Teacher Presenters

Dual Language Thinking in Action: Bilingualism in the Middle School Curriculum
Frederic Taveau, Shona Wright, Dunja Chamberlain and Ines Zeiner

Content and Language Integrated Learning, an alternative and creative way to develop language: we aim to share two or three MFL units (French, German and one French/Science unit mainly), with unit plans and resources, to show a completely different approach to MFL teaching and learning, with at its core Creative Content, Communication, Cognition (engagement in higher-order thinking skills), Culture (with progression towards pluricultural understanding)

The Quest for the Magic Book
Marion van Engelen

In our quest we will slay dragons, cast spells, unearth treasure, until we find the Magic Book. On this journey we will discover the true nature of the Magic Book, and discover that in the way that we imagined it, it is a chimera. But the magic of information literacy is real.

Together we will discover the marvels of different information sources and variety of opinion. We will see how Middle School students can ask the right questions, and critically evaluate and use information, thereby de-mythifying the traditional image of the Magic Book, preparing them for academic research in later years.

Welcome to the Team: Supporting New Faculty with Peer Coaching
Jacob Rosch & Brianna Gray 
With new colleagues, students, policies and procedures to learn, not to mention new curricula to teach, there is no question that the first year of teaching in a new school can be extremely stressful. The “setting in” period can be particularly heightened for international hires who are also coping with a new home in an unfamiliar country! This session will explore the use of a peer coaching program to introduce recently-hired teachers to school initiatives and ease the transition of the first year at a new school. It will include a pilot program example with initial data, a sample program outline, and teacher reflections. Participants will leave the session with the understanding and strategies for creating a collegial introduction to their own schools.

Authentic Writing through Anonymous Journals
Shannon Gerrity & Leslie Holcombe

The concept of anonymous journals in grade seven English was inspired by Kelly Gallagher's Teaching Adolescent Writers. Anonymous journal writing is an authentic method for students to correspond, using pen and paper or blogs. Using code names to conceal their identities until the project's conclusion, students write about their confusions, predictions, connections and wonderings of a given text. Students respond to one another and engage in written conversations that delve beyond the surface of their initial thinking, answer one another's questions, and build upon classroom discussion and activities. Students are motivated to write clearly, with accurate grammar and pinpointed language, relying upon the power of their writer's voice to concisely convey their wonderings, theories and conclusions to their authentic audience.

Authentic Assessment Through Design
Daniel Cowan

Teachers looking to ensure that their assessments include a wide range of assessment types can draw on a range of ideas of how the design process can be used to create alternatives to testing and essays as means of assessment of student understanding. The role of technology is a major part of this discussion. Samples of student work will be shared as well as some suggestions for grading more creative work.

Creating a New Library Learning Commons
Michelle Andis

Have you fully embraced the idea of the school library as a learning commons? Would you like to create a library learning commons that is highly trafficked, both physically and virtually? This presentation will highlight the journey involved in outfitting and flipping a new library learning commons at the International School of Amsterdam. Attendees will learn about the realities of design ideas and actual implementation. The session will also offer two interesting collaborative initiatives between the library learning commons and classroom teachers--one initiative takes place in the physical space and one is within the virtual space.

Risk Taking in the classroom
Ryan Moore

The session will demonstrate best practices in encouraging students to take academic risks. Teach the value of both success during risk taking and failure and help teachers understand of important methods to utilize these actions in order to promote academic success.

Let's celebrate linguistic diversity in Middle School
Izabela Komisarska

International schools represent unique multilingual communities where a variety of languages are spoken in school hallways every day. This session will introduce the Language of the Week initiative at ACS Cobham International School in London, UK. This initiative focuses on celebrating the richness of the linguistic diversity and places emphasis on involving the students in the creative process of the project. This program has been running for three years and has demonstrated a breadth of success. The presentation will include an overview of the project, its beginning stages and its growth. I will also share other activities which explicitly value the cultural and linguistic heritage of the students. Participants of this session will walk away with ideas on how to create communities that celebrate multilingualism and practical guidelines for developing a similar initiative. There will be an interactive, hands-on activity so please bring your ipad/ tablet or laptop.

“Inside-Out”: Sustainable Technology Integration
Alexandra Read & Brianna Gray

This session will compare common models of technology integration and present the “inside-out” model as a sustainable solution for challenges faced by practitioners across the disciplines. Attendees will leave the session with practical strategies for successful IT integration with this model in their own school settings.

The “inside-out” IT solution for successful planning and execution of technology integration involves keeping technology specialists as classroom teachers who are also able to work with colleagues to integrate technology successfully into other academic curricula. This progressive model is based on a paradigm shift from hiring external consultants, in the form of experts, to utilizing internal expertise to nurture and develop 21st century learners and a digital approach to curriculum development. Co-teaching is at the heart of “inside-out” technology integration where teachers work together in each other’s classes, planning, developing and delivering curriculum together.

Student Data Tracking: Fostering Creativity Through Routine
Jessica Schwarz

Some of the world’s most innovative creators have emphasized the importance of routine to the progress and development of their creative work. In a middle school classroom, small routines can be essential to a student’s sense of safety and success in class. A student data tracking system facilitated throughout a unit is one of the many routines that can impact a student’s performance. Students may experience less anxiety in class when they consistently see their progress and identify specific gaps in their understanding of content. Although it may seem contradictory to the way we think about the expansive nature of creativity, predictability in class can make space for heightened imagination and innovative problem solving by lessening the stress associated with too much unknown. This presentation will demonstrate the ways in which teachers can implement a student data tracking system that is embedded within the curriculum of their unit. Through this tracking routine, students record and track their own progress on standards and/or objectives within a specific unit or lesson. Participants will receive copies of data trackers and supporting materials as well as methods on how to utilize the tracking system consistently and sustainably in class.

Simple Classroom Hacks
Robin Neal

Simple Classroom Hacks will focus on concrete changes to everyday classroom practices that improve formative feedback and make creative thinking visible. The examples will come from English and humanities classes, but participants will adapt the ideas to any curriculum. Whenever possible, we will learn by doing; this will not be a "sage on the stage" session. Some of the topics we will cover are:
  • Ban the hands: alternative ways to get kids talking to each other
  • Membean and other vocabulary acquisition techniques
  • Simple ways to incorporate movement into any lesson
  • Divergent Thinking through Metaphors
  • Making a game of research
  • Best practices from participants

Conflict Management: Getting Kids in the Driver's Seat 
Simona Reichmann and Sarah Ellyson

This session will describe our experience working with a partner school in the U.S.A. to design and run a student-led Conflict Management Program at the American Overseas School of Rome. Each year, all students in grades five and eight participate in CM training and then have the option to become Conflict Managers for students in grades K through 5, primarily during recess. Conflict managers follow a scripted, 3-step conflict resolution process as they help younger students solve disagreements and disputes that arise while they play. Students learn important life skills such as teamwork, interpersonal communication and problem solving, and become responsible and caring role models for younger members of our school community. We will also discuss how the AOSR Conflict Management Program, now in its fourth year, has contributed to improved school climate and sense of community.

Helping Students Find the Creativity in Math
Heather Neal

Making math visual makes it more accessible, interesting, and engaging to most students. This session will focus on the powerful effect that a picture can have in unlocking students’ understanding of concepts. Encouraging students to draw models or create pictures turns mundane work into richer problem solving tasks that make abstract topics more accessible to all students. The main goal of the session is to help us all discover ways to make creativity in math an integral part of our daily discourse, and not just a series of one-off games or fun activities. I will share activities and ideas for how to weave model drawing into middle school math concepts. We will also discuss how math can be linked to art and social action, engaging students in creative endeavors such as creating M.C. Escher tessellations for geometry, creating informative graphics for ratios and proportions, and using Sierpinski triangles to teach about fractions.

Mindfulness in Middle School Classroom: Wow in the Now
Caitlin Krause 

Mindfulness is a compelling buzzword, yet what does it mean, and how can it be actively applied in the context of an engaging, dynamic middle school learning environment? Mindfulness has powerful effects in any classroom, and serves to break down many barriers, allowing students to "own their learning" and take pride in celebrating their authentic voices. They become more in-tune with their own senses, and they are better able to focus, connect to the environment, describe their own feelings and emotions, and relate to others' experiences on a global scale.

Through incorporating mindfulness exercises and strategies into class time with students, teachers can boost confidence and trust in a community of compassionate learners. Mindfulness involves being fully present, in the "now" moment, able to experience learning in a fuller sense. 
This hands-on session will focus on ways to incorporate mindfulness, empathy, and compassion into teaching practices, both in and out of the classroom. This is an open sharing session, where active participation is encouraged! (note: If this topic interests you, consider also joining the Teacher Panel, organized by Caitlin Krause, as part of the following session, led by Kevin Hawkins and Amy Burke.  You can get involved by emailing Caitlin at ckrause@zis.ch)

Living History: Engaging Students with the Past
Constance McGuire and Ligita Stavarz

A long-standing tradition for 8th grade at ASW is the annual Living History Day, where students have the opportunity to interview survivors from World War II. The goals of this project include bringing history to life for students, to help them make connections with the past, and to build relationships with members of the local community. This workshop will introduce you to the ASW Living History project and give you ideas of how to create the same experience at your school.

Khan Academy 2.0
Frances Tanel

During this session I will demonstrate the characteristics of Khan Academy as a powerful teaching tool, and as a resource to design an individualized curriculum path. This would in turn assist student learning by either supporting or enriching the learning experience. During this session, participants will be able to show how Khan Academy could be used and to set up a class to coach through within their classes.

From Consumer to Creator through Coding
Holly Uber

We all know digital literacy is important but how to you teach students to code when you do not know. I was able to put on a successful Digital literacy day with over 100 6th and 7th graders and I want to share what we did. Come and learn the basics of coding and how to put together a digital literacy day at your school. You will get a full list of resources to tailor the day to your schedule.

Revival: Making History Come Alive
Heather Onderick

This workshop aims to help teachers create more engaging History/ Humanities lessons and will take the audience through a set of 4 steps to make sure their units are zooming in on standards and benchmarks and simultaneously promoting critical thinking skills. Participants will walk through a lesson simulation, work on digging deep into the heart of the standards, consider relevance of past and present historical connections and finally, see some examples and ideas for technology centered formative and summative assessments. If you are looking for a way to make your history classes a little bit more alive, please join us.

"Using the iPad in Language Acquistion Classrooms  - a hands-on Workshop“
Tiemo Duarte & Maren Voss

The use of the iPad strengthens both receptive and productive skills in language learning. It offers great possibilities of sharing and celebrating results - the students learn from each other.
This hands-on workshops demonstrates how to get access to a variety of apps, online material and free resources. These allow the students to use, for example, online dictionaries or vocabulary memorizing tools, and to create Web Quests (like virtual city tours), design comics, eBooks, create videos (e.g. also about grammatical topics), posters, songs, etc

How Active Learning with Technology Works
Melissa Gamete & Meika Weiner

Participants will look at several different ways to consider implementing technology in the classroom with students. Everyone will have the opportunity to consider how they currently approach technology integration and how they will continue to adapt to the fast-paced changes that digital learning is creating for our daily practice as educators. We will share a blend of learning apps that our students find motivating and techniques for how you can enhance the learning community. Please bring a device if possible to this session. All subject areas are welcome, however the conversations will be rooted from the perspectives of two creative language teachers.

The Power of Student Conversation in Content Understanding
Jacob Rosch & Brianna Gray

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? This session will explore the latest research behind increasing classroom academic conversation that is meaningful, relevant, and immediately applicable. It will include lesson examples, videos of implementation, and student/teacher interviews providing reflective feedback.

Participants will have opportunities to try peer-dialogue activities and then discuss ways to incorporate student discourse into their already-established curricula. They will leave with resources that include all of the ideas generated in the session.
For educators of any subject or grade level.

Creating Student Ownership of Learning through Assessment Criteria
Elizabeth Swanson & Patricia Deo

Research has shown that people are motivated when they feel a sense of autonomy, mastery, and purpose in what they are doing. In order to create this sense of autonomy, mastery, and purpose in our classrooms, in this workshop, we will explore practical classroom strategies for promoting student ownership over their learning and on assessments as a result of understanding and applying assessment criteria. The strategies have been designed to foster the reflection process so that students are more aware of how their daily learning experiences connect with reaching the highest achievement levels of assessment criteria. Through this interactive workshop, participants will experience how using strategies such as these can also encourage students’ self-evaluation and allow for formative feedback in the summative assessment process.

Teaching the Holocaust, Human Rights & Genocide
Jennifer Wood, Trudi van der Tak, & Kathleen Ralf

Visit Memorials supports middle school educators across Europe teaching Holocaust history, human rights and genocide. We will share lesson plans and resources, as well as guidance on how to plan a memorial visit, speakers and use eyewitness testimony. We want to discuss framework including historical background, topics, case studies and scaffolding. Bring your laptop to curate resources in our new online space designed for ELMLE teachers. Our goal is to support your efforts in teaching these complex subjects. Looking forward to meeting you!

CREATE Wellness Through Building Community!
Amy Friedman

Middle School is all about building relationships. This experiential workshop will focus on how to create an environment of wellness both in and out of the classroom. We will be active and moving, add humor, and take challenges, all in a supportive environment to create community. This workshop will provide you with lots of hands-on activities, games, and group collaboration to diversify the way you teach and ultimately help you to build better relationships with your students. My belief is that when educators create wellness in schools, students are more confident, successful, and happy.

Hands On with the New Google Classroom 
A Simple, Yet Powerful Virtual Classroom from Google
Greg Friedman

Create a Simple and Powerful Virtual Classroom in Minutes! Google Launched a new service, Google Classroom, this fall. It has been designed to "save time, keep classes organized, and improve communication with students" and it does! This workshop will give you the opportunity to both learn about and try out Google Classroom. This hands on workshop will be organized into two halves. The first half of the workshop will be focused on demonstrating Google Classroom, comparing it to alternatives, and considering its strengths and weaknesses. Time will also be provided for questions and answers as well as collecting feedback to submit directly to one of the Google Classroom project managers. The second half of the workshop will provide additional time to explore Google Classroom for consideration in your own classroom, even if you do not have a Google Apps for Education account. Bring your laptop or tablet with you. Learn more about Google Classroom at www.google.com/edu/classroom

Creating, Improving and Appreciating a Collaboration Structure Between Middle School Content Area Teachers
Lauren Heil and Melissa Mitchem

Joleen Killion stated it best when she wrote “collaboration among educators builds shared responsibility and improves student learning”. In this workshop, the presenters will highlight recent research on the purpose, practice and benefits of effective collaboration between middle school content teachers (Math, Science, Social Studies and English) to help students create meaningful connections. Then, presenters will share the successes and limitations of a collaborative case study at their own schools by discussing how they set up the time and structure for collaborative meetings. Additionally, a joint unit between Science and Social Studies teachers will be presented to show how collaborative planning led to an interdisciplinary assessment. Participants will then break out into groups to plan effective collaboration based on particular schools’ scenarios. The workshop will conclude with the teachers breaking out into similar content groups where they discuss how they could collaborate with other content-area teachers on developing interdisciplinary assessments.

Collaboration and Redefining Teaching and Learning in a Math Classroom 
Or any classroom!
Jaime Pustis & Sol Senrick

Our journey started with the question “How do you authentically integrate technology to improve learning in Math (or any other class)?” An ASW math teacher and technology coach partnered up to look at how students can learn at their own pace, through a choice of activities, with an emphasis on their creative and critical thinking skills, all while also meeting math standards. This session is about our collaborative work so far--listening, sharing and building on ideas, providing support--with the shared, focused vision of redefining learning. Participants will leave with strategies for building a collaborative framework, as well as tech tools and strategies to energize learning in their classroom now!

Interdisciplinary Supermodels!
Eric Eckstein

Have your students (or local politicians) ever come up with a moment of clarity and exclaimed ‘This is the answer!’ to a real-life problem, only to find out the problem involved many more factors and unintended consequences than they had anticipated? By using or even building visual systems models, your middle school students can explore a situation from a transdisciplinary, systems perspective. They can then use their computer ‘supermodel’ in discussions and presentations to produce actual data for various ‘What if?’ scenarios. This approach could successfully be used for joint projects combining humanities, science, health, physical education, design technology and/or mathematics. Come join the fun and try to build your own ‘supermodel’!

Anti-bullying; Buzzword of the Decade
Shannon Walters & Dee Tree

Are you tired of talking about bullying? Tired of anti-bullying campaigns? Tired of feeling unsure about how to deal with a situation that might be bullying?
If so, please join our workshop where we will
  • Briefly look at the definition and statistics of bullying; taking into consideration the cultural maze international schools negotiate in dealing with and educating our families about the issue. 
  • Explore various effective methodologies used around the world to handle these situations in school. 
  • Present our Middle School ethos that was designed to provide practical guidance for behaviour on a daily basis. 
  • Listen to your stories of successful strategies from your own school.

Gamification - Using game elements in order to motivate students in MS
Bogdan Copil

Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics to engage users in solving problems. Gamification techniques strive to leverage peoples natural desires for competition, achievement, status, self-expression, altruism, and closure. In today’s world, when students are more and more connected to their devices and spend more and more time on games, we can use this for our advantage as teachers – gamify the learning process and see how students will get more and more attracted by your topic!
This workshop will be an introductory session. At the end of the workshop you will also have a list of websites, resources and apps that can be used to introduce game-like elements in your teaching routine – from simple behaviour management tools to complex ladder and badging systems.

Critical Exploration: Inquiry-Based Learning in Your Classroom
Rebecca Berwick

Critical Exploration is an approach to classroom teaching developed by Eleanor Duckworth, Harvard Graduate School of Education Professor Emerita, who envisions the teacher's role as providing carefully chosen materials, and then listening rather than telling. By opening with questions, allowing students the time to explore the materials, paying close attention to what students notice and to the questions they develop, encouraging students to follow their own thoughts and the thoughts of their classmates, and by acknowledging that their understanding will connect profoundly to their previous experiences, teachers find that their students are arriving at a level of thinking and understanding that is incredibly profound. In critical exploration, the teacher listens carefully, always asking what students are thinking and keeping track of how they are constructing their understanding. In this 90-minute workshop, we will engage in critical exploration ourselves, watch video clips of students in CE classes, reflect on these experiences, and discuss ways we could incorporate critical exploration into our own varied classroom contexts. We will also explore the resources made available online by the non-profit organization Critical Explorers.