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University of Maine at Farmington
Phone/TDD: (207)778-7000

Admissions Office
246 Main Street
Farmington, ME 04938
Phone: (207)778-7050




2012 – 2013 – Helping ALL Students Learn

Teaching and Working in a Diverse World:
Helping ALL Students Learn

Friday October 19th, 2012

How Do Educators Help ALL Students Learn?

Please click on the session titles below to read a session description.

Lincoln Auditorium

11:50 – 1:00

Keynote Address:


Terry Farish, Children and Young Adult Author and Director of the Bilingual Folktale Project of the New Hampshire Humanities Council

North Dining Hall A

North Dining Hall B

North Dining Hall C

Conference Room 123

1:15 – 2:00

Behavior and Diversity in the Classroom


Brian Cavanaugh

Becoming Bilingual in Maine’s Classrooms and Communities


Rachel Groenhout

Paper Words – Screening of an animated film and discussion.


Dr. Cathy Wimett

STORYTIME: Real-Life Stories, Moments of Insight


Dr. Phyllis Blackstone

2:15 – 3:00

Possibilities and Challenges of Teaching English Language Learners in the Social Studies Classroom


Yoonjung Choi

 Instructional Strategies for English Language Learners-Kristie Clark, ELL Director, Lewiston Public Schools, Lewiston, ME; Charlotte Nile, ELL Teacher, Lewiston Middle School; James Koch, ELL Teacher & Coach, Lewiston High School

Language, Culture, and the Changing Face of Maine


Shelly Chasse-Johndro of Project Reach, UMO

Implementing Customized Learning (CL) in RSU #4- How Does CL Help All Students Learn?


James Hodgkin, Superintendent RSU #4

3:15 – 4:00

The Danger of the Single Story – Video and discussion of the TED Talk by novelist Chimamanda Adichie


Rick Dale  & Karen Smith

What’s Wrong with History? Thinking about a Multicultural Classroom


Hayden Golden

Does ALL Really Mean ALL?


Lance Neeper



Dr. Elyse Pratt-Ronco

Devaney, Doak and Garrett will be in the Student Center Lobby near the registration table with books to help ALL students learn as well as copies of the books written by our keynote speaker!

Please visit Dearborn Gym to see the Interactive Globe that is on campus for the Geography Conference. Here you will learn about migration patterns and ask questions about how this impacts education. This event begins at 11:00am.

Helping ALL Students Learn

KEYNOTE: The Center of the World: Terry will draw on her experience working with refugees from Sudan, Vietnam, Cambodia and other countries from which people have come to the U.S. to find a safe place where their children can go to school.  She will build on the premise that each child – each individual – thrives when they are grounded as the center of their worlds.  She’ll share the power of stories representing diverse communities and global literature representing the cultures of new Americans to support learning for all. With passages from her novel in verse, The Good Braider, she will describe the relationship to education of one refugee family and the beginning of one girl’s journey to find her identity, her center of the world, in the United States.

Keynote Presenter Information: Children’s and young adult book writer Terry Farish has just published The Good Braider, a young adult novel set in Portland Maine about a teenaged girl’s experience of war, dreams, and the African art of braiding hair.   In a starred review, School Library Journal wrote, “Viola’s memorable, affecting voice will go far to help students step outside of their own experience and walk a mile in another’s shoes.” Terry directs the literacy program and Bilingual Folktale Project of the New Hampshire Humanities Council.

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Session Description: Behavior and Diversity in the Classroom: Students from several diverse racial/ ethnic backgrounds are more likely to be suspended and expelled from school than white students. Furthermore, African Americans are more likely to be sent to the office for minor disciplinary infractions that occur in the classroom. Why does this occur? What can we, as educators, do about it? Recent research indicates that this is a severe and persistent problem across our nation with significant, negative consequences. This presentation will discuss the challenge of equitably meeting the social behavioral needs of students from diverse backgrounds. Drawing on recent research in this area, we will discuss some potential solutions that teachers can apply in their classrooms to ensure that all students access an excellent education.

Presenter Information: Brian Cavanaugh is an instructor of Special Education at UMF. He is on the Leadership and Policy Council for PBIS-Maine, providing training and technical assistance to schools in Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). He has a Master’s from Harvard University and a Bachelor’s from UMF. Brian has worked primarily with students with Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities as a teacher and behavioral consultant. He is currently completing his doctorate at the University of Maine.

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Session Description: Becoming Bilingual in Maine’s Classrooms and Communities: In Maine, and in the U.S. in general, newcomers are encouraged to learn English quickly. Historically, newcomers have assimilated into American society, with many groups losing their native languages in the process. What else do individuals lose when they lose their native language? Is it possible to learn English and maintain your native language? In this session, we will explore an alternative to linguistic and cultural assimilation, namely integration. We will look at historical accounts of newcomers to Maine, focusing on what the process of ‘becoming bilingual’ meant for their native languages. How does losing your native language influence your cognitive, social, and emotional development? How can we, as educators and citizens, support English Language Learners in becoming fully bilingual, with all of the associated benefits?

Presenter Information: A PhD student in Education at the University of Maine, Rachel has taught French and English in the U.S. and in Europe. She earned her undergraduate French degree at the University of Maine and both an M.A. French and M.S. Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the University of Amsterdam. A psycholinguist specialized in language teaching and acquisition, Rachel’s research interests are first and second language acquisition, bilingualism, and language education. She can be reached at

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Session Description: Paper Words – Screening of an Animate Film and Discussion: Paper Words is a beautifully animated film that illuminates the challenges of going to school where no one speaks your language.We will watch this film and then discuss the experiences that the film explores.

Presenter Information: Cathy Wimett is an Associate Professor in Literacy Education and the Chair of the Division of Inclusive Early Childhood and Elementary Education. She is interested in the way children learn about their increasingly diverse world through literature and social engagement.

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Session Description: Storytime: Real-Life Stories, Moments of Insight: Storyteller and Education Professor Phyllis Blackstone will tell some real-life stories from her collection entitled “The Storied Past, the Fabled Future— Stories that Provide Insight into Teaching Practice”.  Each of the three stories provides a poignant message that impacts how teachers teach and how communities provide opportunities for students.  The first story, Buddy, is told from the perspective of a first grader who is confused about his teacher’s reactions to him.  The second story, Millie, is told about an adult with limited literacy skills who has difficulty holding a job.  The third story, Tiger’s Whisker, is a very old folktale that has been told for generations and holds a profound truth for educators of all time.

Presenter Information: Dr. Blackstone has begun her 42nd year in education, first as an elementary classroom teacher, then as a literacy administrator and currently as a professor of literacy courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  Storytelling has become her teaching strategy of choice from first graders to graduate students.  Dr. Blackstone produces the Western Maine Storytelling Festival which will be held for the third year in July, 2013.  She also chairs the Sharing the Fire Conference committee for LANES, the regional northeast storytelling association.  She is a member of the National Storytelling Network.

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Session Description: Possibilities and Challenges of Teaching English Language Learners in the Social Studies Classroom:  This session explores the possibilities and challenges of teaching newcomer, English Language Learners (ELLs) in social studies classrooms. Based upon her own research on Asian new immigrant, ELLs in U.S. schools, presenter will discuss multiple difficulties those newcomer students are facing in learning social studies. Drawing upon her other research on an exemplary teacher’s practices of culturally relevant teaching for ELLs, presenter will examine successful curricular and pedagogical practices for diverse learners and provide implications for classroom teaching.

Presenter Information: Yoonjung Choi is an assistant professor of education at University of Maine at Farmington. Her research interests are global/multicultural education and teaching immigrant, ELLs in social studies. She is an author of books and journals of Asian newcomer ELL students’ schooling experiences in the U.S. Her recent article on an exemplary teacher’s practices of culturally relevant pedagogy for ELLs is being published in the journal of Multicultural Perspectives. She can be reached at

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Session Description:  Instructional Strategies for English Language Learners: This session will focus on the different levels of language acquisition and instructional strategies appropriate for English Language Learners. The presenters will share research-based, best practice techniques being implemented daily in Lewiston’s classrooms to meet the diverse academic needs of all students.

Presenter Information:  Kristie Clark, ELL Director, Lewiston Public Schools, Lewiston, ME; Charlotte Nile, ELL Teacher, Lewiston Middle School; James Koch, ELL Teacher & Coach, Lewiston High School

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Session Description:  Language, Culture, and the Changing Face of Maine: This interactive session will cover the demographic changes in our schools, who are the English Language Learners in Maine schools, and the challenges of teaching ELLs in the regular classroom. As our classrooms change, educators need to be prepared to teach all learners including those whose first language is not English.

Presenter Information:  Shelly Chasse-Johndro is the Director for Project Reach at the University of Maine. Project Reach is a Title III grant supported by the Office of English Language Acquisition, United States Department of Education. The project is coordinated through the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Maine.

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Session Description:   Implementing Customized Learning (CL) in RSU #4 – How Does CL Help All Students Learn?: RSU #4 is in their second year of implementing Customized Learning.  Year one consisted of creating awareness with all stakeholders.  Year two has focused on Professional Development.  Many staff have begun the process of making changes in their classrooms and have learned a great deal through trial and error.  This session will focus on the process of implementing CL and the lessons learned thus far in RSU #4.

Presenter Information:  Jim Hodgkin is the Superintendent of Schools in RSU #4. He is very committed to the need to find a structure that helps a higher percentage of students be successful in school. He believes that schools have a “Moral Imperative” to do a better job of educating students and that the present model of schooling is outdated and unacceptable in preparing students for the future.

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Session Description: The Danger of the Single Story – Video and Discussion: In this session we will watch the TED Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie titled, “The Danger of the Single Story.” Adichie was born in Nigeria in 1977 and is the award-winning author of the novels Purple Hibiscus (2003) and Half of a Yellow Sun(2006). In this video, Adichie discusses how our lives and our cultures are composed of multiple stories that overlap in complicated ways. She describes how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns of the critical misunderstandings that can result if we hear only a single story about another person or country. After viewing the video, the facilitators of the session will lead a discussion focused on the implications for teaching and learning in a diverse world.

Presenter Information:  Rick Dale and Karen Smith are faculty members in UMF’s Special Education Department. Rick teaches courses on special education foundations, assessment, and law. Karen teaches courses on literacy methods, math methods, collaboration, and inclusive practices. More information about their program and their contact information is available at

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Session Description: What’s Wrong with History? Thinking about a Multicultural Classroom: History is a textured and often confusing set of stories. This session will explore some of the difficulties of creating an inclusive classroom for dialogue and diverse perspectives, while also acknowledging the necessity of maintaining a critical eye toward who is telling history and with what purpose. Using the teaching of the Mexican- American War as our foundation, we will experience what maintaining such a critical eye might look like in terms of curriculum. An extended conversation, sponsored by the UMF Laboratory for the Advancement of Creative/ Critical Diversity, will follow immediately after this session.

Presenter Information:Hayden Golden works for Mainers United for Marriage and is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine. He is also involved in Move to Amend, the effort to eliminate corporate citizenship. A 2012 graduate of UMF, he majored in English and History. He can be reached at

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Session Description: Does ALL Really Mean ALL?: This session will focus on the changes over time in access to the general education curriculum for students that require extensive supports in our schools.  At one time, students with disabilities were considered “too disabled” to attend our schools, then they were “too disabled” to attend the same school, and now some consider them “too disabled” to benefit from the general education curriculum.  How far have we come, and how far do we need to go to ensure ALL students learn?  Perceptions, societal views, legislation, and advocacy work will be explored.

Presenter Information: Lance Neeper is an Assistant Professor of Special Education at UMF.  His teaching and research interests focus on instructional strategies and programming that translate to positive outcomes for students with disabilities.  He received his doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign under the direction of leaders in the field of special education.  Lance has presented at conferences throughout the United States on topics such as service-learning, access to the general curriculum, and teacher education.

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Session Description: Barnga!: Come learn a new game that will teach you about yourself and others. This will be an interactive session, with a discussion after to talk about how you can take what you learned in the game and apply it to learning in the classroom.

Presenter Information: Elyse is the Assistant Director for the Upward Bound program at UMF. Her research focuses on rural poverty and its impact on adolescent social and emotional development. She can be reached at

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