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The Connected Classroom

Information On and From EducationPlus' LearningLab

EducationPlus’ Best Practices Conference returns this November. This is an exciting day of collaborative learning designed specifically for elective and exploratory teachers in grades 6-12. Participants will be able to choose from 20+ specialized break-out sessions created by local and regional area instructional leaders to foster innovation. Educators will also participate in teacher’s choice sessions designed by participants, for participants, where they will connect with thought-leaders, collaborate around topics of interest, explore best practices in your content and enhance classroom experiences. Specific content areas of discussion include classroom practices in fine and performing arts, CTE (FACS, engineering, industrial technology, business), health/PE plus world languages. Registration is open now for the November 6th conference at Ft. Zumwalt North High School.

Best Practices Collage

Best Practices Conference 2015: EnrichEd Learning for Elective and Exploratory Teachers. Learn more by clicking here.

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Jason Waltz

Follow Jason on Twitter at @edjawz.

We’re excited to share our MIDWEST SPOTLIGHT EDUCATOR bios on The Connected Classroom! These K-12 educators demonstrate motivation, engagement, transformation and connection while using technology to improve teaching and learning. They will share their best practices at the MIDWEST EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY COMMUNITY CONFERENCE in February. This year, we have educators from across the state of Missouri presenting. The METC 2016 MIDWEST SPOTLIGHT EDUCATORS were selected by the METC Conference committee.

Jason Waltz is zealous about learning. During his career, he has sought to infuse technology so thouroughly that it becomes as “cool” as paper and pencil. After graduating from University of Missouri-Kansas City, Jason taught K-5 within the Raymore-Peculiar School District. He continues to serve Ray-Pec as the instructional technology specialist. He is completing his Masters at University of Central Missouri.
 Jason’s passion to help others develop their own passions has led him to many opportunities. He has presented at various conferences and seminars. He also enjoys facilitating edCamp style professional development; Jason established an after-school gathering of teachers sharing best practices which grew to include educators from surrounding districts. He contributes to local, regional and worldwide cadres of teachers seeking to enhance their practice and uses social media to engage with his professional learning network.

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Patricia Brown

Follow Patricia on Twitter at @msEdtechie.

We’re excited to start sharing our Midwest Spotlight Educator bios on The Connected Classroom! These K-12 educators demonstrate motivation, engagement, transformation and connection while using technology to improve teaching and learning. They will share their best practices at the Midwest Education Technology Community Conference in February. This year, we have educators from across the state of Missouri presenting. The METC 2016 Midwest Spotlight Educators were selected by the METC Conference committee.

Patricia J. Brown has over 15 years experience in K-12 and higher education and is a technology Integration coach for Ladue School District in St. Louis, Missouri.  As an technology integration specialist, she breaks down traditional classroom walls by creating a culture that fosters collaboration, creativity, communication and authentic learning. She is an award winning educator, blogger, and presenter, and was recently selected as a 2015 PBS Lead Learning Media Digital Innovator. Patricia is a Google Certified Trainer, Common Sense & Graphite Certified, Discovery Education DEN Star, Edmodo Ambassador and a columnist for Edsurge. In 2006, she was honored as Teacher of The Year. She is passionate about being a connected educator, and empowering teachers and students. She believes preparing teachers will ultimately prepare students to compete in our global society through digital age teaching and learning.

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Are you an educator with science in your curriculum? You’ll want to learn about our upcoming professional development series, open to educators from all grade levels. During our four-day series starting in October, experts will introduce you to the new science standards and explain how they have been designed and organized across disciplines and grades to provide all students an internationally bench marked science education. A key focus of the seminar will be on instructional shifts in relation to the new standards, as well as an increased understanding of the scientific and engineering practices and their impact in the classroom.

What are the new science standards and how do they impact teaching and learning?

After we introduce the Next Generation Science Standards, we will deepen our understanding and learning with focused modules on creating an effective science environment, conceptual understanding and science unit design, science literacy, plus more.

Session dates are October 15, December 14, January 21 and February 22. To learn more, visit our website.

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educators at csd (EdPlus) Educators just like you are doing amazing things through online and blended learning opportunities, providing students experiences that are far beyond what’s possible in the traditional classroom.  As educators, we must prepare students to live in a world without physical boundaries and help students learn how to work with others, virtually or otherwise. You are invited to participate in a multi-session academy that explores the facets of online teaching and learning. Learn more …

LMS canva

The annual EducationPlus LMS Academy focuses on the changing role of the Library Media Specialist in K-12 education. This six-session long learning opportunity will assist LMS personnel in teaching and connecting the standards of AASL, ISTE and the NETS along with the Missouri Learning Standards.

Registration is now open for all library media specialists and those interested in media literacy in K-12 education who wish to grow their professional learning network. One session of the academy is a day at the Midwest Education Technology Community Conference, which has sessions dedicated to LMS and media literacy. Educators will examine problem based activities and lessons pertaining to web and media literacy, plus explore digital citizenship and literacy curriculum resources. Best practices in copyright and fair use are important aspects to the academy discussion.

All sessions take place on Wednesdays, from 4-7 pm at EdPlus (except for the full-day at METC).

2015 dates: October 7, November 4, December 2
2016 dates: January 6, February 10 (METC @ St. Charles Convention Center), March 2

Learn more and register here.

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STL RPDC 2015 Logo UpdateBlog post by Marlow Barton,
MELL Instructional Specialist

Does the state of Missouri strike you as “global” or “international”? If not, it may surprise you to learn that one of the fastest growing populations in Missouri public schools in grades K-12 is English Language Learners (ELLs). Kansas City houses the largest concentration of ELLs with nearly 12,000 ELLs in their school systems, St. Louis comes in second with nearly 10,000 and the Springfield and surrounding southwest region is third with nearly 6,000.

The top five languages spoken in these homes are Spanish-Castilian, Bosnian, Vietnamese, Arabic and Somali.

According to the Department of Education, during the 2012-2013 school year, the ELL population grew by 259% while the native English speaking population slightly declined. Last year alone, nearly 28,000 ELLs across the state of Missouri were tested for English Language Proficiency and the majority of these students are primarily in grades K-3.

How can Missouri schools best serve this growing population? The answer is constantly evolving. When a student enrolls in a Missouri public school they are given a “Home Language Survey”. If the family indicates that a language other than English is spoken in the home, the student is given a language proficiency screener. The scores from this screener determine if the student will receive direct English language instruction services. If so, the student begins ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) services with a certified ESOL teacher.

A common question about teaching ELLs is “Do the teachers know all the languages of their students?” The answer is no. Thankfully, there are many methods for teachers to use without speaking the exact language of their students. ESOL programs and instruction differ across the state. Some districts pull ELLs out of the regular classroom for individualized instruction while other districts employ a “push-in” program bringing the ESOL teacher into the regular classroom. Other districts combine these methods. Co-teaching with an ELL teacher and general education teacher working together to provide comprehensible input is common while some use the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP). Interactive learning strategies, such as Kagan for ELLs, are helping to boost academic achievement as well.

Missouri is also a part of the WIDA (World Class Instruction and Design) Consortium which provides many tools to help teachers who instruct ELLs. One tool is called the “Can Do” Descriptors. This chart provides a “snapshot” of what a student can do at their current proficiency level and then the teacher can get an idea of how to take them up to the next level.

The ELL students in Missouri have many linguistic/cognitive and social/economic advantages over monolingual students because they are “bi-cultural and bi-literate” (Gusman, 2015) and they add a “cultural richness” to the classroom learning environment (Cole, 2014).

To learn more about ELL programs in the St. Louis area,
contact Marlow Barton at EducationPlus.

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