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This two-day workshop is a professional “getaway” for teachers…a time to rethink and recharge…a chance to learn from experts who are passionate about teaching reading and writing. Eight powerful sessions on brand new topics unveiled at three resort Retreat venues.

Day 1 (Tuesday)

June 9 | June 16 | June 23
8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Continental breakfast & lunch buffet included
 

SESSION 1: ACHIEVING COMPLEX THINKING DURING READING
PRESENTER: KRISTINA SMEKENS

There has been much talk about raising the complexity of the texts students are reading. However, rigorous reading isn't just about the text selection. It's also about targeting multi-faceted, deep thinking during reading.

LEARN HOW TO:
  • Determine the potential "struggle points" of challenging texts.
  • Provide appropriate scaffolding & instruction to guide students to deep understanding of the text.
  • Teach students ways to track and annotate the journey of their thinking while reading.

SESSION 2: EXECUTING COMPLEX TASKS AFTER READING
PRESENTER: KRISTINA SMEKENS

After reading challenging texts, students need to be able to do something with what they read and learned. More than simply summarizing the text, students need to develop their analytic writing skills.

LEARN HOW TO:
  • Identify various complex-writing tasks that produce an informative or argumentative response.
  • Break down the skills necessary to produce evidence-based responses.
  • Provide instruction on how to synthesize ideas across multiple texts.

SESSION 3: BUILDING STRONGER BEGINNINGS & ENDINGS
PRESENTER: KRISTINA SMEKENS

Students often jump right into the body of their writing, with hardly a thought about the purpose of the introduction or the significance of the conclusion. Thus, they need explicit instruction on beginnings and endings.

LEARN HOW TO:
  • Convey the purpose & function of different types of beginnings and endings.
  • Identify the necessary ingredients for beginnings and endings within different modes—argumentative, informative, narrative.
  • Advance students from safe & solid to sophisticated & powerful writing.

SESSION 4: TEACHING ACADEMIC VOCABULARY WITH SIX INTERACTIVE STRATEGIES
PRESENTER: COURTNEY GORDON

Marzano’s “Six Step Process” for teaching academic vocabulary isn’t new, but keeping the process fresh and creative can be a challenge. In this session, teachers experiment with six new strategies for spiraling through vocabulary instruction.

LEARN HOW TO:
  • Target each of the six steps of vocabulary instruction with new grade-level appropriate strategies.
  • Adapt vocabulary strategies for successful implementation in the classroom.

Day 2 (Wednesday)

June 10 | June 17 | June 24
8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Continental breakfast & lunch buffet included
 

SESSION 5: DIFFERENTIATING TO SUPPORT ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS
PRESENTER: KRISTI McCULLOUGH

Most ELLs already learned a language—it just wasn’t English.  This session includes practical strategies for the general education teacher to more quickly bridge the communication gap.

LEARN HOW TO:
  • Make frequent connections from known to new information.
  • Honor the importance of text selection and purposeful conversations.
  • Recognize how the same routines that benefit ELLs also benefit native English students.

SESSION 6: INFERRING IDEAS FROM VISUAL & MULTIMODAL TEXTS
PRESENTER: KRISTINA SMEKENS

There is a lot of attention given to acquiring devices and creating products with technology. However, there should be equal attention devoted to teaching students how to infer messages from visual and multimodal texts.

LEARN HOW TO:
  • Identify the noteworthy characteristics of diverse visuals from literature and informational text.
  • Teach students how to extract meaning and record notes from visuals.
  • Look beyond the surface message and notice how words and images influence or persuade the reader.  

SESSION 7: REVITALIZING THE WRITING PROCESS
PRESENTER: KRISTINA SMEKENS

To be college and career ready, students need to participate in the writing process routinely. However, this doesn’t always have to be a long and arduous progression from pre-writing to publishing.  

LEARN HOW TO:
  • Apply abbreviated planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing techniques.
  • Recognize the increased writing expectations at each subsequent grade level.
  • Incorporate peer and self-revision strategies that foster students’ abilities to strengthen their own writing.

SESSION 8: USING MENTOR TEXT TO TEACH SENTENCE VARIETY
PRESENTER: KRISTINA SMEKENS

In addition to reading challenging text, we also expect students to generate more sophisticated writing. However, these objectives don’t have to be separated. Utilize the complex sentence structures from the reading as mentor text to teach the writing.

LEARN HOW TO:
  • Identify powerful mentor text excerpts to use within writing mini-lessons.
  • Infer author intentions behind their choices of sentence type, length, and structure.
  • Teach students to mimic sentence-writing skills illustrated in mentor texts.
 

The Literacy Retreat is a professional "getaway" for teachers…a time to rethink and recharge…a chance to learn from experts who are passionate about teaching reading and writing. But what makes this event worth your time and money?
 

1

Practical

This is no pie-in-the-sky, theory workshop. The Retreat offers down-to-earth, practical strategies that can be applied right away.

2

Relevant

Teachers will walk away with a clearer understanding of Common Core literacy standards and strategies to achieve those requirements in the classroom.

3

Applicable

Retreat topics apply to teachers from kindergarten through high school. Each session includes skills, strategies, and examples from a broad range of grade levels.

4

Inspiring

The Literacy Retreat inspires teachers and provides them with the tools and confidence to implement new ideas within their own classroom instruction.

Over the course of two days, attendees collect brand new strategies for teaching reading and writing during eight distinct sessions. Each day will include a continental breakfast and a lunch buffet.
 

This year's Literacy Retreat will be offered at three unique venues, perfectly suited to provide a balance of learning, relaxation, and fun.

French Lick Springs Hotel--June 9-10, 2015 (This session is sold out!) 

Established in the mid 1800s, French Lick Springs Hotel attracted guests from around the world to experience the "miracle waters" of its nearby sulfur springs. Now this classic hotel and its beautiful gardens have been restored to their famed charm and grandeur.

Each guest room includes cable TV, free wireless Internect, in-room coffee, a hair dryer, iron and ironing board. Guests can choose from 6 different on-site dining venues ranging in style from upscale to burgers. Whether you want to spend your free time relaxing or participating in activities, the hotel has something for everyone, including a fitness center, bowling alley, spa, indoor and outdoor pools, gift shops, golf courses, historic tours, riding stables, and a 24-hour casino.

Drury Lane Conference Center--June 16-17, 2015

Home to one of the area's premier theatres, the Drury Lane Conference Center is conveniently located in Chicago's western suburbs, just minutes away from O'Hare International and Midway airports.

The conference hotel, the Hilton Suites, is just a few steps from the Drury Lane Conference Center. The hotel offeres comfortable and spacious two-room suite accomodations with a private bedroom and a separate living area. The living area includes a 32-inch TV, sofa bed, and a large work desk, as well as a wet bar with a microwave and refrigerator. The private bedroom includes one king-sized bed or two queen-sized beds and a 37-inch TV.

Essenhaus Inn--June 23-24, 2015 (This session is sold out!) 

Located in the heart of Indiana's Amish country, the Essenhaus campus includes a beautifully furnished hotel with a world-class restaurant and various shops in the "Essenhaus Village."

Guests rave about the Essenhaus Inn & Conference Center where they enjoy old-fashioned quality with all the modern conveniences. Unique decor reflecting the local culture adds to the comfort and hospitality you expect in Amish Country.

Each guest room contains high-speed wireless Internet, cable TV, in-room coffee, refrigerator, hair dryer, iron and ironing board, separate vanity, lavatory, and dressing area. All overnight guests may choose to enjoy the indoor swimming pool, exercise room, game room, and complimentary continental breakfast, in addition to walking paths and access to the Village Shops.

 
"After the 'never-ending' school year, my 'pilot light' was almost out! Coming to this Retreat made my light full power again. I want to run right home to plan, plan, plan for next year!"
~G. Nelson
“This is an invaluable experience. Whether it’s your 1st or 20th year, you will learn so many new techniques, ideas, and strategies that you can take back to your classroom. And you get free stuff!!”
~K. Kelley
"It is an exciting, practical workshop with a lot of information and ideas. It helps you rejuvenate and get excited about the upcoming year."
~D. Kelly
“It’s the best reading/writing conference I’ve ever been to. It is highly organized, and the materials are visually marvelous and concise.”
~B. Hinen
“This retreat is a game changer! Be prepared to feel inspired and recharged! Best experience ever!"
~S. Wilkins
"The workshop is full of realistic things to do with your students. It's totally do-able!"
~K. LeBeau
“The giveaways make the workshop very enjoyable. The content was relevant, presented efficiently and immediately useful. I love the energy and the time management."
~K. Brown
“Each time I attend a workshop by Smekens, I feel it transforms my teaching! Tremendous ideas! Exceptional organization! Exemplary presentations!”
~T. Goffinet
“Teachers don’t usually have such nice treatment – (it’s) great to be respected and celebrated!”
~B Breetz
“It is incredibly intense, but you leave so enthused and ready to spend the summer working!”
~ J. Payne
“The strategies you learn can be used in ANY subject area. You will leave a better teacher.”
~A. Wright
“Enthusiastic + entertaining + knowledgeable + fashionable + creative = Kristina Smekens”
~ S. Laudig
“Presenters are extremely knowledgeable and energetic. I was very impressed with how well rehearsed they were, how organized they are, and the level of thought put into the handouts.”
~ E. Floyd
“This workshop had more fun and innovative ideas of how to improve my teaching techniques than any other workshop I’ve attended in the last 6 years! By far, this is the best!”
~A. Lovett


 

 
Continuing Education Credits

With prior approval from the attendee’s school district, participants may receive credit for 11 hours of professional development for attending the Literacy Retreat. More information about how this workshop fulfills your state’s unique continuing education requirements can be found on our continuing education page.

Graduate Credit

For every 15 hours of training from Smekens workshops, participants may earn one hour of university-level graduate credit. Beyond the training time, participants must also write a reflective paper about the experience. These are non-degree credits which are designed for professional certification renewals and salary step increases. (Check with your district or employers to determine their policies for pay increases.)

Registration information will be shared during the 10 a.m. break of each workshop. After the workshop, attendees have 2 weeks to apply their training hours to the program. The cost of graduate credit is separate from the cost of attending a workshop.

Call Smekens Education toll free to learn more.

(888) 376-0448
 

 




 




COST:

Standard Registration: $434

NOTE: Early Bird Registration has expired.
 
NOTE: Lodging fees and tuition for graduate credit are not included with registration.
 

Dates & Locations 

June 9 & 10, 2015 - SOLD OUT!
French Lick Springs Hotel
(French Lick, IN)

June 16 & 17, 2015 - SOLD OUT!
Drury Lane Theatre & Conference Center
(Oakbrook Terrace, IL)

June 23 & 24, 2015 - SOLD OUT!
Essenhaus Inn & Conference Center
(Middlebury, IN)
 

 
Target Audience
 
K-6 Classroom Teachers
6-12 Language Arts, Social Studies, & Science Teachers
K-12 Special Education Teachers
Literacy Coaches
Title I Teachers
ELL Teachers
Literacy Coordinators
K-12 Gifted & Talented Teachers
K-12 Principals & Assistant Principals


Graduate Credit

Thanks to a partnership with the Midwest Teachers Institute, Literacy Retreat attendees can earn three hours of graduate credit for just $300. Get the details.



 
More than 500 teachers attended the Literacy Retreat held during the summer of 2013. Here's a highlight video featuring both locations. We can't wait for the summer of 2014 when we add a third location -- Chicago!   - See more at: http://www.smekenseducation.com/page.php?page=&pageid=The-Literacy-Retreat-June-2011#sthash.o3K1Slgt.dpuf
More than 500 teachers attended the Literacy Retreat held during the summer of 2013. Here's a highlight video featuring both locations. We can't wait for the summer of 2014 when we add a third location -- Chicago!   - See more at: http://www.smekenseducation.com/page.php?page=&pageid=The-Literacy-Retreat-June-2011#sthash.o3K1Slgt.dpuf

More than 500 teachers attended the Literacy Retreat held during the summer of 2013. Here's a highlight video featuring both locations. We can't wait for the summer of 2014 when we add a third location -- Chicago!   - See more at: http://www.smekenseducation.com/page.php?page=&pageid=The-Literacy-Retreat-June-2011#sthash.ghpE791N.dpuf
 

2015 Smekens Literacy Retreat

More than 500 teachers attended the Literacy Retreat held during the summer of 2013. Here's a highlight video featuring both locations. We can't wait for the summer of 2014 when we add a third location -- Chicago!   - See more at: http://www.smekenseducation.com/page.php?page=&pageid=The-Literacy-Retreat-June-2011#sthash.ghpE791N.dpuf

What are teachers saying about the Smekens Education Literacy Retreat?