Each year, the Empowering Teachers program is centered around a different theme and unique workshops are organized that are connected to the theme.
2014 Empowering Teachers Program
Children's Questions and their Centrality in Learning: An Endangered Species in Today's Classrooms
“Can I tell you something?”: Children’s Questions and the Context of Relationship
How can a teacher respond to children’s questions that arise in moments of spontaneous conversation? What kind of classroom allows student and teacher to learn from each other? Through observing questions in a Kindergarten classroom, this teacher found that children’s questions were deeply concerned with the nature of the student-teacher relationship. In this session we will discuss our experience with spontaneous conversations with children, the questions they ask, and the questions we have as teachers.
Asking Questions and Trusting What You’re Told
Dr. Paul Harris, developmental psychologist at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, will be giving the 2014 Thomas H. Wright on children’s questions and how young children learn on the basis of what trusted informants tell them.
Re-presenting and Representing: Children's Questions at the Heart of the Classroom
Children's questions are a re-presentation of their present understanding and knowledge. Children tell us what they know and wonder not only through their words, but within their play. The session will explore how teachers can take children's questions, thoughts and ideas and develop them within the classroom by way of community and curriculum.
Experiencing the Archives: Why the Originals Matter
Experience the thrill of historical documents with the Sarah Lawrence College Archivist. Learn how to navigate archives. Get a taste for historical research. Better understand the importance of using original documents when interpreting history.
Trip to New York Hall of Science
The trip to the New York Hall of Science will include a tour of the museum, the following two sessions, and exploration time:
In the Ball Run Fun workshop, young makers explore the properties of mass, force and motion, and use cardboard, plastic bottles, and other household materials ways to create their own unique ball run contraption. Creative thinking is made visible as young learners set their own challenges, and then work to solve them by building, testing and rebuilding their contraptions to send balls through funnels, across tracks and bumpers, try to make a loop-de-loop, or fall into a catch at the end.
Squishy Circuits is an activity that integrates everyday kitchen materials and simple electronic components to build sculptures that light up, move, and make sounds. Using a playful approach, participants will build and configure the materials allowing opportunities to explore series and parallel circuits, polarity, or the creation of complex switches. These concepts get introduced gradually as the materials invite inquiry into scientific concepts.
When Questions Come Naturally
“A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands; How could I answer the child?” Walt Whitman’s poem begins so directly with that question coming from the child. This workshop will explore how asking questions helps us unravel mysteries, explore bewilderment, and make sense of the world around us often leading to more questions.
Listening to the Questions Children Ask: Asking the Questions that Foster Broader and Deeper Thinking!
Through hands-on activities and viewing children as they ask questions and think about possibilities of answers, we will explore the importance of children's questions as they make meaning in math and science.
Weaving Children’s Questions into the Common Core
This session will feature three teachers from the area who teach in public schools and will speak about how common core standards have impacted their teaching and the children they are working with. How are they finding ways to keep children at the center and nurturing their curiosity in the current climate of the common core standards and high stakes testing?
Collaborating to Create Change
At P.S. 321, Teachers, Administrators, and Parents have worked together to be a voice for change in education, most recently focusing on high stakes testing and teacher evaluation. In this workshop, Liz will talk about the structures and policies that have facilitated this work, both within a school and in cross-school groupings. She will discuss some of the actions that the PS 321 community has taken, including forums, workshops, letter campaigns, on- line petitions and websites, rallies, and more. She will also discuss the impact of this work on both the adults and children in the community.