Speaking and Presentations

I would love to come to your district or organization to meet your professional learning needs.

Keynote and Workshops
Assessment, Feedback, and Grading 
This session can be a keynote, one day full PD, or multiple-day learning opportunity.

Can the way we assess, give feedback, and eventually give grades not only change learning but also improve student-teacher relationships and student attitude toward school?  There is no doubt in my mind, but we have to be aware that a lot of traditional grading methods get in the way of positive student-teacher relationships and do not improve learning.

I have experience leading a District through grading changes.  In my presentations, I balance the theory and why behind standards-based grading, but also the practical side of rolling out these changes to teachers, students, principals, Board members, and parents.

This session can be adapted to your school's or district's needs.  Topics can include:

  • Why we need to change the way we grade
  • Defining grades as communication, not something we reward, punish, and negotiate with students
  • The need to define formative and summative, and what should count for a student grade
  • Separating academic grades from learning behaviors
  • How to more accurately describe student learning through the use of clearly-defined levels instead of a 100 point scale
  • Why if you use a 4 point scale, the 4th level is not advanced, exceeded or some magical level that cannot be reached
  • How to build analytic and holistic rubrics
  • Strength-based grading
  • The path my District took to make these changes
  • How to transition to Standards-based grading in a traditional online gradebook.
  • Why a single grade is not effective for communication and feedback
  • How to involve students in the grading process

Why and How to Move Away from Traditional Homework
In this session, we will look at the academic research regarding the limited effectiveness of traditional homework. We will discuss common agreements and alternatives that can make homework more academically beneficial and engaging for students.

Preparing Students for the Next Level
Why do some people in education feel we can justify ineffective and sometimes harmful practices if we think it prepares students for the next level?  It is not our job to match bad practices with more bad practices. If you teach elementary students, then do what is right for elementary students. If you teach middle school students, do what is right for middle school students.  Let’s stop pretending an 11-year old (or worse, a 5-year-old) should have the same responsibilities as an 18-year-old.  No one should ever say, “Don’t blame me, I’m just preparing them for the next level.”  Instead prepare them for the next level by helping them learn to communicate, collaborate, think critically and creatively.  Prepare them by helping to ignite a passion for learning.  That is what prepares them for the next level.

Building a Love of Reading Campus-wide
We know rewards and points do not build a love of reading long-term. How can we move away from rewards and what can we do instead? Brandon will give ideas on how he moved his staff away from a computer-based point system and to building a love of reading throughout his entire campus.

Digital Citizenship and Digital Literacy: A Clear Plan for Teachers and Students
What's the best way to roll out a clear scope and sequence for Digital Literacy and Digital Citizenship? In this session, participants will hear how two districts took different paths, but through their work created a way for students, staff, and parents to know what is expected at each grade level.

Leading Change
Typically there are things leaders want to change in their school or district, but bringing about change is not always easy. In this session we will look at specific steps leaders can take to help change current practices of teachers or other administrators and how to make that change last. We will look through the lens of how to change homework, but we will also discuss other hot educational topics including assessment, reading, rewards, and lesson design. Leaders will leave with practical steps they can take to help lead change.

Who is Telling Your Story?
Who is telling your story of your school or district? There are great things happening in our schools, and our parents, students, and community need to know. How can we use social media to get the word out about the great things happening in our schools and build culture at the same time? Brandon will discuss how engaging parents and staff members through social media changed the culture of both his school and district and how you can do the same thing with your school.

Engagement- Passion and Engagement for Students, Staff, and Community
This session is given as a keynote with six elementary teachers. The teachers and Brandon are available to do breakout sessions after the keynote.
Join seven Roseville City District educators as they describe how they helped transform their classroom and school into a campus focused on passion and engagement. The opening session will include practical strategies that all educators can immediately implement regardless of grade level (K-12). Some of the topics covered will include student expectations, parent engagement, special experiences for students, best ways to help build relationships, and how all of these help with classroom management. The group brings energy to their presentations so expect to learn a lot, be engaged, and have some fun.

Increasing the Use of 4 C's
We know students need to collaborate, communicate, be creative, and think critically. It is our job as educators to help students improve in these areas. This session will give participants a lens to look their lessons and also give ideas on how to increase the 4 Cs across all subject areas and grade levels.

What is the Research on Homework and What Are Alternatives to Current Practices
We will look at the academic research regarding the limited effectiveness of traditional homework. We will discuss common agreements and alternatives that can make homework more academically beneficial and engaging for students.