Sessions: Friday Afternoon

1:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

Achieving Success with Challenging Students
Are you looking to foster a better understanding of today’s young people? Join fellow educator Daniel Blanchard, author of How to Become More Successful with Difficult Students, in examining the classroom climate you typically find in schools today and the climate that will allow you to be successful with your most challenging students. Myriad strategies will be discussed that will help educators get their students to fall in love with learning all over again.
Presenter: Daniel Blanchard, teacher, New Britain (Conn.) Public Schools

Current Events in Your Classroom: Fostering Dialogue in Divisive Times
Teaching current events is challenging: The news cycle moves quickly; stories are complex; and today’s issues can elicit strong emotions. Yet engaging with current events is a crucial part of helping students become informed and humane citizens in a democracy. Join Facing History and Ourselves to consider how to make meaningful connections between current events and your curriculum at the middle and high school levels. We’ll explore strategies for navigating tough topics and partisan politics in diverse classrooms, and we’ll share teaching resources and ideas for addressing breaking news and ongoing global issues in meaningful ways.
Presenter: Wayde Grinstead, senior program associate, Facing History and Ourselves

Examining Bias and Enhancing Empathy to Create Inclusive Classrooms
Today, 1 in 5 students struggles with brain-based learning and attention issues, which affect reading, writing, math, organization and focus. Join us to explore the difference between sympathy and empathy, including how bias can drive sympathy. By the end of this session, you will be able to implement strategies to better understand all students, including the 1 in 5, by creating an empathetic learning community for teachers and students alike.
Presenters: Kate Garcia, special science education teacher, grades 9-12, Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.; Amanda Morin, senior writer and education expert prek-12, Understood

How to Spot Fake News and Teach Students to Be Educated News Consumers
The way we interpret and synthesize news plays an important role in how we interact with and make meaning of the world around us. In fact, 82 percent of middle school students can not distinguish between sponsored content and a real news story on a website. Working with students to critically evaluate the accuracy, meaning and power of informational text has never been more important. Join PBS NewsHour and the Newseum as they take a deep dive into strategies you can use to discuss fake news with your students and the challenges that can arise.
Presenters: Kristen Hartman, senior manager business development, NPR; Jessie Hollis McCarthy, outreach educator, Newseum; Vicky Pasquantonio, education producer, PBS NewsHour

Implementing Alternatives to School Discipline: Restorative Practices and Inclusion—Part 2
Learn strategies to make inclusion and equality a reality in your school. Restorative practices represent alternative school discipline designed to lead schools and their communities away from harsh, counterproductive, zero tolerance environments. With historical roots in practices found worldwide, restorative practices have been an innovative addition to public schools, and have found their way into teachers union contracts. This session will help you build a positive learning environment by developing healthy and holistic relationships with students and, as a result, lessen the amount of detentions, suspensions, expulsions and arrests. Participants must attend both sessions to qualify for a certificate.
Presenter: Walter Taylor, director of professional development, Chicago Teachers Union Foundation Quest Center

Re-Imagining Migration: Connecting Immigrants of the Past, Present and Future—Part 2
We live in an era of mass migration. In the U.S., 26 percent of school-age students are either immigrants or the children of immigrants, and they are part of the 1 billion people on the move around the world. Thus, young people must understand migration as a shared condition of our past, present and future if they are to develop the knowledge, empathy, and mindsets that sustain inclusive and welcoming communities. We will explore a framework for teaching about migration to promote social, emotional, academic and civic growth. Participants must attend both sessions to qualify for a certificate.
Presenter: Adam Strom, director, Re-Imagining Migration

School Safety, Security and Gun Violence Prevention 
Join members from the Newtown, Conn. community in this powerful session to learn strategies to help reduce gun violence, and improve security and safety in schools and communities across the country.
Presenters: Thomas Kuroski, president, Newtown (Conn.) Federation of Teachers; Mark Pompano, director of security, Newtown Public Schools  

Strategies to Advocate for English Learners in Effective and Sustainable Ways
You know the current issues facing English learners in your schools and across the country. Join us to build strategies to advocate for them in effective and sustainable ways. In this session, we will home in on the issues, develop recommendations for action and review policy implications behind the issues. Together, we will begin to formulate an action plan, identify decision-makers as well as other people, organizations, groups and resources that can support you in this area. Join us if you’re ready to educate, advocate and elevate!
Presenter: Amy Hewett-Olatunde, ESL teacher and teacher educator, Humboldt Junior and High School, St. Paul, Minn., and 2015 Minnesota Teacher of the Year

Teaching Strategies for Maximizing Student Engagement—Part 2
Student engagement can be used to foster a positive learning environment, meet students' preferred learning styles, incorporate technology, encourage collaboration/teamwork among students and maximize academic learning. In this session, you will experience a wide variety of research-based, engaging, student-led learning strategies that can be immediately implemented in the classroom. In addition to having fun, participants will leave this session with a detailed list of proven teaching strategies that they can use when planning lessons to maximize student engagement. Participants must attend both sessions to qualify for a certificate.
Presenters: Janet Bird, elementary teacher mentor, Toledo (Ohio) Federation of Teachers; Jahnine Blosser, science teacher, Toledo Public Schools

Visual Literacy: Arts-Based Reading and Writing Strategies—Part 2
Are you interested in learning how visual art can be incorporated into all content areas as a support for Common Core standards? This session will highlight strategies that support reading and writing skills, including analyzing text, vocabulary acquisition, increasing background knowledge, creative writing, communications skills, and more through activity. You will be led through two activities that can be used in your classroom. Participants must attend both sessions to qualify for a certificate.
Presenter: Stacy Vocasek, high school English and creative writing teacher and instructional coach, Arts at the Capitol Theater Performing Arts Magnet High School, Willimantic, Conn.

3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

A Brave Community: Groundwork for Sustainable Ways to Address Race and Racism—Part 1
We know that social and emotional learning (SEL) is the foundation of an equitable schooling for all members of the community. SEL skills enable young people as well as adults to build meaningful relationships. In this session, you will engage with a powerful three-pronged whole-school model for advancing equity in our schools: social and emotional learning, restorative practices and brave conversations about race. You’ll be able develop the beginnings of your own racial autobiographies and engage in personal sharing around culture. Part 2 will be held at 10:15 a.m. tomorrow. Participants must attend both sessions to qualify for a certificate.
Presenters: Daniel Coles, senior program manager, Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility; Marieke van Woerkom, staff developer, Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility

The Changemaker Challenge: Unlocking Students’ Power with Knowledge in Action—Part 1
Experience firsthand the principles of design thinking, and learn about the different levels of social impact as well as a multistep process where students: identify a problem, research potential solutions to address root causes, think creatively and critically, and devise an action plan to create positive change. Adapted from the proven “Knowledge to Action” model pioneered by education nonprofit World Savvy, change-maker challenges have been successfully used across the nation to inspire and support students to act as empathic, action-oriented change-makers. Take an engaging change-maker challenge back to your classroom and help all your students know they are powerful! Part 2 will be held at 10:15 a.m. tomorrow. Participants must attend both sessions to qualify for a certificate.
Presenters: Maria Laura Acebal, head of Youth Years, North America, Ashoka; Mallory Tuominen, director of professional learning, World Savvy

Finding Strengths: Supporting Students with Disabilities—Part 1
All students have unique strengths that they bring into the classroom. This session will provide insights into teaching students with high-incidence disabilities in the classroom in a more positive way. Educators from all grade levels will engage in research-based strategies and learn different tools that they can incorporate into their classroom practices. Part 2 will be held at 10:15 a.m. tomorrow. Participants must attend both sessions to qualify for a certificate.
Presenters: Vonita Herald, intervention specialist K-12, Cincinnati (Ohio) Public Schools; Debra Wright, teacher, Middle Country (N.Y.) Teachers Association

How Schools and Communities Can Support Immigrant Students and Families
How can schools best support their diverse populations of K-12 immigrant students in today’s climate? Hear from a panel of award-winning educators on topics such as creating a welcoming environment for immigrant students and families; providing staff training; addressing questions and concerns about immigration enforcement; strengthening community partnerships; considerations for young children; providing social and emotional support for students and staff; and steps that school/district leaders can take on behalf of immigrant families. Participants will also learn about resources from the nation's leading ELL website, Colorín Colorado, including its new guide on how schools and early childhood centers can support immigrant students.
Presenters: Lydia Breiseth, director, Colorín Colorado; Katrina Kickbush, special education teacher, Wolfe Street Academy, Baltimore

Managing Stress: What They Forgot to Tell Us
Stress is inevitable! In this session, you can discover ways of handling stress more successfully as well as strategies you can use to turn challenges into opportunities. Participants will be able to identify stressors and their effects, develop coping mechanisms, and practice strategies to prevent and reduce stress. Attend this session to find your Zen and get a taste of this popular module from AFT’s Strategies for Student Success.
Presenters: Jerelle Hendon, operations support specialist, Birmingham (Ala.) City Schools; Tammy Jackson, career technical instructor, Birmingham City Schools

STEM Through Project-Based-Learning: An Engineering Design Process Challenge—Part 1
Have you ever wondered how to use project-based learning and STEM in the classroom? Join a group of AFT teacher leaders as they demonstrate how to incorporate the engineering design process in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) project. Participants will design and build their project, view student samples and work samples of other STEM/STEAM (including arts) projects for grades K-8. All participants will be provided with a 6-E STEM lesson plan and design portfolio that was designed and tested in the classroom and which can be adapted for other grade levels. Part 2 will be held at 10:15 a.m. tomorrow. Participants must attend both sessions to qualify for a certificate.
Presenters: Andrea Bennett, instructional coach grades K-8, McKinley STEMM Academy, Toledo (Ohio) Public Schools; Julie A. Campbell, science support teacher, Toledo Public Schools

Success in Science: Strategies for English Language Learners
Explore how you can implement innovative ways of teaching science content and vocabulary by deepening your understanding of the Next Generation of Science Standards while learning effective teaching strategies for English language learners. In this session, you will discover the positive outcomes of hands-on learning, teaching and learning through reflection, and the value of discovery/inquiry teaching methods while using WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment) Can-Do Descriptors. Learn more about ELLs and their needs and how to choose appropriate materials and hands-on activities for the K-4 classroom.
Presenter: Patty Myers, district STEM support, Lowell (Mass.) Public Schools

TeachRock: Using Music to Engage Students Across Disciplines
From social studies and language arts to media studies, science and more: TeachRock has engaging and meaningful material to help educators connect the history of music with classroom work across the disciplines—at no cost to teachers. The lesson plans at are inquiry-based, aligned to instructional standards, and offer a multicultural approach to a variety of topics from the viewpoints of all stakeholders, providing teachers with content that reflects perspectives as diverse as the students in their classrooms. Learn what’s possible with TeachRock!
Presenter: Christine Nick, senior manager of policy and outreach, The Rock and Roll Forever Foundation

Technology and Environmental Health: Increasing Awareness and Improving Safety for Teachers and Students
Cellphones and digital devices and Wi-Fi increasingly are being integrated into schools, but are you aware of the scientific research that links wireless technology to health issues, including memory and sleep problems, headaches, and even cancer? Participants will review recent teachers union actions on this increasing occupational health risk and learn educational solutions for schools that enable internet access with lowered health risks.
Presenter: Theodora Scarato, clinical social worker, Environmental Health Trust