Keynote Speaker  |  Assemblies


Enlightening Educational Workshops

Because I am a counselor, singer/songwriter, and a performer, all of my workshops are lively, interactive, and entertaining. I love to travel and, since I am not tied to a regular job, I have flexibility. I have worked with all ages of children and adults, which means I can customize my presentations to fit most groups.

Some Workshop Titles

1. Creating a Climate of Excellence, Self-Discipline, and Heart
2. Wild About Writing: A Holistic Approach for Teaching the Six Writing Traits
3. Strategies for Struggling Students
4. What Teachers Can Do About What Over-Testing is Doing to Kids
5. Bully-Proofing Your School
6. Teamwork, Communication, and Conflict Resolution
7. Rejuvenating Your Teaching – Recovering Your Joy


Workshop Descriptions

1. Creating a Climate of Excellence, Self-Discipline and Heart

This workshop is based on academic research that relates success in life to emotional intelligence. The session shows how to apply a fresh approach to teaching children how to behave with respect, self-discipline and self-direction. The session shows methods for teaching students how to build on their strengths while developing courage to accept responsibility for their behavior. Through observation, practice and direct participation, participants learn how to create an environment that is physically and emotionally safe for learning. This is a fun, inspiring workshop designed to bring out the best in students, teachers, and the entire school.
Song sample : It Takes a Whole Village

2. Wild About Writing

Wild About WritingYou Can’t Start a Sentence with “Me!”

Only when we find our purpose for writing can we tap the well of our brilliance. This workshop will share strategies to develop involved and confident writers.

If we teach writing holistically, i.e. from the inside out, then all that painstaking work on editing and getting conventions correct makes sense. Students become willing to work hard to learn instead of needing to be force fed.

If we teach writing from the outside in — if our students’ only purpose is to pass the test — then they will write only to meet expectations. They will be writing out of fear, so they will choose simpler words and less complicated sentence patterns in order to play it safe. Their test scores will not reflect their true ability.

Teach Wild About Writing and our students will beg us for opportunities to write. They will ask if they can work on their writing at home and whether they can stay in from recess so they can play more grammar games. (Really!) Their writing will improve dramatically. They will score better on all six traits because they will be hooked on their own “juice.” Writing will have meaning for them. Teachers will have more fun teaching writing than they ever imagined (and their own writing will improve).

3. Strategies for Struggling Students

Struggling is no fun. But if we are to grow into successful, happy adults, we need to learn how to struggle well. As educators, we need to teach our students the value of a good struggle, while making sure that the tasks we are demanding aren’t so difficult they become overwhelming.

This workshop demonstrates how to set up your entire school to support struggling students and provides dozens of ideas about how to change your instructional strategies. Because research shows that emotional intelligence is directly correlated to academic success, this workshop concentrates on cultivating positive attitudes toward academic work, specifically writing and test-taking. Teachers may have the best techniques and ideas, but if their students are so discouraged, or so ill behaved that they won’t even try, then all the pedagogical brilliance in the world will not work.
   Song Sample: I Deserve to Be Loved

4. What Teachers Can Do About What Over-Testing is Doing to Kids

“Authentic accurate assessment is wonderful. Assessment that is not suited to learning style or is developmentally inappropriate is not only inaccurate, it is cruel.” —Vicki Hannah Lein

Taking ChargeNever in human history have so many been tested so often with so few meaningful results. In this high stakes environment, where scores are published in the newspaper, we need to find ways to help our students and ourselves maintain perspective and a sense of humor. Based on what we know about how people learn, creating an environment where people feel safe and alert will produce the best results. When we are afraid we simply cannot access what we know. Teaching to the test can only produce short term results which will be eliminated if the version of the test is changed.

If we want to truly empower our students, we need to teach them how to approach any situation and maintain their ability to think creatively and access what they know. Fun is not a four letter word, but fear is. We need to have more fun and not let our anxiety decrease our health and our competence.

This workshop is interactive, practical, and will revitalize how you prepare yourself and yours students for testing. Basing our activities on current brain research, we will use movement, music, and dramatic play to increase learning and increase the possibility that your students will be able to demonstrate what they learned from you in any testing situation.

Participants will learn how to create a learning environment that is so engaging students will be inspired to take risks and do their best. Techniques such as progressive desensitization will be used to teach students to be at their mental and physical best when they take tests.

5. Bully-Proofing Your School

No one wants friends more than a bully, and no one is more clueless about why he or she is lonely than a bully. But labeling anyone a bully only helps shame him or her into further antisocial behavior. We all (adults included) need to look at our own bullying behavior such as “teasing” (fun for me, not for you), to threats and physical violence. Bullying will only stop when the whole school takes a stand for respectful behavior by everyone, especially the adults, at all times. This means that adults are willing to “go first,” i.e., be willing to have their students hold them to the highest standard of behavior. We cannot eliminate bullying by looking only at the behavior of the other guy.

This interactive, lively, provocative workshop uses current brain research to teach the emotional intelligence necessary for students and adults to choose peaceful, yet firm, means of communication. When a classroom or a school sets high standard of respect and support and then gives lots of practice taking responsibility and solving conflicts peaceful,ly amazing things can happen. Students who once showed their leadership by dominating with emotional and/or physical violence can become positive leaders and help create a school where everyone feels safe to make mistakes and learn.

6. Teamwork, Communication, and Conflict Resolution – Grades 5-12 and adult

Working as an effective team member is one of the most important skills for a successful life. When we know how to appreciate our differences, admit our own mistakes promptly and with humor, we increase the enjoyment and performance of any group we are in. Creating an environment of integrity, courage, and responsibility takes commitment and time, but it is well worth the effort.

In this interactive, lively workshop participants learn how to have fun while learning specific roles necessary for individuals and teams to succeed. Teach your students how to include people who have a hard time speaking up, how to encourage each other, and how to listen deeply for understanding. This workshop offers specific, concrete methods for helping students and adults learn how to set goals and achieve them.

The “Success Team” provides a structure that encourages enjoyable ways to help brainstorm ideas and hold each other accountable for mutual success. Participants will have the Success Team Card Game and Workbook as resources to help with implementation of the topics covered in the workshop. Don’t be surprised when even reluctant students request this game.

Rejuvenate Your Teaching

7. Rejuvenating Your Teaching – Recovering Your Joy

Using differentiated instruction, drama, music, singing,, movement, and current brain research – everything we know works but is sometimes lost in the current over-testing environment – participants will develop an arsenal of activities, strategies, and technologies to help make teaching more effective and more fun.