Thursday General Session Keynote
7:45 am – 9:00 am

“Teach Like a PIRATE”
Dave Burgess, Award-Winning Teacher, Author, Engagement Expert
Grades Pre-K-3

Join New York Times best-selling author Dave Burgess for a high-energy, entertaining, and inspirational program that will transform the way you look at your role as an educator.  Learn how to dramatically increase student engagement, design wildly creative lessons, and build a course that is a life-changing experience for your students.

Using a unique combination of magic and humor, Dave will reignite your passion for the education profession and show you exactly how to make school an amazing place that has students wanting to knock down the walls to get in.

“Teach Like a PIRATE” has sparked a full-scale revolution in the educational world and has inspired teachers from all over the globe to achieve new levels of excellence in their schools and classrooms.  This program is your chance to experience the one-of-a-kind presentational style of unbelievable intensity and outrageous energy that has transfixed audiences at packed venues across the nation.

Thursday Breakout Sessions, Round A
9:20 am – 10:35 am

1. “Identifying and Creating Child Centered Environments”
Lisa Murphy (the “Ooey Gooey Lady”), Educational Consultant and Author
Grades Pre-K and K

In this workshop, Lisa will provide an in-depth exploration of the 9 points within the framework of her approach to working with children.  Via interactive lecture, true-to-life examples, anecdotes and her signature “learning and laughing” style, this workshop presents what it really means to be a hands-on, play-based, child-centered program.

3. “Providing Effective Differentiation: Keys to Growing Proficient, Motivated, Lifelong Readers”
Sam Bommarito, Missouri ILA
Grades Pre-K to 2

In this session, Sam will talk about what you can do to help younger children get off to a solid start in literacy.  Based on his 43 years of teaching experience at virtually all grade levels, K to graduate school, and his current work as a literacy volunteer, Dr. B will provide specific suggestions and resources for you to consider.  He argues that no single approach or reading strategy works best for every child every time.  Because of this, teachers must learn to differentiate.  Done well, differentiation helps all students proceed at their own best pace to become readers who read to remember, to enjoy, and to learn.  You will have the opportunity to read aloud/think aloud one of your favorite children’s books in a small group setting at the end of the session, so bring one of your favorites along with you!

5. “First Things First—Orality into Literacy: Making Sand Tray Stories”
Milbre Burch, Storyteller
Grades Pre-K to 3

Milbre Burch has been working as an artist in the schools since 1978.  From 1995-1998, she conducted an acclaimed three-year storytelling residency through the California Arts Council at Walden School, an independent school in Pasadena, CA.  Last spring, she returned to Walden School to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the residency’s beginnings.  Her work at Walden has been used as a national model at education conferences on both coasts.  Together with Walden school staff, Milbre pioneered the use of sand trays as a jumping-off place for oral story-making, oral storytelling, and story writing with children from Pre-K to sixth grade.  In recent years, she has conducted sand tray workshops for the students at Columbia Public School’s Center for Gifted Education and for pre-service teachers and students in Pre-K through fifth grade at the Children’s School at Stephens College.  In this hands-on 75-minute workshop, Milbre will introduce you to the use of sand trays as an oral literacy tool in the classroom.  You will walk away with ideas and skills for encouraging students of all ages to create, comprehend, and document their own story-making efforts in a classroom setting.

7. “Flipping Your Early Childhood Classroom”
Jill Arnold and Kayla McBride, Hannibal-LaGrange University
Grades Pre-K to 3

Have you heard of flipping the classroom, but thought it was just for upper elementary and beyond?  Are you ready to change your early childhood literacy classroom?  If you are, join Jill and Kayla for a fun and interactive session on flipping your classroom.  In this session, the presenters will not only show you the why for flipping your classroom, but also the how!  You will also explore challenges that might occur and how to combat them in your children and families.  At the end of this hands-on session, you will leave with apps, electronic resources, and ideas to flip your classroom!

9. “Early Learning 2.0”
Anna Van Delft, Knox County R-1 School District
Grades K-3

Technology has transformed our world.  Unlike us, our children are digital natives.  They enter school with a wide range of technology skills, from swiping the phone to sending digital images.  Closing the gap between children who have access to technology at home and those who do not is paramount.  Thus, integrating technology into the elementary classroom to teach basic skills has never been more important.  In this presentation, Anna will focus on embedding technology (including both Apple and Google software) into classroom instruction that meets the Missouri Learning Standards, and you will learn how to use current apps that engage early learners.

2. “Positive Guidance: The Basics”
Amanda Morgan, Early Childhood Expert, Educational Consultant
Pre-K and K

Real discipline isn’t about gimmicks or short-term ploys.  It’s about building healthy relationships and internal controls, and having tools that work.  This session covers important guiding principles that make positive guidance effective, plus several of the most effective tools to put to work in your classroom immediately.  Learn how to turn power struggles into win-win situations, coach social learning, and set children up with the social skills they need to succeed.

4. “Teaching Outside the Box: A Crash Course in Creativity”
Dave Burgess, Award-Winning Teacher, Author, Engagement Expert
Grades Pre-K to 3

In this fast-paced and fun session designed to teach techniques to skyrocket creativity, you will learn how to use your brain like Google, create a GPS system for powerful teaching, and magically create new ideas through Creative Alchemy.  In addition, you will learn how to overcome obstacles that stifle creativity by using the Wedding Photographer Principle.  You’ll leave truly believing you are a creative being and inspired to add memorable experiences for your students through your lesson plans.

6. “Inside the ADHD Mind: Where it Wanders, Why it Wanders, and How to Help It, Along with the Rest of the Classroom, to Flourish”
Jeff Nathan, Children’s Author and Poet
Grades Pre-K to 3

In this session, award-winning children’s author and poet, Jeff Nathan, provides unique ADHD insight, delving into why the inattentive mind wanders (and to where) and shares specific ideas to aid you in helping your ADHD (and non-ADHD) students absorb more information.  You will learn strategies to hold the attention of your ADHD students, as well as to help them learn to love reading.  You’ll walk away with a better understanding of why “ADD” is such a misnomer, and you’ll take away specific ideas to maximize learning and make your classroom a more fun and educational place for all.

8. “A Fun Fluency Intervention That Works Better and Faster Than Other Fluency Programs (Because It’s So Much Fun!)”
Bruce Lansky, Children’s Author and Poet
Grades K-3

It isn’t much fun to be a struggling reader in many remedial reading programs.  It can be embarrassing to be scrutinized as you struggle with a reading passage that is of little or no interest.  Children’s author and poet Bruce Lansky has teamed up with reading specialist Amy Buswell to create an entertaining remediation program that offers 35 humorous poems that come with performance tips that make practicing the poems more fun than recess!  Buswell’s customized reading lessons and practice procedures for each poem produce what fluency guru Tim Rasinski calls “remarkable” fluency gains: 4.6 average words correct per minute, per week. Bruce will explain the concept and method, demonstrate some of the performance tips, and give brave teachers a chance to perform some of the poems, too!

10. “Vocabulary Development: Beyond Word Lists”
Tamara Rhomberg, Literacy Expert, Missouri ILA
Grades 2-3

Did you know that a child’s vocabulary development can be directly linked to academic achievement?  Research tells us that it is not the quantity of words covered, but rather which words are taught that make the greatest difference in student achievement.  In this session, Tamara shares five effective strategies for teaching, applying, and extending student vocabulary that go beyond the traditional word list.

Thursday Author’s Luncheon, Round B
10:55 am – 12:10 pm (Separate Fee, Includes Meal and Speaker)

Available for those eating on the 2nd lunch shift

11. “Poetry Not Only Improves Students’ Fluency; It also Improves Students’ Active-Listening Skills”
Bruce Lansky, Children’s Author and Poet
Grades Pre-K-3

In this lively, interactive Author’s Luncheon session, best-selling children’s author Bruce Lansky will show you how you can engage both your struggling readers and your strong readers, teach them active listening skills, and build a love for poetry, all at once!  Bruce will perform poems with you, modeling the process he uses with kids. You will get at least 5 to 10 ideas that you can use in your classroom the very next day—and you’ll have a great time in the process!

Other Thursday Breakout Sessions, Round B, for 2nd Lunch Shift Attendees
10:55 am – 12:10 pm

12. “Ooey Gooey® Squishy Plop!: Sensory Play for Every Day!”
Lisa Murphy (the “Ooey Gooey Lady”), Educational Consultant and Author
Grades Pre-K and K

In addition to being a dynamic presentation in Lisa’s signature high-energy style, this one-of-a-kind workshop will supply you with six tables of hands-on art, science, and sensory play activity ideas as well as the “wolf words” that support their use in your classroom!  You will be invited to come up on stage and play with the experiences at the end of the demonstration.

14. “Oh, the Places Your Students Will Go When You Implement Engagement Strategies!”
Tracy Kerth and Andrea Young, Blue Valley School District
Grades K-3

Are you looking for ways to increase student achievement and motivation?  Is there a spirit of cooperation and accountability in your classroom, or are your students (and you) just surviving until the last school bell rings to go home?  Are you searching for strategies to make learning more fun and interactive?  If so, this is the workshop for you!  According to Meyers and Jones (1993), active learning involves providing opportunities for students to meaningfully talk and listen, write, read, and reflect on content, ideas, issues, and concerns.  You will leave this session with a plethora of strategies for engaging all students and for bringing the fun of learning back into your classroom.  You will learn the keys to successful cooperative learning, as well as methods for active, effective management.  You will be up, moving, and practicing these engagement strategies, so wear your sneakers!

13. “Improving Behavior Through Children’s Literature: The Best Way to get Parents ‘On the Same Page'”
Jeff Nathan, Children’s Author and Poet
Grades Pre-K to 1

When it comes to behavior issues, teachers know that a parent-teacher coordinated front is much better for the child, and it ameliorates those problems in the home as well as in the classroom.  How can we get parents on the same page with us?  It turns out that the simplicity of children’s literature can be used in a directed fashion to train the parents as well as the child and relieve the teacher’s burden tremendously.  The benefits don’t stop there, though.  The parent is given help in behavior management, and the child is led down the path to literacy in addition to better behavior.   In this fun and enlightening session, Jeff (an admitted “former trouble maker”) will share a straightforward process for getting parents on board with the right tools.

15. “Daily 5 Comes Alive!
Kerri Stith and Lindsey Mueller, Columbia Public Schools
Grades 1-3

Incorporating the Daily 5 (work on writing, listen to reading, read to self, read with a partner, and word work) may seem like a daunting task when first introducing the model to your students; however, the student ownership and independence gained are well worth it.  Kerri and Lindsey will help you develop a tool box of classroom-tested, engaging activities to push earlier readers and writers towards independence.  This newly developed independence will allow you to instruct small group lessons without interruption.  They will also show you how to incorporate technology such as QR codes and web-based resources into each of the Daily 5 components, while also providing tips for troubleshooting challenges that may occur.  You will receive materials to help you jump start your own Daily 5 work stations, such as games, task cards, QR codes, writing prompts, and more.

Thursday Breakout Sessions, Round B, for 1st Lunch Shift Attendees

12:30 pm – 1:45 pm

16. “Developmentally Appropriate Practice, and Why We Don’t Push Kids Down the Stairs”
Amanda Morgan, Early Childhood Expert, Educational Consultant
Grades Pre-K and K

Based on a popular series of posts by the same name, this presentation identifies societal trends that push curriculum and expectations further and further down to our youngest children.  Rooted in the belief that these changes have been made with the best of intentions, but not the best information, this presentation works to lay out the facts of how children are meant to learn and why respecting the process of development is always appropriate.  You will walk away with refocused purpose, confidence, and reassurance, as well as resources for defending your practice in the face of enormous social pressure to push our youngest learners in unhealthy and unproductive ways.

18. “STEM and Stories: Project-Based Units for Kindergarten Using Literature”
Rachel Johnson, Vienna Elementary School
Grades K-1

Want to have engaging units that cover your standards, but also challenge students and help them develop the skills to be a 21st century learner?  Then this session is for you!  Using the research of Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins and their work on backwards design and understanding-based curriculum, Rachel will show how kindergartners can complete project-based units based around literature that teachers use daily.  You will leave with sample plans for project-based units that Rachel has completed in her own class and numerous ideas for how you can create and develop your own project-based units to fit your classroom needs.

20. “Plant Science Literacy!  Unique Lessons for Integrating Reading, Writing, Journaling, and Art with Plant Science”
Claudia McVicker, William Jewell College
Grades 1-3

The recursive nature of science and literacy overlap and enable cross-curricular learning.  In this session, you will receive journals and create Science Responses.  You will create cover art in the collage tradition of Eric Carle using hand-painted paper.  Four different journal projects will be created within distinct science lessons that include reading nonfiction picture books and writing for information: “What Plants Need,” “Aquaponics for Kids,” “Plant Part Foldable,” and “What’s Inside a Seed?”  You will leave with your journal and “Plant Science Literacy” booklet of other lessons, art projects, and journaling foldables, flaps, and prompts.

17. “Using Magic to Teach and Amaze”
Dave Burgess, Master Teacher, Author, Engagement Expert
Grades Pre-K to 3

In this fun, hands-on instructional workshop, Dave will teach you how to incorporate magic and other amazing principles into your lessons.  Effects will be performed, modeled, and taught by the instructor, who, in addition to being an award-winning teacher, is also a professional magician.  You will leave ready to perform several magical effects and brimming with ideas about how to discover similar ways to hook and engage students.  This session will empower you to embrace your personal passions and use them to create powerful learning experiences.

19. “Reading Strategies for Goal-Directed Instruction”   SKYPE SESSION!
Jennifer Serravallo, Author and Educational Consultant
Grades K-3

As students work toward reading goals, they can benefit from strategy instruction that helps to unpack and break down the invisible, automatic work of reading into series of actionable steps.  In this Skype session, you’ll learn about the importance of focusing your differentiated instruction in individual goals based on formative assessment information.  Then, you’ll learn how to craft your own strategies and prompts to support readers’ ongoing practice.  Jen, the author of a dozen books on the teaching of reading and writing, will also explain how to know when to teach which strategies to whom, how strategies align to levels of complexity, and how to tier practice of strategies over time to support readers toward skilled practice.

Thursday Breakout Sessions, Round C
2:05 pm – 3:20 pm

21. “Making Time for Books and Stories: Creating a Circle Time Sandwich”
Lisa Murphy (the “Ooey Gooey Lady”), Educational Consultant and Author

This is not another “things to do at circle time” workshop.  Actually, this session will question why we are doing circle time in the first place.  Lisa asks a very direct question: “Why do we interrupt engaged children to come to a meeting?”  And if we are going to bring them to the carpet for a meeting, it better be a darn good meeting!  Using a “circle time sandwich” metaphor, Lisa offers suggestions for how to create a meaningful gathering time while reinforcing the importance of authentic enthusiasm on the part of the teacher!  Lisa will read a few books, sing some songs, recite some rhymes, and will conclude by reading stories written both by and for children.

23. “Hands-On Math for Minds-On Learning”
Shelli Lee, Project Construct Facilitator
Grades Pre-K and K

Looking for other ways than worksheets or paper/pencil tasks to address early math standards?  Come explore a variety of math games and other math activities that will engage your students’ minds and bodies.  Shelli will also offer a make-and-take activity that you can implement Monday morning!

25. “Inside the ADHD Mind: Where it Wanders, Why it Wanders, and How to Help It, Along with the Rest of the Classroom, to Flourish”   REPEAT of Session #6
Jeff Nathan, Children’s Author and Poet
Grades Pre-K to 3

In this session, award-winning children’s author and poet, Jeff Nathan, provides unique ADHD insight, delving into why the inattentive mind wanders (and to where) and shares specific ideas to aid you in helping your ADHD (and non-ADHD) students absorb more information.  You will learn strategies to hold the attention of your ADHD students, as well as to help them learn to love reading.  You’ll walk away with a better understanding of why “ADD” is such a misnomer, and you’ll take away specific ideas to maximize learning and make your classroom a more fun and educational place for all.

27. “Principles of Fearless Leadership”  EXHIBITOR SESSION
Joseph Gulino, Gulino Group
For K teachers, anyone in a leadership position, or anyone who collaborates with others 

The points Joseph, a long-time, highly-successful administrator, presents in this session are based on the reality that everyone is a leader at some time in his or her career.  A leader can be anyone who has goals to accomplish and who works with others.  A leader is NOT just a person with a title.  If we expect our students/children to grow up to be the movers and shakers of the future, we need to introduce them to and help them develop solid leadership skills.  In order to do this, we need to be exposed to, know, and understand these skills ourselves.  In this interactive presentation, you will be asked to share your wisdom, experiences, and personal or organizational successes.

29. “Flex Your Body, Flex Your Brain: How to Use Flexible Seating in the Classroom to Increase Student Learning!”
Katie Ritter and Stephanie Green, Warrensburg R-6 School District
Grades K-3

Are you tired of having wiggly students all day?  Are you constantly telling students to “sit down” or “quit moving”?  Then flexible seating is for you!  In this presentation, Katie and Stephanie will demonstrate the benefits of flexible seating, as well as how to get started with flexible seating in your classroom.  You will hear from students who have experienced flexible seating and the ways it has helped them in the classroom.  You will also be able to see flexible seating in action and learn some great ways to add choice, movement, and flexibility to your classroom.  Get ready to solve your wiggly-student woes!

22. “Not Just Cute: Teaching with Intention”
Amanda Morgan, Early Childhood Expert, Educational Consultant
Grades Pre-K and K

There is no shortage of good ideas in this Pinterest-driven world, but what we may lack is purpose.  In this workshop, you will learn how (and why!) to teach with intention by learning the Recognize-Emphasize-Maximize method.  You will become experts on developmental outcomes, the power of play, and how to support meaningful play-based learning.  Amanda will talk with you about why play objectives and learning objectives are not mutually exclusive and how we can teach children the way they were meant to learn.  This session will help you understand that adding awareness and intention doesn’t have to mean adding more work.  We can help parents and teachers to stop spinning their wheels, feeling overwhelmed, and going through the motions, and instead make intentional choices that lead to real outcomes.  You will learn how to avoid “Intention Deficit Disorder” and learn to plan, prepare, and respond in a way that will promote meaningful, powerful, and playful learning experiences for the children you teach.

24. “Poetry Lessons for Early Elementary Teachers”
Bruce Lansky, Children’s Author and Poet
Grades Pre-K to 3

In this session, children’s poet Bruce Lansky will show you how to discover the rhythm and rhyme patterns of classic nursery rhymes, which will enable you to write poems like: “Mary Had a Little Pet,” “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Bat,” “Three Kind Mice,” and “There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Zoo,” plus endless versions of “Yankee Doodle,” “Row, Row Row,” and “Roses are Red,”  You will enjoy learning how to discover the rhythm and rhyme patterns of classical nursery rhymes and how to write your own humorous new versions that will appeal to students in grades K-3.  If you’re among the 750,000 people who have read Bruce’s classic collections of silly rhymes: Mary Had a Little Jam and Peter, Peter Pizza Eater, come to this session and you’ll learn how you and your students can get in on all the creative fun!

26. “Transforming RTI and ESL for All Learners Starting in Kindergarten”
Kathryn Giovanini, Kristine Shuey, and Marcy Schumacher, Park Hill School District


Are some students coming to you in kindergarten as readers, while others are coming as non-readers, or even as those who don’t recognize letters or sounds?  In this workshop, Kathryn, Kristine, and Marcy will take you through the step-by-step processes they use to identify the levels of all learners (in any grade level) and how to meet their needs  to be successful.  Their model has helped them to expedite the support students receive and quickly close the learning gap.  You will get specific ideas to take back to your school that will make a difference for your students!

28. “Welcome to the Tea Party: The Latest in Appropriate Screen Time”
Jessica Leonard, St. Louis University
Grades K-2

Looking for the latest in appropriate uses of technology?  Have you asked yourself, “Is this app developmentally appropriate for my class?” or “Where can I find a really good app?” or “How can I use technology with play?”  In this session, Jessica will show you how to identify developmentally appropriate apps for your classroom.  You will learn four main uses of screen time, and Jessica will give you guidance and share tips about who to follow on social media.  She will also address the use of passive screen time.  Come and enjoy a fun and interactive Tea Party!

30. “Not Your Mama’s Science: Teaching Science the Quirkles and Fuddlebrook Way!”  EXHIBITOR SESSION
Terri Johnson, Co-Creator of the Quirkles and Fuddlebrook Science Series, Creative3, LLC Publishing Company
Grades K-3

Do you want kids to look forward to science time each day?  Do you want to be the kind of teacher every child would love to have?  It’s easy!  Be the teacher students will always remember with science that combines literacy and hands-on activities that are linked to state and NGSS standards.  The developers of the Quirkles and Fuddlebrook books not only want science to be super fun, messy, and hands-on, but also relevant.  Be more than just a show.  Young learners love stories and love to explore…so do both.  Link science to a fun, engaging story that’s sure to capture a student’s attention.  Come prepared to fry eggs, create balloon rockets, discover some gravity mysteries, and learn how easy integrating science and literacy can be!

NEW this year!  Thursday Evening Concert
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm (Separate Fee)

Jack Hartmann, Singer-Songwriter, Educational Consultant

This year we’ve added a real treat to the schedule–our Thursday Evening Concert.  What better way to unwind and enjoy yourself after a long day of learning than to hear a little bit of great music?  Award-winning children’s singer-songwriter Jack Hartmann will have you movin’ and groovin’ and having a good ole’ time.  If your family is attending the conference with you, bring them along!  Attendees’ spouses and preschool through third grade children attend free with your single paid admission.