Michael and / or D'Neil Duffy
Cosmic Education and Big History - Cosmic Education is the connective tissue that binds together the subjects of the Montessori elementary curriculum. We explore the origins, nature, pedagogy, content and outcomes of this remarkable innovation and compare it to the university-based movement of Big History. Based in part on our book Children of the Universe.
Supporting Intrinsic Motivation in Montessori Students - Maria Montessori rejected extrinsic rewards and punishments, and modern research validates her position. What are the strategies we can learn from that research to encourage intrinsic motivation in our students? How can we apply those strategies to the follow up work we expect children to do in the various subject areas. Based in part on our book Love of Learning.
Montessori Math and the Developing Brain - The rationale for choosing Montessori materials over workbooks for learning math involves some psychological / developmental benefits, as well as some identifiable gains in brain development in our students. All this fits into Maria Montessori's goal of enhancing the child's mathematical mind. As an extra bonus, our math curriculum meets virtually every Common Core standard. Based in part on my book Math Works.
Birth of the Atom - In the context of Mario Montessori's Creation Story and creation stories from cultures around the world, we would be neglectful if we didn't present our students with a scientific version of the creation story as well. There are intriguing story elements contained in the birth of the first atom, 300,000 years after the Big Bang, and all that it has allowed to happen since then. The story provides the basis for a Timeline of the Early Universe that expands in the opposite directions of out other timelines, speeding up as it approaches the Big Bang.
Advanced World Political and Economic Geography - How do we extend the Montessori curriculum of world political and economic geography for lower elementary students into a more advanced version for upper elementary students, with a focus on the world we live in today? The political part involves the "unity in diversity" theme of Cosmic Education, while the economic part examines "interdependence" in today's version of the world economy.
Montessori and 21st Century Skills - We are living in a rapidly changing world filled with unprecedented problems and fantastic possibilities. As reformers scramble to define the mold-breaking, challenging, creative characteristics of a new education for children of the 21st century, Montessori offers a time-proven model that meets these priorities.
Alike and Different - Immerse yourself in comparisons and contrasts as we investigate Montessori materials and activities of all subject areas and all age groups. Discover “alike and different” as a fundamental concept of Montessori cosmic education and as a major multicultural tool in Montessori peace education. The workshop also explores how “likes attract” perpetuates bias, and how multicultural Montessori education confronts that bias.
I’m Bored - How many times have we heard a talented underachiever cry, “I’m bored!”? It can be hard to know how to respond. This workshop explores the causes of habitual boredom, how to avoid it, and strategies for resurrecting motivation, including inventive thinking, dynamic collaboration, and creative activities.
Boys Will Be Boys - Rambunctious and rebellious, boys can be challenging. In this workshop we explore the characteristics of boys, including the nature-nurture controversy regarding how they differ from girls. In light of the growing achievement gap between girls and boys, we discuss proven strategies that engage boys, and we reflect on prepared environments to see how to make them more “boy-friendly.”
Crash Course - This workshop provides strategies and materials to help teachers bring students lacking previous Montessori experience up to speed. New students and their parents must quickly embrace a culture of respect, autonomy, responsibility and independence. On-the-job training with a compelling orientation and purposeful practice enables the outliers to take their place in the community.
Homework - The workshop examines the goals of homework as well as the wisdom from recent research about its effectiveness. What do children gain, and at what cost? The presenter proposes guidelines and procedures for extending learning effectively beyond the classroom.
Self-Regulation - This workshop examines current psychological research on self regulation and its compatibility with Montessori’s vision of the normalized child. Montessori children build an authentic self with their teachers and community as mediators of their development. The result is autonomy, relatedness and competence. We will describe a prepared environment with tools for planning, goal setting, time management, behavior management, mindfulness and self-assessment.
Making It Stick - Learning is a journey children use to build their souls and to wire their minds. What do we most want them to see and to feel? What makes learning stick? This workshop offers the anatomy of effective lessons, including an analysis of the pedagogy of the Three Period Lesson. It offers strategies for the 1st Period, including getting (and keeping) attention, using “points of interest,” differentiating for various learners, as well as identifying, clarifying and reinforcing key concepts, for recall and application.
Whimsical Wisdom - Montessori envisioned schools where learning was so compelling that children would use it to build their souls. This workshop explores how to kindle students’ imaginations, stimulating their capacity for investigation and work. By examining the nature of children’s humor, participants will find playful, silly ways to effect serious, deliberate learning.
Peer Observation - What are the benefits of having teachers observe other teachers, particularly in building community within a school? This presentation will explore how to do these observations and the difference between peer observation, coaching and supervision.
Essential Elements - This workshop explores the essential elements of an authentic Montessori school based on rubrics developed by the NCMPS (National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector). For an already established school program, it's a chance to look at what areas to work on for improvement.
Geometry and Multiplication Memorization - The Montessori materials offer a wonderful opportunity to achieve dual objectives in areas that are sometimes challenging for elementary teachers. Not only do these two areas reinforce each other, but they give teachers an opportunity to save time in the delivery of curriculum buy achieving two objectives at once.
Engaging Parents - Getting parents engaged in the school can go a long way toward ensuring the success of the school in its mission. This workshop offers a toolbox for building parent-school connections that last.
A Peace Table in the Staff Room - Our attempts to teach children peace education will have little impact if there is not an atmosphere of peace among the adults in their school. This workshop explores ways to develop and sustain a culture of collegiality in your school.
The Role of the Arts in the Montessori Curriculum - This workshop offers teachers an in-depth look at the role and importance of Art integration throughout the 6-12 Montessori curriculum. Participants will be able to engage in activities and dialogue about art education in the 21st century.
Authentic Assessment in the Classroom - This workshop offers teachers an examination of authentic tasks, rubrics, and standards for measuring and improving student learning within the Montessori curriculum. Authentic assessment captures the constructive nature of learning and provides multiple ways to gather evidence of learning.
Preparing Our Montessori Children for a Changing World - This workshop will help public/charter school teachers prepare children for the future without compromising the Montessori curriculum. Participants will experience the process of learning through collaboration, observation and investigative research in the cultural curriculum.
Sing for Joy - An experiential workshop showing how to use Circle Singing to release every child’s authentic, expressive self. The workshop will explore improvised group singing as it relates to Montessori pedagogy and inherent benefits of incorporating singing and other creative practices into the curriculum.
Passion-driven Learning through the Arts - When Montessori teachers and specialists work in concert, it's easy to integrate the arts into the Montessori Curriculum. When students make connections between what they learn in the specialist's environment and apply it in their classroom studies, they deepen connections to the curriculum and express themselves more fully.