Scheduling and Fees
On campuses where teachers embrace change and innovation, a staff development is beneficial. However, if there is doubt about how well the students will respond to the workshop, a student workshop or classroom coaching is recommended. During student workshops and coaching sessions, teachers observe how the students grasp and apply the strategies firsthand. Another option is to schedule a staff development first, allow teachers to become familiar with the strategies, and introduce them to the students last.
Workshop fees, which are not negotiable, are based on industry rates and preparation time. Travel and lodging fees (for non-local seminars) are included in the quoted fees.
The daily rate is the same whether the presenter works three or six hours, so it is best to utilize services for a full day. When possible, the presenter may be available after the full-day workshop to model strategies for staff members or students at no additional charge.
District or campus policies regarding approval and delivery of the workshop will determine how soon the services may be rendered. Under no circumstances will a seminar be delivered before all paperwork has been submitted and approved.
English Language Learners
Teachers, and especially ESL and bilingual teachers, know the value of using movement (TPR), music, and other effective ESL strategies to enhance student memory. Therefore, all students benefit regardless of their linguistic background. We always require that the school indicate how many ESL and bilingual students who be in attendance so the presentation can be modified, if necessary. While ESL strategies are employed for pupils from a variety of linguistic backgrounds, interpretation and translated materials are currently only available in Spanish.
Since our bilingual presenter formerly served as a bilingual teacher, we provide Spanish/English bilingual workbooks. The workshop is still conducted in English and everything the bilingual students write is in English. If the Spanish-speakers are seated at one table, the presenter offers additional support. If, however, one-third or more of the students speak Spanish, the presenter will employ Spanish for clarity. The English speakers are curious about Spanish. They enjoy repeating the information in Spanish. So the use of Spanish accelerates second-language comprehension for both English and Spanish speakers. Finally, we offer services in Spanish for students who are tested in Spanish.
Absolutely not. Simultaneous interpretation is only used to clarify points. It would be impossible to cover all objectives in two days, if everything were taught in both languages. It is highly recommended that students who are tested in Spanish be allowed to attend a separate workshop conducted in Spanish, in addition to attending the regular session.
We only offer full-day services. Typically, we are available from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. However, we have made adjustments to the start and finish times depending on campus needs.
We have conducted student workshops for as many as 500 students or as few as 25 students.
The ground rules, high expectations, and interactive nature of the workshops require that participants stay on task. However, the level of monitoring provided by the staff also makes a tremendous difference. Instructors who observe and assist their students will benefit more than those who do not.
We set the tone by introducing ground rules. Since students usually sit with their class members, we always make a seating chart as they enter. Therefore, students are always held accountable. Overlooking disruptive behavior and non-participatory pupils is not an option during the session. Very rarely do we dismiss a student from the workshop. Teacher cooperation and support is also essential.
The purpose of our conducting the workshop is to model strategies to students with music and movement. Many teachers already use innovative strategies. The lack of consistency and turnover rates necessitate that strategies be modeled. Our goal is never to change a teacher's style. It is simply to provide additional strategies and most importantly, follow-up materials. Most songs last no more than 3 minutes. So if used consistently, students will memorize the information that is the prerequisite to applying the information.
No, the workshop is balanced. After chanting or reciting strategies to music, students are allowed to work cooperatively to apply the strategy to a problem-solving situation or reading passage, for instance. At this point, teachers monitor student interaction. However, at some points during the workshop, there is silence because students are reading quietly. The use of music is pointless if students do not apply the information.
Participants must have at least two sharpened pencils. Workbooks, which must be purchased for each participant, are distributed upon their arrival to the workshop.
We at ¡Comuniquemos! espouse the notion that programs do not work. Teachers work. In fact, the workshops and materials are supplemental resources to reinforce many objectives. Since they are not comprehensive, the products should not be the only teaching tool. To guarantee that the strategies work, classroom teachers must consistently and correctly utilize the strategies and products after the workshop in conjunction with rigorous teaching. Use of the products and strategies during parental involvement and instructional intervention (e.g. pull-outs, and tutorials) also greatly impacts student achievement.
Much research has proved that music enhances memory. Students memorize large amounts of information that is taught to rhythm. The application of the information, versus the songs themselves, positively impacts student achievement. Therefore the memorization and application of the strategies and consistent use of the follow-up materials guarantee success.
No. We do not solicit test scores from schools. We do not deserve sole credit for student achievement in entire schools or districts. Upon request, we offer the contact information of administrators whose scores rose. We do not take all of the credit. We play a role, which varies from campus to campus.
Yes. All products and strategies were created based on research that identifies the best practices for effective, culturally-relevant, and differentiated instruction.
How would you respond if a potential client ( or school) wants to ensure that your workshop will be aligned with their objectives?
Most educators, when seeing the material, see a correlation between our strategies and their state curriculum. Though the targets differ in order or wording across the country, the expectations of students are the same. Upon request, we eagerly align the state objectives to our products and services prior to arriving. If the targets are not available on the internet, the school may send them to us. Most of the time, this becomes an issue during staff development. Some instructors prefer to be given the alignment to facilitate lesson planning.
Though we usually only present to students in grades three and higher, we recommend that our products be used with early learners. Sometimes it is necessary to align materials because early (pre-k, 1st or 2nd grade teacher's) may feel that the information is not relevant since they don't administer the state exam. It becomes necessary to study the curriculum and model how they would use the strategies vs. a 3rd grade teacher. Lower level teachers should still introduce concepts though they are not taught to mastery. This creates a sense of continuity.
Some of the instructors fear that the information presented during the workshop will confuse students, who have been taught a certain way all year. Will they be confused after attending the workshop?
In many instances, the instructional differences are only nominal; many of the same concepts are covered, but are referred to differently. If this is an issue, meeting with the teachers before the workshop becomes necessary. During this meeting, teachers are invited to specify the strategies that they prioritize. The consultant identifies the connections between the campus procedures and the workshop strategies, before identifying how the presentation reinforces previously-taught concepts and strategies. Instructors are asked to offer feedback. As a result, the consultant uses the information to understand the background knowledge of the participants while targeting the challenging areas.