Pre-Conference Sessions

Registration for all sessions is limited and space is on a first-paid basis. 

Elizabeth Schroeder

Teaching about Sexuality and Relationships Education: 
Modeling Activities, Building Skills 

During this full-day, interactive workshop, sexuality education expert Dr. Elizabeth Schroeder will address a range of topics and skills relating to teaching about sexuality and relationships at the middle school level. Included in the content will be determining whether particular content is age-appropriate for students at this age, ensuring content is both culturally competent and inclusive of all genders and sexual orientations. Activities that participants can take away with them will be modeled and used to reinforce the need for experiential learning, demonstrate how to pay attention to diverse learning styles and build skills in responding to challenging questions or situations in the classroom.
Renee Hobbs

Engaging Learners with Media Literacy in the Middle Grades

The full-day pre-conference introduces seven instructional strategies that advance the intellectual curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, communication skills and reflective thinking of middle-grades learners. When you have these tools in your toolkit, every lesson in every subject area can become a place when media literacy competencies are activated. Learn how to use the full power of print, visual, sound and digital media texts and technologies to advance students' learning. In this highly interactive session, Hobbs uses a mix of lecture, demonstration of model lessons, lesson study, and discussion - plus participants will create multimedia, using simple and free media production tools. When middle-grade learners become multimedia authors and producers in your classroom, their learning exceeds every expectation.
Kevin Hawkins and Amy Burke
 Mindful Teacher: Mindful School

Mindfulness is in the news everywhere these days but how do we sift through all that information to find what’s really of value for middle school teachers and students? In this one-day workshop we will explore 3 key aspects of mindfulness in education: Being Mindful; Teaching Mindfully; and Teaching Mindfulness.

Not everybody wants or needs to be a teacher of mindfulness but starting from where we are, we can all explore what it means to be mindful and especially how to teach more mindfully. Using the most relevant research and theory on mindfulness in education, participants will be guided through a series of experiential exercises to discover how being more mindful can enhance teaching and learning. We will also draw on participants’ own experiences of the challenges and possibilities of bringing greater self-awareness to our teaching. In looking at the development of mindfulness in education we must take into account not just varying degrees of experience and interest among teachers but also the distinct culture and characteristics of individual schools. There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for introducing mindfulness into the classroom. In this pre-conference we will look at examples of best practice from around the world to consider how schools are applying mindfulness in various areas of the curriculum and school life. Research-based Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) programs, especially in the USA, are now becoming more widely accepted; we will look at ways in which mindfulness training can both support and enliven social and emotional learning for students and for teachers, contributing to the development of a more mindful and nourishing school culture. We believe that the key to successful mindfulness education in schools is the recognition of the importance of teacher self-care. Our ability to develop self-awareness can help us connect more authentically with our students, manage our stress more effectively, and make teaching more enjoyable. Whether your intention is to teach mindfulness, to teach more mindfully or to just find out about mindfulness in education, this workshop will have something for you.
 Erahm Christopher

Inspire Creative Storytelling Using Film

This intensive and interactive workshop will teach you how to inspire creativity in the classroom with film.  Using interactive discussions, multi-media examples and hands-on activities, Christopher will lead a fun,
fast-paced session that will challenge the way you see and hear films. During the first part of the program he will illustrate how different creative elements work together in a movie to create a compelling story so
you can teach your students how to formulate solid creative concepts. Christopher will showcase several educational projects he created with students (grades 4 - 12) to demonstrate how he inspired creativity,
encouraged collaboration and built awareness toward important issues using story and film driven projects.  Throughout the second part of the program you will engage in two collaborative exercises that will challenge you to work in small teams to create unique stories on paper and with images.  The mediums Christopher will cover throughout the program will include animation, stop-motion, documentary and scripted live-action. This session is intended for educators who are curious about how to use film in the
classroom and who are interested in inspiring students to be passionate, socially aware, and creative storytellers.
Adam Gasiewjewski

Full Day Trip to Auschwitz
There is a 25€ travel supplement for this pre-conference.

The one who does not remember history is bound to live through it again. George Santayana
They expect the worst - they do not expect the unthinkable.  Charlotte Delbo

For hundreds of years, Poles and Jews called the town of Oswiecim, Poland home. Families grew. Businesses flourished. Churches and synagogues were filled with the sound of prayer. Then the Nazis came. Oswiecim was renamed Auschwitz, and the past life disappeared in the fires that burned at the concentration camps built across the river. Throughout the world, Auschwitz has become a symbol of terror, genocide, and the Holocaust.  This pre-conference will meet early in the morning (around 7:15 a.m.) in the Marriott lobby, travel by train to Kraków, and then by minibus to Oswiecim. Return to the hotel will be late (around 10:00 p.m.). Lunch and dinner will be provided.  There will also be some time to explore the beautiful city of Kraków.
Trudi van der Tak and Jennifer Wood

Day Trip through Warsaw

This pre-conference will feature visits to the Warsaw Rising Museum, the new Museum of the history of Polish Jews, as well as remnants and monuments of life in Warsaw under Nazi occupation.  The morning session will visit one of these two outstanding museums in addition to visiting sites such as the fragments of the Ghetto Wall and the monument to the heroes of the Warsaw Uprising.  After a break for lunch, participants will then be accompanied by the other respective guide and visit the second museum. 

John Hunt 

Let's get STEMulated!

You will have a "blast" spending the morning doing sixteen science grabbers. Using discrepant events, you will get students immersed in learning science concepts. Have fun doing these counterintuitive/STEM grabbers, learning the content, and making connections to the real world. After a break for lunch, we will take a trip the Copernicus Science Center to gain more insight into engaging our students in the science classroom. Remember, "If you are not having fun teaching, then your students are not having fun learning." Join us, and let's have fun learning together.