught "how" to think, rather than "what" to think. It is because of this belief that critical literacy must become a fundamental component of student learning.

Salvaging Social Studies in Middle Level Education: Implications for Understanding Social Studies Later at the Secondary Level
Mary Ann O'Neil, Amanda Wegman
The research, review of literature, feedback from practicing teachers and instructional practices that interject social studies within other content areas will be shared with the participants in a Speed Learning session.

Conversations about Class Size: Strategies to Help Middle Level Learners Succeed in High Student-Teacher Ratio Environments
Marcus Wenzel
ML teachers must address the needs of the whole student, a task that grows more challenging each day because of increasing class sizes. This session’s focus is on identifying effective managerial and instructional strategies for large classes of ML students while preparing students for Common Core Standards, Smarter Balanced Assessments, and 21st Century skills. Come join the conversation about dealing with large class sizes and maximizing ML learning experiences.

Common Core Math Practices: What to Look For In the Classroom
Cory Bennett
The Common Core State Standards for mathematics clearly state that mathematically proficient students can autonomously engage in the habits of mind needed to become effective student mathematicians. This round-table discussion will focus on supporting administrators, academic coaches, and other teacher leaders in analyzing and identifying key aspects of the mathematical practices and how the enactment of these practices might look within the classroom.

Word Sorting: The Fast And Furious Method of Word Study
Angela M. Miller
The goal of this informative and interactive presentation is to provide teachers with a new method of introducing phonics and word analysis skills in a differentiated manner. Middle childhood educators will be introduced to the basics of word sorting, including the theory behind the method (Bear, Invernizzi, et al, 2011) and to work with word sorts that cover a range of abilities and content areas.

Intellectual Art
Sara Worley
Intellectual Art? What is it? Could it be a combo of the highest level of critical thinking and individualize expression? Come participate and discuss together.

Ten Vitalities of Middle Level Schools Optimizing the Development of Ethical Character
Greg Richards
The Ten Vitalities provide a blueprint for strategy, planning, and evaluation for middle schools seeking a comprehensive approach to character development. The vitalities represent ten categories of student need. These critical components grew out of over 30 years of research and practice in ethics education, developmental psychology, and brain biology of young adolescents. Among the ten are school climate, curriculum, service learning, leadership, peer relationships, and parent education.

Strengthen Diverse Students’ Agency, Literacy, and Civic Engagement through Choices in Little Rock, a Civics Curriculum
Anna Romer
Teachers will encounter experiential sections of Facing History and Ourselves middle grades civics curriculum "Choices in Little Rock" (CILR), participate in strategies that engage students, receive free CILR materials, and learn about research findings re impact of this curriculum on diverse students. Teachers can reflect on own practice and explore Common Core Writing assessments targeted to this curriculum. Materials and methods are adaptable to English or Social studies classes.

Connect with Your Students: Weave Concepts with Relevant Themes
Gigi Carunungan
There are billions of neurons in the human brain. When neurons form new connections, the brain alters its networks. When learning makes sense, students form new associations. The brain's plasticity creates new neural connections with rich, challenging, and positive learning environments. These networks are strengthened by lessons that include sensory inputs, positive emotions, meaningful projects, creative and analytical thinking. Participate in stimulating and fulfilling learning experiences that promote greater student interest and improve academic performance.