Annual Conference for Middle Level Education

Nashville, TN • November 7–9, 2019

Rick Wormeli

One of the first Nationally Board Certified teachers in America, Rick brings innovation, energy, validity, and high standards to both his presentations and his instructional practice, which includes almost 38 years teaching math, science, English, physical education, health, and history, and coaching teachers, principals, and school boards. A celebrated writer and thinker, Rick is a columnist for AMLE Magazine, and author of many award-winning and best-selling books, including Meet Me in the Middle: Becoming an Accomplished Middle Level Teacher; Day One and Beyond; Fair Isn't Always Equal: Assessment and Grading in the Differentiated Classroom; Differentiation: From Planning to Practice, Grades 6-12; Summarization in any Subject; and Metaphors & Analogies: Power Tools for Teaching any Subject. His latest book, published by AMLE is The Collected Writings (so far) of Rick Wormeli. He is a seasoned veteran of many international webinars and trainings, and he is Disney's American Teacher Awards 1996 Outstanding English Teacher of the Nation. He won the 2008 James P. Garvin award from the New England League of Middle Schools for Teaching Excellence, Service, and Leadership, and he has been a consultant for National Public Radio, USA Today, Court TV, and the Smithsonian Institution's Natural Partners Program. Two of Rick's most popular books have been updated significantly and will be released in winter 2017.

Featured Sessions

Thursday - November 7, 2019
Physical Academia—This Joint is Jumpin'!
Strand - Characteristics of High Performing Middle Schools
There is nothing in our curriculum that is so abstract that we could not "physicalize" it. Students in middle and early high school need to move every 10 to 15 minutes to relieve bone growth plate stress. So, how do we enhance instruction by providing opportunities for physical movement in subjects not usually associated with such movement? Join us for a high-energy and active workshop in which we explore ways to incorporate physical movement into academia, and academia into movement. Skydiving optional!

Thursday - November 7, 2019
Reflective Coaching for All Teachers: Becoming Reflective Practitioners, Not Ego-Guardians
Strand - Characteristics of High Performing Middle Schools
When we critique and provide feedback to colleagues in such a manner that raises their defensive walls for self-preservation, there is little to be gained; the interaction is not constructive. The question, then, is how we turn such interactions with one another into analytical experiences that create thoughtful insights within the teacher instead of a sermon on teaching or a fight to justify one's actions. Let's empower ourselves by getting the skills and insights of reflective coaching into our daily repertoire. The ultimate goal here is our self-efficacy: We can self-monitor/analyze/reflect, revise practices based on those reflections, grow professionally, and ultimately, improve student learning in our classrooms. And even better, we can use those skills to build that self-efficacy in our students—yes, they translate! Students having reflective coaching teachers and teachers having reflective coaching colleagues are like all of us having an additional editor/muse/facilitator/encourager on board, an Obi-Wan Kenobi to our Padawan selves. This session provides dozens of practical tips for successful coaching interactions, and even more question/prompt stems to get teachers and students talking and analyzing, creating their own insights without feeling threatened. With reflective coaching, we learn to honor what the other person brings to the table, and learn to facilitate their discoveries, not telegraph our judgments. Such facilitated coaching allows us to take deeper dives into practice and develop tools of respectful discourse. Don't miss this chance to improve your practice and help colleagues and students do the same.

Friday - November 8, 2019
Building Teacher Capacity for Creativity
Strand - Characteristics of High Performing Middle Schools
Some teachers give up. The student doesn't do any homework, and there is no parent support. I can't teach this child! Translated, this teacher is declaring, "I've exhausted my imagination, and I need a new catalyst." Unfortunately, teachers often get survival-mode tunnel vision, and they do not recognize the positive solutions that surround them. Some teacher preparation programs do not teach their graduates how to think divergently about instruction, solve problems or build an intellectual versatility. In addition, teachers are often told what, when, and how to teach, and all professional creativity atrophies. Effective teachers, however, learn how to build their own creativity and generate diverse responses to students and their instruction, and students achieve as a result. Join us for a workshop that shows us how to build teachers' personal/professional creativity and emancipate instructional ideas tethered by conventional thinking. Instructional challenges are resolved, students achieve, and teachers are more engaged in classroom practice as a result. Special cameo appearances by innovation, divergent thinking, connective synergy, improvisation, and assorted strangeness.

Saturday - November 9, 2019
Leadership for Teacher Engagement and Cultural Shift in Schools
Strand - Characteristics of High Performing Middle Schools
Large ships are hard to turn, but there are strategies that definitely flip the rudder and maintain the new course. Want your school to move toward differentiated practices? Evidenced-based grading? Using Google Docs? Block-scheduling? Data-driven decision-making? A new literacy or math program? Think of the exciting new directions your school could pursue if only your staff shared your excitement! Unfortunately, new building and district initiatives can be dead on arrival if teachers are cynical, fearful, overworked, or suffering from low morale. Based on work with NASSP, ASCD affiliates, and in hundreds of school systems in the U.S. and around the world, this candid and compelling workshop provides new insights and dozens of practical strategies that help teachers and their leaders embrace new initiatives and changes in policy and practice, even if educators are hesitant or going into it "kicking and screaming." Join us for a candid and inspiring look at how to get an entire faculty to set sail for the new horizon ahead.