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Course Description

Differentiation: The Power and Potential of Choice

New Featured Event with Mike Anderson, prominent expert and award-winning author of Learning to Choose, Choosing to Learn!

"When work is a pleasure, life is a joy! When work is a duty, life is slavery." Maxim Gorky

There is an uncomfortable truth about many children's school experiences--with little voice or autonomy, many students languish with schoolwork that has little personal relevance. They view school as something done to them, not something in which they have true power and voice. However, when teachers share power and control with students, offering simple and meaningful choices about their work, schools become vibrant, interesting places where students care about their work. 

Additionally, one of the great challenges of differentiated instruction is getting students into the "just-right" zone. Not only is the "just-right zone” where learning is most effective, but it is also where learning is most enjoyable. This means that when given appropriate choices, and when taught how to choose well, students will self-differentiate. Teachers who use the reading workshop approach know the power of teaching students how to choose "just-right" books. This same principle can apply in any content area. Students can find just-right math problems, take on appropriately challenging science and social studies work, and explore just-right art and music challenges. 

There's more good news. When used well, choice doesn't have to involve herculean teacher planning. In fact, many teachers find that they have more positive energy and passion for teaching when using choice. Their time is spent more efficiently, and they get excited as their students come alive in the classroom. One teacher in a school using choice recently remarked, "I'm retiring at the end of this year, and I'm having so much fun I don't want to retire anymore!" 

In this active and interactive presentation, educators will gain practical strategies and skills for implementing choice effectively with students. They will see examples of choice in action, and they will experience meaningful choices themselves. All participants will receive a robust set of resources to help guide their ongoing implementation after the event is finished.

In addition, participants will receive a copy of Mike Anderson's book, Learning to Choose, Choosing to Learn, selected as the April 2016 Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) member book.

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