Professional Development Institute
Learn more. Earn more.
Do you need ways to make your science lessons more fun? This online course is designed for educators interested in learning a variety of ways to enhance their science instruction through active, hands-on experiences. Teachers gain a variety of ideas for conducting hands-on experiments, establishing science learning stations, integrating science with other content areas, and using technology to enhance science instruction.
Do you need help managing your4th-6th grade classroom? This online course provides teachers with the best practices for developing and managing a successful 4th-6th grade classroom. This course covers strategies for implementing the Common Core State Standards, while managing time so that all content is covered. Behavioral issues common in grades four through six are covered along with overall classroom management techniques. This course also provides successful strategies for gaining students’ attention and interest, and truly engaging them in lessons.
Are you concerned about the bullying epidemic? This online course teaches elementary and middle grade teachers (grades 4-8) about the myths, facts, research, and current events that surround bullying. Teachers are introduced to the different types of bullying in addition to the various roles involved in bullying. Effective strategies are covered to help teachers assess, prevent, and reduce bullying in the classroom and school. Teachers will understand how to properly intervene during incidents of bullying and learn how to use and develop activities that will help manage bullying in the classroom.
How many times have you thought that you could accomplish a great deal more in the classroom if your students would just behave? Classroom management is key to an effective teaching environment. In this course, teachers learn practical strategies for establishing rules, routines, and a discipline plan that really works!
Do your good readers struggle to comprehend content area material? This online course focuses on strategies that help comprehension in the middle and upper grades. Content area reading becomes more difficult as students enter the middle grades. Typically students are not prepared to approach more sophisticated types of text and need specific skills and strategies to aid their comprehension. This course focuses on improving students’ comprehension skills. Strategies presented include: anticipation guides, DRTA, SQ3R, SEARCH, cloze procedure, maze technique, questioning techniques, text structure, guided comprehension, and self-assessment.
Do you wish you had an unlimited budget for field trips? This online course teaches you how to develop a virtual field trip anywhere in the world based on any content area. Teachers learn how to locate relevant resources and develop an effective virtual field trip. Internet search strategies will be emphasized along with practical approaches to incorporating standards into the development of the virtual field trip. Note: You must have access to PowerPoint software to design your virtual field trip.
Would you like to learn how to develop a content-based WebQuest? A WebQuest is an excellent way to integrate content curriculum with technology and the Internet. This online course focuses on how to develop a WebQuest based on any content area. Teachers begin with content standards and then develop the WebQuest based on a theme or topic that addresses the standards. Effective Internet search strategies will be emphasized in order to efficiently find appropriate WebQuest resources.
Are you struggling with how to meet the needs of the varied ability levels of your students? This online course helps teachers effectively analyze the learning styles and readiness of students and effectively develop a differentiated curriculum to meet the needs of a diverse population. You will gain a clear understanding of strategies appropriate for multilingual, special education, and academically diverse classrooms and understand how to adjust your lessons to accommodate the different needs and learning styles of your students.
Are you interested in creative ways to integrate writing, technology, and content curriculum? Digital storytelling is an excellent way to engage students because it allows them to use their vast technology skills to tell a story. This online course takes you from start to finish for the entire digital storytelling process. Learn how to design digital storytelling projects for all content areas allowing you to incorporate writing throughout the curriculum. Strategies and ideas are shared for story content as well as technology that can be used to produce the stories. Appropriate ways to assess digital stories will also be shared.
Educational Technology 101 (K-12)
Do you want to improve your technology skills and keep up with your students? This online course introduces you to all the latest technology you have been hearing about. Learn the basics of the following educational technology topics as well as how to use all of them in your classroom: blogs, classroom websites, podcasts, wikis, digital storytelling, YouTube and TeacherTube, virtual field trips, WebQuests and even social media including Facebook, Twitter, and Skype. If you have a computer in your classroom, you need this course!
Do your students have trouble writing expository text such as persuasive essays, research papers, and analytical essays? Are you always asking them to be more descriptive in their narrative essays? This online course focuses on key writing skills. Details and strategies for every writing domain will be shared including graphic organizers, prompts, and rubrics for scoring. Each step of the writing process will also be explored.
Are you a new teacher who needs some tried and true strategies and tips? This online course is specifically designed for teachers in their first few years of teaching. Topics addressed include engaging curriculum ideas, Common Core State Standards, writing quality lesson plans, assessment techniques, themes and literature ideas, management techniques, and discipline strategies.
Do you love your iPad and want ways to use it in your classroom? This online course will teach you how to transform your classroom using your iPad. A plethora of apps are introduced that align with curriculum standards. The apps outlined in the course can be used to teach English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, health, and the arts. Additionally, teachers learn about apps that can be used as classroom tools for instruction and assessment, as well as, those that can serve as platforms for the creation of multimedia components and projects.
Do your students struggle when they have to write anything other than a narrative essay or story? This online course focuses on helping students learn how to write research reports. The focus is on teaching students organizational patterns, as well as how to develop an outline and thesis statement. Teaching students how to do research and then read and paraphrase for writing will also be emphasized. Teachers gain key assessment strategies as well.
Are you curious about the new flipped classroom model of teaching? This online course offer strategies to help you effectively implement flipped learning in your classroom. Based on the four pillars of the flipped learning model, teachers learn how to create a learner-centered classroom by moving instruction to the home. Teachers are provided with tips and strategies on how to create engaging instructional videos and develop interactive, collaborative, and hands-on classroom activities that foster self-directed learning skills. This course also offers specific information on how to flip each of the four main content areas, as well as, cooperative learning, grouping, and assessment strategies.
Do you know how to effectively teacher your second language learners? This online course is designed for teachers who have little or no background teaching English language learners (ELLs). It provides teachers with an overview of the fundamentals of teaching English Language Development (ELD), including the types of programs for English language learners, theories of language acquisition, approaches to teaching a second language, the stages of language acquisition, and the dynamics of English language development in the classroom.
Do you want to learn about the many ways you can use Google products in your classroom? This online course helps teachers learn how to navigate through the general interface of Google products. The searching, organizational, communication, and collaboration components of Google products will be highlighted to help teachers develop a deeper understanding of how Google can enhance learning among and between students. Teachers learn to utilize the basic tools of many educationally-relevant Google products and, with the use of such products, become skilled in creating curriculum standards-based lessons that help students learn in an efficient, effective, and engaged manner.
What's black and white and red all over? A struggling writer's essay. Writing is hard work, especially for the student who struggles. This online course is designed for teachers in grades 3-6 who want to help their struggling writers with key writing skills. Specific strategies will be introduced that improve student writing. Details on the writing process will be shared together with specific suggestions for incorporating writing strategies such as the six traits, the use of literature in tandem with writing, and writing across the curriculum. Information on writing and technology as well as assessment will also be shared.
Are you searching for ways to help your students achieve success in your classroom? This online course helps you become a highly effective teacher. Topics addressed in this course include engaging curriculum ideas, writing quality lesson plans (with clear objectives that address key standards), assessment techniques (including authentic assessment such as rubrics and portfolios as well as standardized tests), themes and literature ideas, management techniques, discipline strategies (rewards and consequences), ELD techniques, and, of course, technology integration.
Are you struggling with how to effectively implement the fourth grade Common Core Standards? This online course is designed for teachers who want to understand and implement the Common Core Reading Standards for Literature at the fourth grade level. By the end of this course, teachers will fully understand the scope of the Common Core Standards and have an in-depth knowledge of the specific Literature Standards at the fourth grade level. Teachers also gain valuable classroom activity ideas and handouts as well as a wealth of recommended literature lists.
Do you need strategies to help your students prepare for high-stakes testing? This online course helps you understand concepts related to standardized testing. In addition, it will help you work with students on test preparation and test taking skills. Teachers learn how to develop instructional strategies that help students as they aim for success in testing situations. Emphasis is on testing theory, helping students learn how to prepare for tests including the new Common Core assessments, and strategies that students can utilize while taking a test.
Do you have English Language Learners in your classroom? This online course will teach you how to use the into/through/beyond approach which is a proven effective model for working with ELLs. Attention will be given to ELD and SDAIE strategies such as scaffolding, schema building, and reformatting text. Both formal and informal assessment methods will also be shared.
Do you have a whiteboard in your classroom and want to know how to use it effectively to enhance your curriculum? This online course focuses on using premade templates and lessons, developing lessons, importing online resources, making the most of the assessment tools, and becoming familiar enough to utilize all the tools and resources available with your whiteboard. Multiple strategies, suggestions, samples, and descriptions are provided to allow proficiency in the basics of using an IWB in the classroom, to help with integrating its use with the existing technology, and to maximize its use for creating dynamic, interactive lessons.
Do you want to understand and learn how to implement the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy and the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics? This online course takes teachers on an in-depth tour of the Standards. By the end of this course, teachers will fully understand the scope of the Common Core State Standards and have an in-depth knowledge of what each standard means. Teachers also gain valuable guidance and procedures for implementing the Common Core State Standards in their classrooms.
Do you students seem to flounder in math because they just can't "see it" in their heads? In mathematics, manipulatives provide the perfect segue from the unfamiliar to the familiar. They help students transform their mathematical reasoning so that problems become less confusing and much more clear. This online course is designed for teachers in grades 3-6 who want to learn how to incorporate manipulatives such as fraction strips, algebra tiles, and geoboards into their everyday teaching in order to guide their students to take ownership of their learning so that they can become critical and logical mathematical thinkers. Information on the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics is shared together with distinct suggestions for how to incorporate specific manipulatives into your math instruction in order to improve the way students approach math problems.
Are you looking to find better ways to use the Internet in your classroom? Are you tired of conducting Internet searches and never quite finding what you really wanted? This online course teaches you (and your students) how to conduct effective and efficient online searches. Plus, teachers learn about creating search strategies and conducting digital research. Introductions to virtual field trips, interactive websites, WebQuests, and online scavenger hunts are also presented.
Are you struggling to help your students master text complexity for your grade level? This online course is designed for teachers of grades four through eight who are interested in learning the best practices for helping their students master text complexity. This course covers strategies for implementing the Common Core State Standards in reading literature and informational texts. Course participants learn strategies for assessing text complexity, asking and answering text-dependent questions, using textual evidence, teaching important Common Core-related vocabulary building strategies, and helping students learn how to read closely.
Why do students seem to have such a difficult time with the mathematical problem-solving process? The recent advent of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics has shifted the focus from teaching problem solving to teaching via problem solving. This online course is designed for teachers in grades 3-6 who want to help their students become critical and logical mathematical thinkers. Specific strategies are introduced that improve the way students approach math problems. Information on the problem-solving process is shared together with distinct suggestions for incorporating specific problem-solving strategies such as finding a pattern, working backwards, and logical reasoning.
Do you need effective strategies for implementing the fourth grade Common Core Standards for Mathematics? This online course helps teachers understand and implement the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics at the fourth grade level, including both content and practice standards. By the end of this course, teachers have an in-depth knowledge of the standards as well as strategies and activities to support the standards at the fourth grade level. Teachers also gain information to assist in preparing students for the new Common Core assessments.
Do you want to learn how to create basic multimedia presentations to use in your classroom? In this online course, teachers learn how to take the proper steps toward designing an effective plan for assigning multimedia projects in the classroom. Learn how to properly plan for the multimedia project by determining standards and setting objectives. Strategies for organizing the project, creating cooperative groups, and effectively assessing student projects are discussed. Many multimedia platforms are detailed in addition to web-based tools and software for creating media elements.
Is spelling the most boring subject you teach? This online course is designed for educators interested in learning a variety of ways to teach essential spelling skills to their students. Spelling is an essential and complex skill and an important component of the overall language arts curriculum. Instead of looking at spelling as a memorization process, spelling should be thought of as a building block of literacy development. Teachers will learn a variety of proven ways to increase students’ spelling skills using interactive, developmental, and fun activities!
Have you tried to make sense of the Next Generation Science Standards without feeling successful? Are you overwhelmed because your district has recently adopted these new standards? This online course is designed for teachers in grades K-12 who want to begin to unpack the complexity of the Next Generation Science Standards. This course takes teachers through a step-by-step explanation of the standards, including how to interpret the science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas at each respective grade band. The role of curricula is discussed, as well as how Universal Design for Learning plays an important role in the assessment of the standards. Teachers will be introduced to an overview of assessment and how it applies to the Next Generation Science standards, as well as a brief overview of how to bundle some of the core ideas contained within the standards.
What are the first thoughts that come into your head when you hear the word discipline? Students that don’t follow rules, students who constantly misbehave, your overall troublemakers? You probably think of discipline as how you manage the problem students. This course helps teachers learn new and innovative ways for managing and controlling behavior using traditional and non-traditional, positive methods for discipline. Teachers are provided with many resources and ideas to effectively manage their classrooms and student behavior while proactively promoting organization, communication, safety, structure, and a positive classroom environment that supports learning.
Do you find yourself struggling for ways to better assist your English language learners? This online course is designed for teachers in grades K-6 who want to build a solid foundation in best practices for their ELLs while still keeping true to the Common Core State Standards. Information on ENL best practices is shared as well as specific strategies for incorporating them into the teaching of reading, writing, speaking and listening, mathematics, science, and social studies. Teachers will gain a solid understanding of the various ESL models and how to grow their ELL students’ vocabularies and comprehension by setting goals, using their home language and culture, and communicating with caregivers.
Are you ready to administer the new Common Core assessments in your classroom? This online course helps teachers understand the impact of the Common Core Assessments and how they influence teaching strategies, curriculum design, and non-summative assessment methods. The course also provides detailed information on important shifts from standardized testing to the new assessments that impact the way lessons are developed and taught. Teachers also gain important strategies for helping students prepare for the Common Core Assessments, including study and test-taking tips. A multitude of resources, including sample test items, are included as well to ensure the teacher has the tools and information necessary to prepare for the Common Core Assessments.
Are you struggling to provide content lessons to your English language learners? This online course provides teachers with a variety of SDAIE (Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English) strategies that can be used across content areas and grade levels. These SDAIE practices are the "scaffolds" that enable English language learners to access grade-level curriculum while simultaneously developing academic language.
Do you have students who just won't behave? Do you notice a lack of manners and respect? In this online course, teachers learn the six building blocks of character and how to explore them with students through discussions, activities, and projects. You will learn how to teach students to make the right choices in problem situations and help build their awareness of accountability for their actions.
Do you have readers in your class that are one to four years behind grade level? This online course provides teachers with strategies for helping students with reading difficulties. Topics addressed in the course include assessment and diagnosis of reading difficulties, differentiation strategies, fluency skills, vocabulary development, and cognitive reading strategies. Teachers learn how to help all students become better readers with improved comprehension skills.
Why do excellent early readers often begin to struggle when they hit the middle grades? This online course answers that question and provides solutions as well. Students tend to approach content text the same way they approach literature. Students need to learn how to read content material. Teachers will learn how to develop active instructional strategies that facilitate student acquisition and development of reading skills in a variety of disciplines. Emphasis is on vocabulary development and comprehension strategies that work.
Are you interested in learning the whys, whats, and hows of implementing a reader's workshop approach in your classroom? In this online course, teachers learn how to administer a variety of assessments to help establish flexible reading groups. Teachers also learn strategies to successfully implement the reading workshop approach such as differentiation strategies, independent work strategies, independent reading ideas, as well as tips and hints for record-keeping and management.
Do you need strategies to help your struggling readers? This online course is designed for teachers who are beginning to implement Response to Intervention (RTI) in reading. The course content is based on current best-practices research. Topics addressed in the course include an overview of RTI, using multiple and varied assessments, the big 5 ideas in reading, and interventions for struggling readers.
Six Traits of Writing (K-6)
Do you want to better understand the six traits of writing? This online course teaches you all the basics you need to get started. You will find a detailed course section for each trait along with excellent ideas for using literature to help teach each of the six traits of writing. A variety of assessment strategies are also shared.
Do your students need study skills training to help them become better students and test takers? This online course provides techniques, ideas, and resources for helping students to develop their study skills such as the use of mnemonics, time management and note-taking skills, and the ability to establish a good study environment. With the use of visual aids, innovative strategies, and helpful worksheets, teachers will be able to develop their students’ study skills and help take the fear out of test-taking.
Does your classroom population include students with special needs? This online course helps teachers learn how to address students with special needs in the general classroom. The course provides information about teacher involvement in the special education process in terms of assessment, intervention, and collaboration. The most prevalent disabilities are covered in addition to students with other special needs such as ELLs, at-risk, and gifted students. Each special need is defined and Intervention strategies are provided to help teachers accommodate students with special needs in an inclusive classroom.
Do you love using children’s books in your classroom? Do you want to find out about excellent new books and fun ways to use them in your classroom? This online course focuses on the best children’s books available to use in all four content areas. Fun and educational ideas for using children’s literature will be shared. If you love children’s books….don’t miss this class!
Do you have Google Classroom and want to fully understand how to maximize its potential? In this course, teachers will learn how to use all the features of Google Classroom to enhance their teaching. Strategies for using the announcement, question, and assignment options to enhance the learning process will be emphasized. Strategies for differentiating instruction using the features of Google Classroom will be explored. Specific instructions for integrating Google Classroom with other Google products, as well as, educational extensions and apps will be shared. Additionally, instructions for using the Google Classroom mobile app will be provided.
Do your students have a limited vocabulary? This online course focuses on how to improve students' vocabulary in the middle and upper grades. The course begins with options for vocabulary assessment. The results of the assessment will be used to guide instruction and select appropriate and effective instructional strategies. Strategies presented include word roots, semantic feature analysis, categorization, analogies, concept maps, traditional resources, and cloze procedure to name just a few.
Do you want to better understand and be able to successfully implement the Common Core Writing Standards at the fourth grade level? This online course helps teachers fully understand the scope of the Common Core Standards and gain an in-depth knowledge of the specific Writing Standards at the fourth grade level. Teachers also gain valuable classroom ideas including using writer’s workshop, the writing process, technology that promotes writing, and appropriate writing assessment strategies.
Have you always wanted to start a writer's workshop program in your classroom but were not sure how to begin? This online course gives you all the basics including management tips and suggestions. Writing domains and the writing process are also emphasized. teachers will also gain valuable resources for using literature to enhance a writer's workshop program.
Are you trying to incorporate more quality literature into your curriculum? This online course focuses on strategies for teaching literary elements using young adult novels. Specific definitions, strategies, and activities will be shared for teaching critical literary elements such as character development, setting, plot, symbolism, point of view, and style. Resources for selecting quality young adult novels will also be shared.