Workshops and Presentations: Shelagh Gallagher

Dr. Shelagh A. Gallagher is an energizing and talented speaker in gifted education and problem-based learning.

img_2057-version-2Dr. Shelagh Gallagher is available for speaking engagements and workshops on problem-based learning, gifted education, and other topics. She offers practical and inspiring guidance on how to become an effective facilitator, how to conduct PBL projects, how to find original resources, how to mobilize and motivate group dynamics, and how to engage gifted children in the classroom. Her inspiring presentations are truly interdisciplinary and are relevant to all teachers who wish to develop their pedagogical skills.

See below for a description of the workshops. Click here to read reports from attendees.

Problem-Based Learning Workshops
(in a specific subject or across the curriculum)

One-Day PBL Workshops

Meeting Common Core Standards through Problem-Based Learning. In this workshop, Dr. Gallagher shows teachers how to excite students while meeting Common Core standards using problem-based learning. In PBL students are presented with an ill-structured problem that requires them to conduct research, analyze primary source documents, draw inferences, and create evidence-based solutions. The structure of PBL allows many opportunities to build in Common Core skills, including nonfiction reading, analysis, research, writing, speaking, and listening.

In this workshop participants will receive an overview of PBL, experience a demonstration lesson, look at best practice examples that integrate PBL and Common Core standards, and receive fundamental instruction in creating a unit that engages the imagination while it trains the mind.

Engaged, Educated Students through Problem-Based Learning. Mark Twain once said, “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.”  This is the philosophy behind problem-based learning: immerse students in real-world problems in order to learn the core curriculum. While searching for a solution, students simultaneously learn required content and improve their skills in research, higher-order thinking, decision making, collaboration, and more. Students leave the experience more motivated and better educated.

Workshop participants will be introduced to PBL through a brief simulation of the first stage of a PBL unit. Having experienced PBL from the students’ point of view, teachers will be ready to learn how to put PBL into practice. During the course of the day, teachers will learn the fundamentals of PBL, the flow of a PBL problem, how and when to embed instruction, assessment opportunities, and the basics of creating a PBL unit.

An Introduction to P-BLISS: Problem-Based Learning in the Social Sciences (High School Social Studies). This workshop offers an introduction to problem-based learning but focuses on its application in some of the PBL units in the social studies series: All Work and No Play, Hull House, and Excluded!

Two-Day PBL Workshop

An Introduction to PBL and Problem Development

Day 1: An Extended Introduction to PBL. This workshop offers an introduction to PBL but carries it further with an extended simulation that presents moments from several different stages of a PBL unit. Throughout the day participants alternate between being “students” in a PBL problem and learning about the structure and goals of PBL. This immersive format beautifully illustrates the benefits of the immersive experience of a PBL unit for students.

Day 2: Designing a PBL Unit. Participants work on designing a PBL unit for their own classrooms. In the morning session, teachers write a problem together to learn what problem design entails, including creating a problem map, selecting a stakeholder, writing the problem engagement, and testing the design. By the end of the morning, teachers have learned that a single real-world event can be the source of many different PBL units.

In the afternoon, teachers are encouraged to work in teams or on their own on a unit specific to their needs. Time is structured to ensure that participants make good progress on their units by the time they share their results at the end of the day. Ample opportunity for questions and answers and individualized help are incorporated into this highly interactive workshop.

Note: The two days of this workshop do not have to be consecutive; however, “Designing a PBL Unit” must be preceded by an introductory workshop.

Five-Day PBL Workshops

Summer workshops are available for districts interested in more comprehensive PBL curriculum development. These workshops are tailored to district needs and incorporate significant time for one-on-one mentoring from Dr. Gallagher. A three- to five-day workshop starts with the two-day workshop described above; districts then can choose to incorporate one or more additional elements described below.

Layering Depth and Complexity in PBL Units. With the basics of a PBL unit in place, discussion turns to incorporating additional value into the units through conceptual reasoning, higher-order thinking tools, differentiated lessons, and rigorous content.

Assessment in PBL. This workshop demonstrates how to build assessment portfolios from the student Problem Logs in a PBL unit. It includes how to structure formative and summative assessments to fit the PBL environment, as well as a discussion of PBL research and the factors that are essential to ensure that students learn required content and skills.

PBL in Action. Turning from curriculum to instruction, topics for this workshop include ensuring that the unit begins well, supporting self-directed learning, metacognitive questioning, and classroom management.

Gifted Education Workshops

One-Day Workshops

Productive Questioning in the Classroom. Teachers get little direct instruction in effective questioning techniques, but good questioning skills are essential to cultivating students’ higher-order thinking skills. Too often, asking an effective question can seem like a hit-or-miss affair. Sometimes the kids respond brilliantly; sometimes questions fall flat. This workshop begins with a quick review of the basics of effective questioning and then moves to practice in planning and asking questions. Teachers also have an opportunity to try different methods of monitoring their questioning.

Designed to Fit: Educational Needs of Gifted Adolescents. Adolescence may well be the most important time to provide differentiated curriculum for gifted students; ironically, it is also the time when it is least likely to happen. This workshop begins with an up-to-date description of the gifted student at adolescence; comparisons between gifted adolescents and their average-ability classmates provide a foundation for understanding why advanced students need more than just acceleration of the content. Research on non-achievement and underachievement in gifted adolescents adds to this foundation. A final comparison, this time with adult experts, shifts the conversation from a discussion on how gifted adolescents are different from their peers to how to maximize similarities they already share with adult innovators.

In the afternoon teachers are introduced to a framework that explains why some students are resistant to the very kinds of thinking that are needed for expertise, as well as how to open the door to those forms of thought. Using brief case studies to ground the conversation, teachers will discuss the impact a student’s beliefs can have on learning and the importance of encouraging advanced viewpoints. A description of best practices in instruction for gifted adolescents is presented in this context; current models of curriculum and instruction are reviewed so that teachers have methods to help students become more sophisticated thinkers.

The Twice-Exceptional Student: Curious Dilemmas at the Intersection of Gifted and Special Education. Some gifted students, probably more than we know, are twice-exceptional—i.e., gifted with learning disabilities, attentional disorders, etc. From identification to differentiation to socialization, twice-exceptional children require us to reconsider what is considered “standard practice.” What can or should you expect from a twice-exceptional child? Is differentiation the same for the twice-exceptional gifted child as it is for the typically developing gifted child? Do developmental delays look the same when combined with giftedness? What role does giftedness play on an IEP? All of these issues are explored during this day-long workshop through case studies, simulated exercises, and group discussion. Come prepared for an engaging, interactive day!

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