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The Connected Classroom

Information On and From EducationPlus' LearningLab

Category Archives: Collaborations

Nick Cusumano and Laura Gilchrist are co-teaching a two-day #METCpd workshop this week at EducationPlus called Building Literacy Skills Through Digital Content Creation as part of our Summer of Innovation! Participants took a break from the conference room to step outside on a photowalk this morning! Laura even pulled out her selfie stick! These two fantastic instructors are tweeters, so follow them for great ideas, best practices and favorite resources!

photowalkFind Laura on Twitter at @lauragilchrist4 and Nick at @edtech4theatre.

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principal pln imageAre you a principal? Who knows the challenges you face better than those who share your vision, determined mindset and quest for student and staff growth? Join us at our St. Louis/St. Charles regional professional learning network (PLN) meet up as we share conversations about the latest changes in the field and how others are implementing good practice across our counties. Topics covered will directly relate to area principals’ needs and interests. You don’t have to be an island— find out the difference a PLN can make to your good work! It might just be that boost that you’ve been looking for. Upcoming dates, times and locations include:

  • June 10  at  North Kirkwood Middle School for Middle School Principals | 8-9:30 a.m. | RSVP
  • August 26  at  EducationPlus (Craig Road) for High School Principals | 7:30-9:30 a.m. | RSVP
  • September 14  at  EducationPlus (Woodson Road) for Elementary School Principals* | 4:30 -6 p.m. | RSVP

Future elementary sessions* have already been scheduled, with November 9, January 11, March 7 and April 11 set. During the first middle and high school meetings, topics and new meeting dates will be discussed.

For questions regarding the principals’ PLNs, please contact Dr. Julie Sperry, director of leadership development at EducationPlus.

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googlemaniaThe Connected Classroom is the EducationPlus LearningLab blog. Here are the top five most visited posts for the past month– did you contribute to the clicks?

(1)  Google Mania Takes Over in July  read it here
(2)  To Thine Own Self Be True: Character Education with Shakespeare  read it here
(3)  St. Louis Summer 2015 Reading Clubs  read it here
(4)  Project Based Learning & 21st Century Skills with LEGO  read it here
(5)  Using Sensory Integration Strategies to Help Students Focus  read it here

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Blog post by Marlow Barton, MELL Instructional Specialist

St. Louis provides many opportunities to explore the different cultures of our students this summer!

blog post byOn a recent visit to the Missouri Botanical Garden, I noticed large, colorful and interesting lanterns being placed all over the garden for the upcoming Chinese Lantern Festival. I began to reflect upon the Chinese speaking ELL children I had in my classes when I taught English to children in various districts around St. Louis and how much I enjoyed having them as students. I loved learning about their families and cultural backgrounds.

As I reflected, I started to wonder what the Chinese population is in St. Louis as I have noticed many activities this summer about Chinese culture. According to the Chinese Culture and Education Foundation, “various unofficial estimates show the figure from 15,000 to 20,000, among which a predominant majority reside in suburban communities and constitutes one percent of the total suburban population of St. Louis.”

In addition to the Chinese Lantern Festival, the Magic House is sponsoring Children’s China: Celebrating Culture, Character and Confucious. Can’t get enough of Chinese culture? Check out the Dragon Boat Races at Creve Coeur Lake!

International Institute | Wayne Crosslin

photo courtesy of the International Institute, Wayne Crosslin

If you are teaching summer school, or tutoring this summer, make sure to check out a cultural artifacts kit from the Office of International Studies at UMSL ( UMSL has kits from many countries, including one from China.

Want to experience other cultures? Try the Festival of Nations from the International Institute of Saint Louis or the Japanese Art Exhibit at the Saint Louis Art Museum called Creatures Great and Small.

All of this got me thinking it would be fun to try to experience something from each of the countries where my students and their families originated. So don’t sit around inside all summer- take a trip around the world right here in our own city!

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Several instructors from this summer’s line up of edtech programming met today to share and collaborate. We’re really excited to have such a dynamic, diverse group of educators available to share their best practices within their professional learning network. Sessions include working in Google, coding in the classroom, downloading the right apps for your students and digital literacy. To learn more about what is being offered, or to register, visit

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Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis‘ Director of Community Engagement & Education, Jennifer Wintzer, will share at the CharacterPlus National Conference how Shakespeare’s characters have grit. Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ educational touring ensemble hits the road each school year with 50-minute adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays, companion resource guides and supplemental workshops for students grades K-12. Explore the festival’s theatrical approach to character education with this exciting breakout session. Using key principles of character education, she will guide participants through hands-on, experiential activities to explore the moral dilemmas of some of the Bard’s most famous (and infamous) characters. You will enhance content knowledge and will learn theatre activities that support student understanding of ethical and civic values such as respect, trustworthiness, caring and fairness within the context of Shakespeare’s plays.

SFSTL logo transparent flushJennifer’s presentation at the conference takes place just after this season’s production of Antony and Cleopatra closes (running May 22- June 14 in Forest Park). Admission to all performances is free, and this year marks the 15th anniversary of plays in the park.

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Graduation for All! According to current estimates, more than a quarter of all students do not graduate from high school on time. Getting and keeping all students engaged in learning and on track to graduate from high school and ready for post- secondary education and the 21st century work place is going to require wider, deeper and more systemic change. This two-day symposium with Chris Holmes (July 8) and Sandra Covington Smith (July 9) will provide strategies and resources to assist schools and communities with identifying students at risk of dropping out and provide the supports necessary to keep them on track to graduation.

About the keynotes: 
Chris Holmes has been the journalism teacher at Hazelwood West High School in suburban St. Louis County for nine years. During his tenure, he helped create West Writers Week, an annual five-day celebration of writing during which professional authors, journalists, poets and song writers share their experience; he led a group of student journalists to the U.S.-Mexico border to study immigration reform; he helped develop Project WALK, a nationally recognized dropout prevention program and in 2015, he was named Missouri State Teacher of the Year. But nothing has impacted him more – as a teacher, a father and a person – than his kids in the dropout prevention program.

Dr. Sandra Covington Smith holds a Ph.D. in Special Education with an emphasis in behavior disorders from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Dr. Smith develops curriculum to be used by state education agencies, policymakers, local education agencies and parents. She coordinates and provides training and technical assistance to state education agencies to grad 4 alldevelop effective dropout prevention programs and interventions based on assessment of recipient needs.

For more information, including registration, click here.

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