Elementary, Middle, & Secondary Courses

Click on the course title to read the description.

PLN1: Forming & Reforming Reading Writing Talking Across the Curriculum, PreK to 4, 5-8 or PreK to 12 (EDCE533)

Participants investigate the PLN Frameworks of The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes and The Four Lenses of Learning, apply these concepts and frameworks to their classroom materials and content texts/lessons, and make adaptations based on their own contexts and curriculum frameworks. Participants also engage in learning experiences that are rich in problem-solving, critical thinking, and logical reasoning including discussions about how to adapt these approaches for inclusion students. Educators learn how to engage students in transacting with text (comprehension), composing text, extending reading and writing through a workshop format, investigating language, and learning to learn activities that encourage students to metacognitively reflect on their own learning. Participants are asked to bring classroom curriculum materials and content texts to the course for practical applications of course concepts and strategies.

PLN1: Critical Reading and Writing in Support of Learning, 5–12 (EDCE533) and (EDCE646)

Secondary teachers are involved in the constant process of increasing students’ active reading and writing abilities using a variety of texts within the high-pressure environment of state accountability.
There is a growing philosophy that every teacher is a literacy teacher--a view that is becoming increasingly important as schools prepare for standards-based learning which places an emphasis on content literacy.  Throughout this course, participants learn and share a variety of practical strategies and evidenced-based frameworks for integrating PLN into their schools to encourage student engagement with rich reading, writing, talking and listening best practices. This is not an add-on approach to teaching and learning. It is a set of theoretical frameworks for guiding best practice and decision-making using whatever curriculum is in place. The course provides opportunities for hands-on learning, reflection and the development of common language about literacy, particularly in the areas of reading and writing to learn. This work is based on the teachings of Dr. Morton Botel, emeritus professor and the founder of The Penn Literacy Network. Participants are active readers, writers, talkers and listeners in this course. The course provides a paradigm for classroom engagement that is best learned through experience. We are a community of learners and we all contribute to one another’s professional growth.

PLN 1 Online: Critical Reading and Writing in Support of Learning grades 4-12 (EDCE533)

Researchers agree that the successful development of literacy skills impacts student engagement, student learning and student achievement in a profound and direct relationship. They agree that the integration of language and content - reflected in the development of state standards - should and must relate language learning, content learning, and the development of thinking in a continuous spiral of rigor and application.

Participants in this course actively interact online with colleagues and engage in learning experiences that are rich in problem-solving, critical thinking, and logical reasoning including reflection on how to adapt these evidence-based instructional practices for all students regardless of content. Supported by the most current research and anchored to a well-developed instructional framework, educators learn how to engage students in Transacting with Text (comprehension), Composing Text, Extending Reading and Writing, Investigating Language and Learning to Learn activities that encourage students to more effectively process and reflect on their own learning of any content. Close reading, informational writing, and the structuring of engaging, active learning environments that nurture theses skills are addressed. Throughout the course, participants engage in online discussions to share thoughts on professional readings and implementation of literacy strategies. Participants need to order the course text before the course begins, "The Plainer Truths of Teaching, Learning and Literacy" by Dr. Morton Botel and Mrs. Lara Paparo.

 

PLN1: Literacy for School Leaders, PreK-12 (EDCE649)

School leaders need to analyze, evaluate, and synthesize the most current information related to leadership, literacy instruction, creating change to act as catalysts for organizational learning and the development of professional learning communities within their school districts.  School administrators need to learn and model the practical strategies and applications that help establish a priority on literacy instruction across all grade levels and subject areas.  Instructional leaders reinforce that school teachers need to be involved in the constant process of increasing students’ active reading and writing about content area texts within the high-pressure environment of state accountability.
 
PLN1: Literacy for School Leaders integrates leadership standards, change theories, and literacy strategies to increase student engagement and improve student achievement. Participants learn approaches to help them establish literate school environments that are grounded in problem solving, critical thinking, and logical reasoning concepts that are focused on state and national standards. They employ practical techniques that investigate and connect content in all subject areas to the real world. Administrators learn to foster professional learning communities that increase the intelligence of their organizations.

PLN1: Literacy for School Leaders is structured to allow participants the opportunity to explore strategies and concepts for leading their administrative team and positively impact students’ reading and writing proficiency. Participants are encouraged to try out the strategies discussed in class and reflect on this implementation with colleagues and PLN facilitators, as well as inform their practice through professional readings. They also complete a final project providing a comprehensive plan to model and lead their district’s administrators and teachers to meet the goal of improving their students’ literacy skills.

PLN 1 Online: Literacy for School Leaders PreK-12 (EDCE 649)

School leaders need to analyze, evaluate, and synthesize the most current information related to leadership, literacy instruction, creating change to act as catalysts for organizational learning and the development of professional learning communities within their school districts. School administrators need to learn and model the practical strategies and applications that help establish a priority on literacy instruction across all grade levels and subject areas. Instructional leaders reinforce that school teachers need to be involved in the constant process of increasing students’ active reading and writing about content area texts within the high-pressure environment of state accountability.

PLN1 Online: Literacy for School Leaders integrates leadership standards, change theories, and literacy strategies to increase student engagement and improve student achievement. Participants learn approaches to help them establish literate school environments that are grounded in problem solving, critical thinking, and logical reasoning concepts that are focused on state and national standards. They employ practical techniques that investigate and connect content in all subject areas to the real world. Administrators learn to foster professional learning communities that increase the intelligence of their organizations.

PLN1 Online: Literacy for School Leaders is structured to allow participants the opportunity to explore strategies and concepts for leading their administrative team and positively impact students’ reading and writing proficiency. Participants are encouraged to try out the strategies discussed on the video sessions and reflect on this implementation with colleagues and PLN facilitators, as well as inform their practice through professional readings. They also complete a final project providing a comprehensive plan to model and lead their district’s administrators and teachers to meet the goal of improving their students’ literacy skills.

Participants need to purchase The Plainer Truths of Teaching, Literacy and Learning by Dr. Morton Botel and Mrs. Lara Paparo and Activate by Dr. Doug Reeves et al before the course begins.

 

PLN 1B: Forming and Reforming Reading, Writing and Talking: Making Connections from the Classroom to the Home through Family Engagement (K-12)

This course provides educators with evidence-based, practical strategies that create positive, literacy-rich experiences with a focus on The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes and The Four Lenses of Learning. Participants gain an understanding of developmentally appropriate practice based on engaged and reflective teaching and learning frameworks and strategies connecting the classroom to the home.

Participants conduct family engagement workshops at their school site with literacy strategies for parents to use with their children. Assignments include journals focused on classroom implementation and family workshop experiences, professional readings and a final project focused on a continued literacy link between the classroom and the home. Participants are asked to bring a classroom book to each session.

(For an additional program opportunity, PLN can provide customized parent home-based literacy Before During After activities and/or children’s books focused on engagement and skill building.)

PLN 2: Integrating Teaching, Learning & Assessment in Reading Writing Literacy (EDCE564)

This course brings participants to the next level of involvement with The PLN Five Reading Writing Talking Processes of PLN1. Participants collaborate with colleagues and reflect on the PLN literacy frameworks and their current practice as they engage in goal-planning and congruent assessment approaches in their classrooms and schools for the year (or years) to come. The course emphasizes curricular planning, discussions about classroom/district/state benchmarks and standards, curricular problem-solving, document review of student work, and revisiting and extending reading/writing literacy approaches from PLN 1. 

Prerequisite: PLN1

PLN 2B: Integrating Teaching, Learning & Assessment: PLN Frameworks and Reading Writing Talking Strategies to Support Standards in The Classroom, PreK-12 (EDCE 662)

This course brings participants to the next level of involvement with The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes of PLN 1. Participants collaborate with colleagues and reflect on the PLN literacy frameworks and their current practice as they engage in goal-planning and congruent assessment approaches in their classrooms and schools for the year (or years) to come. The course emphasizes curricular planning, discussions about classroom/district/state benchmarks and standards, curriculum problem solving, document review of student work, and revisiting and extending reading and writing literacy approaches from PLN 1.

 

PLN 2B: For School Leaders: Integrating Teaching, Learning & Assessment: Supporting Standards in the Classroom using Strategies of the PLN Frameworks: The Four Lenses of Learning and The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes

This course brings participants to the next level of involvement with The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes and The Four Lenses of Learning of PLN 1. Participants collaborate with colleagues and reflect on the PLN literacy frameworks and their current practice as they engage in goal-planning and congruent assessment approaches in their classrooms and schools for the year (or years) to come. The course emphasizes curricular planning, discussions about classroom/district/state benchmarks and standards, curriculum problem solving, document review of student work, and revisiting and extending reading and writing approaches from PLN 1.

 

PLN 3: Implementing a Literature-Centered Classroom for Children and Adolescents (EDCE680)

In this course, participants explore the significant role of good literature in classrooms. Practical suggestions for initiating independent and group activities using literature, and oral/written composing are also examined. At the elementary school level, the course focuses on integrating children’s literature across the curriculum, supporting independent and collaborative reading, and analyzing author’s craft and book art as scaffolds for students’ own writing.

At the secondary level, participants investigate the use of young adult fiction for building student engagement, connecting to curricular themes, and addressing social issues. One particular emphasis of the PLN 3 course is the implementation, management, and assessment of literature discussion groups using rich literature for children and adolescents. 

 

PLN 3B: Extending Reading and Writing: Using Mentor Texts to Support Creative and Informational Writing, PreK-12 (EDCE 661)

Participants explore how to establish a literature-centered reading and writing classroom using mentor texts. Guided by The PLN Frameworks (The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes and The Four Lenses of Learning) participants explore the impact of providing good literature in the classroom as a springboard for the development of improved reading and writing skills.

Discussions and demonstrations focus on the study of author’s craft, book art, writing styles and the importance of providing self-selection in the classroom. Practical suggestions for active engagement and independent and group activities using literature, oral and written composing across the curriculum are also examined during this course.

PLN 4: Investigating Language Using Explicit and Systematic Learning Experiences, K–8 (EDCE670)

Elementary and/or middle grade teachers use evidence-based concept and resources in the areas of decoding, grammar, and spelling to learn about the implementation of Reading Writing Talking Process #4: Investigating Words and Sentences . The focus is on the integration of explicit and systematic instruction of decoding, spelling, and Standard English sentence patterns. Educators learn how to help students develop word attack skills, spelling knowledge, and context-appropriate use of Standard written and oral English.

Participants explore the use of Word Making and Sentence Making with students as well as other active learning approaches that focus on best practices: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, grammar, vocabulary, and comprehension.

PLN 5: Informational Reading and Writing, PreK to 12 (EDCE611)

Participants use PLN frameworks to explore the genre of non-fiction as they discuss strategies to increase opportunities for students to read and write using informational texts.  At the elementary school level, participants explore practical suggestions using informational texts in read aloud sessions and as “mentor texts” for writing.  Participants investigate the features of informational texts, the use of non-fiction examples as models of an author's craft, and the pairing of fact and fiction “twin texts” to enrich students’ understanding and appreciation of both genres.  

In secondary schools, the vast majority of reading and writing that students do is informational. They must navigate the demands of reading in content areas such as Science and Social Studies.  In this course, secondary teachers use the PLN frameworks to develop strategies for helping students access and produce the academic language of content area texts.  Areas of focus include reading textbooks, primary source materials, writing informational and persuasive papers, note making, response building, and research writing.This course provides ideas for using informational texts along with content-area textbooks to support student research aligned to The State Standards.

PLN 6: Research, Non-fiction Reading, Writing and Technology (EDCE620)

This course explores the relationship between inquiry-based learning and technology through the The PLN Frameworks and The State Standards.

Through a series of Before, During and After activities to support inquiry-based research, participants try out the I-Search/We-Search process to investigate a topic and apply strategies such as developing essential questions for research and reading non-fiction texts. The skills and processes of technology are examined as an integral part of non-fiction reading, writing, and the presentation of content.

Participants use a variety of technology and web 2.0 tools and they are expected to try out the course literacy strategies and integrated technology tools with their students.  The course provides practical, hands-on experiences with graphic organizers and online research techniques.

Prerequisite: Knowledge of The PLN Frameworks (The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes and The Four Lenses of Learning) A moderate to medium level of technology background (or the willingness to learn and grow with technology) is required.

PLN 7: Reading Writing Science: Implementing an Integrated Curriculum (EDCE635)

This course provides support for educators as they implement a dynamic science program that blends discussions of current theoretical concepts with hands-on science activities. The focus is on integrating developmentally-appropriate literacy activities within content curriculum frameworks. At the elementary level, work includes development and/or enrichment of thematic science units across the curriculum. At the secondary level, there is a focus on scaffolding academic literacy activities (such as lab reports, observation notebooks, and science journals) as tools for deepening the learning of science concepts. Throughout the course, teachers explore and problem-solve issues of practice that arise from their implementations.

PLN 7B: Science Conservation and Literacy: Supporting Endangered Species (EDCE637)

This course provides support for educators to enrich their current science and literacy programs with a focus on personal conservation practices that can improve outcomes for endangered species. Through a case study on the frog (or another amphibian or animal), presentations and classroom demonstrations blend discussions of research-based reading and writing strategies with practical classroom applications. The course focuses on developmentally appropriate science/literacy classroom strategies that integrate The PLN Frameworks: The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes and The Four Lenses of Learning with a focus on The State Standards.

As a final project, participants select an animal as the basis for curriculum unit development (to be completed alone or in collaboration with other course participants). Teachers help one another explore and problem-solve practical issues related to the implementation of their mini-units on a PLN 7B Wiki. Activities include a Before/During/ After visit to the zoo (or a nature center) to provide a hands-on opportunity to learn more about amphibians and animals through the creation of a collaborative unit for classroom implementation during the course.

PLN 8A: College Success: Preparing Students for College and Beyond

College completion is an aspiration for many high school graduates, yet barriers to achieving this goal persist for many of them. For this reason, it is critical for secondary institutions to do all they can to facilitate and prepare their learners for success at the post-secondary level. They need to create a plan that allows their students to have the appropriate academic experience, pre-college exposure, and numerous opportunities to practice independence.

Academic preparedness and the development of soft skills such as creating an appropriate study schedule, managing independent time, learning how to ask for help, revising work and communicating effectively with professors will help students build the foundation they need to learn persistence and habits of mind that will make it easier for them to navigate life in college.

In this course, educators work collaboratively to create a comprehensive plan and foundation to positively impact student engagement based on a model that has worked successfully for more than 1000 students. Participants discuss and develop pathways to ensure that their students create successful college experiences and careers. Moreover, they learn ways to prepare their students for the transition from high school to college.

Assignments include ongoing reflective journals that focus on the practical implementation of ideas learned during the course, professional readings, and a final project that reflects a practical college and career success action plan.

PLN facilitator and program creator: Dr. Marquitta Speller

(*The recommended course combination is the College Success course and PLN 1: Critical Reading and Writing in Support of Learning or PLN 1 for School Leaders. The PLN 1 course provides educators with the academic skills needed to support all students as they learn evidence-based skills and strategies that will positively impact their secondary and post secondary success.)

 

PLN 9: Forming and Reforming Reading Writing Talking Across the Curriculum: Addressing the Needs of English Language Learners (ELLs) (EDCE612)

In this course, participants learn how to address the language, literacy, and learning needs of English Language Learners in their classes through active, hands-on experiences that model the concepts and strategies that are to be applied in their schools. Practical activities are informed by research on second-language acquisition, bi-literacy development, and content-based second language instruction, and they are blended with discussions of current research-based literacy concepts as presented in many state language arts frameworks. Teachers explore strategies to teach reading writing talking across all content areas to ELLs, and work to establish literate classroom environments that are accessible to all students. This course is designed to foster collaboration between mainstream teachers and ESL teachers within and across schools while strengthening collegial support and problem-solving in the implementation of the PLN frameworks. Participants get an overview of the management and evaluation of a literate environment that is accessible to ELLs while focusing on the development of curriculum plans that integrate content and language.

PLN 10: Inquiry into Student Learning to Inform Practice (EDCE630)

In this course, participants take a closer look at what it means to be a teacher and a student in a PLN classroom. Participants examine the learning experiences of two specific students and reflect on the implications of this course learning for all students in their classrooms. Based on The Reading Writing Talking Processes and The Lenses of Learning, participants explore ways to construct learning experiences that help their students grow to be co-constructive, resilient problem solvers. Participants draw on teacher observations, samples of the students’ work, and any additional sources of information to create a portrait of two students. During the course, participants explore ways to engage students in reflective dialogue and writing. They also participate in Curriculum Problem Solving, Document Review and Reviewing a Child with Care based on the integrated work of Pat Carini (The Prospect School) and Dr. Morton Botel (PLN/University of Pennsylvania). 
*Prerequisite: 2 PLN courses preferred (PLN 1 and an additional course. PLN 1 is required.) 

PLN 11: Re-Energizing Our School Communities: Helping Teachers and Administrators Manage School Stress through Mindfulness Training (EDCE615)

The rewards of teaching and school leadership are diminished by the stress that educators can face each time they walk into their classrooms and schools. At times, the insistent demands in and outside of the classroom can overshadow the joys of education. This course focuses on learning to successfully manage the stressors that face educators and recapture the deeper satisfactions of teaching and school leadership. 

This course helps participants make fundamental changes in how they react to stress through a series of techniques grounded in a traditional form of meditation known as mindfulness. Mindfulness-based techniques are pragmatic tools that help educators re-energize their capacity to teach, learn, and lead schools while managing day-to-day stress. These techniques have been adapted for use in education and are presented in a straightforward, practical fashion. Participants learn what prevents them from maintaining relaxation and balance in their personal and professional life, discover how to undo those obstacles, and then start to actively recapture the enthusiasm that initially led them to education.

PLN 11B: Re-Energizing Our School Communities:Mindfulness-Based Strategies to Support Teaching and Learning

Students, teachers, and administrators experience pressures to perform with rising expectations and ever-changing standards. Educators must find a way to remain balanced, calm, and positive while managing an ever-increasing workload. Mindfulness, the simple act of being present - moment-by-moment - is an age-old practice whose benefits are now backed by brain science. Participants learn simple, mindfulness-based techniques to help re-energize their capacity to teach, learn, and lead schools while managing day-to-day stress.

Phase 1 of the course provides a safe space for participants to explore and develop their own mindfulness practice against the backdrop of PLN’s Four Lenses of Learning. In Phase 2, classroom-based mindfulness strategies are introduced and practiced to promote student self-regulation, focus, and active learning with a focus on PLN Frameworks: The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes and The Four Lenses of Learning.

Participants need to purchase the course text: “The Five Dimensions of Engaged Teaching” by Laura Weaver and Mark Wilding.

PLN 12A: Helping Students Needing Learning Support in a Literacy-Rich Inclusive Classroom (EDCE636)

Experts encourage the education of at-risk students within the least restrictive environment. This inclusive approach results in classroom communities of learners with a range of learning styles and needs, many of whom are diagnosed with special needs or are thought to be exceptional.  The purpose of this course is to demystify the special learner; to understand what the special learner goes through in his quest to learn. Teachers understand, accommodate, modify and reach out to their special needs students from the moment they enter the classroom.  Teachers learn highly adaptable strategies they can plug into their curriculum across grades and ages to foster student engagement.  Application of PLN pedagogy to immediate practice empowers teachers and students from the first to the final class. In this course, participants learn how to address the language, literacy, behavior and learning needs of at-risk learners in their classrooms. To inform practice, journal articles and texts draw on research-based frameworks from the special education field and the PLN literacy frameworks. Teachers explore modifications and accommodations relevant to their students' learning needs, allowing them to reach all learners in their classroom.

Course participants weave the PLN philosophy with a variety of easy to use interactive learning strategies that can be immediately applied. Educators have the opportunity to share their adaptations with peers in order to facilitate understanding of best practices for all learners. To ensure that teachers understand the laws that surround special learners, the special education process will be addressed from the time a student is identified as at-risk to meeting the requirements of a protected handicapped student.

To allow for ecologically sound practice, a wiki space is utilized in this course where articles and strategies are stored for downloading and a discussion board is provided for posting and responding to journals. Final projects provide a way for participants to pull together their understanding and application of their course learning and experiences.

 

PLN 12A: Webinar Course: Helping Students Needing Learning Support in a Literacy-Rich Inclusive Classroom (EDCE636)

In this webinar course, teachers and specialists learn how to address the literacy and learning needs of at-risk learners in their classrooms. Course readings and class activities draw from the special education field, current knowledge about brain biology and The Penn Literacy Network frameworks--The Four Lenses of Learning and The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes. Participants explore modifications and accommodations relevant to their students’ literacy learning needs, allowing them to reach all learners in their classroom.

Participants weave the PLN frameworks and a variety of practical, interactive Before During After (BDA) strategies focused on the impact of brain biology and accommodations for the at-risk learner. Credit-bearing participants post and respond to journal reflections on the course wiki focused on course readings and BDA lessons that participants create and try out with their students with a focus on their at-risk learners. Participants compose and post a final paper (“Pulling It All Together”) to reflect on highlights and teaching/learning implications from the course.  

 

PLN 12B: Brain Based Learning Processes: Supporting Your Students/ Helping Students Needing Learning Support in the Inclusive Classroom (EDCE648)

Experts encourage the education of at-risk students within the least restrictive environment. This inclusive approach results in classroom communities of learners with a range of learning styles and needs, many of whom are diagnosed with special needs or are thought to be exceptional. Expanding upon the pedagogy of The Four Lenses and their application through practice begun in PLN 12 A, PLN 12 B takes a deeper look into the curriculum addressing rich strategies to increase comprehension, engagement and success.  

Brain processes that derail students such as memory, attention, processing speed and executive functioning are experienced, understood and addressed to allow teachers to foster academic and behavioral gains in their students.  

In this course participants have the opportunity to explore brain based learning and behavioral issues to increase their ability to address the needs of all students.  Participants gain a broad understanding of how special education works and how to navigate the system to ensure that no student “falls through the cracks”.

Educators have the opportunity to follow their own at-risk students and collaborate on effective and adaptive teaching strategies in order to facilitate their understanding of best practices for all learners. To allow for ecologically sound practice, a wiki space is utilized in this course, where articles and strategies are stored to download and a discussion board is provided for posting and responding to journals.

Final projects provide a way for participants to pull together their understanding and application of their course learning and experiences.

PLN 12C: The Emotional Brain - Implications for the PLN Classroom (EDCE624)

Educators who teach with an understanding of the emotional brain have classrooms that are well managed, have fewer discipline problems, increased student learning and less job stress. This course helps teachers engage students in ways that support PLN's frameworks: The Four Lenses of Learning and The FiveReading/Writing/Processes. Participants learn about the biology of emotion and how it affects learning, self concept and self advocacy.  They also learn how to best reach the explosive child, the disconnected child and the chronically inattentive child.  They explore what the emotional brain teaches us about the best way to structure lessons and build a safe learning community.

Participants consider their students' social/emotional developmental issues and needs at various ages, how gender differences impact learning, ways to lessen anxiety, fear and avoidance and systems of classroom management that align with brain based research and the PLN frameworks. Participants apply the concepts and strategies, reflect in ongoing journals, learn independently about related topics of interest and participate in a job-embedded project.

PLN 13A Literacy Study Group (EDCE 613), (PLN 13B - EDCE 638), (PLN 13C - 618), (PLN 13D - EDCE 633) and (PLN 13E - EDCE 681)

This course provides an opportunity for educators to take an in-depth look at a research-based, professional text that focuses on best practices in reading writing literacy, numeracy or technology across the curriculum. Schools may choose a variety of study group courses tailored to their needs. A professional text is selected with consideration to school/district input. In addition to an in-depth exploration connected to the content of the selected text, participants learn a variety of ways to approach book talks that encourage rich, meaningful discussions. Participants engage in a range of group reading talks and strategies for accessing text content as they try out these techniques with their students. Participants purchase their course texts. PLN provides The Plainer Truths of Teaching, Learning and Literacy by Dr. Morton Botel and Mrs. Lara Botel Paparo as a mentor text or they are asked to bring their own copy of The Plainer Truths from a former PLN course. (Recommended prerequisite: PLN 1 or PLN 32)

Below are examples of study group texts that PLN districts have used with great success, however other agreed-upon texts may be used depending upon the needs of the school/district:

  • Collins Writing Program: Improving Student Performance by John Collins
  • Best Practice, Fourth Edition: Bringing Standards to Life in America’s Classrooms by Steven Zemelman, Harvey Daniels and Arthur Hyde
  • Differentiation in Action by Judith Dodge
  • Teaching with Poverty in Mind by Eric Jensen
  • Teaching with the Brain in Mind by Eric Jensen
  • How Did You Get That? Seven Strategies for Improving Written Responses in Math by Bill Atwood
  • Readicide by Kelly Gallagher
  • Make It Real: Strategies for Success with Informational Texts by Linda Hoyt
  • I Read It But I Don’t Get It: Comprehension Strategies for Adolescent Readers by Cris Tovani
  • Fulfilling the Promise of the Differentiated Classroom: Strategies and Tools for Responsive Teaching by Carol Tomlinson

Participants may earn credit for multiple PLN 13 Study Group courses as long as they are focused on different study group texts.

PLN 14: Children of Poverty: Using PLN Frameworks to Positively Impact Teaching and Learning (EDCE 664)

Participants look closely at the impact of poverty on learning and the brain. This course explores how educators can meet the needs of children in poverty with the goal of providing classroom environments that develop emotional, social, and academic success. Using the professional text, Teaching with Poverty in Mind by Eric Jensen, and through ongoing discussions, participants understand the nature of poverty, effective strategies for best practice, and the issues that drive change within schools impacted by poverty.

Through demonstrations and discussions, participants learn, co-construct and implement a variety of reading, writing and talking strategies in their classrooms throughout the course. PLN’s frameworks, The Four Lenses of Learning and The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes, provide the foundation for this course as participants explore ways to increase learning for students of poverty. Assignments include a final project and ongoing reflective journals that focus on classroom try-outs and professional readings.

PLN 14B: Children of Poverty: Using PLN Frameworks to Positively Impact Student Engagement (EDCE 675)

This course provides educators with an opportunity to look closely at a research-based professional text: Engaging Students With Poverty in Mind by Eric Jensen. The content of the text describes factors that are crucial to student engagement strongly connected to socioeconomic status. Engagement strategies educators can use are explored that empower learners and are essential for student achievement and success.

The course focus includes: creating a positive and high-energy classroom environment focused on student engagement, building students’ cognitive capacity including a deeper understanding of content and increasing student motivation and effort. Participants learn and utilize a variety of strategies that can be modeled in the classroom with their students when reading and writing, as they participate in group reading discussions. Co-construction of learning and a focus on The Four Lenses of Learning and The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes provide the foundation for course discussions.

Participants need to purchase and bring the course text “Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind” by Eric Jensen to each class session. Participants also need to bring the mentor text “The Plainer Truths of Teaching, Learning and Literacy” by Morton Botel and Lara Paparo to each class session.

PLN 15: Engaging Students through Digital Learning Environments (EDCE616)

In this course participants investigate what motivates a digital learner. The PLN frameworks are used to investigate ways in which technology can be used to create the conditions where students are supported and encouraged to think critically, collaborate with others and communicate effectively. The Four Lenses of Learning as well as The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes are examined through a variety of applications such as onscreen reading and note-taking, digital portfolios, flipped learning, graphic organizers with an emphasis on student choice. Participants identify an area of need in their classroom and use the PLN frameworks to develop learning activities that harness the power of technology to create optimal learning experiences for their students. 

The course is structured to provide participants with the time, space and support to experience applications of technology that facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity. Participants are expected to try out the strategies and tools explored in class that inform their practice through professional readings, as they reflect on their classroom tryouts and their connection to the readings through reflective journals. 

Participants should purchase and read The Plainer Truths of Teaching, Learning and Literacy by Dr. Morton Botel and Mrs. Lara Paparo throughout the course. (The book can be purchased on Amazon.com. Additional online readings will be shared throughout the course.

PLN 16: Understanding & Implementing Formative Assessment (EDCE659)

This course provides an opportunity for educators to take an in-depth look at research-based, formative assessment techniques that focus on best practices in reading writing literacy or numeracy across the curriculum. Formative assessment best practices are explored in this course using either Dylan Wiliam’s book, Embedded Formative Assessment or Nancy Frey and Douglas B. Fisher’s book, Checking for Understanding.

In addition to an in-depth exploration of the rationale and practice of formative assessment techniques, participants learn a variety of ways to approach the minute-by-minute, day-by-day assessments that are essential to using formative assessment practices in the classroom.  Participants engage in a range of group reading talks and strategies for accessing text content and are encouraged to try these techniques with their students. Course assignments include reading discussions during each class session and writing reflective journals that examine the formative assessment techniques that were implemented in the classroom. The final project consists of a lesson study, group learning walks and lesson debriefings from the learning walks.]

 

Participants are asked to purchase and bring the course text to each class session. The facilitator will be in touch with the participants about which course text to purchase.

PLN 17: Teaching Writing: Composing Text (EDCE642)

This course explores Composing Text through PLN research based best practices.  Course activities focus on adaptable approaches to increase opportunities for students to write, while adapting to the required needs of varied curricula and The State Standards.  PLN 17 mentor texts are “Craft Lessons” (2nd edition) by Ralph Fletcher and JoAnn Portalupi and “The Plainer Truths” by Dr. Morton Botel. Participants also read articles from PLN 17 Online Accessible Readings.
 
The PLN frameworks provide the theoretical foundations and structure for this course: The Four Lenses of Learning and The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes. These research based frameworks shape how educators examine texts and how we reflect on classroom composing lessons. The Four Lenses of Learning reflect a life long perspective on language, literacy and learning. Participants must purchase and bring the Fletcher text to each class.  PLN provides a copy of “The Plainer Truths” by Dr. Morton Botel as a mentor text and a list of online accessible articles.

PLN 18A: Teaching Writing Across the Curriculum (EDCE647)

Course participants take a fresh look at PLN's Process # 2 (Composing Texts) against the backdrop of The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes and The Four Lenses of Learning.  The focus of this course is on collaborative, hands on writing experiences across the curriculum and how reading good, rich literature inspires students to become good writers.

Through the introduction of a variety of writing strategies that align to The State Standards, teachers explore resources to meet the goal of increasing opportunities for all students to be actively engaged in the writing process. Participants explore practical strategies to implement informational and narrative writing techniques while adapting to meet their students' varied needs.
The required course texts are: "Make It Real: Strategies for Success with Informational Texts" by Linda Hoyt and “The Plainer Truths” by Morton Botel.  

Prerequisite: PLN 1

PLN 18B: Teaching Writing Across the Curriculum Infused with Technology, 3-12 (EDCE622)

This class is the fusion of technology and writing for beginner to intermediate technology users, and is designed to invite all learners to embrace the partnership of technology and writing. Participants, as writers themselves, are invited to take a fresh look at writing, at the State Standards for writing, Web 2.0 tools that support writing, and, more generally, The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes and The Four Lenses of Learning.

Through collaborative, hands on experiences, participants continue to realize the interactive partnership of how reading good, rich texts (literature and informational) inspire students to become good writers. Through ongoing discussions of what some of the experts have to say, participants explore making sense of the writing process and incorporating current, relevant Web 2.0 writing theories and tools. In this course, practical strategies and suggestions on how to teach digital writing by examining author’s craft in digital texts, while adapting to meet their varied needs across the curriculum are addressed. The required texts are Crafting Digital Writing: Composing Texts Across Media and Genres by Troy Hicks (2013) and The Plainer Truths of Teaching, Learning and Literacy by Morton Botel and Lara Paparo (2016).

PLN 18C: Writing for Learning: Building Habit, Stamina, and Fluency (grades 1-12) (EDCE 555)

This course explores writing across the curriculum through PLN’s research-based best practices. PLN’s frameworks - The Four Lenses of Learning and The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes - provide the theoretical foundations and structure for this course. These research-based frameworks shape how educators examine texts and how they reflect on oral and written composing lessons.

Through the demonstration of a variety of writing strategies, participants identify approaches for all students to be actively engaged in writing across the curriculum. Participants experience these practical writing strategies during course sessions and then adapt and implement them to meet the needs of their students in their subject-specific courses. These regular writing experiences help students become accustomed to the habit of writing as they build their stamina and fluency in writing. While students develop as writers, their understanding, processing, and learning of content is deepened. Participants reflect on the following practice questions throughout the course:

 

  • Why do students write?
  • How often do students write?
  • When do students write?
  • How does feedback support students’ thinking and writing development?

 

Participants deconstruct written text and identify the skills and experiences students need in order to create varied kinds of polished text. Course topics include reading comprehension and background knowledge, summarization, point of view and reasoning, sentence construction, and inquiry.

PLN 18D: Transacting and Composing Text through Memoir Writing

This course explores transacting with text and composing text through the personal lens of memoir writing. Teachers gain the tools to help students become successful memoir writers.

“Bridging the Gap: Reading Critically and Writing Meaningfully to get to the Core” by Lesley Roessing is the primary text used in this course. Roessing states that students who read and write memoir "discover who they are, analyze how they got there, and consider what they can become. This authentic writing helps even the most reluctant writer find his or her voice because it is writing that matters and all writers have stories to tell.”

Participants read and closely examine, "The Gold Mailbox" by Beth Schulman. Schulman's memoir, a heartfelt story of struggle and resilience, is the "mentor" text to Roessing’s book. The PLN frameworks provide the theoretical foundation for this course: The Four Lenses of Learning and The Five Reading, Writing and Talking Processes. These evidence-based frameworks shape how participants examine texts as they reflect on classroom memoir writing lessons.

Participants need to purchase Roessing's text and Schulman's memoir before the course begins to bring to each class session:

The Gold Mailboxhttps://www.amazon.com/Gold-Mailbox-Beth-Schulman/dp/0997906502

Bridging the Gaphttps://www.amazon.com/Bridging-Gap-Reading-Critically-Meaningfully/dp/147581092X

PLN19: Course for School Coaches, (EDCE639)

This course focuses on the development of the personal and cognitive skills necessary to the role of coaches in improving classroom instruction. The course presents practical, research-based strategies tied to reading, writing, talking, and listening across the content areas to build confidence and provide a supportive framework for the work of coaches. The course helps participants define and shape their roles in relation to the district's goals and expectations. Emphasis is placed on successful models of collegial observation and feedback, with a focus on pre-and post -visit conferencing, trust building, and addressing how best to work with a colleague to improve instruction. Topics include strategies for co-teaching, the integration of demonstration lessons, facilitating pre- and post-visit focus group discussions, curriculum problem solving, and presenting to and interacting with colleagues in professional learning opportunities. Participants work through a variety of active scenarios designed to provide opportunities to role-play and model with colleagues while building trust and positive group dynamics. Participants are required to actively envision, build, and practice their crucial role in supporting literacy and numeracy in their schools.

PLN 19B: Building Implementation and Capacity through Instructional Coaching) (EDCE 556)

This course takes an individualized and intensive approach to building effective literacy practices with an emphasis on refining, implementing, and reflecting on instruction to impact student engagement and achievement. Participants utilize a backward design approach in building lessons, creating assessments, and planning instructional strategies that embody PLN’s Four Lenses of Learning and The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes. Participants work with the facilitator(s) in a BDA approach that allows them to choose areas of strength to replicate and areas of need to nurture. Facilitators visit classrooms and conference with participating teachers to reflect and refine practice. Working individually, in small groups, and online, participants revisit strategies from former PLN courses as they plan and implement lessons to align to The Model of Engagement that provides a deliberate and intentional design for classroom practice. Participants compile a portfolio of model lessons and student work that can serve as grade and content exemplars of best practice to be shared within their school and district. Participants are encouraged to serve as teacher leaders as they build district capacity.

PLN 20: Curriculum Backmapping (EDCE634)

The ultimate goal of any educational program is to ensure access to high quality curriculum and instruction for all students in order to meet or exceed content standards. This course is designed to help teachers develop focused, practical, and challenging curricula that integrate PLN frameworks to meet the needs and goals of students, teachers, and districts. Curriculum design is best accomplished through school-wide teacher reflection and discussion that brings about a coalescing of vision and reality. This course utilizes back mapping as the strategy to best facilitate this process, and entails systematic realization of a goal by working backwards from that goal. The PLN model merges the ideas of Hayes-Jacobs’ Curriculum Mapping and Wiggins and McTighes’ construct of Understanding by Design to merge performance assessments, The State Standards, and the PLN instructional framework to build focused, rigorous, creative, and engaging curricula.  In this model, assessments drive instruction and course designers are challenged to consider not only what to teach, but why and how to teach successfully. 

PLN 21: Teaching Literacy in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Classrooms, K-8 (EDCE645)

In this course, participants explore culturally responsive literacy curricula for students. The course is structured as a study group around Dr. Gerald Campano's book, "Immigrant Students and Literacy.”
 
Questions that are investigated include the following: How do we honor students' rich stories and experiences in the classroom? How can literature be used to connect to students' background? What are the ways in which the literacy curriculum can build on students' community language and literacy practices? How might educators deepen their connections with families and communities? How can culturally engaged literacy be woven across the content areas?
 
Educators are invited to think of themselves as teacher researchers who are developing questions and knowledge that arise from their classroom contexts.
 
Recommended before taking this course: PLN 1 and/or PLN 9

PLN 22A: Spanish Language Learning for Educators, PreK-12 (EDCE641)

This course is designed for adults who want to learn Spanish.  Participants will develop Spanish language skills and simultaneously explore culturally-relevant content, including Spanish and Spanish-American fiction and informational texts that highlight current events and traditions from Spain and Latin America. Additionally, there will be opportunities for linking with the Spanish-speaking community and provide authentic contexts for using language.  The course is structured around the PLN frameworks of the Lenses of Learning and The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes, and blended with language acquisition theory and practice.  Given the high population of English language learners in school districts across the country (Spanish is a first language for many), this course provides participants with an opportunity to experience the language learning process firsthand and thus reconceptualize the language and literacy experiences of their students. There is no previous Spanish language experience required. Participants will be expected to complete work outside of class time in order to fulfill University of Pennsylvania requirements for granting continuing education graduate level credits.

PLN 22B: Advanced Spanish Language Learning for Educators (EDCE 644)

This advanced course is a follow-up to Introductory Spanish Language Learning for Educators. It is designed for educators who want to deepen their awareness of the Spanish language and the Spanish-speaking world.  As with the introductory course, participants will be immersed in language practice and culturally relevant content highlighting figures, traditions, and literature from Latin America, with particular attention to the countries of origin from the local Latino student population.  Instruction includes hands-on opportunities for language practice, such as role-plays, Total Physical Response, and concrete manipulatives, as well as explicit attention to grammar and pronunciation.   Participants are asked to consider the implications of these learning experiences for their own contexts.Prerequisite:  Participants must have already taken the PLN Introductory Spanish for Educators Course.  There is no prerequisite level of Spanish proficiency - all are welcome!

PLN 24: Literacy and Learning Across the Curriculum PreK-8, PreK-4 or 5-8

How do teachers build engaging classrooms that can affect student motivation, build curious, active learners, and have meaningful impact on achievement? This course focuses on building an understanding of the research and practical classroom applications related to successful teaching, learning and literacy in the Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle School and/or High School classroom. Participants translate this understanding into building instructional activities that foster active engagement and meaningful reading, writing, and talking experiences for all students. Participants actively explore PLN concepts and strategies through the frameworks of The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes and The Four Lenses of Learning.

PLN 25: Literacy and Learning Across the Curriculum 5-12, 5-8 or 9-12

How do teachers build engaging classrooms that can affect student motivation, build curious, active learners, and have meaningful impact on achievement? This course focuses on building an understanding of the research and practical classroom applications related to successful teaching, learning and literacy in the Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle School and/or High School classroom. Participants translate this understanding into building instructional activities that foster active engagement and meaningful reading, writing, and talking experiences for all students. Participants actively explore PLN concepts and strategies through the frameworks of The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes and The Four Lenses of Learning.

PLN 26A: Literacy and Learning Across the Curriculum in the Inclusive Classroom (EDCE651)

The purpose of this course is to demystify the special learner; to understand what the special learner goes through in his quest to learn. Teachers understand, accommodate, modify and reach out to their special needs students from the moment they enter the classroom. Teachers learn highly adaptable strategies they can plug into their curriculum across grades and ages to foster student engagement. Application of PLN pedagogy to immediate practice empowers teachers and students from the first to the final class.

Participants learn how to address the language, literacy, behavior and learning needs of at-risk learners in their classrooms against the backdrop of PLN’s Five Reading Writing Talking Processes and The Four Lenses of Learning. To inform practice, journal articles and texts draw on research-based frameworks from the special education field and the PLN literacy frameworks. Teachers explore modifications and accommodations relevant to their students' learning needs, allowing them to reach all learners in their classroom. A wiki space is utilized in this course, where articles and strategies are stored for download and a discussion board is provided for posting and responding to journals. Final projects provide a way for participants to pull together their understanding and application of their course learning and experiences using The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes and The Four Lenses of Learning frameworks.

PLN26B: Literacy and Learning Across The Curriculum in the Inclusive Classroom Highlighting the Implications of Brain Research for All Learners

Experts encourage the education of at risk students within the least restrictive environment. This inclusive approach results in classroom communities of learners with a range of learning styles and needs. PLN 26 B takes a deep look at the curriculum while addressing rich strategies to increase comprehension, engagement and success for all students against the backdrop of The Four Lenses of Learning and the Five Reading Writing Talking Processes.

Brain processes that derail students such as memory, attention, processing speed and executive functioning are experienced and discussed to allow teachers to foster academic and behavioral gains in their students. In this course participants have the opportunity to explore brain based learning and behavioral issues to increase their ability to address the needs of all students. Participants gain a broad understanding of how special education works and how to navigate the system to ensure no student falls through the cracks in collegial discussion groups. Educators have the opportunity to follow their own at risk students and collaborate on effective and adaptive teaching strategies in order to facilitate their understanding and application of best practices for all learners. A wiki space is utilized in this course, where articles and strategies are stored for download and a discussion board is provided for posting and responding to journals. Final projects provide a way for participants to pull together their understanding and application of their course learning and experiences.

No prerequisites although participants are encouraged to take 26A first.

PLN 27: Literacy and Learning Across the Curriculum for English Language Learners (ELLs)(EDCE623)

Participants learn how to address the language, literacy, and learning needs of English Language Learners in their mainstream classes through active, hands-on experiences that model the concepts and strategies that are to be applied in their schools. Practical activities are informed by research on second-language acquisition, bi-literacy development, and content-based second language instruction.

These classroom activities are blended with discussions of current research-based literacy concepts as presented in many state language arts frameworks. Teachers explore strategies to teach Reading Writing Talking across all content areas to ELLs, and work to establish literate classroom environments that are accessible to all students. This course is designed to foster collaboration between mainstream teachers and ESL teachers within and across schools while strengthening collegial support and problem solving in the implementation of The Four Lenses of Learning and The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes. Participants get an overview of the management and evaluation of a literate environment that is accessible to ELLs while focusing on the development of curriculum plans that integrate content and language. No prerequisites but PLN 24 or PLN 25 are highly recommended before taking this course.

PLN 28A: Literacy and Learning: Writing Across the Curriculum

Participants are invited to take a fresh look at writing in an engaging and interactive environment. Through collaborative, hands on experiences, participants realize the interactive partnership of how reading good, rich literature inspires all students to become good writers. This course supports teachers as they explore the writing process across the curriculum with ongoing discussions of what experts have to say about nurturing writing in every content area and at every grade level. This exploration takes place against the backdrop of The Four Lenses of Learning and The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes.

Through the introduction of a variety of writing strategies, teachers have the resources to be able to guide all students to meet the goal of increasing opportunities for even reluctant writers to be actively engaged in the writing process. Participants explore practical suggestions about how to implement writing techniques and their appropriate application, while adapting these strategies to meet students’ varied needs across the curriculum.

Breathing new life into writing is an active part of this course. Some of the strategies participants explore are: Writing From Text, Poetry, Writing a Good Sentence, Descriptive Writing, Writing a Transition Sentence, Finding Focus in Student Writing, Honoring Student Writing, Using Writing Portfolios to Enhance Instruction and Assessment, Exciting the Reluctant and the “Out of the Box” writer. As with all PLN courses, the strategies are adapted to the participants’ grade levels. No prerequisites but PLN 24 or PLN 25 are highly recommended before taking this course.

PLN 28B: Literacy and Learning Across the Curriculum: Advanced Writing and Technology

Participants experience the fusion of technology and writing for immediate and long-term classroom application in this course. Teachers and specialists are invited to take a fresh look at writing and more generally, The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes and The Four Lenses of Learning as writers themselves. Through collaborative, hands on experiences, participants continue to realize the interactive partnership of how reading good, rich literature inspires students to become good writers. This course continues to explore making sense of the writing process with ongoing discussions of what some of the experts have to say about composing text. Web 2.0 tools relevant to the writing process are explored. Participants bring communication and collaborative tools into their current writing curriculum throughout the course. Collaborative documents and presentations to explore all content areas are a part of the process. This course is designed to invite and support those reluctant and those who embrace the partnership of technology and writing.

Through the introduction of a variety of writing strategies, participants gain the resources to be able to guide their students to meet the goal of increasing opportunities for even reluctant writers to be actively engaged in the writing process. Participants explore practical strategies and suggestions about how to implement writing techniques and their appropriate application, while adapting to meet their varied needs across the curriculum. Breathing new life into writing is an active part of this course. Guiding and inviting teachers to use, and become comfortable using Web 2.0 Tools in innovative ways will provide support for many writing strategies. This course encourages a supportive learning environment for making connections through the exploration and introduction of advanced writing/technology strategies. Participants can expect to participate in one to three online sessions.

This course is for Beginning and Intermediate technology users. Participants are encouraged to participate in PLN 28 A before taking this course although it is not a prerequisite.

PLN 29: Literacy and Learning Across the Curriculum: Engaging Students In Digital Learning Environments Participants investigate what motivates a digital learner.

PLN frameworks are used to investigate ways in which technology can improve teaching and learning in the digital age. The Four Lenses of Learning as well as The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes are examined through a variety of Web 2.0 applications such as: Google docs, Voice Thread, blogs, wikis, Vimeo and social networks. Participants identify an area of need in their classroom and use the PLN frameworks to develop learning activities incorporating the Web 2.0 tools.

Participants explore applications of technology that facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity that are rich in literacy experiences across the curriculum. Participants are expected to try out the strategies and tools explored in class and reflect on their application with colleagues and inform their practice through professional readings.

PLN 24 or PLN 25 are required before taking this course.

PLN 31: Integrating Teaching/Learning/Assessment in Reading/Writing Literacy (EDCE605)

This course brings participants to the next level of involvement with The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes of PLN 25. Participants collaborate with colleagues and reflect on the PLN literacy frameworks and their current practice as they engage in goal-planning and congruent assessment approaches in their classrooms and schools for the year (or years) to come. The course emphasizes curricular planning, discussions about classroom/district/state benchmarks and standards, curricular problem-solving, document review of student work, and revisiting and extending reading/writing literacy approaches from PLN 25.

PLN 32: The Impact of Brain-based Learning Processes: Forming & Reforming Reading Writing Talking Across the Curriculum (EDCE631)

Participants learn about The PLN research-based frameworks of The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes and The Four Lenses of Learning against the backdrop of brain biology with the goal of understanding the positive effects of research-based literacy practices for all learners across the curriculum. Participants experience engaging PLN best practices and comprehensive discussions about how the biology of the brain is impacted by (and impacts) student learning.  Assignments include classroom try-outs, professional readings, reflective journals and a final project that integrates brain biology and literacy-rich best practices into a comprehensive curriculum unit.
 

PLN 33: Integrating, Implementing and Adapting Outstanding Literacy Practices for Educators: Using Community Resources to Enhance Classroom Learning (EDCE621) and PLN 33B (EDCE 660)

PLN 33 introduces PLN’s research-based frameworks, The Four Lenses of Learning and The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes, demonstrating a variety of practical strategies that encourage student engagement (typically taught in PLN’s foundational PLN 1 course) while encouraging the utilization of community resources to stretch learning beyond the classroom walls. This course, which can be adapted for a range of educators PreK-12 and to meet the needs of students with varied learning styles, involves partnerships between PLN, a community resource (i.e. a museum, zoo, hospital, theater, etc.) and local school systems.

While the objective of this course is to teach PLN’s research based frameworks and outstanding classroom practice across the curriculum linked to the State Standards, the course is taught around the specific content determined collaboratively between PLN and by the community partner; for example, a museum or zoo exhibit, a dance, theater or musical production or a hospital program. Using the community resource content, facilitators demonstrate PLN strategies and explore the connections to the PLN frameworks using Before/During/After (BDA) lesson demonstrations that integrate literacy across the curriculum around the community resource theme.  During the course and as a final classroom project, teachers develop curriculum plans integrating the exhibit content, PLN frameworks, and The State Standards using outstanding classroom practices.

PLN 34A: Differentiation and Engagement (grades 5-12)

This course provides an opportunity for educators to take an in-depth look at the text Differentiation in the Middle and High School:  Strategies to Engage All Learners by Kristina J. Doubet & Jessica A. Hockett.  Through a study group format tailored to the needs of course participants, teachers engage in a range of group reading talks and strategies for accessing text content as they try out these techniques with their students. Participants purchase their course texts. PLN provides The Plainer Truths of Teaching, Learning and Literacy by Dr. Morton Botel and Mrs. Lara Paparo as a mentor text or they are asked to bring their own copy of The Plainer Truths from a former PLN course. 

Key topics include:
Creating a classroom of respect to allow for supportive differentiation, increasing growth mindset among students and examining and implementing the Human Lens of Learning;

Developing true differentiation based on academic readiness, exploring how to consistently evaluate student progress to make instructional decisions, creating strategic, flexible groupings and implementing specific, focused strategies that allow for adjusting of content and increasing students' ability to make meaning and demonstrate learning against the backdrop of the PLN frameworks: The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes and The Four Lenses of Learning. 

PLN 35: Spark: Redefining 21st Century Leadership Development (EDCE 678) (A course in partnership between PLN and Teach To Lead)

Effective leadership coaching strikes a sound balance between theory and practice—with a heavy emphasis on practice. Leaders in the 21th century must be adaptable, resourceful, authentic, and inclusive. This course reflects a blend of cultural proficiency, emotional intelligence and traditional leadership skills and practices. This course is a competency and value-aligned program covering four competency areas:

  • Self-Awareness and Cultural Proficiency
  • People Leadership: Igniting the light in others
  • Instructional Leadership: Influencing Teachers to Thrive
  • Strategic Planning and Execution: Creating the Conditions for Sustained Success

Assignments include ongoing reflective journals and a final project.

PLN 35B: Illuminate: Operationalizing Equity (A course in partnership between PLN and Teach To Lead)

The Illuminate course redefines 21st-century leadership by addressing the developmental needs of an organization with a primary focus on operationalizing equity in school organizations that are experiencing an equity gap in how they serve their students, families and staff members.

Course participants focus on: evaluating self, evaluating structural and systemic equity, and change behaviors and policies with a train the trainer focus.

Assignments include ongoing journal reflections and a final project—a strategic plan to operationalize equity in participants’ organizations.

PLN 36: Teaching Math and Science in a Literacy-Rich Classroom (EDCE 674)

This course provides support for educators as they implement dynamic mathematics and science programs that blend discussions of current theoretical concepts with hands-on math and science strategies based on PLN’s evidence-based frameworks. The focus is on integrating developmentally appropriate literacy Before-During-After lessons within the math and science curriculum as a way to enrich content learning.

The course supports teachers as they make classroom connections to PLN’s Frameworks: The Four Lenses of Learning, The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes related to science content and The Five Math Processes related to math content. Throughout the course, teachers explore and problem-solve issues of practice that arise from their classroom try-outs.

PLN 37: Aquaponics and the PLN Literacy Frameworks: Impacting Teaching and Learning through STEAM* (PreK-12)

In response to the global food, water, and energy crisis, the field of Aquaponics has seen a spike in interest, research, and development. Aquaponics is essentially the combination of Aquaculture (raising fish) and Hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants)—essentially farming fish and plants together in one integrated system. This course provides support for educators to enrich their current STEAM and literacy programs through Aquaponics. The course explores developmentally appropriate STEAM and literacy-rich classroom strategies that integrate state standards with PLN Frameworks -- The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes and The Four Lenses of Learning. Participants learn about the field of Aquaponics with a focus on how Aquaponics systems work and are designed and how Aquaponics food production compares to other agricultural systems. The focus is on integrating developmentally-appropriate literacy activities within the Aquaponics curriculum. Throughout the course participants reflect on issues of practice that arise from their classroom try-outs.

*STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering; Arts, Mathematics

 

 

PLN 38: Technology With A Purpose: Extending Reading and Writing Through Genius Hour and Inquiry-Based Learning (EDCE 657)

This course focuses on using technology with a purpose through extended reading and writing. Participants are introduced to the PLN Frameworks (The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes and The Four Lenses of Learning) to frame and guide their learning throughout the course.

Participants use a variety of technology tools and are expected to integrate The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes and The Four Lenses of Learning into their coursework and final projects centered on Genius Hour and Inquiry-Based Learning to transform instruction and learning with technology.

Through a series of online activities, guided research, and creative tasks, participants develop technology infused lessons and Genius Hour projects to use in their classrooms. Projects include the Inquiry-Based Model and draw heavily on Design Thinking principles. The skills and processes of technology are examined as an integral part of nonfiction reading, writing, and the presentation of content.

Learn more about this class

PLN 39: Design Thinking Through The Four Lenses of Learning: Infusing STEAM, Maker Education, Project based learning and Inquiry-based learning in the K-12 Classroom

Design Thinking is a humanistic approach to problem solving that uses empathy, ideation, prototyping, and experimentation to solve real-world problems and contemporary challenges. This course focuses on exploring the relationship between the Design Thinking Process, the PLN Frameworks- The Five Reading Writing Talking Processes and The Four Lenses of Learning, and both the State and National Standards. 

The main concepts and structures that are explored during the course within the PLN Frameworks include: STEAM, Project/Problem-Based Learning, and Inquiry-Based Learning. Through a series of Before, During and After activities, participants investigate and implement the I-Search process, Genius Hour, and the phases of the Design Thinking process to develop authentic and innovative final projects. Participants read “The Plainer Truths of Teaching, Learning and Literacy” by Dr. Morton Botel and Mrs. Lara Paparo. The element of choice is explored through an additional text. Participants select one of four books and engage in literature circle discussions during the course.

PLN 39B:  LAUNCH Academy - Design Thinking Institute 

The LAUNCH Academy is an in person and online course based on the book LAUNCH by A.J. Juliani and John Spencer. This course and certificate are available for individuals who participate in the two-day conference and complete the online requirements after the conference has ended. The conference and online modules include discussions, activities, and projects that help teachers and school administrators develop the knowledge and skills for innovative teaching and learning through the design thinking process. Participants build on their knowledge through innovative practices, resources, research, readings, videos and discussions. They create a job-embedded capstone project to culminate their learning and apply their new understandings to their everyday work.