Courses for K-12 Educators

Course Catalog

Course Title Subject Area Grade Level Common Core
A Conceptual Introduction to Functions: Using Visual Models
In this course, participants will help middle school teachers learn approaches to teaching functions using visual models. Participants in this course will become familiar with strategies to help students develop a strong conceptual understand of functions and with tasks that allow students to explore situations of both linear and non-linear functions. Participants will also engage in creating classroom tasks to help students make connections between multiple representations of functions. Participants will evaluate a variety of applets throughout this course, and they will conduct an interview with a small group of students about their experiences using an applet. In the final project for this course, participants will design a lesson plan using an applet to explore the concept of function.
Math High School
Middle School
Common Core
Algebraic Thinking in Elementary School
This course provides teachers of grades 3 through 5 with an opportunity to explore how activities that foster algebraic thinking can be integrated into the elementary classroom. Algebraic thinking consists of more than just learning how to solve for the variables x and y, it helps students think about mathematics at an abstract level, and provides them with a way to reason about real-life problems. In this course, participants will explore three components of algebraic thinking: making generalizations, thinking about the equals sign, and being able to reason about unknown quantities. As participants stretch their own algebraic reasoning skills, they will also spend considerable time thinking about how to integrate algebraic tasks into their own classroom instruction. This course uses readings, video, online discussion boards, a final project, and engaging mathematics problems to promote the idea that the incorporation of algebraic thinking tasks in elementary school mathematics is critical to students' future success.
Math Elementary Common Core
Best Practices in Vocabulary Instruction for English Language Learners
Having sufficient vocabulary knowledge is requisite for successful academic communication. Whether students are English language learners (ELLs) or struggling with reading comprehension and communication, direct vocabulary instruction is important in all content areas. This course is designed to help teachers and other educators learn new ways to extend the vocabularies of students in order to help them become proficient and independent readers and communicators. This course will acquaint teachers with the Common Core’s approach to teaching vocabulary and general best practices for direct vocabulary instruction across the curriculum. Throughout this course you will learn about vocabulary activities to improve student vocabulary in reading, writing, listening and speaking activities. In addition, you will learn how to use Web 2.0 tools to differentiate instruction for a variety of student populations. By the end of the course, you will have developed a classroom plan focusing on using technology to support vocabulary instruction and practice.
English / Language Arts For All Educators
Best Practices for Vocabulary Instruction in the Elementary Classroom
In this course, participants will examine best practices for direct vocabulary instruction in order to build the breadth and depth of students? vocabulary for both comprehension and written expression in grades three through five. Participants will learn the importance of creating a word-conscious learning environment that encourages motivation and interest in learning new words. Participants will learn how to model and encourage independent word-learning strategies that students can apply while engaging in wide and varied reading. They will also explore the value of instructing students to infer the meaning of words from context and word parts. For their final project, participants will incorporate components of a balanced vocabulary program by designing a vocabulary lesson based on a classroom text?either fiction or non-fiction.
English / Language Arts Elementary Common Core
Best Practices for Vocabulary Instruction in the Middle School Classroom
This course will expand participants' understanding of vocabulary development and instructional techniques that are effective in helping students in grades six through eight expand their vocabularies. Participants will learn how to assess students? vocabulary knowledge and select words from a text that are most useful for instruction, including those with high-frequency Greek and Latin word parts. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to explore online resources for vocabulary development and assess their own current vocabulary teaching strategies. This course is designed to help teachers and other educators learn new ways to extend the vocabularies of middle school students.
English / Language Arts Middle School Common Core
Best Practices in Writing Instruction for English Language Learners
Teaching English language learners (ELL) to be successful writers is an important and challenging task that requires quality instructional strategies and an equitable classroom climate for learning. This course helps teachers of ELL students and struggling writers learn skills and strategies for using technology to enhance the writing process and to help all students become more successful, proficient writers. You will examine several web-based tools that allow students to collaborate across space and time and create visual and audio presentations to creatively demonstrate their understanding and express their ideas in writing. As a final project, you will develop a writing lesson focusing on using technology to support ELL students in the writing process.
English / Language Arts
World Language
For All Educators Common Core
Building Problem Solving Skills in Grades K-4
Students in grades K-4 are faced with new, unfamiliar problems in school each day many of them in math lessons. How do these students use their existing knowledge to make sense of new problems, and what strategies do they use to solve them? In this course, participants will learn what it means to do math problem solving activities and consider the benefits of integrating these types of problems into their elementary math instruction. Specific problem solving techniques from guess and check to create a model will be discussed. In addition to stretching and considering their own problem solving skills, participants will also analyze examples of students' work to learn about their mathematical thinking and the strategies they use when faced with unfamiliar math problems. Knowing how students are thinking about a problem is only one part of helping them to become better solvers of problems, learning to ask questions that challenge, clarify, and broaden their thinking is also essential. Participants will learn strategies for asking questions that promote problem solving skills and conduct a small group interview with students to practice these strategies. Towards the end of this course participants will apply what they have learned to their own classrooms, creating a lesson plan for integrating problem solving activities that they can use in their instruction.
Math Elementary
Classroom Assessment Enhanced by Technology
Effective assessment is a key element for student achievement and a topic that all people in the field of education must address. Assessment is an ongoing process, requiring multiple methods to assure that teachers gather accurate information that meets the needs of all students. In this course, participants will explore effective principles of classroom assessment at all grade levels and subject areas and a range of assessment methods supported by technology. Participants will review formative and performance assessment, backwards design, and various methods including rubrics and electronic portfolios. By the end of the course, participants will design new assessments to use with their curriculum.
For All Educators
Creating a Language Rich Environment
One of the most important tasks for children in the first five years of life is the development of language. Children enter early care settings with vast differences in vocabulary and oral language development, and early educators can meet this challenge by providing language-rich learning environments. This course will provide early childhood educators with an understanding of young children's oral language development and appropriate approaches for promoting language and emergent literacy in their classrooms. This course will focus on effective methods for developing children's vocabulary knowledge through book reading and discussions, and advancing children's language through extended conversations. Additionally, participants will learn to create opportunities for rich discourse and build children's background knowledge. Workshops assignments will invite participants to apply relevant content and plan meaningful, language-rich curricular activities.
English / Language Arts Elementary Common Core
Data-Driven Decision Making
Improving student learning and achievement can be accomplished most effectively through the use of data analysis to understand student learning needs and to make instructional decisions. This course is designed to help participants gain knowledge and skill in using data to improve student learning. Through this course, teachers will learn the importance of using data to plan appropriate instructional experiences for their students and to identify and analyze the measures of data to understand student learning needs. Participants are guided to develop the practice of gathering and analyzing data in a systematic and continuous manner. As part of this course, participants will review data-driven decision-making theory regarding multiple measures of data and they will analyze intersections of the data to answer questions about student achievement and how to improve student learning. Participants will learn to use tools to gather and analyze formative data to identify trends and gaps in learning. As a final product in this course participants will create an action plan to guide instructional change in their own classrooms and to lead to the improvement of student learning and achievement.
For All Educators
Designing a Virtual Field Trip
This course will enable teachers of all grade levels and subject areas to use Internet resources to design a 'virtual field trip' for their students. Participants will become familiar with the strategies and resources that educators use to design these field trips, as well as tips and tricks to ensure their success. By the end of the course, participants will have designed effective and engaging virtual field trips for their students that are aligned to state and national standards.
For All Educators
Developing and Growing Personal Learning Networks for School Leaders
A day in the life of a school administrator can be one filled with many time-consuming and isolating tasks. In an age of information abundance, we all have the ability to access, organize and synthesize information in order to solve tough issues. In this course, participants will learn how to develop a Personal Learning Network by taking advantage of web-based tools that can help them address the challenges they face on a regular basis. Personal Learning Networks can connect administrators with other school leaders to find solutions to administrative issues, learn about new technology and how to use it effectively, and find links to relevant education news. After exploring exemplary school leaders who currently use these Web 2.0 tools to enhance their lives, participants will learn how tools such as blogs, microblogs, podcasts, RSS feeds, and even their mobile phones can help them to grow their Personal Learning Networks. Participants will then practice all of these tools Google Reader, Twitter, Blogger, and podcasting first hand. Participants will learn how to manage and organize information gathered from their learning networks, and how these tools can be used to reflect on professional challenges and successes or to disseminate important school news and information. As a final project, participants will post their action steps for how they will apply what they learned about Personal Learning Networks with their teachers and school community on their blogs.
For All Educators Admin
Early Childhood Book Reading Practices
Book reading in the early childhood classroom is not only one of the most important practices for building later reading success, but it is probably one of the more enjoyable experiences for both teachers and children. In this course early childhood educators will explore quality children's literature and best book reading practices. Participants will learn ways to share various genres of books in the classroom. They will learn the importance of multiple re-readings and strategies to foster children's vocabulary knowledge, print concepts, phonological awareness, and reading comprehension during large and small group readings. Workshop assignments will invite participants to research quality children's literature and develop book reading planners with specific goals for children's learning. NOTE: This course will be available 9/7/2010
English / Language Arts Elementary Common Core
Exploring the Common Core Standards of Mathematical Practice
The Common Core Math Standards describe eight Standards for Mathematical Practice applicable to students of all grades. Different than the grade-specific content standards, these practices describe the habits of mind—the ways of thinking about math—that mathematicians and successful students use. In this course, participants will explore and unpack the eight Mathematical Practices, learning what they mean and how they can be developed across all grades. Participants will read articles to deepen their understanding of the practices, watch videos to see how other teachers are fostering the practices in their curricula, listen to interviews with experts, and collaboratively develop ideas and strategies for developing the practices with students. Participants will create or rework a lesson to promote one or more of the mathematical practices in their classrooms that can be used now, regardless of whether or not the Common Core Content Standards are addressed.
Math For All Educators Common Core
Finding the Best Educational Resources on the Web
Integrating high-quality Internet resources in the classroom is an important part of teaching students to be critical locators, assessors, readers, and contributors of online content. While many rich resources are available, they are only useful if educators can find them. Today, a search engine is only part of the toolset, Web 2.0 tools like blogs, microblogs, and social bookmarking enable us to find the best resources from other people. Participants in this course will explore the range of educational material available on the Internet and develop a varied approach that uses both computer and human networks to find these resources. As a context for integrating these resources more effectively, participants will explore several teaching strategies for better digital media literacy. Participants will leave the course with an emerging personal learning network (PLN) that they may continue to nurture and a collection of web resources appropriate for their classroom use.
For All Educators
Geometric Measurement
In this course, Geometric Measurement, designed for teachers in the middle and high school grades, participants will become familiar with relevant research in teaching geometric measure and learn how to analyze student work to inform their instruction. They will complete classroom tasks designed to help them learn approaches to teaching geometric measurement to help students develop stronger conceptual understanding and procedural knowledge, especially in linear measurement, area, surface area and perimeter. They will also explore relationships between perimeter and area and between area and surface area. In addition, they will become familiar with virtual manipulatives designed to promote both conceptual and procedural knowledge around geometric measurement. For the final project, participants will complete an analysis of a math task and a personalized version of the student work template for use in their own classrooms.
Math High School
Middle School
Common Core
Geometric Measurement in 1, 2, and 3 Dimensions
In this seven-week course, participants will become familiar with relevant research in teaching geometric measurement and will learn how to analyze student work to inform their instruction. By completing classroom tasks, participants will learn how to assist students in developing stronger conceptual understanding and procedural knowledge, especially in linear measurement, area, surface area, and volume. They will also explore relationships between perimeter and area, and among area, surface area, and volume. Teachers will also be introduced to online tools, such as virtual manipulatives, applets, and simulations, and will learn how to integrate these tools into their geometry and algebra lessons. Participants will also conduct a one-on-one mathematical task with a student and then report their findings back to the group. Recording the interview, analyzing the documentation, and discussing the interview will help participants understand where students succeed and struggle, and how they can improve. These interviews will form the basis for the final project: a technology-based, Common Core-aligned, lesson plan for use in their classroom. This workshop provides professional development aligned to the Common Core Mathematics Standards through readings, activities and classroom applications of teaching strategies. The Common Core State Standards for Math establish what students should know but not how teachers should teach. This course is designed to help teachers learn instructional strategies that guide students to reach these new challenging content standards. Specific Common Core State Standards for Math addressed by this course are listed in the Standards section on this page.
Math High School
Getting Ready for Algebra with Virtual Manipulatives
This course will prepare teachers to use virtual manipulatives to help their students get ready for algebra. Participants will explore the 17 Algebra Readiness indicators developed by the SREB (Southern Region Education Board) and ETS (the Educational Testing Service), including the five 'process' indicators and the twelve 'content and skills' indicators. Participants will learn how they can use virtual manipulatives and other technologies to help their students gain proficiency in order to be successful algebra students. Participants will complete a technology enhanced classroom project for their students that is aligned to NCTM and state standards.
Math Middle School
High School
Common Core
Helping Struggling Readers Improve Comprehension
Struggling readers and writers may have difficulty decoding text, comprehending, and conveying ideas through writing. This course focuses specifically on supporting the academic development of students who are competent decoders but who struggle to understand the meaning of what they read. We will explore the different types of comprehension difficulties students may face and will introduce a number of research-based strategies to improve comprehension skills. As a final project, participants will design and implement a lesson plan focused on improving students' reading comprehension.
English / Language Arts Common Core
Implementing ELA-Literacy Common Core Standards: Focus on Assessment & Reading Standards
This course is designed to introduce participants to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English Language Arts (ELA) Literacy and the important instructional shifts of those standards, including balancing informational and literary text, building knowledge in the disciplines, understanding the “staircase of complexity,” developing text-based answers, writing from sources, and using academic vocabulary. Participants will learn to examine standards closely, unpack and explore the standards, especially those addressing reading, vocabulary and language, and build background information. In addition, participants will learn how students will demonstrate mastery of the standards, how assessments will change, and finally, how technology and multimedia support teaching and learning of these standards. Participants will showcase what they have learned by completing a lesson around one or more CCSS for ELA-Literacy.
English / Language Arts For All Educators Common Core