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Conference Speakers

Learn more about our conference speakers below or view the conference program.

Keynote Speakers

The Word-Learning Journey Has No Boundaries

Speaker: Dr. Lori Helman
Location: Gymnasium

In this keynote session, Dr. Helman shares research from her numerous years of study on the language and literacy development of students learning English as an additional language (emergent bilinguals). Emergent bilinguals learn both constrained skills- such as letter sounds and word patterns- in much the same way as native speakers, but unconstrained skills such as vocabulary and comprehension require deep and focused instructional support to help students become successful. Dr. Helman highlights approaches for vocabulary instruction and ways to connect with students’ background experiences that will enhance emergent bilinguals’ acquisition of the important academic vocabulary and concepts so necessary for understanding school content. Each student brings language resources and experiences to schooling and, when educators build on their knowledge and identities, each student’s word-learning journey will know no bounds! Learn more.

Vogt’s Top Ten: What I’ve Learned about Teaching English Learners (and other students…)

Speaker: Dr. MaryEllen Vogt
Location: Gymnasium

If you feel like you’re swimming up stream with your English learners and struggling learners, this session is for you! Dr. Vogt will share what she has learned during a lifetime of teaching, writing, and doing research on language and literacy development for English learners (and other students). Her keynote will include proven instructional techniques for concurrently teaching academic language and academic content through the SIOP Model. Be prepared to laugh a little, think a bunch, and learn a lot! Learn more.


Featured Presentations

Dual Language Immersion in Wyoming

Location: Room 1237 (PIC)
Target Audience:

This panel includes leaders in Dual Language Immersion programs from different districts in the of Wyoming. Each panelist brings a unique perspective from their Dual Language Immersion program. The discussion will provide information on the history of each district’s program as well as historical background of dual language immersion programs nationally, which will include the purpose for DLI both nationally and locally. In addition, different models of DLI programs will be discussed and the districts will share information on their programs. The panel will share collaborative work that is underway to create unity throughout the state as DLI programs continue to expand. A question and answer session will follow the panel discussion with hints on how a district can start a DLI program and impact language learning for all students. Learn more.

Effectively Engaging ELL Students in Meaningful, Motivating, and Memorable Project-Based Learning

Location: Room 1235 (PIC)
Target Audience:

Elementary and middle-school teachers will share the process of effectively engaging ELL students (and all other students) in meaningful, motivating, and memorable project-based learning. These kindergarten through 8th-grade teachers will provide explanations, pictures, and videos of project-based learning experiences, and answer your questions concerning successful implementation of project-based learning. Learn more.

High Stakes, High Impact: English Disciplinary Literacy for Emerging Bilingual Learners

Location: Room 1227 (PIC)
Target Audience:

This interactive presentation will provide information about disciplinary literacy, particularly within the discipline of English, and how it is distinguished from but still connected to content area literacy instruction. We will engage audience members in simple but effective instructional activities that have emerged from our research on disciplinary literacy in English Language Arts (ELA). These activities, which we will connect with Sheltered English guidelines, provide low-stakes but high-impact opportunities to support English Learners in ELA classrooms. Learn more.

Writing Instruction for English Learners: Practical Approaches from the Comprehensive Writing Instruction Research Project

Location: Presentational Hall (PIC)
Target Audience: K-12

Writing is the critical “Third R” of schooling and the most common medium by which studentsat all levels demonstrate “what they know.” However, only 5% of 8 th grade ELs and 1% of 12th grade ELs performed at a proficient level in writing on the 2012 NAEP. These statistics highlight the facts that writing represents a clear obstacle to ELs’ long-term academic success and that better writing instruction for these students should be an urgent priority for all schools. In this presentation, I share insights that I have gleaned from an ongoing research project focused ondeveloping, implementing, and refining comprehensive writing instruction at several elementary grade levels. In particular, I will demonstrate a number of instructional practices that address transcription skills, writing fluency, sentence composing, paragraph structure, planning anddrafting texts in several genres, and using formative assessment in writing. In addition, I will discuss pragmatic issues and answer audience questions related to the “nitty gritty” of implementing the practices. Thus, my overall goal will be to facilitate a session that both presents cutting-edge approaches for writing instruction and involves substantial interaction focused on the practical concerns related to successful implementation of these approaches indiverse school settings and across the grade levels. Learn more.

Supporting ELLs in Science Classrooms with the New Science Standards

Location: Room 1229 (PIC)
Target Audience:

Abstract: Wyoming adopted new science standards in the fall of 2015. These new standards defined science as a three-dimensional composite of content, practices, and cross-cutting concepts, whichare ideas that connect concepts among the disciplines. The research supporting these standards calls for the use of instructional strategies that promote equitable classrooms driven by studentsand student-relevant contexts. Many strategies we promote in our professional development workshops with K-12 science teachers across Wyoming aid in equitable practice for all students, including ELLs. Dr. Claude Goldenberg, one of last year's keynote presentations, noted that,“what is effective for ELs is very similar to what is effective for students ‘in general’.” In other words, strategies conducive to academic success of ELLs are ones that work for all students; these new science standards support this view. By using relevant phenomena, student-driven units, reflective processes, and collaborative sense-making, teachers are finding ways to engage students and support conceptual understanding for students of all backgrounds and abilities. This presentation will explore these recent shifts and how these reform-based shifts support ELLs. Join us as we share some of our work, provide space to share ideas, and consider ours withinyour own practice. Learn more.

The Design and Development of the Discursive Assessment Protocol: An Instrument Intended to Support the Mathematical Learning of ELLs

Location: Room 1201 (PIC)
Target Audience:

This session, we will share a research protocol developed to support the mathematical learning of English language learners (ELLs). The protocol, referred to as the “Discursive Assessment Protocol” or DAP, was designed to be both culturally affirming and equitable. The design of the DAP uses an integrated theoretical framework that combines George Pólya’s (1957) four basic principles of problem solving with research-based instructional strategies intended to benefit ELLs. This integrated theoretical framework builds on Pólya’s classic work to provide a practical tool that teachers can use to support the mathematical learning of ELLs and all of their students. As part of the session, participants will view videos of 6th grade ELLs as they engage in the different stages of the DAP solving problems that involve fractions. Participants will have opportunities to discuss the videos with regards to specific practices related to equity and ELLs being supported to develop their mathematical thinking. The DAP will also be shared with participants to use in their classrooms. Learn more.

View Breakout Sessions


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Dr. Jenna Shim


Kim Jones


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