Summer Spark 2019 Schedule

Summer Spark uses Sched for attendees to view and sign up for sessions. The full schedule for Summer Spark 2019 will be posted here in early April, so please check back then for additional details and information.

Early Childhood/Elementary Strand

This year, we are excited to offer an Early Childhood /Elementary strand with two dynamic presenters, Thomas Hobson of the "Teacher Tom" fame, and Dr. Diane Kashin! This new track will be held on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 and will feature the following keynote and breakout sessions.

Keynote - Educating Citizens Through Play

Teacher Tom speaks about how children's play bring the habit and principles of democracy into 'early years' classrooms. He will begin by discussing the purpose of education in democratic societies and how and why we have managed to veer so far from the original intent, which is to education citizens capable of contributing to the grand experiment of self governance. In this full-throated support for play-based education, he details through his illustrative classroom stories and examples exactly how his curriculum works. Participants will learn the benefits of introducing these playful principles to their own students, the hallmarks of what makes a good citizen both in a classroom as well as a democracy, the traits and habits required for self-governance, and practical tips on how to implement these ideas in their own classrooms. It is an inspiring, often touching, often hilarious, and always eye-opening and empowering presentation.

Breakout Session 1 - Speaking with Children So They Can Think with Tom Hobson

In a very real sense, the language we use creates reality. Tom speaks on how the specific words we use, and how and when we use them, shapes reality for our students for both good and bad. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the importance of: being clear and precise with language; honoring children without commanding or bossing them; using words to create a world of facts and intrinsic motivation; creating space in which children must do their own thinking and make their own decisions; and supporting children as they learn from the natural consequences of their behaviors.

Breakout Session 2 - Cirlce Time with "Teacher Tom" Hobson

At its core, a play-based early childhood curriculum is about supporting the children as they construct their own learning by asking their own questions, then having the time and space to pursue their own answers within the context of community. In this workshop, Teacher Tom brings the principles of a play-based learning to adult professional development. We will, together, construct our own learning based upon the questions that each of us bring to our "circle time." Teacher Tom will facilitate our explorations in the same sort of free-form manner he employs in working with the young children he teaches, interspersing discussion with songs and stories. Come prepared to shake up your thinking as well as your booty.

Breakout Session 1 - Invitations and Provocations with Dr. Diane Kashin

Invitations and provocations are fantastic opportunities for learning. Invitations are provocations that are responded to—they are an opportunity to learn through active engagement. Discover how new materials, environments, or even problems to solve can open opportunities for learning and exploration. Intentional invitations encourage meaningful experience and provide for reflective practice. By experiencing invitations to play and learn, participants will discover how to offer provocations in a meaningful way.

Breakout Session 2 - Risky Play for Learning and Development with Dr. Diane Kashin

Risky play is a hot topic in the world of early learning. While risk may be seen as something that is negative and should be avoided, it is extremely beneficial to children's learning and development. Children require environments that allow them to engage in risk-taking play. Risky play helps children learn about their world, test out what is and is not possible, learn about making mistakes, and discover new things about their space, place, and environment. Risk taking contributes to children's in-depth problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Children in over-regulated environments have significantly fewer opportunities to master the challenges that are available in active play spaces. Attend this interactive workshop to experience the joys and benefits of risky play, engage in dialogue and recognize how our own attitudes may inhibit children's opportunities for risk-taking and at the same time learn how to manage risky play by engaging in a risk benefit assessment. This workshop takes place indoors and outdoors.
Prekindergarten (age 3) - Grade 12 • Independent • Coeducational
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2100 W. Fairy Chasm Road, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53217 • 414.352.6000