Course Descriptions


Winter Educator Academy 2021 Courses


 10 Trauma-Informed Strategies to Help Students Heal (course is full)

Participants will learn and practice 10 research-based trauma-informed practices to boost student resilience. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of how adversity can affect children’s developing brains, bodies and behaviors. They will also explore universal primary prevention strategies that promote healing after various traumatic events.

The remote delivery format does not cover all AFT “student trauma” course content. Rather, this special offering is designed to be applicable immediately, with attention to the coronavirus pandemic as well as a renewed commitment to racial justice. Furthermore, trainers model best practices for remote learning and working conditions.

Target audience: both mainstream educators with some or no experience with trauma-informed practices and seasoned practitioners looking for a refresher on the specific science of healing after crisis events. This is not a train-the-trainer course. It is not designed to deepen the skill sets of specialized instructional support providers whose work includes clinical support and/or secondary and tertiary prevention.

20 credit hours (15 hours in live sessions; 5 hours independent work)

Hours: 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. EST; at the conclusion of each session, participants will be expected to complete independent work via AFT eLearning

Session 1: The Basics of Childhood Trauma

Monday, Jan. 25

Thursday, Jan. 28

Session 2: Lead Caring Relationships 

Monday, Feb. 1

Thursday, Feb. 4

Session 3: Boost Effective Coping 

Monday, Feb. 8

Thursday, Feb. 11

Session 4: After a Crisis, Before a Referral 

Monday, Feb. 15

Thursday, Feb. 18

Session 5: Stand in Solidarity

Monday, Feb. 22

Thursday, Feb. 25


 Developing Problem-Solving Strategies with Bar Models: Winter Virtual Edition (canceled)

Participants will examine research-based strategies and approaches to assist them in helping students meet mathematics standards. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of how using the Bar Model can be strategically applied to solve complex, real-world math problems. This virtual course is targeted to educators in grades 1-6 (teachers, paraprofessionals, others) and is designed to:

  • Provide participants with introductory research-based information on the additive and multiplicative structures for both whole and rational (fractions/decimal) number operations.
  • Encourage participants to see connections between conceptual and abstract understandings using word problems, mathematical modeling and drawings.
  • Help participants experience and reflect on how math journaling serves as a repository for student learning.
  • Equip participants with strategies, such as the “three reads” protocol, to help their students solve situational story problems.
  • Show participants how bar modeling incorporates the AFT’s Thinking Mathematics Principles and the Standards for Mathematical Practices.

Dates: Thursdays, Jan. 14, 21, 28; Feb. 4, 11

Hours: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. EST

16 credit hours

Pre-work: 2 hours

Homework: after each session


 Differentiating Instruction

Putting activities on a chart and giving students choice is not a Choice Board. Giving just the struggling students a different activity is not differentiation. Thinking you can do differentiation every day is not differentiation. So what is differentiation? Take the module on differentiation and get the skinny on this research-based concept.

Dates: Wednesday-Thursday, Jan. 27-28

Hours: 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. EST; 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. PST


 ELL 101 Special Virtual Edition: Planning for the Success of ELLs

Participants will examine research-based strategies and approaches to assist them in helping English language learners meet academic standards. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of culture and how language development affects instruction and learning.     

Target audience: all educators, regardless of experience with ELLs. Whether you are a novice at teaching ELLs or a seasoned veteran looking for a refresher, there will be something for everybody. This is not a train-the-trainer model.

15 credit hours

Dates, time and expectations:

  • Wednesdays, Jan. 27; Feb. 3, 10, 17, 24
  • 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. EST via Zoom
  • Participants will be expected to complete up to 1.5 hours of work on their own every week.
  • Instructors (three of our AFT national trainers) will have virtual office hours by request for consultation, feedback and/or further discussion.


 Make Your Virtual Science POP!

Are you looking for ways to make science pop for your virtual learners? How can Padlet, escape rooms, flipgrid, jamboard and green screen magic be used to engage students in meaningful learning across all science disciplines and grade spans? To find out the answers to these questions and more, join us for Make Your Virtual Science POP! Participants will walk away with readily applicable strategies and ideas for bringing science to life virtually.

Participants will be able to:

  • incorporate scientific phenomena into virtual science lessons to sparks student dialogue and sense-making;
  • use a variety of electronic tools to develop an interactive Google slide deck specific to their science content and grade span;
  • design a virtual escape room that allows students to review, reinforce and demonstrate understanding of scientific concepts.


Appropriate for grades K-6; MS/HS Science educators. *While focused on science content the tools are universal and can be used with any subject-matter.

Dates: Thursdays, Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25

Hours: 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. EST


 Meeting Writing Expectations in the K-5 Classroom: Recommendations for Improving Writing  Instruction

This course presents research on effective writing practices. It will also share research-based recommendations to provide educators with effective instructional strategies to meet student writing expectations in grades K-5. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the writing process as it relates to student engagement, alignment to standards, and strategies for use in the content areas.

Dates: Saturdays, Jan. 23, 30; Feb. 6

Hours: Noon – 3 p.m. EST


 Simple View of Reading: One Lens at a Time, the Full Picture

The Simple View of Reading is a formula demonstrating the widely accepted concept that reading has two basic components: word recognition (decoding) and language comprehension.

Decoding (D) x Language Comprehension (LC) = Reading Comprehension (RC)

First, these sessions will address the Simple View as the foundation for comprehensive Tier 1 instruction. They will then delve into how the Simple View can help with Tier 2 issues of decoding through phonemic awareness, then print and phonics. We will then move into language comprehension, examining vocabulary and how that can affect students’ ability to understand what they are reading. This course is targeted for preK-5 educators.

Dates: Tuesdays, every other week

Hours: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. EST

Jan. 19: Phonemic awareness

Feb. 2: Print concepts

Feb. 16: Phonics

Mar. 2: Vocabulary


 Teach Them to Think

What if we made thinking the core of our instruction—made it more explicit? What if we helped students understand the thinking domain and learn how to make sound decisions, solve problems with an analytical approach and assess the reliability of the source? This module explores thinking in a way that has never been done before.  

Dates: Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 16 and 17

Hours: 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. EST; 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. PST


 Teaching for Engaged Learning Course Options (4)


 The Classroom Management Puzzle: Putting the Pieces Together

Whether your classroom is virtual, physical or a mixture of both, using time efficiently and supporting students’ academic and behavioral needs are essential. Join this two-part session to explore and share multiple approaches for establishing and maintaining routines, co-regulating student behavior, and reflecting upon how classroom management affects student progress. Participants will also learn strategies to reflect upon their own practices and set goals to effect change.

Participants will be able to:

  • Design and implement classroom procedures and routines for virtual and physical learning settings in order to increase instructional time.
  • Utilize multiple strategies for creating a classroom management system that includes clear behavior expectations, positive reinforcement and co-regulation.

Format: Synchronous/asynchronous (pre-reading and homework between classes)

Date: Wednesdays, Jan. 13 (part 1) & Jan. 27 (part 2) *Participants are required to attend both sessions.

Hours: 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. EST


 Every Child Needs a Champion: Unlock Your Ability to Build Online Caring Relationships

Are you looking for ways to refresh and renew relationships with your students? Regardless of whether you are teaching virtually or in person, cultivating positive teacher-student relationships is key. This course explores ways to unlock the power of care in building and sustaining safe and supportive learning communities and attending to individual students’ academic and emotional well-being.

Participants will be able to:

  • Apply a variety of approaches to building and sustaining caring relationships with and among students.
  • Reflect upon their own practices and design a plan for improving and strengthening relationships with individuals or groups of students in their classrooms.

Format: Synchronous (pre-reading required)

Date: Wednesday, Feb. 3

Hours: 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. EST


 What You Get Is What You Expect

How do teacher expectations influence student performance, attitudes and behaviors? What messages are communicated to individuals or groups of students through our instructional practices, the way in which feedback is provided, and the quality and quantity of teacher-student interactions? This session will take you on an introspective journey to examine how the self-fulfilling prophecy may be unintentionally leading to negative expectation effects.

Participants will be able to:

  • Use self-reflection to assess their own beliefs and how they affect student outcomes.
  • Apply strategies to encourage and support high expectations for all students.

Format: Synchronous (pre-reading required)

Date: Wednesday, Feb. 10

Hours: 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. EST

 Real Talk

Expressing ideas, valuing diverse views and communicating respectfully are all skills necessary for success in life and career. This course provides attendees with a mix of strategies to promote meaningful discussion across content areas, elevate student voice and input, and welcome multiple perspectives and opinions.


Participants will be able to:

  • Select and implement techniques for explicitly teaching speaking and listening skills across content and learning experiences.
  • Use sentence stems as a way to support students in communicating effectively.

Format: Synchronous (pre-reading required)

Date: Wednesday, Feb. 17

Hours: 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. EST