Science Clubhouse Workshops for K-1, June in Ottumwa

Gail Wortmann, Iowa Learning Online

screenshotThe Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are a game-changer for science at the elementary level. They are performance standards – the students must “do science” in order to show attainment. Because the science standards need to be worked into the very busy day in an elementary classroom, it is imperative they be integrated with reading and writing workshops and not treated as a separate subject. The Science Clubhouse Workshop lessons include all NGSS performance standards for each grade level (Kindergarten and first grade each as separate courses). Participants will work through all lessons, practicing the hands on science investigations and tying them to related books and writing assignments aligned with the Common Core.

The Science Clubhouse Workshop courses will help teachers prepare for student attainment of the Next Generation Science Standards as a part of an integrated reading/writing workshop. Teachers will experience science and engineering practices, learn about cross-cutting concepts, review big ideas in science, and identify where the standards fit into a K-12 science scope and sequence. The target audience for this course includes kindergarten and first grade teachers, science consultants/specialists, instructional coaches, technology coaches, STEM coaches, and pilot teachers.

All courses will be held at Great Prairie AEA (Ottumwa) in Conference Room A from 8:00-4:00. Each participant will need to bring a laptop or tablet to access course materials. We will be spending some time outdoors, so dress appropriately.

Dyslexia Resources for Parents & Educators


A newly developed Google site and resources to support educators to serve students identified with dyslexia is available at and on

The site includes information for both parents and educators.  Specifically, it includes information about the definition of dyslexia in the State of Iowa, a presentation for educators on dyslexia, a letter for parents about the services that LEAs and AEAs can provide for a student with reading concerns, and information about seeking a diagnosis.

These materials were developed on behalf of C4K to address a need in the system. These resources were identified/developed by an expert group and vetted by C4K Work Team Co-Chairs, AEA Educational Services Directors, AEA Special Education Directors, and AEA Media Directors. All of these materials should be used as part of a comprehensive reading program.

Summer Enrichment Now KidTek U at SCC

thumb_kidtek_2_colorGPAEA is pleased to announce a change in Summer Enrichment services. Effective June 2016, our former Summer Enrichment program will be transferred to Southeastern Community College’s Kidtek U. SCC will bring a broadened STEM component to the program while updating and supporting current instructors, students and area families. Our preliminary meetings have formalized these decisions:

  • SCC will no longer require Talented and Gifted requirements for attending the summer program.
  • Current Enrichment instructors will be contacted and invited to teach.
  • The program times have not been decided (length of learning sessions, number of days, etc.)
  • Great Prairie will support communication and resources to ensure that student needs are being met.
  • SCC hopes to sponsor two campus locations (Mt. Pleasant and West Burlington).

This program change is an exciting opportunity that will support SCC’s outreach to students and STEM programming, while allowing the AEA to focus and support early literacy.

Registration for SCC’s Kidtek U summer learning program will open at STEMFest on April 23, on SCC’s West Burlington campus from 10AM to 2PM. Regular open registration will start on Monday, April 25. Registrations will be accepted via phone, in person, or online at

The program contact for SCC is:

Kelly J Prickett
Program Developer
Phone: 319.208.5385
Fax: 319.752.3407
River Park Place, Suite 220
610 N 4th St.
Burlington, IA 52601


The Cornerstone – April 2016

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What is Real 21st Century Learning?

I feel a bit conspicuous admitting that I am still trying to figure out what it means to be a 21st century learner, now that I find myself over 15% through the 21st century. 21st century learning can be a nebulous term. I have heard different groups of people use it to refer to a variety of different things. I have heard it equated to technology integration in the classroom, career technical education, project based learning, problem based learning, community based learning, collaborative learning, and personalized learning. I’ve heard it’s the 4 c’s, the 3 p’s, universal constructs, and cross-cutting concepts. Perhaps it’s no wonder that I find myself a bit confused about the future of learning from time to time. It’s a complex topic to be sure, but here are some truths that I hope will help you better understand what we mean when we talk about 21st century.

21st century learning is not simply having access to the latest technology in the classroom. Technology can be a powerful tool. Well used, it can incentivize kids to collaborate and communicate instantaneously, allowing them to build personalized learning networks and to take their passions to the real world. Too often, however, a classroom device is still just a way to save a trip to the library. Kids don’t need faster access to more content; they need an opportunity to apply their passions to real world problems.

Continue reading: What is Real 21st Century Learning?

Video Receives Iowa School Public Relations Association Award

SKMBT_36316041108250Last week at the Iowa School Public Relations Assocation (ISPRA) Conference, Jennifer Woodley accepted an award for the 2015 video, This is Eli.

The video accompanied an article in last year’s The Cornerstone. Since April is Autism Awareness Month, it is a great honor to receive recognition for this video and article.

More GPAEA Success Stories #AutismAwareness

CANCELED – St. Ambrose Master of Education in Educational Administration – April 19

SAUThis session is canceled. Please contact Joyce Schoemaker at 563-508-8014 or with questions.

St. Ambrose Master of Education in Educational Administration will hold an informational session at the Great Prairie AEA in Ottumwa on April 19 from 4:00-6:00 PM in Conference Room B.  This an informal drop-in session to help you decide whether the time is right for you to begin this synchronous one night a week program with instructors who have been teachers, deans, department heads, principals, and superintendents in Iowa and Illinois public schools.  You will finish in two years and be prepared to move forward in your career.  A representative will be available for questions.

The dissemination of information from external organizations by Great Prairie AEA does not infer sponsorship or endorsement of the information. It is being passed on to our stakeholders for its educational value.

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.

Shout-out to School Social Workers

School social workers confront some of the most challenging issues facing students and their families. March is National Social Work Month and we wish to acknowledge and thank our team of dedicated school social workers!

The Cornerstone – March 2015

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