A talented lineup of presenters, sessions designed to inform and inspire middle school educators, and plenty of opportunities for networking – the AIMS Summer Splash is a can’t miss summer professional development event!  Keynote speaker and middle school teacher Josie Bensko will kick off the day with strategies for increasing student engagement, followed by a series of breakout sessions and the “un” conference topic-based discussion.

LEARN at Practitioner-Led Breakout Sessions

Building SEL in the Makerspace

Presenter: Jennifer Smith

Makerspaces provide excellent opportunities for students to work collaboratively while learning new skills. This presentation includes examples of how makerspace projects can help build resilience and several ways technology may be used in a makerspace.

We “Work” Out – Workshop in the Math Classroom

Presenters: Tami Geurts and Jennifer Love

Come learn how the Olympia Middle School Math Department is using a workshop model to engage students and differentiate learning. Presenters will share an overview of the workshop model and how they are using the approach to implement skills-based reporting. Other topics include assessment, academic vs. behavioral skills and restorative practices.

Learning Quests and Easter Eggs: Bringing Gamification to Your Classroom

Presenter: Jessica Weibler

In this interactive presentation, participants will learn about the basics of gamification for learning. Attendees will explore how teachers can foster collaboration, provide choice, and increase student motivation through a gamified experience that includes Quests, Badges, XP, Boss Battles, and Easter Eggs!

Empowering Students Through Writing

Presenter: Katelynn Giordano

Explore learning units, resources, and suggestions for shifting toward a student-centered middle school writing curriculum and learn strategies to become a more effective writing teacher. Empower students by developing a language arts curriculum that focuses on student choice and voice and helps them unlock the power of written expression!

Digital Citizenship – Not Just Another Thing

Presenter: Allan Davenport

During this timely learning session, participants will learn ways to embed digital citizenship into their daily instruction and tools to provide parent education.

Bring a FIRST Robotics Program to Your School

Presenter: Elaine Diveley

In this presentation, high school students and their coaches from Oswego School District 308 will help you prepare to bring a FIRST Robotics Team to your school. Increase student engagement in STEM with a FIRST Lego League or FIRST Tech Challenge team. Leave this session with all the information to start a team…and see some cool robots.

Empowering Student Choice and Voice to Personalize Learning While Developing Future-Ready Skillsets

Presenter: Allan Davenport

Take a deeper dive into what student voice and choice can look like in a classroom and how it connects to future-ready skill development. Prepare to bring your Growth Mindset for this interactive presentation!

Change Your Students’ Mindset Through the Use of Student Portfolios and Student-Led Conferences

Presenters: Tracy Fuentes and Elvia Uriostegui

Often, teachers witness students giving up on themselves or repeatedly saying that they can’t accomplish something. In this session, participants will walk away with strategies and tools that will transform students’ attitudes from “I can’t” to “Yes, I can!”

Design to Make a Difference: Building Student Agency and Community While Improving Daily Life at School

Presenters: Erin Wyatt, Tara Oshinski and Linda Mitchell

Inspired by the work of the Awesome Foundation and a design thinking workshop, a group of five teachers at Highland Middle School launched a grant-funded program called Design to Make a Difference. This project, which ran over the course of five months, invited students to develop proposals for projects that would improve the school in some way with a $100 budget. The staff and students who worked together on the project gained new insights into the needs of the school and were able to take concrete action to solve issues and make improvements. Participants will be inspired by their success and gain new ideas for their school.

Academic Excellence through Social Equity: Reducing the Achievement Gap by Lowering Barriers and Providing Supports for All

Presenters: Steve Diveley, Megan Ruschke, Bob Guzzetti

Learn how Hadley Junior High School in Glen Ellyn, Illinois employed various strategies to close the achievement gap between different student groups. Presenters will discuss gains in student performance as a result of a systemic approach using the Schools to Watch rubric and middle level practices. Equity for All is a mindset more than a program: session participants will learn how the school’s rationale and strategies may be implemented in any school setting.

NETWORK with Colleagues from Throughout Illinois

AIMS events bring teachers and school leaders together to network, share and strategize. At Summer Splash, participants will have time to meet fellow educators, share ideas at breakout sessions and openly discuss hot topics during the “un” conference part of the day. Enjoy conversation with the AIMS Network of passionate professionals.

GROW as You Gain New Insights, Strategies and Tips

Grow your network and your toolbox when you attend AIMS Summer Splash. With access to resources and useful tips from practicing educators, the event is a great summertime learning opportunity. AIMS Summer Splash is a conference designed by and for middle school educators. Register today!