Outside the Box Literacy Workshops

Imagine a classroom where students view reading as a window into the world around them and writing as a tool to change it. Ms. Hawe combines her experience as an English teacher with her understanding of how students learn to help teachers transform their teaching of reading and writing. The workshops below will provide teachers with the tools to put students in the driver's seat as they engage them in book club discussions, Socratic Seminars, project-based learned, and independent reading programs. Each workshop can be customized to meet the unique needs of your teachers and school. Curriculum writing and curriculum development coaching services are also available. 



Workshop Topics

Book Clubs

Launching book clubs is the single most effective and powerful way to transform your teaching and the way your students approach reading. This workshop will provide the nuts and bolts for preparing for, launching, and sustaining book clubs that lift the level of reading instruction for all students, hold students accountable, and create a classroom community of readers

The Socratic Seminar

Take your students' close reading, argument, and discussion skills to the next level by incorporating the Socratic Seminar into your teacher toolbox. Experience a Socratic Seminar firsthand and learn how to select appropriate passages, formulate discussion questions, and create the structures that will help your students succeed with this activity. Workshop participants will receive a packet of classroom tested Socratic Seminar tools and handouts to use in their own classrooms. 

Nonfiction Reading

Nonfiction tends to get pushed to the side in many English classrooms in favor of literature. Breathe new life into your nonfiction curriculum with a workshop on engaging ways to teach nonfiction reading strategies and incorporate nonfiction reading throughout the school year. Topics that will be discussed include text selection, creating text sets, strategies for tackling a complex text, close reading, inquiry based research projects, note taking, synthesizing a main idea, analyzing author's purpose, evaluating evidence, analyzing text structures, and pairing nonfiction with fiction.

Independent Reading and Creating a School-Wide Culture of Literacy

This workshop will guide participants in strategizing how to launch or improve an independent reading program at your school. Learn tips and tricks for creating and maintaining a classroom library, holding students accountable, building excitement about reading, and using independent reading as a powerful opportunity to develop literacy skills.

Reading and Writing Workshop Toolkit

Whether you're brand new to workshop teaching or looking for new ideas, this workshop can be customized to meet your needs. This workshop will lead teachers through an interactive exploration of tools to engage and challenge learners including the mini-lesson, teacher think aloud, read aloud, using mentor texts, turn and talks, stop and jots, notebooks and portfolios, charts, independent reading and writing, small group instruction, conferences, silent conversations, gallery walks, centers, and more.

Close Reading

Close reading is the buzz word in education these days, but what does it really mean and how do you teach it? Learn and practice multiple strategies for close reading during this hands-on workshop that will get your students reading not only their texts closely, but also the world. Participants will also explore how writing and discussion can be used to encourage and deepen close reading.

Teaching Argument Writing

This workshop will break down the task of writing an argument essay into teaching points and explore strategies that will help students of all skill levels to succeed. We will also discuss ways to spiral argument writing skills across the year and multiple grade levels. Additionally, the workshop can be customized to include ideas for teaching research skills.

Technology in the English Classroom

Go beyond Google Apps and explore websites and applications that will transform the way you teach writing, reading, grammar and vocabulary in this hands-on workshop. Unlike other technology workshops, this workshop will focus specifically on tools for the English classroom. Participants will also be introduced to applications that enhance teacher productivity by facilitating communication with students and families, allowing teachers to create and share lesson plans, and streamlining assessment and feedback. This workshop can also include a section on teacher website development.

Literacy Tools for Content Area Teachers

Why should English teachers have all the fun? The truth of the matter is that reading and writing skills need to be taught explicitly in the content areas, but many content area teachers don't know where to begin. This workshop will provide content area teachers with a literacy toolkit full of strategies they can easily incorporate whenever students are reading or writing in their classes. We will also explore ways to increase opportunities for reading and writing in the content area classroom.

Executive Function Skills and Literacy

When students struggle with reading, we examine their decoding abilities, their fluency, and their overall comprehension, but we often don't consider their executive function skills. Both reading and writing demand high levels of multiple executive function skills, and many students may need support in developing those skills. For example, reading requires task initiation, sustained attention, working memory, metacognition, and goal-directed persistence, to name only a few. Teachers will learn strategies they can use to help students with weak executive function skills excel in reading and writing.

Grammar Instruction that Sticks

Students and teachers alike tend to groan whenever grammar is on the agenda. Change this by replacing boring worksheets with grammar activities that get students on their feet and actively involved in building their understanding of grammar concepts. The workshop will introduce participants to several different approaches to hands-on grammar instruction including inquiry, using manipulatives, and cooperative games. Participants will leave the workshop with everything they need to start using these activities to address common grammar issues the very next day. The workshop will conclude with a discussion of assessment practices and ideas for holding students accountable for the grammar concepts they learned.

Project-Based Learning

Transform the way you approach teaching and the way your students approach learning by infusing inquiry, activism, cooperative learning, and authentic audiences into your curriculum. Teachers will explore examples of project based learning and plan their own project based learning unit using a simple planning framework.

Unit Planning Using the Common Core Learning Standards and the Understanding By Design Framework

Learn how to unpack the Common Core Learning Standards into teaching points, student checklists, and assessment rubrics. Then plan a unit designed to guide all students in mastering the selected learning standard(s). Sample units, planning templates, and ideas for differentiation will be provided. Curriculum writing and curriculum development coaching packages are also available. 

Tackling the Paper Mountain: Effective Feedback That Doesn't Take Weeks

We know our students need to write a lot to become better writers, but that creates the dreaded mountain of papers that can quickly seem insurmountable. This workshop will present a variety of approaches to managing the inevitable paper load including rubrics, self and peer assessment, student checklists, targeted feedback, using technology to give feedback, and thinking more strategically about the writing assignments we give. Teachers will examine samples of different types of feedback and consider what makes feedback effective. We will also consider how to make feedback more meaningful to our students so that those papers we spent hours pouring over aren't tossed straight in the trash!

Engaging Students with Dystopian Literature

Books like The Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner, and Legend have one thing in common: students want to read them! Discover ideas for creating a rigorous unit focused on this wildly popular genre that will have even your most reluctant readers not wanting to put the book down. This workshop will provide you with a wealth of materials for launching dystopian book clubs, teaching close reading and literary analysis skills, and making connections to nonfiction.


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