Creativity & Collaboration @ The Core

When | Where: TBD | University of Missouri—St. Louis, J. C. Penney Conference Center

The CoLab winter conference is a one day program targeting K-12 teachers and addresses how you can address the new Common Core State Standards and Teacher Performance Evaluations. The CoLab is an interdisciplinary professional development organization that places teachers front and center of their own learning, unleashing their creativity and harnessing it to transform their classroom to learner-centered communities. The CCSS assessments will be implemented in 2014 and the day’s conference is designed to place teacher inquiry at the center of harnessing the CCSS. Accomplished K-12 National Writing Project teachers will lead the sessions sharing tried and tested approaches to nurture discipline-based confidence in students and teachers.

Cost is $39 per participant, or, $34 per participant for 5 teachers from one school. Box lunches will be provided. CPDU’s offered. You can Register Online or mail in a Registration Form (or fax to 314-516-6414) for groups of 5 or more (one form per participant).


Workshop Descriptions

All presenters are Fellows of the Piasa Bluffs Writing Project and members of the CoLab. Founded in 2008, PBWP is the premier professional development provider in Southern Illinois. Together, PBWP and the Gateway Writing Project build upon teacher knowledge in the Bi-State, Illinois and Missouri, areas. The CoLab is an interdisciplinary professional development organization that places teachers front and center of their own learning, unleashing their creativity and harnessing it to transform their classroom to learner-centered communities.

Although each session is focused on particular grade levels, the content is applicable to all grades and content. All sessions will be framed as an ‘Inquiry Into My Practice’ (IIMP) to make visible the importance of teacher collaboration. The sessions will conclude with participants noticing and naming the sessions’ events through a CCSS lens.

Workshop 1: Reading Informational Texts & Citing Evidence when Writing from a Point of View | Led by Dr. Ralph Córdova

Description: The CCSS will expect K-12 learners to learn a range of academic practices, and, develop those over time in their K-12 experience. This interactive session will engage participants to interact with and learn from historical fiction and non-fiction texts by harnessing academic practices, of observing, note-taking, reading for meaning, and, writing persuasively by harnessing writing as a tool for learning. The session will be framed as an Inquiry Into My Practice (IIMP) to make visible the importance of teacher collaboration.

Ralph Córdova is a former elementary bilingual third grade teacher, who now teaches at University of Missouri Saint Louis. He founded the Piasa Bluffs Writing Project and the CoLab.

Workshop 2: Hands-On, Minds-On Inquiry Learning | Led by Dawn Jung

Description: Intentional literate actions engage participants will focus our inquiry based hands-on, minds-on learning experience. Critiquing, appreciating perspective, citing evidence collaboration and creativity, key components of CCSS, lay the foundation for higher order thinking and writing.

Dawn Jung is a former elementary school reading teacher and is presently an Associate Faculty member of McKendree University located in Lebanon, Illinois.

Workshop 3: Visual and Digital Literacies Propel Students in the CCSS | Led by April Sabolay

Description:  Have you ever encountered those students in the middle school who struggle with reading texts and writing about texts; let alone attempting to synthesize and make meaning during those interactions?  How might we teachers offer to those students meaningful and engaging text dependent opportunities?  Why not tap into their visual strengths as a springboard into decoding and encoding?  Join us as we explore visual and digital literacies to propel all students into the mindful and purposeful interactions with literacy and tackle the CCSS too.

April Sabolay is an instructional coach and reading teacher with Belleville School District #118 in Illinois and an Associate Faculty member of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois.

Workshop 4: Creating Innovation Literacy & Collaboration Labs in Schools | Led by Jeff Hudson

Description: Join us for a look at Alton High’s Literacy Laboratory and Classroom for Collaborative Innovation – spaces carved into the day to support literacy instruction across the curriculum. Come help us think about how to support collaboration and inquiry into our teaching practice.

Jeff Hudson is an English teacher at Alton High School. 

Workshop 5: Teachers Innovating Leaders | Led by Patti Swank

Description: What does a growth-minded partnership between principals and teachers look like; one that supports both parties to grow as leaders and teachers? How do we learn to see, with new eyes, and look at leadership as a shared endeavor between school principal and teachers? Join us as we examine how a high school principal, teachers and students at Highland High School integrated CCSS and harnessed ResponsiveDesign’s “explore, envision, enact” precepts to transform their professional development, classrooms and the St. Louis Art museum into highly-engaging learning spaces.

Patti Swank is a Highland High School English teacher, 2005 National Board Certified Teacher. 

Keynote Speaker

Our keynote speaker from Finland, ranked #1 in international student achievement tests, is Dr. Kristiina Kumpulainen, former Director of Assessment Finnish Board of Education & Leading Finnish educational researcher at the University of Helsinki.

Kristiina Kumpulainen, PhD, is a professor of education at the Department of Teacher Education at the University of Helsinki. She specialises in formal and informal learning, learning environments, innovative schools and their pedagogies, teacher professional development as well as undertaking interdisciplinary research for the promotion of learning in the 21st century. Professor Kumpulainen has spearheaded many international research projects examining learning and education from the sociocultural perspective. She has published/co-published 85+ articles and chapters, and delivered more than 100 papers at national and international conferences. She is the chief editor of Life Long Learning in Europe (LLinE)-journal and JETEN, Journal of European Teacher Education Network.