Conference Sessions

Mary has presented numerous keynotes and breakout sessions at conferences across the country. The topic descriptions below offer a menu of conference options for sessions that can range from 60 to 120 minutes. Each session is designed for elementary grades although some topics may be adapted for middle school grades with prior arrangements. (NOTE: Some full day topics can be condensed for conferences (see Full Day Seminars)

CREATING A POWERFUL PARTNERSHIP: MERGING RESPONSE TO INTERVENTION AND COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS

Response to Intervention and the Common Core State Standards are ready to converge onto the literacy horizon in schools across the country. With thoughtful interpretation and implementation to guide the way, this merger can be a richly successful one as long as schools can maintain a flexible stance that adheres to the tenets of high quality literacy instruction. This session will discuss how to maximize the benefit of both RTI and CCSS by using them in complementary ways while addressing potential missteps as we insist on keeping students at the forefront of our every effort.

GUIDED READING IN THE AGE OF THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS

Guided reading is the critical component of reading instruction where we are able to use carefully selected 'just right' texts to build strategic knowledge and independent problem-solving. Learn how the standards have impacted our view of guided reading and how simple adjustments can elevate these experiences in the future. Explore specific suggestions to maximize this important instructional procedure as you organize, orchestrate and implement guided reading across the curriculum in more efficient and effective ways. Mary will provide critical guidelines and offer an instructional template for guided reading as we create instructional experiences that will ensure the robust instruction all students need and still offer targeted opportunities that will accelerate progress and close the reading gap.

 

BUILDING A RICH BRIDGE BETWEEN BEST PRACTICE AND RTI

A highly effective RTI literacy framework is designed with the key principles of best practice as the driving force. School must begin these efforts by ensuring strong foundation in tier 1 as the general education teacher is viewed as the first line of instructional defense. For a small percentage of students who need more than we can offer at tier 1, we offer higher tiers of instructional support that will supplement rather than supplant classroom instruction as we coordinate our efforts across tiers. Mary will identify seven essential bridge guidelines to build a powerful RTI framework that adheres to the critical tenets of literacy excellence. (based on Mary's book, RTI from ALL Sides: What Every Teacher Needs to Know, Heinemenn, 2009)

 

ESSENTIAL LESSONS I HAVE LEARNED FROM TEACHERS DOING GREAT WORK

Excellent literacy instruction begins by analyzing and evaluating the quality of our instructional practices and making adjustments accordingly. This reflective process can help us to identify what matters most in our teaching and what may be usurping the time and energy needed to accomplish those things. This session highlights seven critical elements of effective literacy teachers who have an unwavering determination to make the most of their learning day by alleviating anything counterproductive. (based on Mary's book, Good to Great Teaching: Focusing on the Literacy Work that Matters, Heinemann, 2012)

USING A SCHOOLWIDE ASSESSMENT WALL TO INFORM INSTRUCTIONAL DECISION MAKING THROUGH COLLABORATION

The issue of text complexity is emphasized in the common core state standards (anchor 10). While thislofty goal is both desirable and achievable, we must consider how to accomplish this as we acknowledge the unique needs of students as we work toward moving them up the text ladder. Teachers need an ongoing visible tool to support this move as quickly as possible from where students are now to where they need to be. Many schools use a powerful problem-solving tool known as an assessment wall to initiate this dialogue. Discover how these schools use this concrete reference to inform instructional decision-making and accelerate literacy progress in the most efficient ways from through schoolwide collaboration and coordination.

 

TEXT COMPLEXITY WITHOUT TEARS IN THE AGE OF THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS

Text complexity is central to CCSS, yet myths and misconceptions abound. While it is difficult to argue that we need to offer more robust instruction through increasingly complex texts for all students, we must cautiously consider what this means for those children who are not reading at grade level. Identify and address myths and misconceptions that revolve around this important topic and learn how to elevate text challenges without sacrificing the success of students reading below grade level. In this engaging session, Mary will explore CCSS from all sides with key features that will help teachers meet and exceed the standards for our most tangled readers.

BUILDING A READING AND WRITING VOCABULARY

Daily rich interactions with language offer priceless opportunities to expand vocabulary on a daily basis. Discover the secrets of promoting long-term memory with proven techniques using multi-modal collaboration, mnemonics, and repetition over time. Learn how to implement proven techniques that lead to continuous, lifelong word learning as you promote deeper levels of understanding. Mary will share dozens of strategies that can be initiate in any curriculum area as you increase word knowledge by making students more accountable for their own learning.

ESTABLISHING A RICH LITERACY FRAMEWORK FOR STRUGGLING READERS: CRITICAL FEATURES AND COMPONENTS

Supporting the instructional needs of struggling readers has been a long-term raging debate in literacy. We must ensure that our tangled readers get the robust instruction they deserve without losing sight of their unique learning needs. Identify the critical components of reading instruction for struggling readers by addressing key points that move beyond the reading wars with dozens of strategies that that reflect each of these instructional "Non-Negotiables".

 

PROMOTING CLOSE READING USING PURPOSEFUL PENCILS

 

Close reading is an essential aspect of CCSS where students must find and cite evidence as they ‘read to extract key information. Concrete learning references using purposeful pencils and meaningful dialouge and collaboration offer an essential support scaffold for students who find this particularly difficult. Learn a wide variety of tools that will help students read and remember essential text ideas using powerful note-taking strategies that can be adapted in any content areas.