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Dr. Crook frequently does individual and small-group consulting with district/campus personnel. Typical focus areas include:

  • in-depth analysis and evaluation of test scores;
  • developing or revising the Campus Educational Improvement Plan;
  • observation and evaluation of teachers and programs (not a part of standard administrator observations);
  • planning for training and staff development.

Educational workshops and seminars

Dr. Crook has a longtime aversion to "packaged" programs and presentations and insists that all her sessions be "customized" for specific situations. However, some topics or components are so important that they are continually replicated or refashioned for a wide variety of audiences. Here are some examples, most of which can be designed in full-day, half-day, or multiple-day formats:

  1. Objective-by-Objective with the Reading TAKS: How to teach it new!
  2. Making Instructional Sense Out of Test Scores
  3. Instruction for Instructional Groups
  4. Improving Test Performance in Specific Subject Areas
  5. Critical Reading, Thinking, and Questioning Skills
  6. Defensive Grammar
  7. The Reading/Math Connection

  1. Objective-by-Objective with the Reading TAKS: How to teach it
  2. Many districts have aligned curricula with the TEKS and are working hard to analyze data, but unless we improve instruction, student achievement will not make the gains we seek. In this full day workshop we will identify the instructional components within each objective and its outcomes or targets and explore successful ways of teaching them to different types of students. The workshop can be crafted to address one or all grades, but it is probably most effective when the grade level span is relatively narrow. A good division is 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.

  3. Making Instructional Sense Out of Test Scores
  4. This is the starting point for districts and campuses. It focuses on disaggregating and analyzing test scores for instructional purposes, not just for compliance, demographics, or record keeping purposes. Always requiring updates and "new teacher" sessions, it is especially important now because of new programs like the Texas TAKS and No Child Left Behind, revisions to "standards" like the SAT, and a wealth of technology-based data that has tended to submerge and confuse, rather than focus, educators. This workshop includes such areas as:

    • learning to read individual, campus, and district test reports from an instructional perspective;
    • using test scores to assess the curriculum and instructional program;
    • reassessing and revising plans and programs for remediation
    • identifying "instructional groups" and meeting the needs of all types of students;
    • correlating different types of assessment data;
    • incorporating test preparation into the total educational program;
    • building the morale of educators by making positive use of required assessments.

    Note: A full day workshop can include a model analysis of the individual student scores of one grade level and one campus.

    Audience: Administrators, teachers, counselors, site-based leadership committees, board members, parents/community members

  5. Instruction for Instructional Groups
  6. Instructional group analysis, a system developed by Dr. Crook, involves using test scores to quickly identify students as learners (combining indicators like learning style, motivation, background, etc.) This workshop, frequently requested by teachers, is the "application extension" of identifying instructional groups. It responds to the question: how do I best serve the needs of my varied students once I know something about them as learners. It includes such areas as:

    • using test results and observation to identify instructional groups like mastery minus, system, bubble, etc.
    • planning appropriate remediation or enrichment programs;
    • identifying and incorporating effective teaching strategies and techniques for specific instructional groups;
    • incorporating instructional group knowledge into a multi-faceted classroom;
    • adapting the campus environment to better meet the needs of varying students.

    Audience: Teachers, administrators, counselors, parents

  7. Improving Test Performance in Specific Subject Areas
  8. This workshop can be focused on one field or discipline (ex. math, reading, writing, social studies, science), on combined fields (ex. language arts, reading and social studies, electives, etc.), or on a grade level (ex. fifth grade, primary grades, etc.) It includes such areas as:

    • analyzing the design of the test in the target area; an objective-by-objective review;
    • analyzing campus/district test scores in the target area; identifying strengths and weaknesses;
    • considering instructional factors contributing to the current status;
    • planning interventions, remediation, enrichment appropriate to this analysis
    • exploring strategies and techniques appropriate to the identified needs and goals

    Audience: Teachers, administrators, counselors

  9. Critical Reading, Thinking, and Questioning Skills
  10. This workshop often evolves as a sequence of workshops because of both its importance and its potential scope. At a time when demands for intellectual depth are growing, most teachers are armed with little more than a card of "Bloom words," something which may help evaluate status but does little or nothing to improve it. Reading, because it is the major access skill for all disciplines, is this logical access point for thinking and questioning skills. Because this workshop does treat reading as a skill - not as part of literature - it is designed for all content areas. It includes such areas as:

    • developing a reading process and applying it to all campus disciplines and genres;
    • examining the thinking skills required by current testing programs;
    • considering the strengths and weaknesses of common thinking and questioning skill programs;
    • building on students' (and teachers') outside-of-school strengths to improve the classroom;
    • developing an approach to thinking skills that is comprehensive, systematic, practical;
    • implementing truly effective questioning skills;

    Audience: Teachers, Administrators, Counselors, Parents

  11. Defensive Grammar
  12. This workshop reviews major portions of a unique system of teaching and applying grammar using a "quick and simple" pattern of reading keys and reacting automatically and often employing sports metaphors as mnemonics. Many teachers have been introduced to one or two components of the system (Ex. Count 3 and Punctuate) during other workshops and found them fascinating. This workshop is especially timely because new tests like the TAKS have increased their emphasis on grammar and mechanics, something that poses difficulties for teachers who were themselves educated through the whole-language model. It includes such areas as:

    • seeing grammar as a logical, approachable system; making grammar make sense
    • focusing on essential, predictable rules rather than exceptions to rules;
    • finding new, more appealing approaches for students (and teachers) who are "burned out" on page-by-page, chapter-by-chapter reviews with strategies that have no relevance for real life.

    Audience: Teachers and administrators involved with writing/reading/ communications (elementary and secondary)

  13. The Reading/Math Connection
  14. This is a highly focused, specialized workshop coordinating the reading for information process with the math problem solving process. Handouts and activities detail the individual processes, the combined process, and a variety of application and practice strategies for both the classroom and testing programs.

    (Note: Similar workshops may be focused on the Reading/Science Connection or the Reading/Social Studies Connection - all of which can be integrated. Half day programs focused on differing fields can be effective.)

    Audience: Teachers directly involved with mathematics and/or reading (or other target areas); Administrators; Central Office Personnel

© 2006 Dr. Shirley Crook