Engaging, Collaborative & Effective Professional Development
"This was perhaps the best professional development workshop I've ever attended! Dr. Hughes did an excellent job not only sharing the information, but doing so in an engaging and fun way! I was looking at the information from not only the perspective of a teacher, but also how it might help me as the parent of both a gifted child and of a special needs child to facilitate their learning"
Karen Houck, Polk Co.
We take great pride in delivering the most professional, engaging professional development opportunities for teachers. Each timely topic can be tailored in length and content to truly address the specific needs of your educational community. Our most popular topics are listed below, and all qualify for Title I and Title II funding. Additionally, our educational team is always busy creating meaningful workshops by request. If you have a need for a workshop that is not listed, we welcome the opportunity for a conversation to see if the Andrick Group can meet your needs.
Creativity. Innovation. Critical thinking. Problem solving. These are the goal posts for 21st century students. Recent brain-based research support the notion that hands-on making, building, and creating not only nurture creativity, but also impact cognition, working memory, and innovative problem-solving. While we don't have to be neuroscientists to be effective in the classroom, if we want to improve our instructional practice, we must have an understanding of how the brain functions. And if we want to nurture creativity, innovative thinking, and problem solving, we need to learn how to engage multiple parts of the brain.
Until recently, many psychologists identified creativity and intelligence as fixed traits. We now know differently. The capacity to learn, solve problems and be creative is hardwired into our brains - we either tap into it, nurture it, develop it or we don't. Whole-brain teaching is an instructional approach that emphasizes active learning that engages both hemispheres of the brain. The combination of creative thinking and learning results from the generation of ideas in one part of the brain that are impacted by emotions, cognitive processes, and memory in other parts of the brain. When we provide students with whole-brain learning experiences, they are better able to understand and retain complex concepts as well as file them in a place where they can retrieve and apply them later.
This full-day session provides participants with a solid foundation of how the brain functions as well as instructional strategies to engage multiple parts of the brain for deeper cognition, more meaningful understanding and greater creativity. Developed due to the enthusiastic teacher feedback received from the Whole Brain Teaching and Learning workshop, this session examines those concepts in greater depth enabling teachers to not only explore whole-brain teaching and learning, but experience it through hands-on, collaborative exercises. Participants will leave the session with strategies, resources, and a collection of classroom-ready activities. Download the sample resource guide for this session.
Teaching the Whole Brain for Greater Student Engagement
While we only use a fraction of our brains, increasing our understanding of how it works to learn, to adapt, and to thrive is essential. As teachers, we can’t effectively teach without understanding how the brain enables students to think and learn. In addition, when we unlock the creative potential in our students and teach the whole brain, they are better able to develop the skills required to be innovative, problem-solvers in the 21st century.
Educational research has proven that students learn more when they are actively engaged with the information, activities, or lessons presented in class. When this engagement is fostered, retention is greater, and students are better able to make cognitive connections with prior knowledge and generate new ideas. Teachers who provide opportunities for students to think and manage information analytically, structurally, conceptually and socially enable them to nurture the whole brain and unlock the creativity necessary to process, apply, and synthesize that information at a much deeper level.
This professional development workshop provides an overview of the latest research about how the human brain functions and practical strategies to apply this research to improve teaching and learning in the classroom. Teachers will explore a variety of interactive notebook strategies to enable whole-brain learning across the curriculum.
Engage Learners at the Intersection of STEM and Common Core
The U.S. no longer leads the world in innovations in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Without a solid foundation in STEM, our students' prospects beyond graduation grow increasingly more limited. In order to fully prepare them for college and careers, literacy for productive citizenship and success in today’s world must include 21st century skills with a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Exploring creative ways to incorporate various literacies into instruction equips educators with the strategies and tools to create relevant, meaningful learning experiences within the context of math and English standards as required by Common Core.
Geared to K-8 teachers, participants in this professional development workshop will understand how content literacy and STEM can be integrated to engage students in real-world problem solving and higher order thinking skills. This session incorporates hands-on experiences, collaborative problem-solving, and an integrated approach to STEM, scientific inquiry, and literacy skills. Teachers will leave the session with strategies, resources, and a collection of ready to use lessons to inspire deeper learning in the classroom and equip students with 21st century learning skills.
From Classrooms to Maker-Spaces
The focus of student achievement has extended beyond reading and math scores. As Common Core Standards and STEM-based learning create a shift away from rote academics, more and more teachers are applying the principle of “learning by doing” in their classrooms. This resurgence in experiential learning has become known as the “maker movement,” and brain research over the past five years presents a strong case for learning by making, tinkering, engineering, and experimenting. A growing number of schools are embracing an instructional approach that integrates hands-on experiences with content-area skills to develop deeper, more connected 21st century real-world application.
Experiential learning is the cornerstone for helping our students develop into lifelong learners. This learning enables students to create something with the freedom to make mistakes and improve their original design through those mistakes. By incorporating cross-curricular literacies into instruction, these learning experiences are relevant and authentic demonstrations of student understanding. This pedagogical shift requires the confidence to shift back to the kinds of learning experiences that are better aligned with the way our brains work.
While there are many gateways to student interest in STEM learning experiences, time is one of a teacher’s most valuable resources. If we are to ensure that students are college and career ready by the time they graduate, we must find more efficient ways to engage students in scientific inquiry, engineering design, numeracy, and real-world problem solving within the context of the standards that guide our instruction.
Participants in this professional development workshop will integrate content literacy and STEM-based learning to engage students in the creative engineering and design of “making.” This session incorporates hands-on experiences, collaborative problem-solving, and an integrated instructional approach to STEM, scientific inquiry, and engineering. Teachers will leave the session with strategies, resources, and a collection of ready-to-use lessons to inspire innovative thinking, problem-solving and deeper learning in the classroom. See sample lessons from this workshop.
Common Core State Standards: Building the Dream Team
The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The standards were designed to equip all students with the knowledge and skills in English Language Arts and Mathematics to be college and career ready.
This workshop provides an overview of the criteria and development of the Common Core Standards for English/Language Arts and Mathematics and clarifies what the new standards mean for teachers, parents, and students. Participants will also define and explore the five key shifts that should be happening in every classroom. In addition, participants will explore family engagement strategies to get parents in the game and truly build the dream team for students. The cost of this workshop includes a presentation to parents so they understand the shift in instruction at school and are equipped to effectively support learning based upon the new standards.
Getting Parents in the Game
When educators form partnerships with families to support learning, children are more inclined to succeed -- not just in school, but throughout life. Decades of research maintains that when parents are involved participants in their children’s education, students are more successful. Parental involvement is essential not just for academic achievement, but it also has a powerful impact on graduation rates, social choices, and weight, nutrition, and physical fitness.
Many educational leaders told us that while they felt their teachers were equipped to make the instructional shift to the Common Core Standards, parents' understanding of Common Core and their role in supporting learning at home was a greater concern. This presentation is designed to help parents understand the current shifts of the Common Core Standards as well as the impact of parental involvement on student success.
Differentiated Instruction: Because One Size Does Not Fit All
Differentiated instruction is both a philosophy and a teaching method that respects the needs of the students while keeping the learning objectives in mind. It is not about diluting the curriculum or letting students decide what to learn. It is about building on a high-quality curriculum, defining the expected learning outcomes for all students, and ultimately incorporating effective strategies to ensure that every student is successful.
This workshop provides sound pedagogical principles of differentiated instruction, as well as planning, management, and assessment strategies that enable teachers to meet the diverse needs of all students.
Summer Learning Loss
For more than a century, researchers have studied the effect summer vacations have on academic achievement. Countless studies confirm that children experience learning loss while they are not actively engaged in academic activities when school is out of session. These early patterns of out-of-school learning have immense implications on the development of our children that impact academic, physical, and social growth. Preventing summer learning loss means that we must equip parents with the resources and skills they need when school is out of session.
This professional development workshop provides teachers with practical strategies to prevent learning loss and promote educational experiences during the summer and other out-of-school time. Participants will also explore effective methods to manage and communicate various ways in which parents can reinforce grade-level appropriate learning experiences.