2017 Conference


Conference Schedule

8:30am - 9:00am - Registration and Light Refreshments (Cafetorium)

9:00am - 9:10am - Welcome To Southland Learning (Cafetorium)

9:15am - 10:00am - Session 1

10:15am - 11:00am - Session 2

11:15am - 12:00pm - Session 3

12:15pm - 1:00pm - Closing and Light Lunch

The Southland Learning Conference is proud to partner with the IL ASCD

Session Summary

Scroll down the page to find additional session descriptions and information!


9:15am - 10:00am

1001 - Curiosity in the Classroom

1002 - "Scratch"ing the Surface of Coding

1005 - Equitable Access to the SMPs through Purposeful Number Talk Progressions

1006 - Google Tips and Tricks for Educators

1010 - MANAGE and CARE using Time to Teach

1011 - 52 Reasons Students Should Play Card Games

1012 - Subtraction Fluency: Moving from Concrete to Abstract

1013 - Maker-centric Learning Experiences

1017 - Breakout EDU - It's Elementary

1018 - WeVideo: See Kiddies Grow

1019 - Vocabulary Formative Assessments:

Session 2

10:15am - 11:00am

1001 - What's the Hype with HyperDocs?

1002 - "Scratch"ing the Surface of Coding

1005 - Culture Matters! Understanding the Needs of English Learners Entering U.S. Schools

1006 - Google Tips and Tricks for Educators

1010 - Innovation in the Classroom

1011 - 52 Reasons Students Should Play Card Games

1012 - Teaching Literacy to Newcomers

1013 - Made from Scratch!

1017 - Breakout EDU - It's Elementary

1018 - Digital Differentiation

1019 - STEMenergy

1026 - Innovative Math Class

Session 3

11:15a - 12:00pm

1001 - Curiosity in the Classroom

1002 - Social Emotional Learning / MTSS

1005 - Flip your Science Classroom

1006 - Digital Differentiation

1010 - Innovation in the Classroom

1011 - Behavior Function: Why Kids Do What They Do

1012 - Subtraction Fluency: Moving from Concrete to Abstract

1013 - Made from Scratch!

1017 - Science is a Verb!

1018 - Improving Parent Communication with Class Dojo

1019 - Partnering with Parents & the Community

1026 - Innovative Math Class

Session Descriptions

52 Reasons Students Should Play Card Games

Jackie McMahon & Darci Van Kalker -

Session 1,2 - Room 1011

In this session, learn card games your students can play during BUILD or center time. Wondering why you should incorporate card games as part of your math block? Playing card games can help improve executive functioning skills, number sense as well as basic math skills.

Behavior Function: Why Kids Do What They Do

Colleen Kapelinski & Jordan Tsoulos -

Session 3 - Room 1011

Do you ever find that you ask yourself Why would they do that?!? Believe it or not, there are only 4 functions of behavior. In this session, you will learn about those four functions and gain some insight into some tools to help you create both proactive and reactive plans to address some of that head scratching behavior in your classroom.

BreakoutEdu -It's Elementary!

Susan Whited & Lindsey Jones - @whited_susan

Session 1,2 - Room 1017

Come Breakout! Hear an elementary teacher and instructional coach talk about their experience facilitating the game where students use teamwork and critical thinking to solve a series of challenging puzzles in order to open the locked box. Games are available for all ages and content areas.

Culture Matters! Understanding the Needs of English Learners Entering U.S. Schools

Barbara Zieba & Nisrin Al-Takriti -

Session 2 - Room 1005

Not all English Learners are the same. The session will talk about understanding the differences between refugee, immigrant, native born, and LEP students. The presenters will share CCSS related ideas and resources to implement in your classroom as well as artifacts from the presenters' teaching experience.

Curiosity in the Classroom

Steve Wick - @WickedEdTech

Session 1,3 - Room 1001

Questions are more important than answers. Inquiry learning connects classroom activities to student voice and choice. An important component of Inquiry learning is curiosity. This session will explore the importance of curiosity and then connect educators to practical resources to inspire a sense of curiosity. Educators will explore, collaborate, and begin to create an activity connected to curiosity.

Digital Differentiation

Joseph Tita - @JoeTweeta

Session 2 - Room 1018

Session 3 - Room 1006

Differentiation is not something that can be downloaded; however, thanks to digital tools like Google Drive and Google Classroom, creating differentiated learning experiences has never been more achievable. Attendees of this session will receive an overview of the basics of differentiation theory and then delve into ways technology tools can support instruction that meets the needs of a diverse audience of learners.

Equitable Access to the SMPs through Purposeful Number Talk Progressions

Anne Agostinelli - @anneagost

Session 1 - Room 1005

Students develop deeper understandings of number and have greater computational fluency when they build from concrete strategies to representational and abstract thinking. We will explore progressions of number talks centered around quantitative reasoning to advance the Standards for Mathematical Practice (SMPs) in our students.

Flip your Science Classroom

Maggie Omiecinski - @Mrs_Omiecinski

Session 3 - Room 1005

This session will provide educators the tools to transform their traditional Science class to an inquiry-based environment. We will discuss the integration of the NGSS cross cutting concepts into your classroom, along with providing cost effective ways to hold quick challenges to foster curiosity.

Google Tips and Tricks for Educators

Kathryn Ringhofer - @KathrynA_Smith

Session 1,2 - Room 1006

Unharness the power of Google to amplify planning, instruction, student engagement, and assessment!

Learn about free and innovative extensions, add-ons, shortcuts, Google Classroom hacks, and a host of tools that will save you time, increase productivity, and take your instruction and planning to the next level!

A Google Presentation with tutorials and links will be provided. Please bring a laptop or other device for hands-on exploration.

Improving Parent Communication with Class Dojo

Kathy Poulopoulos - @KathyPoulo1

Session 3 - Room 1018

In a high poverty district it is always challenging to reach parents in traditional ways. Class Dojo has allowed me to collaborate with parents in a way that I have never done before. In this session you will be exploring different ways to use Class Dojo to improve communication with parents. Work time will also be provided.

Innovation in the Classroom

Emmie Pawlak - @efpawlak

Session 2,3 - Room 1010

How do we define innovation? More importantly, how do we get our teachers to a place where they feel like they have the tools to be innovative and help their kids be innovative? This session will give you some ideas!

Innovative Math Class

Annie Forest - @mrsforest

Session 2,3 - Room 1026

With so many resources available online and technology available to our students, how can we balance what we know about good mathematics instruction with a desire to be innovative? With experience in 1:1 classrooms as a math teacher and instructional coach, I will give you practical ideas to using tech tools to bring out student thinking, plan for instruction, and advance your own professional learning. Go beyond digital worksheets and skill and drill. Become the innovative educator you want to be!

Made from Scratch!

Margaret Nugent , Allison Eifler, Pam Skordas - @margaretn11

Session 2,3 - Room 1013

Add a pinch of coding and a dash of creativity to spice up your curriculum. Learn the basics of Scratch and Scratch Jr. Kindergarten and 3rd grade teachers will share their experiences integrating coding with literacy and math. There will be opportunities for participants to explore the features of Scratch Jr.

Maker-centric Learning Experiences

Sarah Margalus & Jayson Margalus - @SarahMargalus

Session 1 - Room 1013

Teachers will be able to design and facilitate maker-centric experiences for students that directly support learning standards. Teachers will note patterns amongst learning standards that support experiences in making and inquiry. Presenters will share the theory behind thinking through making and how teachers can facilitate these types of experiences.

MANAGE and CARE using Time to Teach

Dr. Lucianne Brown - @docbrown15

Session 1 - Room 1010

You care! That’s the bottom line for every teacher in America. In one session, you will learn effective, up-front strategies and techniques for your classroom that nurture every child.

Yes, you can teach even the hard to reach student. Yes, you can lower disciplinary referrals for administrators. Come to this workshop and learn research-based strategies to reclaim instruction time and reduce discipline problems.

An effective teacher manages a classroom. An ineffective teacher disciplines a classroom. Harry Wong

Fact is: It is time to reclaim instruction time! Do we truly have high expectations when we allow students to act inappropriately? What message are we sending them when we pay students to behave? We can no longer continue going through the motions and expect positive change. We need to take a stand for what is best… high expectations for academics and discipline… it only makes sense! -5 Main (Foundational Beliefs) -Self-Control -Physical Component-Classroom Environment -Teach To’s -Social Component (Rapport) -REFOCUS

Partnering with Parents

Paul Enderle & Larry Fetchko - @PaulEnderle

Session 3 - Room 1019

Join us for a collaborative discussion session to share your best practices in developing and utilizing parents and community resources as partners in education.

Science is a Verb!

Craig Gaska -

Session 3 - Room 1017

Science is a verb, not a noun! Science is something that students do, not the passive acquisition of facts and figures. Carl Sagan, renowned astronomer, stated, Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge. Scientific thinking is at the core of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The goal of this workshop is to help you use the NGSS to invigorate science in the classroom. You will learn how to bring the standards to life by using strategies that integrate the spirit of the NGSS into your current curriculum. Dr. Gaska will present the conceptual changes and balanced, three-dimensional approach to teaching called for in the standards and how to best use the information on the NGSS website for effective lesson planning.

Scratch-ing the Surface of Coding

Michael Abramczyk & Megan Hacholski - @_on11

Session 1,2 - Room 1002

This presentation will be an introduction to coding in the classroom, using Google CS First and Scratch. We will gear the presentation towards educators that have never worked with coding before, beginning with an brief overview of the Google CS First program. Then, we will teach the basics of Scratch coding - ‘say’ and ‘broadcast’ blocks, along with basic motions. This will be the bulk of the presentation. Finally, we will discuss how to integrate coding into the curriculum, with ideas for each subject area. Your life will never be the same.

Social Emotional Learning /MTSS

Okab Hassan -

Session 3 - Room 1002

The actual implementation of an exemplary program of MTSS / Social emotional needs of students and Problem soloving process at Peck.


Sharon Bird - @TeachingBird1

Session 2 - Room 1019

Using the NEED curriculum and materials to develop STEM activities that allow students to explore ways to utilize alternative energy sources.

Subtraction Fluency: Moving from Concrete to Abstract

Cathy Lindsey & Sheila Lettiere -

Session 1,3 - Room 1012

Many students can use tools to solve facts but fail to make the connection between the tools and the numerical expressions or flash cards. This session will present games and activities to connect concrete materials to the abstract understanding of subtraction.

Teaching Literacy to Newcomers

Angela Goetz & Kelly Fitzgibbon - @angiegoetz_el

Session 2 - Room 1012

This session will feature the Language Experience Approach (LEA) to teaching literacy. This approach is especially useful with new English Learners (ELs) of any age. LEA features a shared experience, and subsequent co-constructed text, which is used to teach reading and writing skills using language the students are familiar with.

Vocabulary Formative Assessments: Using Technology to Promote Vocabulary Acquisition in the Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking Domains of the Common Core State Standards

Caroline Sweiss - @sweissELA

Session 1 - Room 1019

We all know that students generally can use context clues to decode the meaning of unfamiliar words. However, how can we get students to learn these words forever and not merely to decode the meaning of a text temporarily? This presentation will afford educators an opportunity to see and engage in a variety of vocabulary formative assessment tools, mainly through the use of technology. The presentation will begin with a brief overview of the significant research on vocabulary acquisition, followed by a focus on vocabulary formative assessments using technology tools.

As vocabulary is an integral component of the English Language Arts Common Core Standards, the strategies for vocabulary acquisition will support the ELA Common Core Standards. The strategies and tools can be applied to vocabulary acquisition in other content areas, including science and social studies.

WeVideo: See Kiddies Grow

Eleni Vrettos & Student Presenters - @msvrettos

Session 1 - Room 1018

With the online video editing tool, WeVideo, students transform the old literacy of a language arts classroom research paper to a creative opportunity of production that reaches an audience beyond the teacher and reaches students’ needs. This session will explain the tool, its potential use, and then give audience members the opportunity to try it out.

What's the Hype with HyperDocs?

Steve Wick - @rechargeedu

Session 2 - Room 1001

When students are connected they can take ownership of their learning. HyperDocs can serve as a framework for student-centered activities with the teacher as a facilitator of learning. A good HyperDoc provides endless opportunities for critical thinking, collaboration, communication, curiosity, and creativity. This session will provide an opportunity for participants to learn more about HyperDocs and how to utilize them effectively in the classroom for learning, exploring, and collaborating. In addition, participants will be given time to explore, collaborate, and get started on create a HyperDoc to use in their classrooms.