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The Connected Classroom

Information On and From EducationPlus' LearningLab

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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blog post byStarting this summer, we will be sharing blog posts from staff who working as part of the LearningLab as well as the St. Louis Regional Professional Development Center. (Want to know more? Visit the “About” section at the top of the blog!) Look for information on upcoming programs, resources they’d like to share and much more!

Up first, Marlow Barton and Julie Sperry write about an upcoming symposium – click on the links for further details:

Happy almost summer! We are looking forward to seeing you in June as we focus on diversity together. We are excited about the many learning opportunities that will be waiting for you during the St. Louis Summer Symposium: Focus on Diversity.  On the first day, is Jo Gusman presenting “State Standards and The Diverse Learner” and day two is Beyond Core Expectations: A School-Wide Framework for Serving the Not-So-Common-Learner with Dr. Maria Dove and Dr. Andrea Honigsfeld. On the third day, we have Theresa Roberts from California State University presenting on literacy for pre-K-2 diverse learners as well as many breakout sessions on topics such as SPED & ELL, DRDP, WIDA standards, family engagement, legal responsibilities and culturally and linguistically responsive instruction. Can’t wait to see you there!

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The last couple of years, we’ve shared area summer reading clubs from local libraries. Here are a few for this year to consider- each is set up a little differently- some have already started!

kid readingSt. Louis Public Library | May 4 – July 25. Join Every Hero Has a Story, the St. Louis Public Library’s reading club. There are two categories, for babies through elementary school, and middle through high school. The rules are simple:

• Turn in a Summer Reading Club Reading Record at any St. Louis Public Library between May 4 and July 25.
• Keep track of the library books and/or magazines you read or listen to (eBooks & audio books count too!).
• Each time you complete five books, win a small prize, and keep reading. Prizes available May 11.  Age-appropriate prizes are available for babies and toddlers.

St. Charles City-County Library District | June 1 – August 1. Teens “15 hours of reading completes the program to receive a book and entry into the grand prize drawing. Read 60 more hours to receive a bonus prize and enter the drawing again! Win ca$h in the grand prize drawing!” Learn more here.

St. Louis County Library |  May 18 – August 1. Join various age groups with the St. Louis County Library’s reading club:
• Early Readers (Ages 0-5)
• Kids (Grades K-5)
• Teens (Grades 6-12)

Early Readers Club and Kids Reading Club can still pick up a print log sheet at the library to help track their reading. In order to redeem prizes, participants must register and enter their reading online, which can be done at the library or from any device with internet access. Schools frequently ask for student participation numbers and taking the club online provides us with accurate statistics.  Learn more here.


Google Mania presentersThe 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? (This may be the first time one of our “Top Reads” posts made it to the list)!

(1)  Exploring Experiential Learning Through Digital & Media Literacy  read it here

(2)  Four-Day Tech Camp on Powerful Learning for the PreK-2 Educator  read it here

(3)  Google Mania Takes Over in July  read it here

(4)  Shining the Spotlight on Exceptional Educators  read it here

(5)  March 2015 Top Reads  read it here

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Marching band directors, music teachers and video production educators, The St. Louis Cardinals are challenging fans to produce a video singing their own stylized version of Take Me Out to the Ballgame for a chance to win a VIP experience for 10 people. This Cardinal Nationexperience includes having the winning video shown to over 40,000 fans in the middle of the 7th inning of the Cardinals-Reds Game on July 29th.

School groups are encouraged to produce a music video, no more than three-minutes, demonstrating their creativity with their own personalized version of the classic baseball song. Fans may transform the tune into any music genre they want while keeping the core lyrics intact.

Fans are encouraged to entertain Cardinals Nation, show their enthusiasm for the team and most importantly, have some fun while creating their own music video.

Dates to remember:
• Fans have until May 31, 2015 to submit their video.
• Fans will vote online for their favorite June 1 – July 3rd.

Learn more and submit a link to their video and see video submissions from other fans at

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