LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

In conjunction with this article series, LEARN NC hosted a series of free hour-long web conferences throughout the 2010-2011 school year. The conferences provided an opportunity for teachers to pose their most pressing questions about differentiation to subject experts, including the article authors and exemplary practitioners. See the archived sessions below for more details and archived videos of each session.

Web conferences by title

Archived sessions

Tiering to avoid tears: Developing assignments that address all learners’ needs

Linda Pigott Robinson, Director, CONNECTIONS-NC, Inc.
Anne Hawkins, Fourth-grade Teacher, Baileywick Road Elementary
Sept. 27, 2010, 3:30 - 4:30 pm
Watch the archived session: Tiering to Avoid Tears
Educational consultant Linda Robinson and veteran teacher Anne Hawkins present an approach to differentiated instruction in which teachers create tiered assignments for students at different levels. The presenters address questions of equity, meeting students’ needs while covering the Standard Course of Study, and more.

Deaf learners and successful cognitive achievement

David S. Martin, Ph.D., Professor/Dean Emeritus, Gallaudet University
Mary V. Compton, Ed.D., Associate Professor, UNC - Greensboro
Kathy Metzer, Teacher of the Deaf, Monticello Brown Summit Elementary
Oct. 25, 2010, 3:30 - 4:30 pm
Watch the archived session: Deaf Learners and Successful Cognitive Achievement
Three experts in the field of deaf education discuss the conditions that contribute to success for deaf students in inclusive settings. The presenters offer insights into cognitive skill acquisition and leveling the playing field when it comes to testing, as well as concrete advice on how to make inclusion work for deaf students. Many of these suggestions prove to be useful in working with English language learners in addition to deaf learners. Closed captioning provided.
Note: An extended version of this web conference was presented April 18, 2011. An archive of that session, entitled “Engaging Deaf Learners in the Mainstream Classroom,” is available.

Managing and improving behavior of students in inclusive educational environments

Edward J. Sabornie, Ph.D., Professor and Coordinator, Graduate Program in Special Education at NC State University
Dec. 6, 2010, 3:30 - 4:30 pm
Watch the archived session: Managing and Improving Behavior of Students in Inclusive Educational Environments
Article author and professor Edward J. Sabornie, Ph.D. shares six guiding principles for creating a personal behavior management system in the classroom. Dr. Sabornie addresses questions about common behavior issues, including students who explicitly refuse to do work and students who have difficulty keeping their bodies still.

Who cares?: Using real-world perspectives to engage academically gifted learners

Linda Pigott Robinson, Director, CONNECTIONS-NC, Inc.
Jan. 10, 2011, 3:30 - 4:30 pm
Watch the archived session: Who Cares? Using Real-World Perspectives to Engage Academically Gifted Learners
Article author and educational consultant Linda Robinson advocates for creating assignments in which students adopt the perspectives of real-world professionals. This approach yields rich, rigorous, challenging learning for all students, and has particular benefits for gifted learners. In this session, Robinson shares best practices and example assignments, and answers teachers’ questions about implementing perspectives-based assignments and trouble-shooting problems.

Strategies to include students with autism in the general education setting

Susan Flynn, Ph.D. Candidate, Special Education program, UNC - Charlotte
Maureen Ostrander, Autism Teacher, McKee Road Elementary
Feb. 7, 2011, 3:30 - 4:30 pm
Watch the archived session: Strategies to Include Students with Autism in the General Education Setting
As more students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are being included in the general education setting, teachers are faced with the task of determining strategies that will help students with ASD succeed in the classroom. In this web conference, the presenters discuss concrete strategies for increasing motivation, communication, and academic success in students with ASD.

Inclusion in the 21st-century classroom: Differentiating with technology

Bobby Hobgood, Ed.D., Director of Research and Development in Online Curriculum and Instruction
Becky Goddard, Sixth Grade Teacher, Mooresville Intermediate School
March 7, 2011, 3:30 - 4:30 pm
Watch the archived session: Inclusion in the 21st-Century Classroom: Differentiating with Technology
While most teachers recognize the need to differentiate instruction, many face barriers in implementation. These barriers include lack of time to prepare lessons, the need to cover a wide range of content in a small amount of time, and extensive classroom management needs. The presenters advocate technology as a means for overcoming some of these barriers, and offer specific strategies for integrating technology into differentiated instruction.

Using knowledge of student cognition to differentiate instruction

Silvana M. R. Watson, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Old Dominion University
Robert A. Gable, Ph.D., Constance and Colgate Darden Professor of Special Education and Eminent Scholar, Old Dominion University
April 4, 2011, 3:30 - 4:30 pm
Watch the archived session: Using Knowledge of Student Cognition to Differentiate Instruction
A student’s ability to retain information while performing concurrent processing — often referred to as working memory — is critical to the acquisition of increasingly more complex knowledge and skills. Presenters use the concept of working memory to look at different kinds of learning problems and discuss the implications for differentiating instruction, particularly for students with learning disabilities who have attention and working memory problems. A PDF version of the case studies discussed is available.

The power of nonfiction: Using informational text to support literacy in special populations

Joan Barnatt, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Education, Elon University
Paul Niles, Associate Director, Eighth-grade Science Teacher, Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School
April 26, 2011, 3:30 - 4:30 pm
Watch the archived session: The Power of Nonfiction: Using Informational Text to Support Literacy in Special Populations
Experts agree that literacy skills are critical to academic success and life opportunities for every child, as well as being central to curriculum and instruction in elementary years and into the middle grades. The presenters discuss evidence and best practices supporting the notion that informational text, rather than fictional literature, may better help students develop literacy skills — particularly in students with special needs.
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