Workshops for 2024-2025

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School Librarians - Why we still need them!

More than 10,000 school librarian positions have been eliminated in the USA since 2010 - a blunder that Jamie has equated with "intellectual disarmament." In this presentation, Jamie identifies the conditions of a changing information landscape that require information literacy skills more than ever and outlines why teacher librarians are the best suited to equip staff and students with such skills. He goes on to suggest ways school librarians can expand and enrich their roles as school leaders in order to reverse the trend of reduced staffing. He argues that school librarians must also become more active politically to win community support for their programs.

Laptop Thinking and Writing

In this full day hands-on workshop, Jamie introduces the group to the key concepts explored in his new book Laptop Thinking and Writing in which he emphasizes idea processing and prewriting activities. He leads participants through a series of thinking and writing activities designed to equip them with skills and strategies they may turn around to employ with students.

The marriage of vocabulary and creative thought

In Orwell’s 1984, the government works to limit the vocabulary of citizens to fewer than one thousand words in order to make free and independent thinking virtually impossible. In this hands-on session, Jamie will show how students can learn to love the union of vocabulary with creative thought, paying special attention to the role of an online thesaurus as students explore complex ideas such as courage and beauty. (Participants should bring laptops or tablets)

Getting Silly: Unlocking Roger von Oech’s Ten Mental Locks

In his book, Whack on the Side of the Head, Roger von Oech identifies ten mental locks that often get in the way of productive and creative thought. In this session, Jamie introduces the group to these ten locks and shows how strategies like “getting silly” and “entertaining the absurd” can set the mind free to do its best inventing.

Writing the great love letter, complaint, job app or poem

Drawing from his latest book, Laptop Thinking and Writing, Jamie will lead the group through hands-on writing activities that apply strategies from the book to the four writing tasks listed in the title. He will show how students might be taught these same strategies. (Participants should bring laptops or tablets)

Teaching the six stages of creative thought

Students are more likely to invent novel ideas and create solutions to problems when they have a firm grasp of the stages of creative thought. In this session, Jamie defines each stage and illustrates how students can enhance the quality of their thinking by stepping mindfully through the stages.

  • Preparation
  • Incubation
  • Frustration
  • Intimation
  • Illumination or insight
  • Verification

Incubation, imagination, inspiration and invention

Building on the content explored in the session “Teaching the 6 stages of creative thought,” Jamie will lead the group through activities to deepen understanding of incubation, imagination, inspiration and invention. He will also provide examples of how to encourage these four processes at each level of education from K-12.

The Great Report

This workshop can be a full day exploring the power of the five pillars outlined in Jamie's book, The Great Report, or it can be a 90 minute overview of the main ideas.

The Great Report

  • Creates something new
  • Grapples with a big challenge
  • Explores the unknown
  • Shares insights and understandings that are perceptive and original
  • Awakens curiosity
  • Entertains, delights and illuminates

The five pillars of greatness
Pillar #1 - Curiosity
Pillar #2 - Mystery
Pillar #3 - Challenge
Pillar #4 - Novelty
Pillar #5 - Delight

Did Curiosity Kill the Cat?

This is a 60-90 minute workshop summarizing and illustrating the importance of curiosity when motivating students to create Great Reports. Jamie explains how four different types of curiosity come into play and how teachers may nurture and inspire the growth or awakening of curiosity in their students.

The Importance of Mystery

This is a 60-90 minute workshop summarizing and illustrating the importance of mystery when motivating students to create Great Reports. Jamie explains how teachers may help students to find the puzzles, mysteries, conundrums and issues embedded in the curriulum.

Assessing the Quality of Student Research,
Thinking and Presenting

This is a 60-90 minute workshop that outlines the strategies and rubrics that teachers may use along with students to make sure high standards are set for the research, thinking and presenting students will do while creating Great Reports.

Writing powerfully with a laptop or iPad

Laptops could make a huge difference in the quality of student writing, but it takes some cleverness and strategy to realize that promise. Schools with laptops will see a major improvement in student writing when they teach students how idea processing and word processing can combine. This will strengthen the power of their persuasive essays and writing of all kinds. In a day long, hands-on workshop, Jamie involves the group in a process that takes advantage of mind mapping software, idea generators and synthesis strategies along with concept attainment, enrichment of vocabulary and the Traits of Effective Writing — all tailored to exploit the potential of the laptops or iPad type devices. Experience first hand writing techniques that turn a laptop into a powerful tool for expression and meet the demands of CCS.

Getting to the heart of the matter

Just because students have asked and answered 247 questions about floods doesn't mean they have developed any important understandings. Many schools working diligently on inquiry models have inadvertently slipped into a kind of gathering and collecting that amounts to little more than scooping — looking into a topic rather than developing insights. In this session, Jamie outlines the difference between faux inquiry and inquiry that leads to new understandings. He shows how "What should we do about floods?" leads to an investigation that creates good new ideas. He emphasizes the importance of organizing inquiry around problems, issues, choices and challenges so that all of the gathering is shaped by the search to understand and create.

Exploring complex ideas

Students are rarely challenged to dig down deep in order to create rich definitions of complex ideas such as beauty, truth and courage. In this session Jamie shows how teachers can use a series of digital explorations to deepen students' understanding of such concepts. Students learn that dictionaries usually pay short shrift to complex ideas, and they even learn to improve the definitions they encounter.

Creating great digital lessons

How can teachers best create exciting lessons that use new technologies and digital resources to engage students in the critical thinking, inference and analysis required by the Common Core Standards (CCS)? In this session Jamie shows how teachers can build engaging and challenging lessons that will develop the thinking skills students will need to perform well on the new tests developed to measure success on the CCS.

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Image Power - making digital images roar

Persuasion in a society ripe with digital images requires thoughtful selection as well as artful production. We must train students to be discerning when choosing visual material to build a case, but we must also show them how to do more than "point and shoot" when taking their own photographs. In this session, Jamie shows how teachers can equip students to make powerful images and powerful use of images.

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