The United States is founded upon a diverse population of people from all over the globe.  This diversity continues to grow and evolve so that all teachers now face the challenges of teaching cross-culturally.  Each individual’s cultural context is unique, but sometimes conflicting ideologies and the clash between traditionalism and modern society can cause students to become isolated and at-risk for failure or dropping out. 

This course is designed to provide teachers with the tools necessary to understand how to teach with cultural competence, so that all students are actively supported in the classroom and can limit the risk of dropout for culturally diverse students. This course tackles the misconceptions about cultural competency and provides practical resources for building competency in educators. By learning more about other cultures, as well as the participant’s own culture, the course helps the participant develop best practices for handling culturally sensitive scenarios that can impact student learning.

Formative assessment, a range of informal and formal assessments teachers can use to modify instruction to better meet students needs, can be used in any subject or with any age group. In this course, the teacher will learn how to use formative assessment to quickly and effectively assess student learning, techniques to use formative assessment in any grade level or subject area (including social/emotional learning and metacognition), and strategies to analyze and apply formative data to modify instruction and provide students with insight into their own learning and progress. This course also provides the learner with best practices that use Bloom’s Taxonomy to develop questioning techniques to access lower- and higher-order thinking, as well as guiding teachers through the connections between standards, lesson objectives, and robust assessment strategies. 

 

Finally, this course provides strategies for enhancing the school success of exceptional learners. Teachers will learn how to support and encourage students with special needs, English Language Learners, and gifted/talented students by using frequent, short, and varied formative assessments, giving precise and supportive feedback, implementing multi-modal assessments, and conducting instructional regrouping based on students’ particular needs.

The term STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) has become more and more popular in education and careers, but what does this look like in the classroom? Science and math are traditionally taught separately, technology is its own class or is used to support projects, and engineering projects are rare. While STEM is a major shift in how these disciplines are taught and understood, it mirrors how they work in the real world. Engineering, scientific experimentation, and applied mathematics integrate science, math, and technology concepts, processes, and skills.

In this course, elementary and middle school teachers (grades K-8) learn how to successfully plan and implement authentic, integrated STEM instruction that engages students in the processes and work of scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. After taking this course, teachers will have an understanding of what STEM is; the benefits of integrating STEM project-based learning; and how to plan effective STEM instruction. Additionally, the course provides readily available STEM unit, project, and lesson ideas; exemplars to modify projects and lessons based on individual student needs; and practice designing integrative STEM instruction. By the end of the course, teachers will be able to engage their students to think and act like real scientists and engineers.

Stories are how we connect as a culture. By infusing personal stories, or narrative, into the curriculum, a teacher can inspire students to be creative and expressive, while supporting their connection to those around them and their literacy skills. This course is designed to engage 5th-12th grade teachers of all disciplines in teaching personal narrative in the classroom. The teacher will learn what narrative writing is and how it supports students’ reading, writing, and comprehension as well as critical thinking, problem solving, and analytical skills. The teacher will understand and develop the components of effective narrative essays and also build richly crafted personal narratives to serve as models in his or her own classroom. In addition, the teacher will learn about the writing process, group work, peer review, formative and summative assessment, and lesson planning.

 

This course aims to provide the teacher with the tools to engage all students, including English Language Learners and exceptional students. Finally, this course will demonstrate how narrative writing is a gateway to academic writing and research projects. Students and teachers alike will learn the power, joy, and versatility of narrative in the classroom. After all, everyone has a story to tell.