Judi Dodson is a national LETRS trainer and literacy consultant. She worked for 20 years as a special education teacher and educational consultant. Judi is the author of 50 Nifty Activities for 5 Components and 3 Tiers of Reading Instruction and 50 Nifty Activities for Speaking and Listening: for Oral Language and Comprehension and The Literacy Intervention Toolkit. Judi consults on issues related to school change, teacher knowledge, and literacy achievement. She is also the president of Peruvian Hearts, a non-profit organization dedicated to the education and development of leadership of young women in Peru, giving them the resources they need to break the cycle of poverty and become leaders in their country. Judi believes that literacy is a social justice, equity, and inclusivity issue and this adds passion to her work with teachers and students.
Concurrent Session Description
Nurturing our Teachers and Students: Creating a safe space for teaching and learning in troubling times
(Special Ed, Dyslexia, Other Learning Challenges, Social-Emotional Learning, Equity & Inclusion, ELL, Coaching/Instructional Support)
Today, more children than ever are coming to school with significant vulnerabilities due to having experienced the chronic stress and trauma of the pandemic. We have had students who have experienced stress and trauma in the past, but this moment is unique because the experience is more widely shared. Teachers feel pressure to help them recover lost learning and teach with rigor. We tend to stress academic skills in our efforts to recover from learning loss, and in so doing, social emotional needs are put aside. Yet, now more than ever, the importance of finding a balance between the two is critical. Trauma greatly interferes with the brain being receptive to new learning. When we focus on the social emotional needs of the children, we facilitate a greater capacity to learn.
It is language and connection that can transform traditional instruction into “trauma informed” instruction. As teachers of language and literacy, it is important that we understand the power of language to build the connections that are capable of healing. Connecting with students does not cost money and can create a climate and culture that can change a child’s life. This session will teach concrete ideas and activities that support an environment which can help our vulnerable children look forward to coming to school, and to feel safe and cared about when they get there. Using literacy and the power of positive teacher language as tools, teachers will learn ways that their instruction can begin to heal the wounds of their students and allow them to reach their potential. In order to help our students recover from the past and ongoing impacts of the pandemic, we need to see them as the same wonderful children they were the day their educations were disrupted. We need to view them through a lens of potential not deficit and lift them up both emotionally and academically. We are not mental health care providers, but we have the power to make decisions and take actions that can heal our children.
Target Audience(s): Early Childhood (Birth – 4 years), Elementary, Middle/Jr. High, High School
Education Track(s): Equity & Inclusion, Leadership