IMPACT 2015 is almost here!

Every June, TLSP invites teachers and administrators to attend a series of professional-development activities focused on the craft of fostering critical-thinking skills. We call this week “IMPACT: Involving Minds in Problem Analysis and Critical Thinking.” This year, I’ve chosen quotes from fellow educators that sum up what each experience is about:

“Technology won’t replace teachers, but teachers who use technology will probably replace teachers who don’t,” says Dr. Ray Clifford. Our tech target teachers who are leading the way in tech integration in our schools will lead day one. They’ll demonstrate some of the most effective ways to use apps and web programs as tools for learning. Participants will be able to test these tools and discuss the best ways to engage students.

“Learners need endless feedback more than they need endless teaching,” says Grant Wiggins. We offer teachers a different way to monitor student learning on day two with our session titled “Less Grading, More Assessing.” Teachers will learn how to provide different types of feedback that students take pride and ownership in. Student data notebooks, standards-based assessments and student-led conferences will all be explored and discussed.

“Don’t be afraid to use big words with little kids, if they can say Tyrannosaurus Rex, they can say anything!” states Cinnamon’s Synonyms Blog. One of the most important steps in understanding is being able to master the language and vocabulary of a concept. And each subject has its own critical vocabulary. We’re pleased to be joined by Dr. Lorinda Sankey from Concordia University Chicago on day three as she shares research-based instructional strategies that can be used with any vocabulary at any grade level. Many of our Concordia Chicago alumni are excited about seeing Dr. Sankey again!

“There is no procedure for learning to write. What you must do is learn to think,” says S. Leonard Rubenstein. We actually do have procedures for teaching writing, but nothing that makes writing interesting and insightful. That’s the goal of the final days of IMPACT 2015 as we send teachers to the All Write Summer Conference in Warsaw to listen to some of the top experts in the nation speak and share ideas on writer’s workshop strategies. Writer’s workshop asked students to write and teachers to coach in a more individual way, through conversation. And the conversations are revolved around getting kids to see themselves as writers. It’s a wonderful two days that our teachers rated highly last year.

We’re excited about this year’s lineup of learning and collaboration. IMPACT has been around for many years, yet the need to support our teachers in their work is timeless. Keep us in your prayers as we gather together again this June for IMPACT 2015.