Continuing Education

Course Listing

Inquiry-Based Science, K–8

This course is designed to teach scientific process skills and help teachers create engaging, hands-on science lessons. Participants learn to leverage the strength of inquiry-based science instruction to help their students develop deeper understanding of key earth science concepts. The course is designed around a constructivist learning model called the Five E’s: Engagement, Exploration, Explanation, Elaboration, and Evaluation. Participants will study each part of the model and learn ways to apply these concepts immediately in their teaching practice.

  • Learn how scientific process skills can increase student engagement and achievement.
  • Examine key concepts of earth science, including minerals and magnetism.
  • Incorporate the Five E's instructional framework into current and new science lessons.

 

The Thinking and Learning Brain, K–12

This course focuses on the latest research in the domains of neuroscience and cognitive psychology. Participants examine the classroom implications of understanding how the brain learns. Key topics of each domain are explored, such as memory, cognition, language development, gender differences, and the emotional aspects of learning.

  • Improve student achievement by applying brain-compatible strategies in your classroom.
  • Increase students' motivation and engagement by understanding how they learn.
  • Create a supportive environment in which all students can learn.

 

The 21st Century Learner, K–12

This course examines the interdisciplinary skills that all students need in order to be productive, contributing members of a global community. The skills of collaboration, critical thinking, oral and written communication, technology literacy, and citizenship are embedded in a holistic framework of teaching that enables participants to meet the needs of increasingly diverse and multicultural students.

  • Integrate the use of 21st century skills in your classroom practice.
  • Build a robust toolkit of online resources and other technologies to enhance your teaching skills.
  • Design lessons that embed a variety of 21st century skills to engage all learners.

 

Classroom Assessment for Today's Teacher, K–12

This course focuses on three important areas of assessment: grading, authentic assessment techniques, and response to intervention (RTI). While studying each of these areas of assessment, participants will identify common problems and obstacles teachers face in each of these categories and subsequent ways to address or overcome these issues.

  • Apply research-based grading practices, authentic assessment, and RTI strategies to your particular teaching situation.
  • Implement classroom interventions as part of a tiered RTI program.
  • Learn how to accurately communicate the academic achievement, progress, and effort of students.

Effective Assessment, K–12

This course grounds teachers in effective ways to assess their students, and how to use this information to draw conclusions and modify their instructional practices to best meet their students’ needs.

  • Identify and define different assessment methods according to three categories: Assessment of Learning, Assessment for Learning, and Assessment as Learning.
  • Examine different grading systems and apply one that best communicates student progress and achievement to others.
  • Analyze multiple sources of data to identify patterns in student learning and knowledge.

Instructional Design, K–12

This course concentrates on an effective and efficient instructional planning process that allows teachers to align their instructional design to state and local standards.

  • Learn to use “backward design” to create comprehensive instructional units.
  • Integrate formal and informal assessment techniques that allow you to monitor student progress, as well as student mastery.
  • Create logical learning sequences that help students meet required learning goals.

“This course has truly been a challenge for me. It has caused me to think about my unit planning in a whole new way. Breaking old habits and incorporating new ones is always difficult to do, but I think this time it is worth it. I will strive to unpack the standards, develop primary goals, and write overarching questions that inspire my students to think and therefore learn.” ~ Penny Lanning, teacher, Grand Rapids, MI

Meeting the Needs of All Students, K–12

This course provides teachers with proven strategies and classroom management techniques to help them reach all of their students regardless of ability, language development, race, socioeconomic status, gender, and/or learning challenges.

  • Apply strategies to increase student engagement and address students’ individual learning styles.
  • Strengthen partnerships with parents to facilitate academic achievement of students.
  • Deepen understanding of student variance, and apply strategies to support all kinds of learners, including English language learners, students with above-average abilities, and students who are at risk of failure.

“On a personal note, this class offered me more than I could have ever imagined. Though it was challenging to find time in my busy schedule as full-time teacher, mother, wife, and active member of my church and community, I enjoyed the disciplined time set aside for reading, studying, and reflecting. I have shared many of these strategies with my colleagues and administration, showing the proof of my success through my students’ projects and quality of work.” ~ Ellen Fabry Hoyer, teacher, Plymouth, MI

Research-Based Instructional Strategies, K–12

This course explores instructional strategies that 30 years of educational research has shown to increase students’ academic achievement. It focuses on using these strategies in ways that are appropriate to particular grade levels, content areas, and students' needs.

  • Learn how to use cooperative learning structures to develop a safe and supportive learning environment.
  • Increase your understanding of specific teacher and student behaviors that have a direct impact on student achievement.
  • Set personal goals for ways to integrate more of these strategies in your professional practice.

“This course has introduced me to strategies I can apply daily in my teaching to help students overcome barriers that they face in learning and retaining what’s been taught. I found this course to be rejuvenating and uplifting.” ~ Steve Rogers, teacher, Garden City, MI

Student-Directed Learning to Foster Motivation and Engagement, K–12

This course focuses on practical, research-based strategies teachers can apply to increase the motivation and engagement of their students. Participants reflect on the common reasons students lack motivation and explore unique learning opportunities to increase student engagement.

  • Apply research-based teaching practices to target the needs of students who exhibit a lack of motivation.
  • Discover ways to increase student autonomy in the classroom.
  • Explore project-based and problem-based learning as a way to engage students in high-interest yet challenging tasks.

Teacher as Leader, K–12

This course focuses on the characteristics of successful teacher leaders and ways that all classroom teachers can cultivate these characteristics and improve their leadership skills. Participants analyze the research on teacher leadership and teachers as agents of change through reform efforts.

  • Identify your personal leadership profile.
  • Learn and apply leadership strategies for the classroom, school, and community.
  • Strengthen your commitment to student learning and achievement.

“Before this coursework began, I would have never described myself as a teacher leader. Even though I was in a leadership role at school, I didn’t accept that as my function or main focus. Now I can take a look at my position, see it for what it really is, and change my outlook on my responsibilities and become a true leader in my district.” ~ Diana Hauser, teacher, Warren, OH

Understanding Teaching and Learning, K–12

This course examines the intricacies of how people learn and the effect teacher understanding has on making informed instructional decisions.

  • Analyze and understand why some instructional strategies are more effective than others.
  • Apply proven instructional strategies based on current learning theory.
  • Increase knowledge of how the brain stores and retrieves information and the role this process plays in students’ ability to learn new academic content.

“Over 21 years ago, when I first read about these theories, it was hard to truly understand them because I didn’t have a classroom of students to make observations about or try what I was learning about on… Now, reading about these theories, it is easier to put them into practice or observe them in my students. The material from the book and watching the expert commentary was more relevant now…” ~ Dina Tadena, teacher, Pandora, OH

 

Assessment and Intervention for Struggling Readers, K–6

This course helps teachers to better understand students who struggle with reading and gives them the tools to improve their students’ fluency and comprehension in order to meet grade-level standards.

  • Study the research base that explains the common causes for reading difficulties.
  • Implement research-based instructional strategies specific to the needs of struggling readers.
  • Develop an intervention plan that aims at increasing the achievement of all students, including struggling readers.

Foundations of Reading and Literacy, K–6

This course focuses on sound theories and principles for developing literacy skills in students. It provides participants with a comprehensive knowledge base in the reading process and the most effective instructional techniques for teaching students to read.

  • Increase understanding of the five components of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
  • Apply the most effective instructional strategies to improve students’ skills in the five components of reading.
  • Adapt instructional strategies to meet the unique needs of English language learners and students who struggle to read.

“Prior to completing this course, I have had previous instruction and seminars in the areas of emergent literacy, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension…. However, I believe this course has been the most comprehensive. It has provided me with many new insights and understandings about the ‘Big Five’ ideas. It has further developed and, in some ways, changed the way I think about teaching reading and literacy.” ~ Barbara Germann, teacher, Celina, OH

Reading in the Content Areas, K–6

This course focuses on ways to integrate effective reading strategies into all subject areas of the curriculum, including promoting deeper comprehension of content-area material before, during, and after reading.

  • Employ proven instructional strategies to engage all learners in the reading of informational texts.
  • Develop subject-area vocabulary that aids in the comprehension of content-specific material.
  • Utilize established techniques to help students make connections to prior learning.

The Reading and Writing Connection, K–6

This course focuses on the writing process and its role in literacy development. As they learn how to identify, define, and explain all stages of the writing process, teachers are provided with proven techniques to help their students integrate writing into all subject areas.

  • Create learning experiences in which students respond to literature before, during, and after reading.
  • Employ the use of writing portfolios to measure the growth of writing ability over time.
  • Examine ways (such as mini-lessons, error analysis, and conferencing) to support the independence of reading and writing in the classroom.

 

Algebra, K–5

This course helps teachers integrate algebraic tasks into all mathematical strands of the curriculum and provide rich mathematical experiences for their students.

  • Deepen understanding of patterns, functions, and algebraic symbols.
  • Analyze repeating and growing patterns and represent these patterns in words, pictures, and numbers.
  •  Express mathematical relationships using equations.

Data Analysis and Probability, K–5

This course is structured around the creation and completion of a real-life data analysis project that allows teachers to apply knowledge and skills from other mathematical strands.

  • Design contextual problems that allow for the application of key concepts related to data analysis and probability.
  • Examine ways to integrate the use of manipulatives, technology, and new resources into data analysis and probability instruction.
  • Create a data analysis and probability simulation that meets the curricular standards and the grade-level needs of students.

Fundamentals of Mathematics: Teaching for Conceptual Understanding, 2–6

This course helps teachers deepen their understanding of the fundamental mathematical concepts they teach in order to develop the mathematical fluency of their students.

  • Deepen understanding of key ideas in the Number & Operations, Measurement & Geometry, and Algebra strands.
  • Learn to model ways of thinking aloud and sharing efficient problem-solving strategies. 
  • Apply proven strategies that lead to continued student improvement.

“I believe this course has been one of the most influential graduate courses I’ve taken in regards to my desire to incorporate all of the strategies I’ve read about, discussed, and written about into my everyday teaching.” ~ Dianne Byers, teacher, Sparta, NJ

Measurement and Geometry, K–5

This course focuses on ways to develop students' geometric thinking and construct measurement formulas that have real-world applications. Participants engage in hands-on problem-solving activities that help them apply new understanding to their instructional planning and decision making.

  • Deepen understanding of mathematical concepts such as length, area, volume, angles, and coordinate geometry.
  • Apply effective problem-solving strategies to real-world problems.
  • Implement instructional strategies that help develop geometric thinking.

Problem Solving and Number & Operations, K–5

Based on the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, this course establishes a foundation of mathematical content knowledge and problem-solving skills, and provides strategies for developing strong number sense in students.

  • Deepen personal understanding of mathematical content found in the elementary grades, such as place value, the operations, fractions, decimals, and percents.
  • Develop strategies to teach in a problem-based classroom.
  • Engage in and learn ways to lead mathematical discourse.

 

Algebra, 6–8

This course focuses on developing advanced algebraic thinking, including studying patterns and functions, understanding the structure of the number system, using symbolism meaningfully, and employing mathematical modeling to solve problems.

  • Examine common misconceptions about learning algebra in order to better understand gaps in student comprehension.
  • Identify functions as linear or nonlinear and contrast their properties using tables, graphs, and equations.
  • Model and solve contextualized problems using graphs, tables, and equations.

Data Analysis and Probability, 6–8

This course is structured around the creation and completion of a real-life data analysis project that allows teachers to apply knowledge and skills from other mathematical strands. Key concepts such as data collection, graphical representations of data, and measures of center are highlighted.

  • Design an investigation that includes data collection and data analysis.
  • Select, create, and use appropriate graphical representations of data.
  • Find, use, and interpret measures of center and spread.

Measurement and Geometry, 6–8

This course covers the Van Hiele levels of geometric thought, focusing on shapes and properties, transformations, location, and visualization, as well as measurement concepts and skills.

  • Apply effective problem-solving strategies to real-world problems.
  • Deepen understanding of mathematical concepts such as volume and capacity, similarity and congruence, and solving problems with ratios and proportions.
  • Use instructional strategies that help develop geometric thinking.

“While reflecting on this course, I can certainly say that my depth of understanding geometry has grown more than I thought it would. There were so many sample lessons and activities that I picked up on in the reading and videos. It was neat to see the thought process of the students as they were learning about measurement, angles, degrees, translations, and several other mathematical concepts related to geometry.” ~ Talisha Bailey, teacher, Coopersville, MI

Problem Solving and Number & Operations, 6–8

Based on the NCTM Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, this course focuses on ways to deepen mathematical content knowledge through problem solving and mathematical discourse.

  • Deepen personal understanding of mathematical content found in middle school mathematics, such as fractions, decimals, percents, ratios, proportions, and developing proportional reasoning.
  • Develop strategies to teach in a problem-based classroom.
  • Engage in and learn to lead mathematical discourse.

Proportional Reasoning in the Middle Grades, 6–8

This course examines key mathematical ideas related to helping middle school students develop proportional reasoning. It is based on the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) content standards for Number & Operations, Algebra, Geometry, and Measurement.

  • Deepen understanding of mathematical concepts such as length, area, volume, angles, and coordinate geometry.
  • Discover ways to improve instructional planning before, during, and after mathematics lessons.
  • Learn ways to model proportional thinking and apply concepts to real-world problems.