I conduct literacy and teacher effectiveness workshops and speak at meetings and conferences. My appearances tend to focus on either Common Core literacy for grades 4-12 or new teacher issues (retention, motivation, classroom management, etc). As a classroom teacher and professional consultant, I will work with you and your organization to tailor a workshop and/or presentation that meets the specific needs of your audience.
My offerings include these topics:
Common Core Literacy
- A Non-Freaked Out Approach to the Common Core (Gr. 4-12) — With Smarter Balanced and PARCC tests looming, anxiety surrounding the CCSS is only rising. Yet how effective are high-anxiety, hit-every-last-standard approaches? Dave advocates a proven approach that focuses on several key aspects of the Common Core, and participants will leave with not only strategies, but encouragement and relief.
- Dominating Complex Texts… and Life (Gr. 4-12) — By now, every teacher in America has heard that we need to increase the complexity of the texts our students are able to read. But how do we actually do this in each content area? This session addresses the challenges of empowering students of varying degrees of ability to read grade-appropriate complex texts.
- Close Reading to Set Student Minds Afire (Gr. 4-12) — How do we both motivate and equip students to read complex texts closely? This workshop involves an in-depth exploration of the linchpin of the Common Core reading anchor standards, and includes practical resources like rubrics and applications across the content areas.
- Using Debate to Tackle the Common Core (Gr. 4-12) — Debate increases student engagement with its game-like qualities, yet it’s highly effective in increasing reading, writing, speaking, and thinking abilities; in short, debate draws students into an engaged life of the mind, and it naturally rewards critical thinking. This session looks at a multitude of strategies, formats, and rubrics for infusing classrooms with argumentation.
- Write Like Crazy (Gr. 4-12) — With the Common Core’s emphasis on critical thinking, no strategy, perhaps, holds more promise than writing in a variety of modes and for a variety of purposes. But how can we “work harder not smarter” in our aim of increasing the amount and quality of student writing? This session is practical, empowering, and, as usual, non-freaked out.
- Every Kid Talks, Every Day (Gr. 4-12) – The Common Core anchor standards in reading and writing get a lot of attention, but the speaking/listening portion of the standards are a major clue on how to increase student engagement and understanding for the reading/writing tasks. In this session, we’ll discuss simple, powerful strategies for ensuring that every kid talks, every day, as well as some common obstacles teachers face when trying to do this.
- Character Strengths and the Pursuit of Awesome (Gr. K-12) — For most of our students, the Common Core is a stratospherically high set of literacy goals, and frankly, attaining them will take more work than many of our kids are currently willing to put in. But schools and researchers around the world are experimenting with a promising idea: it’s possible to teach students non-cognitive, highly predictive “skills” like grit and self-control. This session unpacks how Dave, his colleagues, and researchers and schools around the nation are starting to see great results from infusing character strengths into their instruction.
Enhancing New Teacher Retention and Effectiveness
- Jedi Mind Tricks for Avoiding Burnout (Gr. K-12) — We’ve all met burnt out teachers, and our first instinct is to disdain them. However, not one of them entered teaching hoping to one day burn out. So how does it happen, and how can we avoid it during the much-discussed first year of teaching? Participants will leave with practical ideas and generous encouragement.
- Tips for Becoming a High Impact First-Year Teacher (Gr. K-12) – What are some practical methods for becoming a high-impact teacher during the first year of teaching? How do we quickly transition from “new guy/girl” to respected colleague? What are some common pitfalls for teachers new and old, and how can we avoid learning them the hard way? We’ll discuss these burning questions and more. Participants will leave with actionable ideas and generous encouragement.
- Character Strengths and the Pursuit of Awesome (Gr. K-12) – We usually equate success with intelligence. However, a growing number of economists, psychologists, researchers, and teachers are arguing that what matters more are skills like perseverance, curiosity, optimism, and self-control. So what are these “character strengths,” why should we be paying close attention to them, and how can they make our classrooms into places that nurture flourishing students? Participants will leave with practical resources and lots of encouragement.
Dave’s 2013 Speaking Schedule
March 4: Allendale, MI
- Fire Up Spring Conference
- “Jedi Mind Tricks for Avoiding Burnout” & “Strategic Impact, Starting Now: Tips for First-Year Teachers”
March 10: Grand Rapids, MI
- Michigan Reading Association Conference
- “Using Close Reading to Light Student Minds on Fire”
May 30: Cedar Springs, MI
- Commencement Address
- “Hard Work and Humility”
August 8: Harrah, OK
- Whole district, 3-hour PD session
- “A Non-Freaked Out Approach to the Common Core”
August 9: Lebanon, MO
- High school staff, 6-hour PD session with whole-staff and PLC breakout sessions
- “A Non-Freaked Out Approach to the Common Core” + discipline-specific breakouts
October 21: Grand Rapids, MI
- Fire Up Fall Conference
- Keynote address
October 25: Royal Oak, MI
- Elementary school, 3-hour PD session (co-led with Erica Beaton)
- “Close Reading: From Theory to the Nitty Gritty”