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Courses

We know that in the changing landscape of education settings, educators need diverse strategies to meet students where they are. With more than 50 offerings, this program offers a variety of professional learning opportunities to meet varying teaching and learning needs. Courses range from online asynchronous classes available to all AFT members (look for the “Virtual– Asynchronous” tag) on the AFT eLearning platform to 30-hour-plus graduate-level, train-the-trainer courses that require approval and involvement from your local union. However, any courses listed here can be customized to meet the unique needs of your local union. For more information, contact Lisa Dickinson at edickinson@aft.org.

Note: Prospective trainers who participate in train-the-trainer courses are required to take Facilitating Equity-Based Learning in advance. This module focuses on understanding the purpose and value of union-sponsored and union-led AFT professional eLearning offerings and programming, and on understanding the importance of equity-based professional learning and the roles and responsibilities of an effective AFT facilitator of adult learners.

Classroom Management/Behavior

Classroom Management/Behavior

Beyond Classroom Management

This SSS module explores how growth mindsets, grit, peace building, compliance, autonomy, educator behaviors and classroom layout all affect the learning environment.

Foundations of Effective Teaching: Cultivating a Student-Centered Classroom

Foundations of Effective Teaching is a blended model professional learning course designed to inspire and support educators in becoming reflective practitioners while meeting the highest expectations of the profession.

Managing Behavior in School Communities

This course provides effective strategies for managing challenging behavior across a variety of school settings.

Managing Student Behavior for Support Staff

This course is designed for paraprofessionals and school-related personnel who support and/or are responsible for overseeing the behavior and safety of large numbers of students outside the classroom setting, whether that setting is the cafeteria, school bus, office, playground or school corridors.

Rethinking Punishment

Through hands-on and reflective activities, participants in this SSS module will learn how to identify the root cause of disruptive behavior by determining the questions they should ask in order to implement an appropriate intervention.

Community/Family Involvement

Community/Family Involvement

Community Schools 101: The Nuts and Bolts

This course provides an overview of the community schools strategy, including basic elements, core principles, research, community school results (academic and nonacademic), family and community engagement components, site- and system-level implementation, the collaborative leadership framework needed for successful implementation and examples of successful community school initiatives.

Engaging Families as Educational Partners

This SSS module outlines how and when to talk most effectively with families, the kind of school climate that fosters a positive learning and working environment, and what teachers can do to help families discover how to effectively support student learning at home.

School, Family and Community: Partnerships That Support Student Learning

The primary function of this course is to help school staff understand how they can assist parents to better support their children as learners.

Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment

Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment 

Assessing Teaching and Learning

In this SSS module, you’ll learn how to investigate the “student factor” in teaching and learning, develop assessments at critical phases for a lesson you have created, and learn efficient study habits to teach to your students.

Content Area Writing Instruction in the 6-12 Classroom

The ability to express thoughts, ideas and understanding through writing is a life skill and a critical component of writing within content-area standards. In all content areas, students are expected to learn to produce clear and coherent writing appropriate to purpose, task and audience. The writing standards address the expectations of content-area writing as students progress through the secondary grades. The research on effective writing instruction stresses the importance of the recursive nature of writing and the interdependence of writing to learn and learning to write.

Curriculum Matters

Participants in this SSS module will explore lesson design for engagement through the lens of the curricula they have. They will then learn how to map their curricula to meet the needs of students in an engaging way and to prepare them for next steps and future implementation.

Differentiating Instruction

This SSS module will examine three differentiation models: Tomlinson’s tiered lessons, Conklin’s choice boards and Sternberg’s triarchic model.

Electrifying Online Learning

In this SSS module, participants will learn how adults and students learn, whether on a virtual platform or face to face. We will explore tools to plan and create lessons that engage learners and keep them motivated.

Grading in a Standards-Based Environment

What do grades tell us about mastery of content? How should students’ levels of understanding be assessed and reported? What are the obstacles to making grades more informative? Above all, what should the grading process look like in a standards-based environment? Discover the answers to these questions in this SSS module.

Informing Instruction: Linking the Assessment Process to Teaching and Learning

Now, more than ever, it’s important to understand how the various types of assessments can be used for different purposes. Most of our classrooms have students performing on many levels in different subjects. This reality makes it critical to understand how and how not to measure your students’ growth—what assessments to use and how to analyze your data so that it informs instruction in a timely way for all your students.

Instructional Strategies That Work for All Disciplines

This course is designed to provide participants with instructional strategies that meet the needs of all students at all grade levels. Emphasis will be placed on cognitive challenges and contextual circumstances that either support or impede learning. The implications of brain research and digital literacy will be central to the learning.

Is My Teaching Effective?

This SSS module explores how to create effective learning conditions in the classroom, appropriate ways to assess background knowledge, student-friendly instructional plans, lesson designs for specific learning opportunities, and the infusion of rigor and relevance into your repertoire of instructional strategies.

Making Data and Classroom Assessments Work for You

In this course, participants will acquire the knowledge and tools they need to collect and use data, and to understand the role of classroom assessments to improve schools, inform instruction and advance learning individually and collaboratively.

Meeting Writing Expectations K-5

The ability to express thoughts, ideas and understanding through writing is a life skill and a critical component of all writing standards. Students are expected to learn to produce clear and coherent writing appropriate to purpose, task, audience and content. Many writing standards stress collaboration and support from teachers and students, and the research stresses the importance of writing frequently, utilizing the writing process and writing to learn as well as learning to write.

Reclaiming Assessment: Using a Balanced Classroom Assessment System to Strengthen Student Learning

This course is designed to help you understand the power of assessment and monitoring student growth to inform instruction. \

Instructional Supports for All Learners

Activating Learning in All Disciplines

In this SSS module, we will explore a pathway where lessons connect with cultural norms and students own their learning and are expected to think and apply knowledge.

Creating a Supportive Learning Environment Through Social-Emotional Learning

Bringing together key research from the science of learning and development and the “educating the whole child” approach, this mini-course explores the “why,” “what” and “how” of social-emotional learning. Participants will unpack the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) Framework and explore evidence-based, developmentally appropriate strategies to foster self-awareness, self-responsibility, responsible decision-making, relationship skills and social awareness in students.

Culturally Responsive Pedagogy

In this SSS module, we will establish the connection between culture and learning, and explore research-based strategies, such as cultural competency, high expectations and critical consciousness.

Engaging Students' Long-Term Memory

This SSS module probes research-based strategies to assist students in storing content in their long-term memory.

Learner Variability Project

The purpose of this course is to deepen participants’ understanding of learner variability and how to use Digital Promise’s Learner Variability Navigator to design instruction for the whole child.

Questions Package

This session is a series of three SSS modules that can be done consecutively or independently.
Using Questions to Teach and Learn: Teach students how to examine the surface and deep structure of questions as well as the process of formulating meaningful questions.
Questions: A Second Look: Participants examine how questions can be used to assess understanding.
Questions Beyond Bloom: Participants examine three models used to design questions that highlight the purpose of questioning and equip participants to use research to structure questions more effectively.

Social and Emotional Learning: Where, How and When?

Research is clear: The social-emotional context of learning matters. In this SSS module, learn about strategies and tools to support students’ social-emotional learning in any learning environment.

Teach Them to Think

In this SSS module, we will show educators how to make decision-making, problem-solving and assessing the reliability of a source more explicit during instruction.

Teaching for Engaged Learning—Virtual Care Package

Schools, educators, families and communities are facing many unprecedented challenges today that impact how and where learning takes place, who is allowed to teach and what is allowed to be taught. Through these storms, educators maintain focus on three broad goals: creating safe havens for learning, raising performance levels of all students and preparing students for life beyond the classroom. This virtual package provides participants with a series of 90-minute virtual snippets derived from a larger body of research integrating both cognitive and social learning theories to optimize the classroom environment and support teaching and learning.

The Game Factor

Fun is in store for teachers and students through this SSS module, which examines the research, different types of games, and how they can be used to enhance content instruction for students in today’s diverse classrooms.

The Trio: Inquiry-Based, Problem-Based and Project-Based Learning

This SSS module examines inquiry-based, problem-based and project-based learning, and participants will develop a sample lesson for each type.

Transforming Your Teacher Identity

Instructional Supports for All Learners

Math

Thinking Mathematics 3-5

Designed for the upper-elementary grade band, this course focuses not only on research findings about how children learn multiplication and division of whole numbers but also on the struggles students have with fraction concepts and computation.

Thinking Mathematics 6-8: Journey to Algebra

This middle school course is redesigned to allow teachers to reflect on and connect the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics to research on how students learn mathematics.

Thinking Mathematics K-2

This beginning Thinking Mathematics course focuses on research about how children learn mathematics and implications of these findings for the classroom. It has been redesigned to help teachers understand the content and practice standards of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and their connection to the research.

Math

Reading

Beginning Reading Instruction

This course focuses on how children learn to read and the best ways to teach reading from kindergarten to the end of the primary grades.

Best Practices in Reading Comprehension Instruction

This 10-hour asynchronous eLearning course, adapted from the AFT’s in-person Reading Comprehension Instruction course, can help any AFT member learn about high-leverage instructional practices for supporting literacy in young learners.

Reading Comprehension Instruction

Reading Comprehension Instruction focuses on the research and exemplary practices that help students acquire strong reading comprehension skills.

Reading Interventions 101

This course helps educators understand what makes a successful reader and how to support struggling readers with appropriate interventions.

Reading

Safe, Welcoming and Healthy Classrooms

10 Trauma-Informed Strategies to Help Students Heal

Children face many adverse childhood experiences—violence, abuse, neglect, loss and more. The result can be psychological trauma, which interrupts healthy development. AFT professional learning helps educators support students with trauma. Course content is grounded in diverse research, including resources from university research centers and federal government technical assistance packages.

Dimensions to Wellness

In this SSS module, participants will identify factors that cause health issues in their lives, learn strategies to address different dimensions of wellness, and create a personalized plan to improve their wellness.

Handling Stress

This SSS module examines research-based ways of handling stress and provides tips on how to turn challenges into opportunities.

Identity-Affirming Classroom Practices

These newly designed professional learning modules were created to assist educators and the greater learning community in creating and sustaining safe and affirming spaces, allowing students to see themselves and others through an equity lens.

Navigating the Bridge between Stress and SEL

Stress cannot always be avoided, but it can be effectively managed. This SSS module will focus on stressors that affect one’s well-being and professional life.

Safe, Welcoming and Healthy Classrooms
Science

Science

Experiential Learning in STEM

STEM is experiential learning in the purist sense of the word. How can you investigate and ask questions like a scientist or design solutions to solve real-world problems like an engineer without experiential learning? You can’t! These customizable trainings come with a complete three-dimensional lesson plan aligned with the Framework for K-12 Science Education and hands-on activities to model the learning process through the eyes of students.

Special Needs

Special Needs

Accessible Literacy Framework

This course is designed specifically for educators and school staff who are responsible for providing and/or adapting materials for students with disabilities who have complex communication needs, use assistive technology to access the curriculum, or require adaptive materials to participate in a learning environment.

Expanding Literacy Instruction by Tutoring English Learners: Project ELITE

This course focuses on literacy training for educators providing individualized instruction to English language learners who need additional literacy supports.

Finding Strengths: Supporting Students with Disabilities

This module provides a historic perspective on the identification of high-incidence disabilities, the use of evidence-based strategies focused on students’ strengths and removing barriers to rigorous curriculum through Universal Design for Learning. Participants will use the case-study method to develop appropriate accommodations and modifications to support student access and achievement in grade-level academic content.

Instructional Supports and Tools: English Language Learners

This workshop provides approaches and practical ideas and resources for what works for English language learners. Participants will be provided with research-based strategies, best practices and accommodations for working with ELL students.

Introduction to English Language Learners (ELL 101)

ELL 101 is designed to teach preK-12 mainstream educators and paraprofessionals research-based strategies, best practices and approaches to assist their own instruction in helping English language learners meet academic standards.

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