Mini-Workshops from Prolinguistica
Very Short Courses for Busy Parents and Teachers
Summer - 2005

What's a "mini-workshop?
Mini-workshops are short classes, nearly all just 3 hours long and none with an enrollment of more than 12 participants. All workshops are designed to be useful to both parents and teachers; material is presented in a straightforward and comprehensible way. The workshops offer engaging, immediately useable information and activities for public and private school teachers, and are also a great source of motivating ideas for parents who home-school. Most of the workshops involve participants in hands-on, active learning, with lecture components kept to a minimum. Because class size is limited to 12 participants, we can cover nearly as much material in three hours as a larger group would cover in a day, and do it in a more relaxed and personal atmosphere. For teachers, clock hours are being arranged through The Heritage Institute.


Our Summer schedule will be posted in early July so please check back at that time! Meanwhile, please browse our list of classes below, so you'll know what great offerings await you just a little later this summer!


Creativity – What is it? and Where can I Get Some?!

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Brief description
Who’s creative? What’s creativity, really? Does it have anything to do with learning the times tables or is it just about music and art? We’ll put the concept under a magnifying glass, and consider how we can encourage children (and adults!) to power up their creative engines for learning anything and everything!

Teacher Description
(This workshop examines more deeply the topics addressed in a public talk in Mount Vernon on January 27, 2005.) We will examine the role of creativity in learning. Jean Piaget said that the principal goal of education is to create people who can do new things - not just repeat what previous generations have done. Yet schooling also exists to pass on old knowledge - knowledge that's important to every ensuing generation - so it sometimes tends to emphasize conventionality and compliance. We will examine what creativity really is as well as who is creative: is this something only artists engage in, or is it basic to all human beings? We will also look at how learning and creativity are entwined, and how a classroom or home environment that encourages creative thinking can improve learning for any student, even those we usually label as learning disabled. We'll also discuss how we can make time for creative activities and still achieve the level of basic skills needed for students to perform in today's high stakes testing environment.

Learning Outcomes:
As a result of attending this workshop participants will learn:
1. a broader definition of creativity than they may have brought to the workshop
2. ways of speaking and behaving that encourage or crush creativity
3. how to create an environment supportive of creative learning
4. the importance of creative learning opportunities for students with learning disabilities
5. teachers and parents will leave the workshop better able to understand how to use creative learning activities to boost student self esteem and academic performance.


A Place to Learn

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Brief Description
We don’t want learning to be a “drag” – we want students of all ages to develop a love of learning. What kind of environment in the home or classroom is most likely to create that love? It’s not as simple – or as complicated - as you might think. Join us to examine the characteristics of an optimal learning environment.

Teacher Description
In this workshop we will examine the kind of environment that is most conducive to learning whether in a public or private school classroom, or a home school setting. We will look at a number of basic components: how to maintain a low affective filter, an emotionally safe place for the risky part of learning, while holding students to high standards of academic performance; the importance of balancing structured instruction with time for independent work; a look at the implications of our increased use of commercially produced workbooks that emphasize drill and rote learning; designing an environment in which students are able to create their own meaning; how team-building activities can increase student motivation and responsibility; authentic assessment and constructivism; the importance of humor and novelty, color and reality. How to weave together these strands and others with creativity and sensitivity to foment a high level of student learning.

Learning Outcomes:
As a result of attending this workshop participants will learn:
1. the basics and efficacy of "brain-friendly" instruction
2. how to help the learner create his or her own meaning from instruction and experience
3. what elements -positive and negative - to look for in instructional materials produced both commercially and by teachers
4. creating a balance in instruction at home or in school between "drill" and "authentic" activities


Could it be dyslexia?

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Brief Description
Learn what’s really going on in the brain of these often brilliant learners, what to look for, and some simple ways to shape an environment at home or in the classroom that builds on their many strengths and frees them to become all they imagine.

Teacher Description
In this workshop we will look at the underlying causes, the wide variety of symptoms associated with dyslexia, and why it seems impervious to the best intentions and efforts of conventional teaching. We'll also look at some other issues, such as ADD and ADHD, whose underlying causes may be related to those that cause dyslexic symptoms. Since the instructor is a licensed Davis Dyslexia Correction facilitator, we will of course look at the Davis method, along with some of the other forms of treatment available. The workshop will ultimately focus on a number of strategies parents can use to reduce or eliminate their child's potential to develop dyslexia, and on ways that teachers can work with children with dyslexia to allow them to develop to their fullest potential.

Learning Outcomes:
As a result of attending the workshop participants will learn:
1. the nature of the perceptual gift that can result in a dyslexic learning style
2. the wide variety of symptoms displayed by those with a dyslexic learning style
3. sources of information and support for dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, etc.
4. a number of strategies for parents to sue with children age 3 and up to minimize the chances that they will develop a dyslexic learning style
5. how to create an optimal learning environment for school aged children with a dyslexic learning style


Studying better, not harder

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Brief Description
Things getting a little strained around the subject of homework? Come learn some strategies for studying and learning that will cut down on time, effort, and conflict – and show the student at your house, you really aren’t the enemy after all!

Teacher Description
Some students study and study yet still have difficulty retaining enough information or acquiring the skills necessary to pass tests. We want all young people to develop a work ethic, of course, but we don't want or need them to put in so many hours on homework and test prep that they essentially miss out on family and social activities. Nor do we want them to become so overwhelmed or depressed that they give up on schooling entirely. Rather, we need to give them some tools that will help them get the most out of their study and homework time. We will consider how to structure time for home study, the kind of environment parents and teachers can create to help students stay focused, some mental strategies that can be taught to children at any age to help them mentally and physically organize the material they must master in in order to do just that.

Learning outcomes:
As a result of attending this workshop participants will learn:
1. characteristics of an optimal environment for study at home
2. organizational tools
3. strategies to "prime the mind" for successful study
4. "tried and true" strategies that don't work for many of us
5. brain-friendly strategies that do work for most of us


Cheap -- but educational -- thrills

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Brief Description
Don’t you just love tricking students into learning? Prepare to have fun. This class is all about learning games - games you don’t have to buy or download but can make for next to nothing. Or better yet, your kids can make and then play them – and hardly notice they’re actually learning something…teehee!

Teacher Description
Under the right circumstances our brains retain information with ease. Enjoyment, novelty and creative experiences can all enhance our learning in this way. We can increase a student’s retention of subject matter by delivering it, or at least some of the practice activities needed to develop facility and skill, in the form of a game – especially if the students themselves are invited to design the game. In this class we’ll examine what appeals to the brain, how to work those characteristics into learning games involving speech and movement or ideas and class materials, and how to guide our students/children in their creation of learning games.

Learning Outcomes:
As a result of attending this workshop, participants will learn:
1. how and why properly designed games support and foment learning
2. a variety of learning games both new and traditional that can be created from scratch
3. the wide variety of higher order thinking skills students learn and apply when creating their own learning games.


Drawing out Learning

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Brief Description
Drawing is a great way to engage the whole brain in learning – and you don’t have to be able to “draw a straight line” to get your kids to use this strategy to learn! Artistic talent not a requirement, just come ready to enjoy yourself and discover the many ways to use this simple, but effective strategy.

Teacher Description
Much formal school instruction relies on developing "left brain" skills, logic, analysis, intentional memorization, and other skills. But we know that introducing "right brain" activities can make instruction more accessible to a wider range of students. One such activity is drawing. A teacher can use a quick drawing to communicate more effectively, but also to lower the affective filter in the room. Teachers can also make use of student's drawings in instruction, to engage them more fully in the material they are learning. Drawing can also be a very effective strategy for building communicative skills in English language learners and students who are generally less verbally inclined. In this class we'll explore the range of teaching and learning situations where drawing can be helpful, and a variety of ways to use your own and student generated drawing in instruction. And since many of us are shy about our "artistic" abilities, we'll also learn some very simple ways to make readily recognizable cartoon characters and things.

Learning Outcomes:
As a result of attending this workshop, participants will learn:
1. how to use simple drawings to support instruction for all students, including ELLs
2. how to encourage students to use drawing to support their own studying and learning
3. how to draw simple iconic images for use in instruction
4. how to quickly illustrate student oral narratives and use them as part of instruction
5. how accessing the "right brain" can enhance learning in all subject areas


Raising a Reader

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Brief Description
We’ve been fighting about how to teach reading for over a century, but there IS a lot of intriguing research out there that offers better strategies than most of us use – a lot of which we never hear about. You will in this class! And for when we’ve got them eager to read, let’s look at some really great books.

Teacher Description
The reading wars have been going on for over a century. While for many years it's been marketed as a conflict between "touchy-feely whole language" and "scientific phonics" instruction, the description of both ends of the spectrum and inaccurate and misleading. In this course, we'll take a look at what each side claims and then at what the research actually shows. We'll look at what reading really is, and what our goals are for children as we teach them to read. We want children to learn to read and then read to learn, but is our goal broader than that? We'll examine the kinds of strategies and the environments necessary to create engaged and enthusiastic readers, the parents' role, society's role, and the role of the teacher. And ultimately we'll look at a number of wonderful books that have delighted children and adult readers for many years.

Learning Outcomes:
As a result of attending this workshop participants will learn:
1. about the history of the "reading wars"
2. about the apparent decline of reading in the United States
3. the role of research in setting reading policy at the federal and state level
4. a number of strategies for teaching reading that work
5. about a number of children's books that delight and teach


Writing Projects Kids Go For

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Brief Description
Kids not motivated to write? Let’s create some writing activities they’ll ask for! And while we’re at it, let’s figure out how to make grading them a breeze, too!

Teacher Description
Our writing standards require students to be able to write for a variety of purposes and audiences. In this class we will consider the kinds of writing most of us do in our personal and professional lives and compare them to the writing we ask students to do in school and on the WASL. We will look at the kinds of writing that young people are motivated to do, from instant messaging to blogging, and consider how we might take advantage of these media to hook them into writing in a more formal register. We'll look at writing outside the traditional expository, research, scientific and reflective genres, and discuss the kinds of projects that can engage the reluctant writers among our students. We'll also consider how we teach conventions, such as spelling and punctuation, as well as the role of reading in learning to write well. And we'll exchange views about how to structure out own work as teachers and parents in such a way as to motivate older students to take responsibility for the quality and timeliness of their work.

Learning Outcomes:
As a result of attending this workshop participants will learn:
1. how young people can gain motivation to write for different purposes and to different audiences
2. the importance to writers of "real" purposes and audiences
3. how various kinds of scaffolding can help students move from simple to more complex kinds of writing
4. a number of beginning writing projects that allow for individualization, creativity and differentiation for ability and language (ELL)
5. a different way to organize for writing projects so as to place the burden for quality and timeliness on the student, reducing grading time and conflicts.


What Can I Leave for My Sub?

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Brief Description
This one’s especially for teachers! How to quickly produce and maintain a collection of assignments and activities for when some "bug" has you flat on your back! Not just busywork, but assignments your students can enjoy, complete and learn from, with minimal direction from a substitute.

Teacher Description
In this class we'll look at the kind of environment that we need to develop in our classrooms to motivate students to work independently in small groups or pairs even when we're not there. How can we create a spirit of collaboration and responsibility, as well as activities that are engaging enough so that students will work productively without the benefit of our watchful eye? Next we'll look at a number of short projects and assignments that students can and have worked on successfully with very little supervision from a substitute teacher. We'll examine the characteristics that allow these activities to work well, so that you can apply them to your own subject area and classes.

Learning Outcomes:
As a result of attending this workshop participants will learn:
1. how to build an environment of cooperation, collaboration, and responsibility among students in middle and high school
2. how to design assignments for middle and high school students to work on independently when a substitute must be in charge of class
3. how to reduce the amount of time it takes to produce clear lesson plans for your substitute teacher


Pick a language and teach it- with TPR!

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Brief Description
Want to give your child an introduction to another language? You don’t have to be fluent – learn how to teach another language the way that’s as much fun and as effective for you, as it is for your kids! TPR – the fast and fun way to teach and learn using your body and a few props around the house or classroom!

Teacher Description
With a few resources and relatively little expertise in the language you are interested in, you can in fact teach quite a bit of that language to your children at home or to students in your classroom as an enrichment component. While the Washington EALRs don't yet include learning a foreign language, the skills students acquire in the process of learning another language are embedded in the EALRs relating to language and communication. In addition, recent studies show that learning to speak another language has an effect on your overall cognitive development, similar to the well known "Mozart" effect. In this class we'll learn how TPR theory, Total Physical Response, can help you teach (and learn) a language in a way that's fun for both teachers and learners -- it's energizing and there's literally no pain, but lots of gain. After teaching you how to implement the strategy, we'll also show you some resources available for teaching a number of different languages via TPR, and direct you to resources that can help you build your own language skills so that you'll feel more confident in your ability to lead a family or a class in a TPR lesson.

Learning Outcomes:
As a result of attending this workshop participants will learn:
1. how to use Total Physical Response (TPR) method of language instruction to teach any language
2. about a number of resources that complement the teaching and learning of languages with TPR


Registration Information

Below are our general registration procedures - But please check back in early July, when our summer schedule is available. We apologize for the inconvenience!

Classes are all 3 hours in length and are held at the offices of Prolinguistica in Mount Vernon. Each class is offered on a week-day evening and again on a Saturday morning in case you’re simply too tired or too busy to attend a class after work!

The price for each class is $39.95 per person. Classes are limited to 12 participants and we will take registrations on a first come, first served basis. If a class you want has filled before we receive your registration form, we will contact you by phone, return or adjust your payment, or we’ll gladly put you at the top of the waiting list for the next round of classes. To register:

1. Decide which class(es) you want to sign up for.
2. Print out and complete the registration form.
3. Enclose the form with payment in an envelope and mail to:
          Prolinguistica
          1007 S 21st Place
          Mount Vernon, WA 98274

4. When we receive your registration, we'll send you an email confirmation of your enrollment.
5. Don’t forget to keep a record of the date and time of your class!

We can accept personal checks, money orders or cashier’s checks, and school district purchase orders. We also accept cash payment, but please don’t send cash through the US Mail. Checks should be made payable to Prolinguistica.

If it’s more convenient for you, you can also register by calling (360.848.9792) or by sending an email to: workshops@prolinguistica.com We will temporarily reserve your space but must receive your payment to guarantee it.

Clock Hours

Three clock hours per workshop pending.

Need more information? Give Laura a call at 360.848.9792 or send an email with your questions.

Click here for a map and/or directions to our office in Mount Vernon.

 

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