All Courses - Online and On-Site Courses for Continuing Education and Professional Development for Teachers | The Connecting Link

 

Graduate-Level Credit & Professional Development Courses

This course is designed to explore the essential elements needed for the acquisition of knowledge and competencies to promote 21st century learning skills. Participants in this course will learn about the need for collaboration, communication, and critical and creative thinking. The effective use of technology and media literacy will be investigated. This course prepares teachers by engaging them in thoughtful dialogue and activities that promote 21st century ideas and understanding of students’ diverse, digital, and global learning needs.
Course participants will gain a deep understanding of the impact attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has on the performance of students in the classroom. Research-based instructional strategies and behavior management strategies will be explored, along with methods to improve executive function skills. The implementation of appropriate accommodations, modifications, and interventions will also be highlighted. This course engages participants with meaningful, applicable, and practical activities with a focus on success for students with ADHD.
This course is specifically designed to teach educators how to collaborate with parents and students using the iPad, create lessons, book, videos, and more using the iPad, communicate with students and Parents using the iPad, and how to assess students using the iPad.  Educators will leave the course knowing a wide range of applications to maximize the learning environment. 
This course is designed to enhance a participant’s knowledge of assessment and grading practices. The following themes will be investigated: formative assessment, summative assessment, learning targets and outcomes, methods of assessing, types of assessment protocols, grading practices, providing feedback, and defining mastery. This course prepares teachers by providing them with the essential elements needed to translate assessment of learning to assessment for learning. 
Participants in this course will examine collaborative, engaged, cooperative learning—a significant shift away from the typical teacher-centered classroom. Participants will learn how developing a classroom culture of trust, safety, challenge, and joy can foster engaged and effective learning. Research suggests that effective communication and collaboration are essential to becoming a successful learner. Participants will learn how to develop classroom learning experiences around students’ constructing knowledge and engaging in action together. Techniques to develop intrinsic motivation that leads to student engagement and achievement will be researched. Foundational work in this course will include the research and use of collaborative learning, engaged learning, and cooperative learning models. Participants will synthesize these paradigms and create applications for implementation into their own classrooms.
This course is designed to give educators at all levels (K–12) an overview of research related to harassment, bullying and cyberbullying. Influences within and outside of the school will be explored. Educators will develop effective tools for the identification and prevention of bullying behaviors. Interventions, including home/school connections, will be presented to address opportunities for change, which can positively influence student achievement.  
The purpose of this course is for participants to learn the history of coding, particularly in education, coding formats and how coding fits into the K-12 curricula, and how coding can help prepare future-ready students.
This course will provide K–16 educators the opportunity to understand and use global collaborative web technologies to impact learning and teaching. Teachers will use these technologies to design and develop relevant learning experiences across curriculums. Online collaboration; creating and publishing text, images, audio and video to the Web; management of multiple streams of information; social networking; and the practical use of other Web 2.0/3.0 tools will be critiqued, analyzed, and evaluated for classroom uses. This course will allow for examination of the ethics, safety, and security involved with the use of these technologies.
Participants in the course will receive a comprehensive overview of how smartphones can be used to collaborate, create, and assess in the classroom. Teachers will examine current trends, beliefs, and applications of the smartphone and how to effectively manage these devices with students in their classroom. Completion of the course will provide you with a wealth of ideas and skills to create your dynamic classroom using your smartphone.
This course provides participants with a solid framework for planning, implementing and maintaining successful co-teaching relationships that improve the learning instruction of all students. Participants will reflect on the definition of co-teaching, components of the co-teaching relationship, examine a variety of co-teaching models and how they support student learning, and evaluate their current co-teaching programs. Participants will leave the course knowing several co-teaching practices between general and special education teachers, as well as, between two general education teachers in the same classroom, and how to effectively work as a co-teaching partner to create opportunities for success for all learners.
The purpose of an educator’s website is to teach, inform, and communicate. This course provides K–16 teachers with the knowledge and skills to expand classroom technology use by designing and publishing a professional educational website. The culminating site can also be used to integrate classroom lessons and projects. Content will focus on the features of an effective educational website, and the use of Web development software tools to design, develop, enhance, and publish the site.
This course is designed to explore the critical need to differentiate instruction for 21st century learners. The philosophy of differentiation will be examined in relationship to cultural needs, learning styles, intelligence theories, and thinking skills. The use of technology and the role of effective feedback will also be addressed. Participants will be provided multiple opportunities to engage in discussions and activities that refine their current differentiation strategies and practices in an effort to meet the needs of all K–16 learners.
This course is designed to provide K–12 educators an understanding and breakdown of, as well as strategies for teaching, the English Language Arts (ELA) Common Core Standards in the disciplines: History/Social Science, Science, and Technical (HST). Participants of this course will learn what the ELA HST standards are, what it means to be “literate” in each of the disciplines, and how to create such literacies.  Most significantly, participants will learn teaching strategies to embrace the new HST ELA standards, with a particular focus on strengthening classroom practice in the biggest shift areas from old to new literacy standards.
This course is designed to provide K–8 educators, paraprofessionals and/or administrators with a widespread knowledge of Autism Spectrum Disorders.  Participants will explore historical data and diagnosis statistics, characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorders and co-morbid diagnoses.  Additionally, course content will focus on implementation of classroom strategies to meet the diverse learning needs of students on the Autism Spectrum.  Participants will research, analyze and effectively select evidence based strategies appropriate for students with Autism.
This course is designed to promote an awareness of intellectual giftedness, its description, and characteristics of gifted and talented students. Participants will examine characteristics of gifted students, myths and perceptions, as well as curriculum and best practices associated with gifted education. Participants will be provided multiple opportunities to engage in discussions and activities that refine and define strategies and practices focusing on meeting the comprehensive needs of gifted and talented students.
Using Google Apps for Education (G Suite) as an educator can save time, paper, and allow for a more collaborate classroom environment. Google Suite allows teachers to foster 21st Century Skills and create a dynamic multi-faceted learning environment. In this course, educators will learn the basic G Suite tools (Docs, Sheets, Forms, and Slides) to strengthen their knowledge of these resources, as well as, learn how to help their students use these new products. Lesson plan ideas and classroom strategies using G Suite will be examined. Classroom strategies to manage Chromebooks in the classroom will be outlined, but a Chromebook is not required to use G Suite applications.
Participants in the course will receive a comprehensive overview of how virtual fieldtrips can be used in their classroom, created in variety of ways, and experienced no matter your school’s resources. An overview of VFT resources will be explored and examined. Participants will experience a variety of basic VFT's to more complex VFT's; these experiences will guide the teacher to help get a better understanding of how to plan a VFT for their own classroom. VFT resources for the iPad and Google chrome will be showcased and explained with numerous tutorials, as well as, other online programs to help create your classroom adventures. Participants will learn about and experience the game changing service Google Expeditions that was recently launched, as well as, the low cost virtual reality helmet Google Cardboard. Resources for Google Expeditions and Cardboard will be explored and examined to help you implement these items into your classroom. Teachers will also learn how students can create their own virtual reality adventures.
Educators will learn how to use the iPad, iTunes, and various other applications for delivering any course content to their students.  Educators will become skilled on how the iPad can promote their content area, differentiate instruction, provide multiple representations, and motivate their own professional development.  Educators will gain understanding of Internet resources, iPad applications, the flipped classroom, eBooks, videos, and more to maximize the learning environment.
Participants will learn to develop, create, implement, and assess a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) program, lessons and units. A variety of frameworks will be reviewed and discussed to allow for easy replication of STEAM units and activities. Inquiry-based lessons for instruction and assessment will be explored to help gain a better understanding of possible classroom applications and projects. Educators will leave the course with a roadmap to better implement STEAM into their classroom, promote STEAM questioning, and develop STEAM PBL (Project-Based Learning) units.
Educators will learn how to use the iPad, set guidelines for classroom use, explore work productivity/classroom management apps, apps related to specific teacher content areas and how to develop lesson plans using a single iPad or classroom set of iPad. Educators will become skilled on how the iPad can promote their content area, provide multiple representations, and assess their students to maximize the learning environment.
Participants in the course will receive a comprehensive overview of the Google Classroom and its capabilities to impact student learning.  Google Classroom allows teachers to foster 21st Century Skills and create a dynamic multi-faceted learning environment.  In this course, educators will learn how to effectively use the course stream, assign a variety of assignments within in Google Classroom, quick poll students, assess students in a wide range of ways, create blogs, learn additional Google Classroom add-on features, and how to bring parents into the Google Classroom.  Completion of the course will provide you with a wealth of ideas and skills to create your dynamic online classroom.
Participants in this course will learn the history of the LGBTQ movement, key terminology, how preconception and discrimination impact the LGBTQ community and review strategies for fostering LGBTQ-inclusivity in schools. Participants will examine myths and perceptions, as well as curriculum and best practices associated with LGBTQ students. Participants will be provided multiple opportunities to engage in discussions and activities that refine and define strategies and practices focusing on meeting the comprehensive needs of LGBTQ students. 
This course is designed to help K–12 teachers navigate the ever-growing complexities of the education profession while simultaneously helping them to balance their lives and careers. Teachers will learn the tenets of Positive Psychology (Seligman) and related theories and strategies. These, in turn, will provide the foundation for increasing personal and professional resilience, maintaining flexibility, and tending to physical and mental health as a basis to improve classroom experiences for all. Teachers will also survey current initiatives, standards, and skills, such as the Common Core State Standards, RtI, the Danielson Evaluation model, the Flipped Class model, and 21st century skills. 
This course provides a survey into the major theories of language acquisition and their applications to the instruction and assessment of English language learners. K–12 educators will learn strategies to support English language learners in regular education classrooms. Special emphasis will be given to differentiation of lesson plans and activities to promote vocabulary development and reading skills for the English language learner.
This course is designed to enable the K–16 educator to examine the impact of the Digital Age upon student learning.  It will interpret the implication of 21st century skills to enhance the teaching and learning experience. This course prepares educators seeking ways to expand their teaching expertise with particular emphasis on methods and strategies for uses of the major components of the Microsoft Office Suite®—Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access—to evaluate, plan, and design Digital Age learning experiences to engage students as well as increase teacher productivity.
This course is designed to give educators at all levels an overview of recent research on mindfulness practices and to provide step by step guidance on how to integrate these practices into the classroom. Participants in this course will learn what mindfulness is, why it is important, and how to creatively apply research-based mindfulness techniques in meeting the diverse learning needs of students. Attention will also be given to ways educators can use mindfulness to enhance their own professional and personal experience as teachers.
The following themes will be investigated: purposes of assessment, scientifically based research in reading, the cycle of decision making for assessment and instruction, understanding phonological awareness and assessments, understanding phonics and word identification and their assessments, emergent literacy assessments, language and vocabulary development and assessment, assessing oral reading and fluency, assessing reading and listening comprehension, and formal and informal reading assessments and data interpretation to guide instruction.
This course is intended for K–12 educators seeking ways to expand their teaching expertise by applying outdoor education skills and awareness as a means to improve student learning. Educators will be provided with opportunities to explore and make sense of current research and to become confident in their abilities to utilize the outdoors as they plan lessons within their curricular areas.
This course provides general, special, and paraprofessional K-12 educators with the fundamental concepts and instructional strategies to promote the successful social and academic integration of children with disabilities, and those students at-risk for school failure, in the general education classroom.  Participants will explore the benefits of collaborating with colleagues to design and implement effective instruction to meet the needs of all learners in an inclusive classroom.  A brief history of special education and the federal policies related to the general education teacher and a student’s least restrictive environment, as well as current educational models, used to educate students with disabilities in the general education classroom will be reviewed.
Participants in this course will examine research-based proactive practices and best practices of the alternative discipline. Strategies for improving classroom and school culture through the use of alternative discipline will be explored. Participants will reflect on their discipline philosophy to establish a framework for growth to effectively implement positive alternative discipline interventions and strategies. Participants will learn about alternatives to school discipline and the most effective ways to reach students and to reward positive behaviors. When students do misbehave participants will learn ways that students can still receive appropriate instructional time and be part of the classroom community. Participants will leave the course with a toolkit of resources to impact their classroom and school community through alternative discipline.
This course is designed to enhance a participant’s knowledge of brain research. The following themes will be explored throughout the course: brain development, information processing, memory and retention, transferring learning, and critical thinking. Participants in this course will explore ways to design brain-friendly and effective lesson plans using the latest scientific findings and discoveries. This course prepares teachers by providing them with the essential elements needed to translate the biology of brain-based learning from theory into classroom practice.
Participants in this course will learn how to build academic success for at-risk students by developing student resilience, designing active learning experiences, motivating underachievers, and fostering social emotional skills. Participants will explore strategies for reaching students of poverty and students with ADHD, and learn how to work effectively with at-risk students and their parents.
Participants in this course will learn about the multi-tiered Response to Intervention (RTI) model and how it can assist in increasing student achievement, foster classroom engagement, be an alternative avenue for student identification of special services, and learn practical strategies and tools to implement essential components of Response to Intervention (RTI) in a variety of classroom and school settings. The course will expose participants to needed skills and techniques to develop a partnership to use RTI strategies and explore researched-based methodologies to remediate students. A comprehensive roadmap will be followed to learn how to implement RTI, assess students in a variety of mediums, and differentiate instruction using a plethora of RTI interventions.
This course is designed to help teachers understand school law as it pertains to the rights of students, the rights of teachers, and the legal expectations of today’s public schools; thereby improving their effectiveness.  Participants in this course will develop an overall sense of the spirit of school law so that they may not only teach students to become good citizens, but also to ensure that their rights are protected in the educational process.  In addition, participants will learn about their rights as government employees regarding Freedom of Speech and employment issues.
Participants in this course will examine how social media is an integral part of the school community. The positive and negative impact of social media on the school community will be discussed and explored. Participants will learn strategies to navigate social media concerns and issues. The course will help educators learn about norms in digital citizenship and how to plan and integrate social media tools in their classroom and school community. Social media frameworks for projects, lesson plans, and school functions will be reviewed. Participants will leave the course with social media tools to engage their students in new learning mediums and improve the classroom and school community environment.
This course is designed to provide an overview of and foundation for current literacy research components and practice with an emphasis on 6-12 classrooms.  Participants of this course will examine current literacy research and explore reading components as they apply to the 21st century classroom.  Foundational work will include the spectrum of reading development, fluency, word knowledge, and vocabulary as well as comprehension strategy investigation.  Participants will evaluate their classroom culture of literacy, reflect on their current practice, and formulate a literacy plan for implementation.
This course is designed to provide an overview of and foundation for current literacy research components and practice with an emphasis on the K-5 classroom.  Participants of this course will examine current literacy research and explore reading components as they apply to the 21st century classroom.  Foundational work will include the spectrum of reading development, fluency, word study, and vocabulary as well as comprehension strategy investigation.  Participants will evaluate their classroom culture of literacy, reflect on their current practice, and formulate a literacy plan for implementation.
This course is designed to provide an overview of and foundation for writing including current research components and practice.  Participants of this course will examine current writing research, study classroom pedagogy, and explore critical writing components as they apply to the 21st century classroom.  Foundational work will include studying the spectrum of writing development as well as learning to use mentor texts in the writing process.  Participants will examine teaching strategies to enhance specific genres of writing and develop sound assessment in both formative and summative measure.   Participants will evaluate a classroom culture of writing as well as implement and reflect on their own current practice.
This course is designed to provide an overview of and foundation for writing including current research components and practice.  Participants of this course will examine current writing research, study classroom pedagogy, and explore critical writing components as they apply to the 21st century classroom.  Foundational work will include studying the spectrum of writing development as well as learning to use mentor texts in the writing process.  Participants will examine teaching strategies to enhance specific genres of writing and develop sound assessment in both formative and summative measure.   Participants will evaluate a classroom culture of writing as well as implement and reflect on their own current practice.
Participants in this course will examine student-centered classrooms with a constructivist approach - a significant shift away from the typical teacher-centered classroom. In a student-centered classroom, much of the direction and leadership is passed onto the students and the teacher becomes the classroom facilitator. This course provides participants with an in-depth exploration of how student-centered classrooms can engage and enhance the learning of all students. Effective student-centered teaching strategies, lesson planning, classroom management methods, and differentiated assessments will be explored. Participants will learn how having a constructivist approach to the student-centered classroom can have students take charge of their learning at any grade level and become independent learners who can create, discover, and problem solve on their own.
Participants will explore useful techniques to create more effective technology lessons, software packages, web resources, graphing calculators, and instructional materials used to integrate technology into algebra instruction.  Course topics include technology use with number operations, ratios and proportions, functions, systems of equations, graphing, data analysis, and probabilities. Participants will develop lesson plans, activities, quizzes, and tests on each topic that adheres to local, state and national standards; evaluate instructional technologies for use in the classroom; and developing a technology project for students to complete. The course is aligned with NCTM standards and ISTE standards which promote the principle that students must learn mathematics with understanding and teachers must help students see the importance and relevance of mathematics in everyday life. This course is intended for experienced 6-12 educators seeking ways to expand their teaching expertise by applying increased technology skills as a means to greater and improved student learning.
According to the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, “the pace of growth of online and blended learning has grown at an average of over 30% each year for the past 10 years across the United States” (2011).  This course provides educators with the skills for effective online teaching. It is intended for experienced educators and will include types of online teaching, concepts and structures of effective lesson creation and online instruction, technologies and strategies that support student engagement and increased learning, how to create and facilitate online communities, meeting content standards within an online classroom (e.g., Common Core Standards), and implementing formative assessments as a means to enhance online instruction.
Technology can be used to empower students and create a 21st century learning environment where mathematics can be presented in exciting and engaging ways. This course is designed for mathematics educators and possibly district mathematics curriculum directors interested in integrating technology into mathematics instruction in order to maximize student achievement. Participants will examine software packages and tools, Web resources, and other instructional materials used to integrate technology into mathematics instruction. Participants will learn how to evaluate instructional technologies for use in the classroom to meet the needs of diverse learners and how to create truly meaningful learning experiences that enhance the development of mathematical concepts. Additionally, the management and assessment of online learning environments and the Flipped Class model will be discussed.
Educators will become skilled on how to use digital resources to collaborate, create, communicate, and assess students.  Participants will gain an understanding of internet resources to create an online classroom (using a web-based learning management system), flipped classroom and screen-casting, formative assessments, eBooks, videos, communication options for students and parents, and more to maximize the learning environment and reach students through different learning mediums.
This course is designed to provide teachers the opportunity to understand and use web and mobile technologies to positively impact teaching and learning. As educational programs embrace emerging technologies, students can master academic content, apply 21st century skills, and learn how to find success in an increasingly digital world. Key tools such as cell phones, audio players, netbooks and tablets, virtual worlds, simulations, and video games will be critiqued, analyzed, and evaluated for classroom uses. Additionally, the WebQuest learning model will be explored and will include advanced search strategies, website evaluation criteria, and security. Information about the emerging technologies and tools will be discussed along with strategies and practical suggestions for classroom uses. Teachers will use these technologies to design and develop relevant learning experiences to reinforce skills across curricula. This course will also include examination of the ethics, safety, and security involved with the use of these technologies.
This course is designed to provide teachers with relevant teaching strategies to make teaching and learning mathematics effective. By the time students reach high school, many have been unsuccessful in learning math or find math to be tedious. Learning math can be effective when students can connect mathematics to their experiences. Students can be given the tools for discovering and constructing knowledge and for deriving meaning for themselves. In turn, they can develop life-long skills and transform into successful, confident problem-solvers. In this course, teachers will learn methods and skills to facilitate this development process. This curriculum is designed to address current math standards, particularly the emerging Common Core State Standards and will include the incorporation of technology in the mathematics classroom.
Educators will learn how to use a Chromebook, Google Apps, and various other applications for delivering any course content to their students. Educators will become skilled on how Chromebooks can promote their content area, differentiate instruction, provide multiple representations, and motivate their own professional development. Educators will gain understanding of Internet resources, Google Chromebook applications, Google Play, Google Classroom, the flipped classroom, videos, and more to maximize the learning environment.
This course is designed to provide an understanding of grades 6–12 Common Core State Standards, including the history of the standards, as well as the biggest shifts from current instructional practice. Most significantly, participants will learn teaching strategies to embrace the new ELA standards, with a particular focus on the strengthening of classroom practice in the biggest shift areas from old to new standards, and aligning to the tasks of the new assessments.
This course is designed to provide an understanding of K–5 Common Core State Standards, including the history of the standards, as well as the biggest shifts from current instructional practice. Most significantly, participants will learn teaching strategies to embrace the new ELA standards, with a particular focus on the strengthening of classroom practice in the biggest shift areas from old to new standards, and aligning to the tasks of the new assessments.
Participants in the course will learn about what is a flipped classroom and how it differs from a traditional classroom. Pros and cons of the flipped classroom will be discussed. The videos and lessons will help you shape your view of a flipped classroom that works in your school setting. Participants will learn and gain effective lesson planning skills to flip their classroom, common pitfalls of flipped classroom planning, and resources on how to prepare students for the flipped classroom model will be examined and viewed. Techniques to motivate students and how to deal with unprepared students will be learned. Teachers will explore, examine and evaluate numerous platforms to flip their classrooms. Selection criteria for choosing a platform that fits their needs will be learned through exploring the various options each platform has. Teachers will learn about assessment strategies when using a flipped classroom and reflect on their own classroom. Interactive video platforms that allow for questioning to occur during the flipped lesson will be explored and reviewed. Upon completion of the course students will be able to create and effectively implement a flipped classroom lesson.
In this course, educators will learn how to effectively assign a variety of assignments within in Google Classroom, quick poll students, use the course stream, and Google Hangouts, assess students in a wide range of ways, create blogs, learn additional Google Classroom add-on features, and how to bring parents into the Google Classroom. Participants will become skilled on how to use Google digital resources to collaborate, create, communicate, and assess students using Google Chrome Applications. Completion of the course will provide a wealth of ideas and skills to create your dynamic online classroom.
This course is designed to provide teachers with research-based, proactive practices, and habits of mind for transformative classroom leadership. Strategies for creating a high-functioning learning community can promote skills that are critical for success both in and outside the classroom. The following attributes of a transformative classroom will be explored: clarity of purpose, self-responsibility, relationships among students, and an increasing level of function over time (based on Schindler’s model of Transformative Classroom Management). Grounded with an inner purpose, key attitudes, and strategies, teachers will learn how to discern the underlying effective teacher-student interactions, so they can recognize how to proactively prevent misbehaviors and intervene effectively when misbehaviors occur. Self-assessment and reflection are built into the activities, projects, and discussions so that teachers can examine their dispositions and efficacy as educators.