Confratute Strands and Descriptions

 

We have created an exciting schedule of offerings for virtual Confratute 2021, complete with special strands and thought-provoking speakers in specific content areas, such as Differentiation, Curriculum Compacting, Twice Exceptionality, and more. Check out details on each of Confratute’s Strand offerings below.

Download a printable PDF version of Confratute 2021 Strand Descriptions

 

Click each session below to view detailed description.

Strand Block A

10:15 – 11:30 AM, Monday – Wednesday

1. SCHOOLWIDE ENRICHMENT MODEL

Joseph Renzulli & Sally Reis, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
The general session of this strand (Monday) will provide an overview of The Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM), and the breakout sessions (Tuesday-Wednesday) will focus on specific strategies for implementing the SEM in a variety of schools with students of different ages and demographic backgrounds. The model, based on over 40 years of research and development, is a comprehensive system for infusing “high-end learning” into total school improvement efforts while simultaneously challenging high achieving students. Specific strategies include the development of Total Talent Portfolios, Curriculum Modification Techniques, and Enrichment Teaching and Learning. Three books are recommended this strand and are available at a greatly discounted rate from Prufrock Press. Click here for more information on purchasing books.

✶ Breakout SEM Strands: 1A. ELEMENTARY

Breakout SEM Strands Meet on Tuesday & Wednesday

Melissa Thom, Bristow School, West Hartford, CT
This hands-on strand will explore the infusion of the SEM into regular education classroom practices and schoolwide initiatives. Participants will expand their knowledge of Type Is/IIs/IIIs and Enrichment Clusters as we discuss each component, examine organizational aspects and support documents, and share tips and tricks for implementation. After this session, participants will have the information and tools they need to go back to their settings and begin implementing this meaningful learning with students.

✶ Breakout SEM Strands: 1B. MIDDLE/HIGH SCHOOL

Breakout SEM Strands Meet on Tuesday & Wednesday

Carla Brigandi, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
This breakout strand is a hands-on session designed to deepen middle and secondary school teachers' understanding of the SEM and share strategies on how to implement components of the SEM, including curriculum compacting, Type I, Type II, and Type III Enrichment. Participants will also consider implementation strategies for homogenously grouped settings and infusion into general education classroom curricula. In keeping with the SEM, this session demonstrates effective pedagogy that both challenges and engages middle and secondary school students who demonstrate gifted behaviors.

✶ Breakout SEM Strands: 1C. Using SEM in the Classroom

Breakout SEM Strands Meet on Tuesday & Wednesday

Nicole Waicunas, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
How can I use and infuse the SEM in my classroom? Infusing the SEM into your regular classroom will open doors and windows for creativity and innovation to flourish. The SEM was created to utilize differentiation for all students in a classroom. The focus on self-efficacy and ownership of learning for the student creates a powerful, student-centered, teacher-as-facilitator approach to learning. As a result, students become self-advocates and begin a journey of discovery: using the SEM to create pathways of self-awareness, understanding, and excitement for your students. This strand will focus on how to infuse SEM into any classroom setting.

✶ Breakout SEM Strands: 1D. Implementing SEM for Administrators, Coordinators, and School Leaders

Breakout SEM Strands Meet on Tuesday & Wednesday

Cheryl Quatrano & Melinda Spataro, Bobbinee Educational Consultants, Bayside, NY
Please join us to learn about the “nuts and bolts” of implementing the SEM in your school. We will explicitly take you through all of the steps necessary to get your program up and running, and we will assist you in choosing and establishing different facets of the SEM for your first year. We will also guide you through potential issues that can attempt to block your way, and we will provide creative ideas about how you can set up the programming to enable students to experience enrichment at any level.

2. Meeting the Needs of Your Student Mathematicians (Grades K – 8)

Janine Firmender, Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia, PA
Engaging students in the practices of professionals in a discipline—in this case mathematics—has long been a recommended practice in the field of gifted education. Both the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics and the Common Core Standards also specify that mathematical practices are essential elements of mathematics education for all students. With these recommendations in mind, this session will encourage participants to consider how they can integrate the processes and practices in instruction to promote the development of mathematical talent. Through the analysis of tasks designed to engage and challenge students, participants will explore the integration of practices such as problem solving, reasoning about mathematics, communicating about and constructing arguments in mathematics, and using mathematical representations. *Only available as live session

3. Promoting Creativity and Creative Expression in Your Classroom

James Kaufman, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
This strand will focus on game-like creative activities that can be used to both boost student's creative thinking and tailored to different content areas to enhance student engagement with learning. Learn why your students should learn to think more creatively and how you can promote their creativity with both theory and practice combined.

4. Teaching with Concepts for Meaning, Depth, and Rigor

Catherine Little, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
Organizing curriculum and instruction around a strong conceptual focus promotes depth in thinking, rich questioning, and opportunities for authentic connections across disciplines. In this strand, we explore specific strategies for engaging students in constructing meaning around big ideas, with applications across grade levels and subject areas.

5. Books as Mentors: A Wide Range of Literature and Expository Texts for Igniting Readers, Thinkers, and Activists

Susannah Richards, Eastern Connecticut State University, Willimantic, CT
With over 7000 books published for youth every year, there are many books to know with many different options for supporting students as readers, writers, thinkers, and activists. This session will provide an overview of recently published titles (with some highlighted backlist titles), authors and illustrators to know, as well as resources to locate and expand reading choices and access to books so that highly able readers may continue to be lifelong readers. Suggestions for integrating the books into the curriculum will be shared.

6. Motivation and Reversing Underachievement

Del Siegle, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
Low motivation is among the most frustrating education issues facing parents and educators. Low motivation can limit students’ opportunities for long-term success and fulfillment, and impact society as a whole by reducing the pool of high ability individuals contributing their creative productivity to societal growth and development. In this strand we will discuss reasons talented students underachieve and review specific strategies that improve student achievement by increasing students’ confidence and making learning more meaningful. Click here for more information on purchasing books related to this strand.

Strand Block B

12:00 – 1:15 PM, Monday – Wednesday

7. Brains Wired Differently: Understanding and Supporting 2e Students

Susan Baum, 2e Center for Research and Professional Development, Studio City, CA
So many bright learners have brains that are wired differently, resulting in extraordinary gifts and talents and perplexing challenges at the same time. Their unique brain wiring requires strategies that are not only dually differentiated but strength-based and talent-focused as well. In this session you will learn how to meet the needs of bright students with ADHD, ASD, or Dyslexic brain wiring. You will learn many practical strategies to create a 2e-friendly environment poised to help 2e youngsters thrive. Who are these students? Where does their learning break down? How do we identify strengths, interests, and talents? How can we use talent development and enrichment to build executive function and social and emotional regulation? If you like interactive activities, opportunities for discussion, and learning creative options, then this strand is for you. The book To be Gifted and Learning Disabled is recommended for this strand and is available at a discount from Prufrock Press. Click here for more information on purchasing books related to this strand.

8. Enrichment Clusters: A Practical Plan for Real-World, Student-Driven Learning

Marcia Gentry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
In this hands-on, interactive strand, participants will learn how to develop, organize, and implement one very exciting component of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model. Enrichment Clusters afford time to come together to pursue authentic interests, solve problems, and create products and services for real audiences using advanced content and methods. Information from practitioners in every phase of implementation will be shared and will include a nuts and bolts, how-to-do-it question and answer session. Participants will be ready to return to their schools and put this program into motion. The book, Enrichment Clusters: A Practical Plan for Real-World, Student-Driven Learning, is recommended for this strand. Click here for more information on purchasing books related to this strand.

9. Evaluating Your Gifted Program: Why? What? How?

E. Jean Gubbins, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
Explore the why, what, and how to evaluate your gifted program by reflecting on documenting a purposeful set of learning opportunities tailored to students' needs and specific outcomes. Program evaluation is an ongoing process that raises questions about the match between identification systems and programming options and results in decisions about next steps in maintaining effective programs and practices. This strand will focus on National Association for Gifted Children's programming standards, Renzulli's Key Features Evaluation Model, and how to design a program action logic model to develop your own internal program evaluation.

10. Creating Positive Social and Emotional Environments for Talented Students

Thomas Hébert, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Join us as we delve into learning guidance strategies to create positive social and emotional environments for talented students. The first day will involve training in the use of literature to guide students to self-understanding. The following day offers instruction on the use of film, online media, and biography to facilitate affective discussions. On day three we wrap up the strand with instruction on how to use photography to support identity development in talented young people. We’ll have a great time in the three days we’re together as we engage in work that is both fulfilling and enjoyable. Click here for more information on purchasing books related to this strand. *Only available as live session

11. Creative Storytelling: Making Learning Creative and Kinesthetic

Gail Herman, Storytelling and Movement Arts, Easthampton, MA
In this strand, learn to help your students find meaning kinesthetically through vocal expression, mime, and movement during classroom explorations with reading, writing, and speaking story narratives in subject areas, including science and math. Creative and expressively talented students as well as twice exceptional students will thank you! You will participate in stories with sound effects, creative vocal expression, and mime & movement through stories of kindness and concern; create creative movement story lessons for math and needed breaks; help students create circle stories for science and fantasy; and learn physical activities to help students develop and write character details (e.g., in pet stories). Explore folk percussion instruments to augment meaning and ambience in their stories and teach students to hear between the lines as they read. Remember that meaning, memory, movement, and emotion are interconnected. Allow students to transfer core concepts from one medium to another for in-depth learning and to show what they know.

12. Differentiating Curriculum AND Instruction

Sandra Kaplan, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
A continuum designed to recognize and respond to PreK – 12th grade gifted and advanced learners will be demonstrated. This continuum includes options to differentiate curriculum and instruction, emphasizes individualized versus personalized learning, and presents intra- and interdisciplinary experiences and the integration of play and playfulness.

13. Learning to Think, Thinking to Learn: Strategies to Promote Deeper Thinking, Inquiry, and Reasoning

Jann Leppien, Whitworth University, Spokane, WA
A focus on developing thinking skills enables students to take charge of their own learning, deepen their understandings, and become more engaged. To cultivate student thinking and alertness to cognition requires tools and strategies for educators to use in their classrooms. This session will focus on the varied practices, strategies, and routines that can be used to deepen understanding and foster the desire for students to make their thinking visible as they interact with peers. Participants will work on developing learning prompts that escalate the level of critical thinking and enhance student discourse as they interact with meaningful content and engage in deeper learning.

14. Teaching with Concepts for Meaning, Depth, and Rigor (Repeat offering from Block A)

Catherine Little, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
Organizing curriculum and instruction around a strong conceptual focus promotes depth in thinking, rich questioning, and opportunities for authentic connections across disciplines. In this strand, we explore specific strategies for engaging students in constructing meaning around big ideas, with applications across grade levels and subject areas.

15. Rigor Not Rigor mortis: Escalating ELA, Literacy and Thinking for High Ability Students

Susannah Richards, Eastern Connecticut State University, Willimantic, CT
What are the characteristics of an effective and relevant ELA curriculum for high ability language users? This strand highlights dozens of effective practices for escalating ELA and literacy instruction for both expressive (speaking and writing) and receptive (listening and reading) literacies. The focus is on relevant literacy experiences that increase students’ skills and content knowledge. Strategies for literary discussion that focus on big ideas and not specific texts, suggestions for response to text, incorporating diverse voices into established “canons,” and examples of writing for authentic audiences will be incorporated throughout the strand. Technologies and model literacy experiences will be highlighted throughout the strand with examples of a variety of high-quality texts featuring complex language structure, great vocabulary, complex characters, and/or complex ideas.

16. Technology for Student-Centered Learning: Clicking Your Way to Socially Conscious, Tech-Infused Curriculum Design

Jessica Stargardter, Norwalk Public Schools, Norwalk, CT
This practical strand will take you from tired-of-tech to teaching-with-tech in no time! Hear from a gifted & talented teacher about designing curriculum to infuse technology as a vehicle for fostering socially conscious and student-centered learning. By the end of this strand, design a lesson, unit, or project that empowers your students to change the world with the help of technology. Expand your knowledge on how to engage, enrich, and enjoy teaching with technology!

Strand Block C

1:45 – 3:00 PM, Monday – Wednesday

17. Hands-On Enrichment in Science

Richard Bothmer, Lively Science Consulting, Brookline, NH
Are you scientifically challenged? Wonderful! We want you! Together we will dispel any science anxiety and replace it with scientific enthusiasm. The emphasis of this strand will not be on science facts, but on how science works. We’ll do lots and lots of labs. Some real...some, well, fabulous, such as when you trap and dissect a snorg. Don’t plan on sitting down much. We’ll be out and about finding fascinating science everywhere. Bring your traditional five tangible senses and your five intangible senses: Sense of Curiosity, Wonder, Imagination, Adventure, and Respect. Students walk into our classes loving science and it is our responsibility that they walk out the same way. We can do this. Piece of cake!

18. Curriculum Compacting and Differentiation in the Mixed-Ability Classroom (Gr. K – 6)

Cindy Gilson, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, NC
Are you searching for practical strategies and resources for teaching and reaching your most advanced K – 6 learners? Then join us for an interactive strand focused on curriculum compacting and differentiation strategies for the mixed-ability classroom. Compacting is an effective tool for managing and organizing differentiation in any classroom or as a part of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model. Teachers will learn how to identify unnecessary curriculum content that can be eliminated and replaced with differentiated curriculum, assessments, and enrichment to enhance students’ strength areas and excitement for learning! Major topics include (a) techniques and materials for curriculum compacting, (b) enrichment activities matched to students’ ability and interests, (c) differentiation with technology, and (d) acceleration. The facilitator will differentiate for participants’ specific interests. The book Curriculum Compacting: A Guide to Differentiating Curriculum and Instruction Through Enrichment and Acceleration, is recommended for participants and is available at a discounted price from Prufrock Press. Click here for more information on purchasing books.

19. Effective Gifted Program Design and Implementation Practices (Gr. K – 8)

E. Jean Gubbins, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
Let's explore several options for designing and implementing effective gifted and talented programs. Is identification the first step in this process? Should you adopt or adapt a curricular model? Or should you determine potential program content or curricular options? Each phase of program design and development requires team decision making from school district representatives to ensure that the gifted and talented program is integral to the district’s mission. Learn how to develop high quality gifted and talented programs aligned with the identification system and expected program outcomes.

20. Creating Positive Social and Emotional Environments for Talented Students (Repeat offering from Block B)

Thomas Hébert, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Join us as we delve into learning guidance strategies to create positive social and emotional environments for talented students. The first day will involve training in the use of literature to guide students to self-understanding. The following day offers instruction on the use of film, online media, and biography to facilitate affective discussions. On day three we wrap up the strand with instruction on how to use photography to support identity development in talented young people. We’ll have a great time in the three days we’re together as we engage in work that is both fulfilling and enjoyable. Click here for more information on purchasing books related to this strand. *Only available as live session

21. Integrating Arts and Creativity into the Core Curriculum

Benjamin Lacina, Saint Paul Public Schools, Saint Paul, MN
Addressing the creative and artistic talents and needs of young people can feel like less of a priority with the demands to meet standards in core academic areas, yet research shows that integrating the arts into the regular curriculum has a positive impact on students, improving student affect, achievement, and engagement. This strand provides hands-on examples of arts integrated strategies, lessons, and activities that connect the habits of mind of creative engagement with process skills embedded in core academic standards.

22. Learning to Think, Thinking to Learn: Strategies to Promote Deeper Thinking, Inquiry, and Reasoning (Repeat offering from Block B)

Jann Leppien, Whitworth University, Spokane, WA
A focus on developing thinking skills enables students to take charge of their own learning, deepen their understandings, and become more engaged. To cultivate student thinking and alertness to cognition requires tools and strategies for educators to use in their classrooms. This session will focus on the varied practices, strategies, and routines that can be used to deepen understanding and foster the desire for students to make their thinking visible as they interact with peers. Participants will work on developing learning prompts that escalate the level of critical thinking and enhance student discourse as they interact with meaningful content and engage in deeper learning.

23. Technology for Student-Centered Learning: Clicking Your Way to Socially Conscious, Tech-Infused Curriculum Design (Repeat offering from Block B)

Jessica Stargardter, Norwalk Public Schools, Norwalk, CT
This practical strand will take you from tired-of-tech to teaching-with-tech in no time! Hear from a gifted & talented teacher about designing curriculum to infuse technology as a vehicle for fostering socially conscious and student-centered learning. By the end of this strand, design a lesson, unit, or project that empowers your students to change the world with the help of technology. Expand your knowledge on how to engage, enrich, and enjoy teaching with technology!

24. Infusing the SEM: Head, Heart, Gut

Nicole Waicunas, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
What does it mean to use head, heart, and gut in a classroom? Join us to discover the gifts and talents of your students and yourselves as educators, parents, and community members so as to determine and respond to the social and emotional needs of young people. The SEM is the vehicle to provide the tools and resources to every student, teacher, parent, school, and community. The courage to find these talents and gifts in children requires nurturing and creative spaces that provide opportunities to see every single child as an individual with interests, learning styles, and preferred modes of expression. Differentiation from the child’s perspective creates resilient self-efficacy that allows students to take risks and step into the components of the SEM with curiosity, interest, and self-regulation. Come and celebrate the next steps to making the head, heart, and gut connection. You will surprise yourself and those around you with your discoveries and your newfound understanding of your students, and perhaps, yourself.