Vienna 2017‎ > ‎

Pre-conferences

Register using our online form.
Registration for all sessions is limited and space is on a first-paid basis.

Dave F. Brown




 New Findings on Young Adolescent Development: Implications for Middle Level Educators

How does early physical maturity affect students? How many of your students have reached full cognitive growth? How do students’ identities affect their behaviors and academic efforts?  How should unique young adolescent brain growth affect your instructional planning? Why are your students so distracted by social media? Why do young adolescents seek emotional stimulation and sensation seeking? Is zero-tolerance wise education policy for middle level schools? What effect does your body language have on students? Why are your students always saying they’re stressed?

You know a great deal about your students, especially if you’ve been teaching for a few years; but do you understand why they act the way they do? Join me as we spend a day discussing recent findings that describe just who young adolescents really are. We’ll start with a simple true/false quiz; to launch a discussion with your colleagues revealing what you think you know about your students.


Throughout the day, I’ll share student voices from surveys and interviews about the challenges they face; and what they expect of you, as their teachers. You’ll have opportunities to share some of the experiences you’ve had teaching young adolescents and ask questions about their often, apparent “strange” behaviors. We’ll delve into recent adolescent brain research findings, and how they should influence your daily practices. We’ll correct inaccurate paradigms about your students. Our objective for the day: to leave with a newfound understanding of just why your students act the way they do; and to arm yourselves with some strategies for encouraging and guiding their healthy overall growth.

Tom Daccord


App Smashing and the Creative Classroom

App-Smashing is the process of using multiple apps to create, modify, remix, edit and publish content that could not have been created with just one app. Integrating the power and flexibility of the iPad iOS, appsmashing provides students and teachers the ability to create truly remarkable content on an iPad. In this session, participants will gain hands-on experience app-smashing with a small but versatile app toolkit that facilitates student-created content. From active reading to creating text, images, audio, video and more, you’ll work hands-on with creative apps such as Book Creator, Pic Collage, Shadow Puppet Edu, Tellagami, and Draw & Tell, plus nurture basic "app smashing" scenarios that increase the device's creative potential. We will examine strategies for creating innovative learning environments with "evergreen" apps such as as well as possibilities for social, collaborative learning.


Using apps that help students create representations of their learning on the iPad, educators have more than enough firepower to develop creative and purposeful activities. These activities not only extend the entire academic year, but also help generate what author and Harvard professor Tony Wagner terms “a culture of innovation”— an environment that encourages students to be the kind of active, immersed thinkers essential for today’s cognitively demanding and ever-changing world.


Please note: participants of Tom’s session should plan to bring an iPad and a list of requested apps to download for use during the pre-conference will be sent out prior to the Vienna conference.


Brianna Gray and Jacob Rosch


 'Talking in Class': Harnessing the Power of Student Conversation

With ties to achievement, the student-centred classroom, differentiation, and many international standard sets, communication and speaking skills are essential to the 21st-century student--but where do they fit into the curriculum?  From fifth grade conversations over fractions, to eighth grade discussions on Newton’s laws, to restyled World Cultures presentations: with creative planning, dialogue opportunities can be integrated into any pre-established classroom content to help students learn through talking.


This preconference session (for educators of any subject or grade level) will explore the latest research behind increasing classroom conversation in a way that is meaningful and immediately applicable. The day includes lesson examples, videos of implementation, and experiencing a range of dialogue activities based on academic conversation structures. Using a framework, participants will collaboratively develop ways to incorporate student discourse into their already-established curricula, including alternative assessment techniques, and will leave with resources that include all of the ideas generated in the session and a workbook of reproducible activities.


The day comprises plenty of opportunities to experience peer discourse activities first-hand as well as engage in meaningful conversations about the role communication plays in teaching and learning.

Laurie Halse Anderson

Finding Your Own Voice

Have you ever wanted to write a book, but are intimidated by the blank page? Has your Muse been smothered by your Inner Critic?


This session will help you recover your writing inspiration, reacquaint you with your creative spirit, and help you build your writing dream into reality. If you’re interested, we can also discuss the path to publication. While the session is aimed at you as a writer, everything we discuss will help you better understand the emotional challenges that writing creates for your students, and how you can help them find their writing voice.


Mike Johnston

Education for a Better World: Bringing Greater Purpose and Improved Learning to Schools

We have wonderful opportunities to connect students to the world around them everyday. We don’t prepare students for the real world; they live in the real world! Middle School learners walk the line between becoming overwhelmed by complexity and striving to make a difference through taking action in their local communities. There has never been a better time for greater purpose in education as the sustainable development goals look to create the world we wish to live in out to 2030. This workshop will help educators gain knowledge, skills and understanding to educate towards a more sustainable future.


Middle school students can embrace complexity, tackle global issues, dig deeply into the concept of sustainability and take very meaningful action. We are all born systems thinkers; sometimes it’s just a matter of opening the door to the amazing interconnected web that is our world of nature, economics, society and wellbeing. We will learn together about the concepts, tools and approaches it takes to bring greater purpose to everyday learning. This workshop is for everyone, teachers, leaders, or any stakeholder in schools.

Mark Overmeyer

Perspectives on Feedback and Formative Assessment

In this interactive workshop, teachers will engage in learning opportunities that will focus on the following topics:

  • Various perspectives from educational experts on the importance of feedback

  • Classroom structures that maximize opportunities for providing feedback

  • The importance of meaningful talk between students, and between students and teachers

  • Using assessment to inform instruction rather than to merely evaluate


The format of the day-long session will be a series of workshops that will include reading, writing, and either math or science. Teachers will be actively engaged as learners throughout the day, and ample time will be provided for teachers to reflect and discuss topics. All subject area teachers are welcome to attend – the content is not subject specific. 

Susan Seekirchner

Vienna's Musical Past
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Waltzing, Wine and Wiener schnitzel – three things that most people associate with Vienna.  But did you know that Vienna was the home to classical music’s most influential composers?  Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig von Beethoven, Franz Schubert and Johann Strauss II composed what we could call “Classical Music’s Greatest Hits” in this city.

In this full day music history workshop you will walk the same streets as these composers, learn how their lives and works were intertwined with the royal families of their times, visit their homes and end with a tour of their final resting place, the Central Cemetery.   

Your guide will be Susan Seekirchner, music teacher at the American International School.  Since moving to Vienna in 1990, she has immersed herself in the history and culture of the city and looks forward to sharing her insights with you!  Please note that we will be walking outside most of the day!  Please wear comfortable, warm shoes and be ready for the weather.

 Peter Welch

Working Across Cultures - The Communication Challenge for Educators

In this interactive, practical and engaging session, we will explore how international educators can address the complex challenges of communicating across cultures. Drawing on a range of cultural theory, we will develop insights into our own cultural communication style. Participants will be encouraged to think about how their style fits with the international students in our classrooms. We will explore an innovative tool for analyzing and measuring how we get better at cross-cultural communication in schools. Finally, we will work together on a some curriculum planning to get to the heart of the cultural values clash that we navigate in our classrooms each day.