Friday General Session Keynote
8:45 am – 10:00 am

Shouting Won’t Grow Dendrites:  20 Techniques to Detour Around the Danger Zones
Marcia Tate, Award-Winning Educator, Author, Brain-Based Teaching Expert
Grades Pre-K-3

Have you ever noticed that the louder some teachers get when reprimanding students, the louder those students also become?  In this engaging keynote, you’ll learn techniques for managing an active, brain-compatible classroom without ever raising your voice.

Marcia will walk you through five techniques that proactive classroom managers use to avoid problems in the first place.  You’ll learn how to:

– Develop a relationship with each student;
– Create a physical classroom environment that is conducive to optimal learning;
– Deliver engaging lessons with the use of brain-compatible strategies;
– Develop a proactive management plan; and
– Tackle the most challenging 10% of students by using techniques which appear to work with such chronic behavior disorders as attention-deficit, conduct, or oppositional disorder.

You will also experience the bonus of learning how to create a home environment which minimizes stress and maximizes calm!

Friday Breakout Sessions, Round A
10:30 am – 11:45 am

1. “Preparing Your Child for Success in School and Life: 20 Ways to Increase Your Child’s Brain Power”
Marcia Tate, Brain-Compatible Teaching Expert, Educational Consultant, and Author
Grades Pre-K and K

Since the most rapid period of growth for brain cells is zero to four years of age, that would make a parent a child’s first and best teacher! Yet, there are few manuals that are given to parents to show them exactly how to perform this all-important job successfully. In this workshop, you will learn techniques which can help you get children off to a healthy start, build relationships with them throughout their lives, equip them with the necessary structure for healthy brain development, and assist them in increasing their academic achievement. Throughout the session, Marcia will model instructional strategies parents can use to address the visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic modalities of their children. Many parents have stated that this workshop and the accompanying book should be a required experience for everyone who calls themselves a parent.

3. “Spelling Stories: Helping Children Understand Spelling through Memorable Stories”
Jennifer Williams, Educational Consultant, Nixa School District
Grades K-3

Some students are good at spelling because they have great memories, but others struggle no matter what we try.  But never fear!  Enter Spelling Stories. These are stories Jennifer has created to help children understand the rules in a fun and memorable way. You’ll be amazed at just how logical English really is!  This methodology works well with all students, but particularly with those with learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

5. “Promoting Humanity in Next Generation Classrooms”
Sandra Hamar, Columbia College
Grades K-3

The next generation of young learners will fill our classrooms with strong opinions, various assumptions, and unlimited influences via multimodal formats. This is wonderful news for educators who understand the role education plays in social justice. In this session, you’ll learn activities, strategies, and tools you can use in your classroom to create a climate of kindness, while holding high academic standards. Plan to leave this session with ideas to implement immediately.

7. “Geometry: It’s About Ideas, Not Vocabulary”
Christopher Danielson, Math Expert, Author, and Educational Consultant
Grades 2-3

Children have lots of ideas about geometry. In this session, you’ll learn from math expert Christopher Danielson a way of tapping into those ideas to ask big, important questions that empower children as mathematicians. How is a diamond different from a rhombus? Are corners and vertices the same thing? Is a heart a shape? These are the kinds of questions you’ll explore through examples from the book Which One Doesn’t Belong? and you’ll practice making your own “Which one doesn’t belong?” prompts for starting rich mathematical conversations with learners of all ages.

2. “The Arts Turn STEM into STEAM”
Debbie Clement, Singer-Songwriter, Author, Educational Consultant
Grades Pre-K to 1

Use the ARTS to put the STEAM into your STEM explorations! Join nationally award-winning author/Illustrator Debbie Clement as she shares her uniquely-STEM driven songs and dances as a foundation for exploration of content. Come see how music and movement can add enthusiasm to a traditional STEM topic by infusing them with an Art-rich response! Sing your way into Science! Consider teaching the topic of life cycle and metamorphosis, through an original song designed to explain and engage your young scientists. See how Debbie adds puppetry and costumes within songs to heighten engagement with both excitement and anticipation. Explore her nonfiction book, Tall Giraffe, based on a song she recorded using authentic African drums and instantly transport your classroom to the native habitat of the giraffe. Music is also filled with oodles of math exploration possibilities. This workshop will include songs designed to emphasize sequencing, pattern recognition, and scaffolding through song lyrics and the beat. You will explore math through a “whole body approach” by incorporating choreography, movement, and dance.

4. “Reading is Thinking is Questioning is Comprehension”
Kathy Heitmeyer, Missouri Reading Initiative
Grades K-3

Have you ever wondered how to teach students to think more deeply when independently reading and/or listening to reading?  Come learn how to make a “reading salad,” Tanny McGregor’s way, then create an anchor chart to start students’ thinking. Once they have learned how to think, you can improve comprehension by teaching students about schema and the basic metacognitive comprehension strategies; making connections, visualizing, questioning, inferring, determining importance, and synthesizing. Kathy will briefly introduce each of these, then the focus will be on questioning. You will learn about the different types of questions and strategies to encourage students to not only think about reading, but also question what they are reading to enhance comprehension.

6. “Grand Conversations with Primary Kids”
Sarah Johnson, Mehlville School District
Grades 1-2

Oral language is the foundation for the complex literacy skills that are critical to success in today’s world. Sarah will share techniques that help young children develop the kind of talk that enables them to build thinking and comprehension skills using different types of texts. Sarah will share specific examples of how to select texts, model conversational skills, and encourage deeper discussion of texts using videos of first and second graders engaged in grand conversations.

Friday Breakout Sessions, Round B
12:40 pm – 1:55 pm

8. “None of These Belongs Because You Can’t Color Them In”
Christopher Danielson, Math Expert, Author, and Educational Consultant
Grades Pre-K and K

Young children can explore deep mathematical ideas so long as they can express these ideas in simple language, and so long as they have ways to explore these ideas. A spiral is different from a circle because you can’t color in a spiral (or can you?). In this session, you’ll use prompts from Christopher’s book Which One Doesn’t Belong? as launching points for mathematical inquiry that engages students’ minds, their words, and their bodies.

10. “Student Voice through Student Choice”
Debbie Clement, Singer-Songwriter, Author, Educational Consultant
Grades Pre-K to 3

This workshop explores three areas where “student choice” gives children an opportunity to express themselves freely and uniquely, empowering them to use and develop their potential. Debbie will begin with an exploration of classroom design through the lens of alternative and flexible seating. You will examine the role of the teacher in implementing choice by first giving students “permission” to explore the space shared together. Debbie will show slides of classrooms across the country designed to emphasize flexibility, cooperation, and movement. Time will be devoted to the consideration of management of such options, as well as the possibilities for funding of new furnishings. Next, Debbie will examine the topic of affirmation and how authentic art gives each student a voice. Debbie will share examples of open-ended and process art that students have created in response to illustrations in a picture book. The workshop will conclude with a look at Maker Spaces and how incorporating “loose parts” allows students to explore, design, tinker, and create with open-ended materials. Slides of both large communal, library-sized maker spaces as well as smaller invitations-to-invent will be included.

12. “Jack and Jill Went Up a Hill to Learn to Write: Using Text Structures from Nursery Rhymes”
Tamara Rhomberg, Webster University
Grades K-2

Based on the work of Bea Johnson, Tamara will briefly share research supporting the benefits of early writing experiences and how early writing leads to enhanced reading readiness and pre-reading skills as well as building creativity and  communication skills in young learners. Familiar nursery rhymes serve as a framework for writing lessons using their text structures. For each lesson, you will read a nursery rhyme, examine the text structure, review student samples, follow a four-step lesson plan, and experience writing stories of your own.  You will leave with a writing action plan using one of the nursery rhymes.

14. “Make Word Work Work for You”
Lindsey Mueller and Kerri Stith, Columbia Public Schools
Grades 1-3

Is your word work lacking zest and engagement?  Do your students moan when they hear it’s time to practice spelling or vocabulary?  Are you ready to bring the joy back to word work?  If the answer is, “Yes” to any of the above questions, this is the session for you.  Lindsey and Kerri will be sharing classroom-tested, engaging methods to liven up your word work time.  You will receive free resources, materials, and get to practice using word work tools that go beyond copying the words on paper.  The presenters will focus on creating practices and materials that you can easily take back to your classroom after the conference is over and use the very next day.

9. “Strong Bodies, Strong Minds”
Jennifer Williams, Educational Consultant, Nixa School District
Pre-K and K

Children are coming into our classrooms with more and more developmental needs (gross motor, visual tracking, sensory integration, attention), yet the curriculum requires more and more sitting. In this active session, Jennifer will provide you with lots of activities you can add to your day to help develop those skills so that children’s bodies will be ready for the rigors of today’s classrooms. Experience is the best teacher, so be ready to move those bodies!

11. “Summer Reading Program to Dig Students Out of the Reading Slump”
Jill Arnold and Julie Albee, Hannibal-LaGrange University
Grades Pre-K to 3

Do you want to know how to dig your students out of the summer reading slump?  Come to explore Jill and Julie’s Dig into Reading packets for kindergarten, first, and second grade students!  These packets were based on research (Allington et al., 2010) and developed by a team of elementary, Title I, and university reading teachers.  Join the presenters in experiencing the learning activities that will motivate students to read all summer long!  You will leave this session with a packet of research-based, copyright free, replicable resources to provide a foundation for your own summer materials to remediate or maintain your students’ reading progress. Also, the presenters will share their findings from this program’s complete implementation in a Missouri school district!

13. “Read and Play: Active Economic and Personal Finance Education Using Children’s Stories”
Barbara Flowers, Feberal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Grades 1-2

Count pennies into a jar, make play-dough cookies, play musical chairs, make a hat, travel the world and, all the while, teach economics and personal finance!  These and other fun activities are part of lessons related to children’s books such as Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday; Mr. Cookie Baker; Monster Musical ChairsHow to Make an Apple Pie and See the World, and many more. If you use a Smartboard in your classroom, you will also see the active boards that go with these lessons and are ready for download. Attend this session to get copies of these and other lessons–and maybe win a book or two!

Friday Breakout Sessions, Round C

2:15 pm – 3:30 pm

15. “Rap, Snap, and Clap: Get Your Brain on Tap”
Debbie Clement, Singer-Songwriter, Author, Educational Consultant
Grades Pre-K and K

Our brains are responsive when songs are designed around the beat! The songs selected for this workshop have the common denominator of a driving beat. It is the rhythm, rhyme, and meter within each song that gets the lyric to “snap” into one’s memory through repetition and anticipation. Debbie will begin by teaching you some of her simple rap songs that have no melody but emphasize the beat. You will then participate in songs where the beat is emphasized by moving about the room or crossing the midline with choreography in a predictable pattern. Get ready to move and groove with Debbie!

17. “Bias in Teaching and Learning: Keeping it REAL”
ClauDean Kizart, Educational Consultant, Education Plus
Grades Pre-K to 3

There are many elements that impact the teaching and learning environment. Our explicit and implicit biases often co-exist, at times unbeknownst to us. In this engaging workshop, Dr. ClauDean Kizart will facilitate activities and discussion to further understand how unconscious biases take root in our brains, affect both teachers and students, and are often embedded in our school communities. She will also share strategies aimed at ameliorating the effects of bias in our classrooms.

19. “Gifted Students? Great! Now What?: Teaching Gifted Students in the Traditional Classroom”
Melinda Hammerschmidt, Greenwood Laboratory School, Missouri State University
Grades K-2

Teaching gifted students in the traditional classroom setting can be a challenge for educators who have not been trained in the education of the gifted, and there’s often limited pre-service preparation and professional development in this area.  The grouping of students in the traditional classroom setting is based primarily on the age and grade level of the students, with little regard to their ability or academic achievement.  In this presentation, Melinda will provide you with ideas to use in your classroom that can benefit all your students.

21. “But What Am I Supposed to Count?”
Christopher Danielson, Math Expert, Author, and Educational Consultant
Grades 1-2

Sometimes a simple change can have a big impact on the mathematical opportunities for students. Leaving the units off of a counting prompt is one of these simple changes. In this session, you’ll use images from Christopher’s book How Many? to practice this protocol and find some surprising connections to place value, number structure, and algebra.

16. “Talk, Talk, Talk: Creating Invitations for Literacy, Language, and Play”
Paula Berry, Project Construct and Columbia Public Schools
Grades Pre-K and K

Developing language is not a taught skill in the early years, but an experience best cultivated by a shared love of good books, rich conversations, and opportunities to think deeply. Paula will share the current research on language development in young children. You will have the opportunity to review books rich in vocabulary and share strategies that extend children’s use of language. Using those books as a catalyst, you will then create invitations using loose parts to extend children’s thinking and the use of oral language.

18.”Promoting Young Children’s Social and Emotional Health through Picture Books”
Jessica Leonard, St. Louis University
Grades K-1

Teachers can promote children’s social and emotional health in many ways–for example, by organizing a material-rich environment to stimulate social interactions among children. Using story time is a benefit for those teachable moments. Read-alouds are the perfect tool for exploring social-emotional themes with your class. They’re not just for little kids, either; there are tons of gorgeous picture books with complex themes and vocabulary that older kids will love, too. In this presentation, Jessica will explore many books for teachers to use in their classrooms to promote positive social emotional health.

20. “Dyslexia: It’s Much More than Reversals”
Jennifer Williams, Educational Consultant, Nixa School District
Grades K-3

There’s a common myth that dyslexia is simply the reversal of letters, so it must be a vision problem. But research shows that dyslexia is actually a phonological and phonetic problem stemming from the language parts of the brain. If you’ve had students who struggle to learn letter names, sounds, rhyme, reading words, or spelling words, they may have dyslexia. We teachers need to know how to help these children, whether they’ve been diagnosed as dyslexic or not. In this session, Jennifer will help you identify some of the common characteristics of a dyslexic student and share ways that you can help them in the classroom. You will leave with specific ideas on how to help those struggling readers and writers in your class.

Missouri ILA Reception–Everyone Welcome!

3:45 pm – 4:30 pm

What could be better after a long day of learning than relaxing with some refreshments and networking with colleagues? Nothing, that’s what! So, before you head out for dinner on Friday night, we invite you to stop by the free reception hosted by leaders of Missouri’s state council of the International Literacy Association. Everyone’s invited.

NEW this year!  Friday Night Out: Missouri Early Learning at the Fox!

7:30 pm  (Separate Fee)

This year we’ve added a real treat to the schedule–our Friday Night Out excursion to the fabulous Fox Theater in St. Louis to see the Broadway hit, Aladdin!

From the producer of The Lion King comes the timeless story of Aladdin, a thrilling new production filled with unforgettable beauty, magic, comedy and breathtaking spectacle. It’s an extraordinary theatrical event where one lamp and three wishes make the possibilities infinite.

Hailed by USA Today as “Pure Genie-Us,” Aladdin features all your favorite songs from the film as well as new music written by Tony® and Academy Award® winner Alan Menken (Newsies) with lyrics penned by the legendary Howard Ashman (Beauty and the Beast), Tony Award winner Tim Rice (The Lion King, Aida), and book writer Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer).

Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon, Something Rotten!), this “Fabulous” and “Extravagant” (The New York Times) new musical boasts an incomparable design team, with sets, costumes and lighting from Tony Award winners Bob Crowley (Mary Poppins), Gregg Barnes (Kinky Boots), and Natasha Katz (An American in Paris).

Join our Missouri Early Learning seat block to see why audiences and critics agree, Aladdin is “Exactly What You Wish For!” (NBC-TV).  To be part of this great event, be sure to save your spot when you register.