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  • Storyboxes: Fueling Reading Comprehension through Story Retelling

    Workshop Title: “Storyboxes: Fueling Reading Comprehension through Story Retelling”
    Proposed Format: Presentation, discussion of purpose, dissemination of created material, and small group work for development of new, standard specific material for ages 3 to 8 year olds.
    Content Level Age 3 – Second Grade
    Audience: parents, teachers, reading specialists, administrators,
    ELL staff

    Objective of Storybooks:
    Strengthening literacy comprehension in the young learner by adding concrete learning prompts/props accelerating story sequence, identification of story components (setting, characters, etc.), rehearsing dialogue, and retelling.

    History of Storyboxes / Research:

    This project has its roots in oral tradition. Storytelling has been done by men and women for centuries for immediate or extended family; children were the single most important audience; older adults stressed that stories always had a strong moral, educational component; storytelling was poetic with special storytelling vocabulary; it encompasses the lost element of oral language—“performance”: Cowell, A. (Winter 2002) “Bilingual Curriculum among the Northern Arapaho: Oral Tradition, Literacy, and Performance.” American Indian Quarterly, 26, 24.

    Selected stories have been chosen to elicit a clear strong sequence, characterization, and cross-curricular rigor. With the repetition of orally reciting the poem or story, a child learns language components, literary devices, phonological, and comprehension skills in context.

    Oral stories and poems serve as a bridge to the written language. It is the missing piece of the “5 Big Ideas” from the National Reading Panel!!


    Storyboxes and activities will be presented in above order. Each story has a child’s version of props, pictures, and activities. A book for purchase includes three storyboxes and the PDF for classroom use. Stories are modeled, practiced, and rehearsed at school and then will be sent home with the student.

    Participants will create their own storybox literacy kit.

    Outcomes and Achievements:

    I have been using storyboxes for about 11 years and adding new ones each year to stories that promote story sequence, retelling, characterization, and integrate content with our learning themes. Story comprehension I have noted was over 51 percent this year as tracked on the NWEA for my students using kindergarten benchmarks. Children need hands-on, multisensory learning to instill a love for literacy and strengthen literacy skills.

    More and more research shows that the language vocabulary gap is growing in early childhood; this tool is effective in stimulating student engagement and building oral language skills and comprehension. Recent research shows oral language as being foundational for future acquisition of reading comprehension and understanding context.

    Attendee Take-Aways

    Attendees will have:

    ● Tools to use with any story that promotes the best cross-curricular learning. 

    ● Resources for strengthening literacy skills in the classroom and at home. 

    ● A plan for creating their own storyboxes. 

    Let the Sparks Fly: Using Science for Integrated Classroom Instruction & High Student Engagement & Learning

    Workshop Title: “Let the Sparks Fly: Using Science for Integrated Classroom Instruction & High Student Engagement”
    Proposed Format: Presentation, discussion, & individual/small group work for participants. Dissemination of science created themes, materials used and skill progression integrated across the curriculum. Direct instruction on how to use science instruction to teach and accelerate math, language, literacy, social studies and social skills.
    Content Level: Age 3 – Second Grade
    Audience: parents, teachers, reading specialists, administrators, & ELL staff

    Session Outline:
    1. Knowledge acquisition from a child development prospective
    2. Setting up science instruction to power pack learning
    3. Integration of literacy, math, etc. through activities & centers
    4. Using music to hook & engage student learning
    5. Vocabulary & Non-fiction Literature

    Half and Whole Day Presentations:
    One thorough and integrated science module for half-day session.
    All day sessions will develop three integrated science cross-curricular modules.
    All day sessions will have time for planning and implementing participants ideas with support.

    Provide outcomes and achievements
    I have been using science to enrich my instruction for my entire teaching career. The past 12 years science was the driving force in the development of a award winning Young Five’s program.
    More and more research shows that non-fiction literature develop strong vocabulary and are a natural to enhance student learning. It is meeting the children where they are at, with their natural tools for learning and discovery and reaping so much more by creating life long learners!

    Attendee Take-Aways
    Attendees will have:
    ● Tools for integrating science into all subjects and enhancing age appropriate content.
    ● Inexpensive resources and materials to use at home or school.
    ● A plan for creating their own lessons and activities to boost student learning and engagement.

    Setting the Stage for Success: Developmental Appropriate Practices

    Workshop Title: “Setting the Stage for Success: Developmental Appropriate Practices
    Proposed Format: Presentation, discussion, & individual/small group work for participants. Activities and basic skill progression for the young learner.
    Content Level: Age 3 – 6
    Audience: parents, teachers, reading specialists, & administrators

    Session Outline:
    1. Motor Skill Development – using the child’s tool kit for learning
    2. Oral Language —— > to Literacy
    3. Listening to learn
    4. Pre-writing activities
    5. Activities for conceptual learning in math and science

    Half and Whole Day Presentations:
    Motor Skill Development and Listening concepts introduced for half-day session.
    All day sessions will cover developmentally appropriate practices across session outline 1-5.

    Provide outcomes and achievements:
    As I have taught and observed in many early childhood settings and instructed at higher levels, I have come to see that we have lost the understanding of how a young child learns best. Our expectations academically have increased and on some levels physical, social and emotional needs ignored or diminished.
    A child’s exposure to the visible, concrete, physical world has changed with the increase of technological advancements. Though the new modes of learning has its advantages, we still need to equip and meet our children where true learning begins – the child!
    It is my passion and hope that I can help encourage educators and parents to begin with a child and his tools for learning: sight, taste, touch, smell, and sound. Shape learning expectations through appropriate progression of muscle and cognitive skill development.

    Attendee Take-Aways
    Attendes will have:
    ● Activities and a progression for motor skill development
    ● Activities and a progression for basic oral language and listening skills
    ● A “how-to” teach math & science conceptually in the day to day life of a young child.

    To Move is to Learn: Teaching in Transitions

    Workshop Title: “To Move is to Learn: Teaching in Transitions”
    Proposed Format: Presentation, discussion, & individual/small group work for participants. Music, Literacy, Literacy and Movement activities to enhance transitions in classrooms of young children.
    Content Level: Age 3 – 6
    Audience: parents, teachers, & administrators

    Session Outline:
    1. Social Skill Songs & Concepts
    2. Positive behavior management through pre-writing skills
    3. Integration of academics & movement in transitions
    4. Resources for social skill acquisition and music transitions
    5. Creating a positive class or group culture

    Half Presentations Only

    Provide outcomes and achievements
    My hope is to share ideas that enhance learning in every transition that occurs in a group setting. Transitions with music or chants can be key to helping children change activities positively and create a safe environment within to learn.
    Key social skills can be built individually and encouraged as positively in a group. Visual schedules, pictures and non-verbal cues will make for a fun, safe place to learn.

    Attendee Take-Aways

    Attendees will have:
    ● Tools for teaching and making transitions from various activities.
    ● Resources such as music and other strategies to take into their own setting.
    ● A plan for creating their scheduled transition activities to implement.

    • New Teacher Training

      • A Plan – for Best Practices, Setting the Stage – creating a positive Class Culture & Learning Environment.

      • A Philosophy – for meeting each child’s needs and designing the best program for your children/families – Curricular Integration & Alignment planning.

      • A Promise – Ideas for a solid start to the year and a framework to follow – Rigorous and Engaging Planning formats, Parent & Community Involvement Ideas.

    • Science & Literacy Curriculum Instruction

      • A Plan – for science integration and implementation, which includes a strong literacy component and reinforcement across all subject areas.

      • The Guide – a rigorous thematic framework for enhanced student learning and engagement.

      • Gear Up – equip teachers with available resources and easy accessible materials.

      • Goals – setting and making future goals to implement science and nonfiction literacy into classroom framework and planning.

    • School/Site Visits

      • Collaboration – to support a classroom teacher(s) and enhance student learning with dissemination of best practices.

      • Curriculum – creating and development of strategies for a positive class culture, planning and instruction, assessing and differentiated teaching.

      • Culminate – Suggested future direction for rigorous instruction & engaged student learning.

    • “What a gift Young 5’s has been for our son, ___! Our other two children attended different Young 5’s Programs and I am so impressed with Program. … ___ loves going to school and is so excited about the fun ways he has learned his numbers and letters and is beginning to read! …so many different learning concepts [are incorporated] in each activity of the day, whether its circle or center time, singing and dancing or just reading a story. I believe this program will give ___the growth and “tools” needed to be a success throughout elementary school and encourage him to be a positive leader as he gets older.”

      Tracy Mulanix

    • Our staff is taking the time right now to connect with someone who has helped you grow as a person or teacher. You are that person for me! Thank you for sharing your vision and love for teaching young children. You are an inspiration to me and I think about you in teaching every day. Not only do I admire your wonderful teaching ideas, but I also admire and appreciate your strong spirit and love for our Lord. Thank you for being you!

      Katie Balkema, Young Fives Educator

    • We just finished retelling a historical narrative about George Washington and a fiction story by Jan Brett the last couple weeks. Your kiddos from last year scored a 4.0 on your rubric (which we used) with a couple scoring 3.0-3.5. I love hearing their descriptive sentences, visual imagery, and specific details/vocabulary. They’re so tuned in to listen for plot elements/story sequence.

      We’re so thankful for the rich foundation you give our students!

      Michelle Jager
      Kindergarten Teacher
      Cross Creek Charter Academy

    • “The children learn through music, movement and theme activities. Learning is fun; the children love to learn.”

      Susie Hulst

    • After taking Laura’s session at NHA-U a couple years ago, I was amazed at the amount of supplies gathered for each child and the creativity put into each story. To see the delight and learning that takes place is almost indescribable!

    • __________had a great time showing our family his story bag last night-he could hardly wait for Brian to get home! He was very proud of himself!

    • You are so awesome and I learned so much from you! I truly feel so blessed and honored that I get to teach in your footprints and continue on your legacy!… You inspired me so much and I loved seeing your passion for teaching. I hope the kids love me as much as you! It’s amazing what you have done for the young 5’s program. It’s special to see how and where God leads us. I’m so excited for this journey!

      Taylor Morgan, Young Fives Teacher

    • The staff thoroughly enjoyed you and what you had to offer them. They immediately began to incorporate what you had shown them into their every day with the children. So far the magnifying glasses are brought out each day it is time for outdoor play, by the children’s request. It is awesome!

      Melody Solomon-Burton

    • Just wanted to tell you that the second graders were given a challenge to memorize the Gettysburg Address just for extra credit. ____ has memorized it and is saying it tomorrow. I just am amazed at how he can memorize and I think those storybox stories you had them memorize contributed greatly. So thanks again.

      Kimberly Brew, Parent

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