Online Structured Courses for Continuing Education and Professional Development for Teachers | The Connecting Link

 

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Course participants will gain a deep understanding of the impact attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has on the performance of students in the classroom. Research-based instructional strategies and behavior management strategies will be explored, along with methods to improve executive function skills. The implementation of appropriate accommodations, modifications, and interventions will also be highlighted. This course engages participants with meaningful, applicable, and practical activities with a focus on success for students with ADHD.
Participants in this course will examine collaborative, engaged, cooperative learning—a significant shift away from the typical teacher-centered classroom. Participants will learn how developing a classroom culture of trust, safety, challenge, and joy can foster engaged and effective learning. Research suggests that effective communication and collaboration are essential to becoming a successful learner. Participants will learn how to develop classroom learning experiences around students’ constructing knowledge and engaging in action together. Techniques to develop intrinsic motivation that leads to student engagement and achievement will be researched. Foundational work in this course will include the research and use of collaborative learning, engaged learning, and cooperative learning models. Participants will synthesize these paradigms and create applications for implementation into their own classrooms.
This course provides participants with a solid framework for planning, implementing and maintaining successful co-teaching relationships that improve the learning instruction of all students. Participants will reflect on the definition of co-teaching, components of the co-teaching relationship, examine a variety of co-teaching models and how they support student learning, and evaluate their current co-teaching programs. Participants will leave the course knowing several co-teaching practices between general and special education teachers, as well as, between two general education teachers in the same classroom, and how to effectively work as a co-teaching partner to create opportunities for success for all learners.
This course is designed to provide educators an overview and cohesive approach to literacy components to be able to use in a K-12 classroom. Participants in this course will examine current research as well as explore a variety of strategies that can be implemented in order to increase students’ reading ability. Research will include exploration of literacy as it pertains to fluency, vocabulary acquisition, and comprehension. Participants will reflect on their personal experiences, evaluate their current approach, and formulate a new literacy plan for implementation. Participants will leave the course with a year-long plan that includes a systematic approach to all areas of literacy.
Participants in this course will examine methodologies to facilitate the growth of curiosity and creativity in their students. Participants will learn how developing a classroom culture of curiosity and creativity can foster engaged and effective learning. Research suggests that increasing curiosity and creativity in a classroom can lead to a more student-centered classroom. Techniques to develop curiosity and creativity that leads to student engagement and achievement will be researched and explored. Foundational work in this course will include the research on developing creativity and curiosity strategies from simple to complex, lesson planning, and using project-based learning to enhance the classroom. Participants will synthesize these paradigms and leave the course with a better understanding of how to assess and develop creative and curious thought in their students, improve classroom culture through use of innovative strategies, develop an expertise in their own classroom to foster a creative environment, and foster the growth of curious learners to solve problems creatively.
Differentiated assessment is the key to helping every student have success within their own learning style. This course is designed to help educators discover new ways to assess students from a variety of different learning styles. A focus on strategies for performing pre-assessments, formative assessments, and summative assessments as well as alternative assessments such as performance-based assessments, portfolios, presentations and more to give options for students to have success other than the traditional pen-and-paper assessment. Classroom examples will be reviewed to help see how differentiated assessment can provide direction for improvement, promote confidence, and motivate students to do their best. Participants will leave the course with a better understanding of assessment practices and a wealth of resources to effectively differentiate assessments in their classroom.
This course is designed to help educators build a classroom structure where all students feel empowered and included in the classroom environment. Through the use of videos, readings, personal reflection, and online forum questions, participants will experience the multicultural classroom, as well as learn methods to implement strategies in their own classroom. Participants will learn to shape and maintain learning conditions that facilitate a multicultural perspective during instruction, including how to identify and promote diversity, multicultural learning styles, create culturally aware lesson plans and activities, using social emotional learning strategies to impact classroom management, and strategies/ideas to educate parents on the multicultural classroom. Participants will leave the course with resources and strategies to reach students in a variety of cultures and educate them on the importance of understanding a multicultural classroom and the benefits of being multiculturally competent.
This course is designed to teach participants the importance of metacognition, provide background knowledge of the core executive function processes, and help apply their knowledge of executive function processes to help students better understand themselves as learners. Participants will learn how executive functioning skills are the cognitive powers that help develop good habits which leads to effective school and life management. The course will also look at the process of how to create effective assessments. Assessments are essential to the learning process, as evidenced in that assessments inform the instructor on the effectiveness of their instruction, as well as they provide a way to measure students' mastery of the course's educational learning targets. The course will explore how to identify course goals for assessment, determine test structure and design, write effective questions, and apply a variety of testing methods to differentiate testing methods.
This course is designed to enhance a participant’s knowledge of assessment and grading practices. Participants will review formative, interim, and summative assessment types, as well as the grading practices within them (traditional vs. standards-based grading), assessment design, implementation strategies, and how to interpret data results to define mastery. Participants will leave the course knowing how to identify course goals for assessments, effectively construct a variety of assessments based on content, understand how assessment can increase learning, use a variety of assessment mediums, and provide measurable data to students, parents, and other educators that demonstrate growth in learning.
Participants in this course will learn the history of the LGBTQ movement, key terminology, how preconception and discrimination impact the LGBTQ community and review strategies for fostering LGBTQ-inclusivity in schools. Participants will examine myths and perceptions, as well as curriculum and best practices associated with LGBTQ students. Participants will be provided multiple opportunities to engage in discussions and activities that refine and define strategies and practices focusing on meeting the comprehensive needs of LGBTQ students. 
This course is designed to give educators at all levels an overview of recent research on mindfulness practices and to provide step by step guidance on how to integrate these practices into the classroom. Participants in this course will learn what mindfulness is, why it is important, and how to creatively apply research-based mindfulness techniques in meeting the diverse learning needs of students. Attention will also be given to ways educators can use mindfulness to enhance their own professional and personal experience as teachers.
Participants in this course will examine research-based proactive practices and best practices of the alternative discipline. Strategies for improving classroom and school culture through the use of alternative discipline will be explored. Participants will reflect on their discipline philosophy to establish a framework for growth to effectively implement positive alternative discipline interventions and strategies. Participants will learn about alternatives to school discipline and the most effective ways to reach students and to reward positive behaviors. When students do misbehave participants will learn ways that students can still receive appropriate instructional time and be part of the classroom community. Participants will leave the course with a toolkit of resources to impact their classroom and school community through alternative discipline.
Participants in this course will learn about the multi-tiered Response to Intervention (RTI) model and how it can assist in increasing student achievement, foster classroom engagement, be an alternative avenue for student identification of special services, and learn practical strategies and tools to implement essential components of Response to Intervention (RTI) in a variety of classroom and school settings. The course will expose participants to needed skills and techniques to develop a partnership to use RTI strategies and explore researched-based methodologies to remediate students. A comprehensive roadmap will be followed to learn how to implement RTI, assess students in a variety of mediums, and differentiate instruction using a plethora of RTI interventions.
With the soaring concerns of mental health issues, students need to be supported more than ever with their social and emotional development. Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) involves teaching and modeling five lifelong skills: self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, social awareness, and relationship skills. In this course, participants will learn how to weave SEL into the curriculum, which has been shown to increase academic outcomes and promote overall positive mental health among students. Participants will also explore strategies to support and enhance their own mental health and well-being.
Participants in this course will examine student-centered classrooms with a constructivist approach - a significant shift away from the typical teacher-centered classroom. In a student-centered classroom, much of the direction and leadership is passed onto the students and the teacher becomes the classroom facilitator. This course provides participants with an in-depth exploration of how student-centered classrooms can engage and enhance the learning of all students. Effective student-centered teaching strategies, lesson planning, classroom management methods, and differentiated assessments will be explored. Participants will learn how having a constructivist approach to the student-centered classroom can have students take charge of their learning at any grade level and become independent learners who can create, discover, and problem solve on their own.
This course is designed to help educators build a classroom structure where differentiated instruction can occur on a daily basis for varying abilities. Through the use of videos, readings, personal reflection, and online forum questions, participants will experience differentiated instruction as well as learn methods to implement strategies in their own classroom. Participants will learn to shape and maintain learning conditions that facilitate differentiated instruction, including how to identify learning styles, create tiered activities, differentiation strategies, effective classroom management, and design the physical space for classroom differentiation scenarios. Participants will leave the course with resources and strategies to reach students of varying abilities, grades, and learning styles and help them take ownership of their education.
This course will educate participants on the difference of a fixed or growth mindset, and how Appreciative Inquiry (AI) can cultivate the classroom environment into a place of risk taking and success. Participants will learn about their own mindset and how it impacts students, as well as techniques for evaluating the growth mindset, strategies for reframing failures to successes, and devising lesson plans with the growth mindset in mind. Participants will also learn about Appreciative Inquiry and how it is among the growing trend of approaches to human development and organizational change. Focus on the power of positive question and imagery, sharing stories, and implementation of Dr. David Cooperrider’s 4-D cycle will be reviewed, along with implementation strategies. Participants will leave the course understanding how to create a dynamic classroom that fosters growth and compassion; that will create bonds with students to push them further and increase test scores.
Poverty, suicide, abuse, divorce, and community violence are some of the many traumatic, yet common, life experiences and events students of today’s society face. In addition, factors including social media and high stakes testing have been linked to the increasing rates of stress and anxiety among youth. This insightful course provides practical applications on how to understand, connect with, and accommodate students and their families experiencing the adverse effects of trauma, stress, and anxiety. Participants will research the short and long-term outcomes associated with adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), learn how to incorporate effective trauma-informed practices, and build relationships with students and their families based on respect, trust, and empathy. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), stress management, suicide prevention awareness, students living in poverty, and educational procedures used to respond to traumatic events are additional topics accentuated in this course. Finally, educators will focus on their own well-being and discover ways to strengthen resilience and manage stress and anxiety associated with the soaring demands of the profession. Course participants will become better equipped to effectively respond to students’ complex needs.