Summer Institute Series: Creating an Inclusive Environment with Explicit Instruction

SIS- Explicit InstructionRegister Now!

Join us for Great Prairie AEA’s 2016 Summer Institute where ALL educators will learn how to actively engage ALL learners. This 2 day institute will give general education and special education teachers tools to create an inclusive environment through the use of evidence-based practices in inclusion,assessment and feedback,explicit instruction and co-teaching.

Day 1: Creating Inclusive Schools and Classrooms While Embracing Higher Learning Standards for All
Dr. Lisa Dieker

This session will provide an overview of the 7 effective strategies for including students with disabilities in the general education setting grounded in the art and science of co-teaching. The day will focus on these practical strategies which can be used immediately: Celebrating all students Interdisciplinary collaboration Effective co-teaching Creating a school-wide culture for co-teaching and inclusion Active Learning Evidence-based strategies Grading and assessment

Day 2: Explicit Instruction
Michelle Deshler & Lori Hugen

This Summer Institute gives special and general education teachers the tools to implement Explicit Instruction in any grade level or content area. Participants will get an overview on lesson design and delivery using the 16 essential elements of explicit instruction. The 16 essential elements will enable educators to design and deliver lessons for teaching skills and strategies as well as lessons for vocabulary and concepts. Focus will also be on providing appropriate practice for newly learned skills. This will be a dynamic day of learning based off of Dr. Anita Archer’s work in Explicit Instruction.

Download: Explicit Instruction SI 2016 Flyer

GPAEA Schools in the News – March 2016

Post updated throughout the month. Did we miss something? Send your school news to

Note: The articles compiled in this list come from independent media sources who are solely responsible for their content. GPAEA staff did not participate in writing any of these articles and GPAEA does not necessarily endorse the content of the articles. Some articles may be available only by subscription.

The Cornerstone – March 2015

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GPAEA’s 21st Century Classroom in Ottumwa

Lisa Jacobs, Instructional Technology Specialist

The 21st Century Classroom in the Ottumwa Office is HERE! The primary use of the 21st Century Classroom will be for teacher professional development, student learning opportunities, and educational meetings that will benefit from using technology and collaborative spaces. You may notice the color scheme and furniture is similar to the Room21C in Burlington with the same collaboration tables and chairs, wireless connectivity to large video monitors for each group, and writable walls. There are also some unique features in Ottumwa’s Room21C. The construction began by removing the wall that was previously between the old computer lab and the ICN room. The larger room (61 ft X 31 ft) allows for additional spaces including a circular conversation “campfire”; a larger lounge area that seats fourteen adults with wheelchair access; tall café tables; casual benches and cube ottomans. The three basic design tenets for both the Ottumwa and Burlington 21c classrooms are that they be #1 moveable & flexible; #2 have video displays for each work group; #3 have writable surfaces for each work group. This link will provide more information about the 21st Century classroom design: Continue reading

Making Collaborative Teams Meaningful and Effective

Cory Johnson, School Improvement Consultant

Business teamwork

Throughout Great Prairie, schools have built structures and implemented processes to promote collaboration amongst the teaching staff. The models vary (Data Teams, Professional Learning Communities (PLC), etc.) but the purpose is the same: create a collaborative culture that ensures what Austin Buffum and Mike Mattos describe as the 4Cs: Collective Responsibility, Concentrated Instruction, Convergent Assessment, and Certain Access. The Great Prairie School Improvement Team has developed a new tool that schools and teams can use to monitor and improve collaborative structures and processes. Continue reading

Makerspace Movement in Ottumwa

Joni Nicholson, Elementary Teacher-Librarian for Ottumwa Community School District

maker magnetThe Makerspace movement has created a buzz in the library-media community.  Many public libraries have embraced this opportunity to add more hands-on activities to appeal to their patrons.  But in the school setting, teacher-librarians often express many concerns about how to incorporate a Makerspace into their program with so many obstacles.  These obstacles—time, space, and budget—are not new to any of us in school libraries, but they don’t have to be roadblocks that keep you from creating a great “Makerspace” of your own.

Stacy Moran and I, both elementary librarians for the Ottumwa Community School District, teamed together to do  just that.  We were both wanting to implement some form of Makerspace in our libraries, but we were both faced with those same pesky obstacles.  With classroom teachers’ schedules already being very tight, we knew it would be a challenge to find time to add another event into the school day.  In some of the older school buildings where libraries are often confined to a classroom or a converted auditorium stage, space was another issue.  And of course, adding another item to an already meager budget seemed impossible too.  These are not concerns unique to the Ottumwa Community School District.  Most other schools face these same constraints. Continue reading