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College of Education

Literacy Research Center and Clinic

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-3156


Breakout Sessions

presenters at the UW literacy conference

Learn more about our conference breakout sessions below. View the conference program for more info.

Saturday Morning (9:40 - 10:30 am)

Exploring Wyoming on National Geographic’s Giant Map (Grades PK-5)

Presenter: Germaine Wagner
Location: Education Annex 207

This session with showcase how to integrate geography, history, map reading and literacy in an active hands-on/feet-on manner.  Spatial thinking will be ignited with the five lessons that will be presented, which include reading a map legend, using children’s literature with map reading, placing manipulatives on correct locations, working with teams during Simon Says, and exploring Wyoming communities. Participants will learn how to access to this free giant map to use with students.  The Wyoming Student Atlas will be also be provided with lesson ideas to increase geographic literacy skills.


Reading Big Words- Fun Lessons and Activities for Teaching Multisyllabic Word Decoding (Grades PK-5)

Presenter: Noelle Clark
Location: Education Annex 211

This presentation will help build the bridge between the emergent reader and the fluent reader. It will address the in-between stage of reading, when a reader has the basic phonics skills to decode single syllable words, but still needs support reading multisyllabic words. Participants will learn about resources and strategies for teaching the six syllable types, common affixes, and Greek and Latin roots.


The Power of Powwow Objects: A resource for teaching literacy (Grades 3-12)

Presenter: Stephany Anderson
Location: Education Annex 215

This presentation will share research on engaging students in the viewing of objects as a way to teach close reading and address Common Core reading and writing in history standards. Built around the Arapaho and Crow powwow narratives with materials provided by a Crow interpretive educator, the curriculum used to demonstrate this strategy was shown to support close reading and the NCSS C3 Inquiry Arc.  This presentation features ways instructors can guide students in meaningful interaction with powwow objects and primary sources that demonstrate the resilience of native powwow culture.


Developing Writing through Storytelling (Grades 3-12)

Presenter: Kristine Frey
Location: Education Annex 229

Storytelling is a central part of our lives and a stepping stone toward sharing ideas and experiences in writing. Explicit instruction for developing concise and detailed stories is an essential element of this session on storytelling, which is presented as an intervention for struggling readers and writers—including students with hearing loss.  In fact, research on the use of storytelling has demonstrated that students with hearing loss benefit from instruction in storytelling.  However, research has also shown that storytelling can benefit all students.


Equity & Diversity in Our Schools: The What, Why, When, and How of a Professional Book Study (Grades 3-12)

Presenter: Tiffany L. Rehbein
Location: Education Annex 304

If you took part in the statewide book study with the Wyoming English Language Arts Council, then this is the session for you! This will be the time we come together to discuss the themes, key concepts, and big ideas in the texts we read. If you didn’t take part in the book study, plan to attend as you will gain ideas about how to implement a professional book study in your school or community, including the what, when, why and how of engaging in a book study.


Writing Workshop to Support ALL Students (Grades 3-12)

Presenter: Noah R Waspe
Location: Education Annex 308

The Writing Workshop structure has great potential for the teacher who knows that students, more than anything else, need time, practice, and feedback in order to grow as writers.  However, many teachers struggle to make the logistics of writing workshop work in their classrooms.  This session will be jam-packed with concrete ways to help teachers implement, lead, and manage a writing workshop that will help teachers provide supportive and effective instruction to ALL students!


(Session Canceled) Teaching Empathy and Heroism through Literature (Grades 6-12)

Presenter: Connie Hollin
Location: Education Annex 314

Using the American Library Association Great Stories Club, teachers will learn how to integrate social-emotional topics such as the following into their classroom literacy discussion:  Empathy: The Cost of Switching Sides and What Makes a Hero: Self, Society, and Rising to the Occasion. See how one school used the Great Stories Club to raise global awareness and critical thinking and gave Wyoming students a new perspective on society.


Literacy Instruction in Wyoming: Exemplary Elementary Teaching and Management (Grades PK-5)

Presenters: Allen Trent & Kristi Von Krosigk
Location: Education Annex 318

This session will engage participants in viewing and discussing video excerpts from a case study project on exemplary elementary literacy teaching and classroom management in Wyoming. The video series includes teacher interviews and literacy instruction in classrooms from Kindergarten through 5th grade. A large knowledge base identifies best practices in elementary language arts teaching. Similarly, there is extensive literature about effective classroom management. In this session, we’ll combine these complimentary areas in ways that provide concrete exemplars for teachers. Activities and conversations will explore a variety of strategies and approaches to meet the needs of literacy learners.

Saturday Afternoon (1:10 - 2 pm)

Using Children’s Literacy Authentically in Diverse Classrooms (Grades PK-5)

Presenters: Amanda Yentes & Amy Russell
Location: Ed. Annex 207

The purpose of this presentation is to share how teachers might make decisions about using diverse children’s literature texts in their classes and the issues importance.  Our definition of diversity includes race, socioeconomic status, gender, family structure, etc. We, as presenters, will discuss the importance of using the unique diversity within each classroom as a springboard to choose children’s literature. When students are introduced to literature that is written by authors of diverse backgrounds, they may make myriad of connections with the literature with increasing independence and, as a result, learn to work through events within their own lives.


ELA to Battle Bigotry and Build Empathy (Grades 6-12)

Presenters: Katie Wheeler, Tiffany Rehbein, & Erin McNamee
Location: Ed. Annex 211

Author Pam Leo writes, "Either we spend time meeting children's emotion needs by filling their cup with love or we spend time dealing with behaviors caused from their unmet needs. Either way we spend the time." Spending time to teach empathy may seem like a detour when we consider everything ELA teachers are asked to do, but the benefits are worth it. Join three ELA teachers as they discuss the texts (long and short) and the writings that meet the emotional needs of students, build empathy, and just so happen to be aligned to ELA standards.


Coding Stories: Let's Make Magic Happen (Grades 1-8)

Presenters: Rayme Van Dell & Laura Westby
Location: Ed. Annex 215

In this session, participants will learn ways to integrate computer science and literacy instruction.  Participants will navigate through the Scratch program to code written pieces from short stories to research.  The Scratch Program is based in the Coding for All project, which brings together an interdisciplinary research team from the MIT Media Lab, the Digital Media and Learning Hub at University of California Irvine, and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University to develop new online tools and activities to engage more young people in developing computational fluency, particularly youth from groups currently underrepresented in computing.


Creating Connections: Jumping into History and out of the Textbook (Grades 6-12)

Presenter: Kate Decker
Location: Ed. Annex 225

By making connections across content areas, students can explore an event from multiple perspectives. In one course, anchor texts, including Unbroken, Night, and Farewell to Manzanar, were paired with videos and short, non-fiction texts from World War II. This allowed students to experience different perspectives—an American POW, a Japanese-American interned in a camp, a Jewish boy trapped in the Holocaust—of the same event.  Through classroom discussions using the Socratic method and a field trip to the Heart Mountain Internment Camp, students created connections to the human struggle and the consequences war has on individuals.


The Passion Project (Grades 3-12)

Presenter: Kristie Smith
Location: Ed. Annex 229

Do you struggle with getting students to really read independently? Ever wonder about how to "hook" kids and teach them how to enter the "deep zone" of reading?  If so, the Passion Project is just what you have been looking for in your school!  This session is based on real experience teaching in an elective class as well as the use of a formal assessment with sophomores to determine proficiency for reading at grade level.  The presenter will explain how to develop a “passion” for independent reading in your classroom in conjunction with specific targets tied to the state standards, lesson ideas, strategies and using “Book Tastings” in the classroom.


Secondary Literacy for All (Grades 6-12)

Presenters: Amy Rose & Mary Kerns
Location: Ed. Annex 304

This session will focus on leadership roles and a school-wide literacy initiative designed to benefit all students. Additionally, classroom literacy techniques throughout all content areas will be shared, discussed, and practiced.


DisruptTexts: Re-imagining the Literary Canon for a More Inclusive Future (Grades 6-12)

Presenter: Julia E. Torres
Location: Ed. Annex 308

In this session, participants will learn about the online Twitter PLN (Personal Learning Network) #DisruptTexts co-founded by presenter Julia E. Torres with colleagues Lorena Germán, Dr. Kim Parker, and Tricia Ebarvia.  As mentioned in NY Times Learning Network, The Chicago Tribune, and NCTE’s Council Chronicle, the movement stretches thinking and conversations around the most commonly taught texts in classrooms and ways teachers and students can begin to expand their ideas of the existing canon.  Tips, strategies, and resources for examining the existing literary canon most frequently taught in schools will be discussed, in addition to advocacy tips for school communities.


Dyslexia: What It Is and How to Recognize It (Grades PK-5)

Presenters: Heather Fleming & Kari Roden
Location: Ed. Annex 318

This session provides background information on what dyslexia is, what it is not, and how to recognize the signs of dyslexia.  As well, through session activities and discussions, the presenters help teachers to understand the academic and social-emotional impact of dyslexia on students.  Finally, presenters share concrete ways to support students with dyslexia.

Contact Us

College of Education

Literacy Research Center and Clinic

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-3156


1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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