Conference Sessions

Session I Workshops

Inspiring 21st Century Learners’ Informational Writing through Children’s Literature and Media
Have you ever wished to have an author visit your classroom and stimulate your students’ writing? Using mentor texts and mentor me- dia can help teachers do just that. This workshop will provide participants the skills and tools to motivate their students to create exciting informational writing in line with the Common Core Standards. Join the presenters as they guide you through their thought-provoking research into mentor texts.
Nancy Benfer, Bishop Dunn Memorial School
Caitlin Stamp, Perry Browne Intermediate School

Multilevel Literacy Teaching in Urban Schools
For the past 15 years, pre-service teachers, high school students, and elementary students have been working together on multilevel literacy projects in Danbury, CT. The pre-service teachers plan the lessons based on the common core and the school curriculum, the high school students from Future Teacher’s Clubs act as aids, and the lessons are delivered to elementary students. The workshop will demonstrate how these three groups get together and share their favorite projects.
Darla Shaw, Western Connecticut State University
Nancy Berman, Alternative Center for Excellence
Nichole Chalk, Western Connecticut State University
Stephanie Conti, Western Connecticut State University
Mitchell Peterson, Western Connecticut State University

Rethinking Core Texts: Creating Text Pairings and Reader Response Opportunities to Better Appendix B
In this session, participants will be presented with suggestions for how to engage all learners through text pairings in response to the Common Core’s Appendix B. The presenter will then engage participants in ways to rethink how readers show what they know through high-tech and low-tech reader responses of these texts. (Grades K-6)
Katherine Cunningham, Manhattanville College

Multimodal Learning Through Art Conversations
Art Conversations are interactive responses to literature, offering students an opportunity to extend meaning through multimodal learning. This presentation will teach participants to utilize Art Conversations in their content area classrooms. The session will introduce Art Conversations as an effective meaning making strategy. It will then provide student examples, lesson modifications for content area teachers, and a demonstration of the literacy technique with the literacy author and co-presenter. (Grades 6-12)
Nicole DiNoto, Middletown Enlarged City School District
Aleashia Castello, Mount Saint Mary College
Mary Ann Reilly, Blueprints for Learning

Reader’s Theater for English Language Learners: No Longer Just for Fluency!
This report of a study in progress focuses on an innovative literacy strategy, Reader’s Theater, and its applications to improving not only fluency but also comprehension skills of English Language Learners. Specifically, this small pilot study looked at the impact of introducing a Reader’s Theater strategy component to an after school literacy tutoring program designed to support ELLs grades 2-4. Qualitative tutor feedback data on the effectiveness of Reader’s Theater will be shared and discussed. (Grades 2-4)
Robin James, Western Connecticut State University

Modern Technology: Achieving Multimodality in Literacy Education
Each year, the technological world grows at an exponential rate. In a time where students have access to video games, computers, and smart phones, it has become increasingly difficult for the teacher to engage the students in his or her classroom. Former methods used in literacy pedagogy fail to stimulate students to the extent that they did in the past. By adapting his or her teaching methods to incorporate more modern technology, the teacher can rediscover how to stimulate the classroom. Some technologies that the presentation will focus on are Animotos, iMovie, and similar computer software.
William C. Biersack, Mount Saint Mary College
Lindsay E. Bordonaro, Mount Saint Mary College
Danielle Farragher, Mount Saint Mary College
Jane Gangi, Mount Saint Mary College

Session I Workshops for Parents

Strategies for Parents to Support Readers and Writers (Childhood)
In this presentation, we will model and share strategies for parents to use when working with students at home to support developing readers and writers. We will offer suggestions to make the experience of reading at home with children meaningful and a chance to help children to grow as readers. Suggestions for supporting writing will also be shared and modeled. Various hand-outs will be provided with suggested book titles for different ages, and ideas and activities to encourage reading and writing. Come and find out what you can do now to support your child’s efforts in becoming a lifelong reader and writer!
Reva Cowan, Mount Saint Mary College
Debby Hill, Mount Saint Mary College

Strategies for Parents to Support Readers and Writers (Adolescence)
Parents play a critical role in the continued development of adolescents’ reading and writing skills. This presentation will provide parents with a variety of strategies that will help them support their children’s continued reading and writing development through the middle and secondary grades. Specific strategies will include modeling quality literacy practices, locating in-school and out-of-school literacy support services, accessing high quality, age appropriate texts; and will include discussion of supporting adolescents’ reading interests, talking about books, and providing encouragement. A variety of resources will be shared which will help parents help their children develop an enduring interest in a variety of texts, and develop the skills necessary to be successful in the secondary grades and beyond.
Matt Hollibush, Mount Saint Mary College

Workshop Offered as a Double Session Only

New SMART Notebook™ Software Facilitates Active Learning for All
New SMART Notebook™ collaborative multimedia learning software has been released for the Smart Board Interactive Whiteboard. It is a user-friendly tool with which to create engaging lessons for both the conventional literacy skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking, and the 21st Century skills of collaboration, interaction, and problem solving. A dynamic multimedia tool, Smart Board, also serves to reduce fear and complacency toward technology.
Ludmila Smirnova, Mount Saint Mary College

Session II Workshops

Write On! Implementing Writer’s Workshop in Intermediate Grades
Participants will be given the tools and training necessary to implement a Writer’s Workshop in the intermediate grades. A complete overview of the Writer’s Workshop model will be covered, including a mock mini-lesson session, and a focus on utilizing “Authors as Mentors” to teach conventions, craft, and the process of writing through authentic reading and writing experiences. Attendants will be given helpful handouts for using the workshop approach, including how to assess learners as writers. (Grades 2-6)
Jennifer Bryant, The Hebrew Academy
Joan Kestenbaum, The Hebrew Academy

Embracing Equity in Literacy through Drama
Drama is an under-utilized approach to literacy in classrooms, yet research (Marzano, 2003; Podlozny, 2001) shows that children know more tomorrow and a year from tomorrow after having experienced literature through drama. Winner and Hetland (2000) established a causal link between drama and oral language and recall of stories; with such research it seems we should privilege drama in our pedagogy. In this session, we will explore the power of enacting texts based on story. (Grades 5-12)
Jane Gangi, Mount Saint Mary College
William C. Biersack, Mount Saint Mary College

The Daily 5 — Authentic Reading and Writing in the Elementary Classroom
The Daily 5 , created by The Sisters, is an inclusive framework for plac- ing authentic reading and writing tasks front and center into your literacy block. Participants will learn how to plan for, introduce, and implement The Daily 5 into an elementary classroom.
Kristin Slover, Pine Bush Elementary School

Sharpening Literacy Skills through Movement
This interactive workshop will explore the link between literacy and movement. Participants will learn basic mime and rhythmic activities, specifically designed to teach literacy skills in developmentally appropriate ways. Special emphasis will be placed on how the universal language of movement “speaks” across barriers of age, race, gender, and socio-economic backgrounds.
Karen Montanaro, Performing Artist and Teacher of “Imagination in Action”

Community Mapping: Situating Learning within the Community Context
In this session we will share how community mapping can help teachers challenge assumptions they may hold about the community they teach in and therefore the families and students who live in it. Community mapping helps to extend learning opportunities for everyone involved. Digital Stories created by teachers and teacher candidates will be shared which show how multimodel learning has been used to help “embrace equity.”
Kristin Rainville, Manhattanville College

ART SPARK — Authentic Writing from Art
In this session, participants engage in a multimodal process called ART SPARK. Using an 8 page booklet, we create “sparks” that become the motivation and driving force to help students write and illustrate a story. The process can be modified for different curricular areas and differentiated for ability. (Grades 3-12)
Sara Ingram, Poet and Educator

Embodying Learning: Preventing K-2 Reading Difficulties through Transmediated Literacies
In this session the presenter will demonstrate several arts-based methods (all transmediated) for disrupting literacy-based difficulties with primary grade children based on work being done in public schools in Newark, NJ. Additionally, the presenter will share several e-books she has made using iBook Author that are being employed as a form of professional learning for K-2 educators.
Mary Ann Reilly, Blueprints for Learning