S-T-R-E-T-C-H teaching strategies offered to Maine educators

Sun, 03/17/2024 - 8:15am

Jessica Anderson of “Count ME In” will be the keynote speaker at the seventh annual “S-T-R-E-T-C-H your Teaching” workshop to be held Saturday, April 6, at the United Technologies Center Maine from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m  Her presentation is “Attendance Matters,” during which she will address the current challenges around student attendance and strategies to combat them.

Educators from all parts of Maine are invited to attend this workshop, which is sponsored by Maine State Organization of DKG International, a world-wide professional organization dedicated to providing professional development and personal growth for educators. 

In addition to the timely topic of student attendance, workshop coordinators are very excited to offer eleven break-out sessions from which participants may choose during this day-long workshop.  The overarching goal is to help teachers S-T- R-E-T-C-H their thinking by learning new strategies to help students be more successful. Experts in their fields will present on the following topics: family communication, community relationships, positive behavior management, early literacy/the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, art/history collaboration, school gardens, AI, music/movement, extended learning opportunities, STEM projects, and book banning.

Those presenting from the mid-coast area include Abby Plummer from the Drinkwater School, in Northport. who will present “School Garden Curriculum Integration” and Grace Olsen, a graduate of Camden Hills Regional High School, who will present “Extended Learning Opportunities: Community Connection and Career Exploration.”

The registration fee of $45 includes snacks, lunch, door prizes, and 5.5 Contact Hours.  College students can attend for $15.  Registrations are due by March 22 for those who would like lunch.

The registration packet may be found on the web at Maine State Organization of DKG International, PD Opportunities, dkgmaine.weebly.com. 

S-T-R-E-T-C-H Your Teaching Workshop

Saturday, April 6, 2024 – United Technologies Center, Bangor

8:30 – 9:00 Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00 – 10:15 Keynote: Jessica Anderson of Count ME In will present “Attendance Matters: The Basics” Inconsistent school attendance negatively affects a student's ability to learn and build relationships. High rates of chronic absenteeism can even spillover to negatively impact all students, even those who are attending regularly. Learn multi-tiered strategies to incorporate in your daily practice to support student attendance and work to engage all students. 

10:30 - 11:45 – Session 1

A.Jessica Anderson – "From Communication and Involvement to Partnerships with Families"

Our perspectives and experiences shape our interactions with one another. This interactive workshop will encourage educators to reflect on communication and relationship building strategies with families while sharpening their communication skills and building relationships with the others in the room. (all levels) Jessica is the Director of Count ME In and our keynote speaker for the workshop.

B.Matt Bernstein – “Building Relationships and Community Through Crew” - In this session, we will reflect on the importance of relationship building and community building in providing supportive classroom spaces for all students. In particular, we will consider how structures like “Crew” or advisory can become opportunities to create home places for students at school. We will spend time reflecting on our own educational experiences, thinking about our current students and practices, considering the link between relationship building and student success, and brainstorming future action steps. Through collaborative learning, our hope is that this session will equip us to further our work in creating spaces where students feel seen, valued, and loved for who they are.  (Grades 6-12) Matt teaches Grade 9 social studies at Casco Bay High School and is Maine’s 2023 Teacher of the year.

C.Julie Burr - “Positive Behavior Management” - This session will discuss five of the major leadership styles that classroom teachers frequently use. It will also include modeling scenarios and ways to de-escalate behavior in the classroom. (All levels) Julie is the Assistant Principal at Sumner Memorial High School in Sullivan and a DKG member.

D.Beth Crist - “Early Literacy through Imagination Library and Public Libraries” - Early literacy efforts across the state provide the youngest Mainers with a great start in life. This interactive session will explore two such efforts: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has arrived in Maine; it provides a free book each month to children ages birth-5, which is mailed to their homes. Public libraries statewide continue their long tradition of providing free expertise, programs, and materials to young children and families. Come away with an understanding of how to connect parents and caregivers with these programs, and how you and your school can partner with them. (Grades PreK- 2) Beth is the Director of Special Projects at the Maine State Library.

E.Hannah Farrar – “Woman in Gold” - This session will present an example of a high school level interdisciplinary unit based on Gustav Klimt’s portrait of Adel Bloch Bauer and the 2015 film “Woman in Gold.” This unit is applicable to Holocaust studies, history, art, English, and current events in an interesting and engaging way. (Grades 9-12) Hannah is an art teacher in AOS #94 (Dexter) and a DKG member.

F.Abby Plummer - “School Garden Curriculum Integration” - Interested in utilizing the school garden as a teaching resource but looking for some tips on how to get started or ideas on how to integrate agriculture into your curriculum? Join Abby to learn about integrating agriculture education into curriculum across all subjects; you will also get a chance to learn about implementation strategies and share your own project ideas. (Grades Pre-k – 8) Abby teaches grades 5/6 math/science at Edna Drinkwater School in Northport.  In 2020, Abby was recognized with the Maine Science Teachers Association’s Louis P. Lambert Award. She is also the 2021 Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year and the recipient of the 2022 National Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award.

11:45 - 12:45 Lunch 

1:00 - 2:15 Session 2 

G.Teresa Brzustowicz – “Making an Educator’s Life Easier with AI” - AI isn't the future; it is here! Are you ready to transform your teaching experience and amplify the impact you have on your students? This session will show ways that Artificial Intelligence (AI) can revolutionize your teaching methods, streamline administrative tasks, make your professional life significantly more efficient, and help you to create more time for a life outside of school. (All levels) Teresa is Maine DKG’s Second Vice President and teaches French, Spanish, photography, and women’s studies at Dexter Regional High School. 

H.Kristy McNaughton – “Feel Good Flow - If You Can Walk, You Can Dance” - Music has a way of making us feel good.  In this breakout session, come feel the power of music, movement, and connection.  This practice involves moving meditation, body awareness, imagination, and a combination of structured movement and freestyle elements. Participants are encouraged to find what feels good in the moment, to choose the options and variations that work best for them, and to move mindfully.  In this safe container, we will use the power of music to help us tap into confidence, connection, and a feeling of ease. Takeaways:  Activities/exercises you can do with your students, confidence, and a sense of connection with participants. (All levels) Kristy teaches personal finance and yoga at Gardiner Area High School.

I.Grace Olsen - “Extended Learning Opportunities: Community Connection and Career Exploration” - Extended Learning Opportunities (ELOs) are designed to better prepare students for employment, college, and citizenship. In Gorham High School’s ELO program, students explore their future career interests by connecting with a mentor in the community who can provide them with a semester or year-long internship, job shadow(s), or work study. These are genuine opportunities for students to merge their various interests and passions with their academic lives at school. Similarly, it is a vehicle for students to demonstrate independence and complexity of thought as they build bridges from their high school careers to their future academic, professional, or vocational lives. Learn about Gorham’s ELO program and how these experiences have shifted student learning and community engagement!  (Grades 9-12) Grace is the Extended Learning Opportunities Instructor at Gorham High School.

J.Ali Stone – “How to Design a STEM Project that Leaves Spaghetti and Marshmallows in the Dust” - Designing your own STEM project can be daunting! In this session, we’ll identify the key components of STEM projects that not only reinforce science and engineering concepts, but are also fun and exciting for students, and we’ll overcome the challenges you might face as you create your own “better than spaghetti” experience.  (Grades 3-8) Ali is a former middle school teacher, COO of Kesler Science, and president of Maine DKG’s Delta Chapter.

K.Sarah Wentworth – “Book Banning” - Book banning is not a new concept; however, most recently school librarians have been under the spotlight and scrutinized for the books within the library’s collection. These books range from “classic literature” to New York Times bestselling titles. It is up to the school librarian, with the support of the administration and school board, to impose strong policies to ensure that the library patrons have unlimited access to these books, regardless if they are for leisure or academic purposes. Join me as we discuss the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom policies, the support systems already in place that the librarians can utilize, and more! (All levels) Sarah is the K-12 Library/Media Specialist at Greenville Consolidated School and a DKG member.

2:15 – 2:30 Conclusion