Breakout Sessions

The 2023 Conference RFP process is currently open and accepting submissions, and this page will be updated with 2023 conference breakout sessions in March, April, and May.

In the meantime, the 2022 sessions are listed below so that you can get an idea of what a typical conference program might contain.

PD Categories are taken from the Texas AEL Guide:

PAL = Principles of Adult Learning
LIT = Literacy Instruction

2022 Conference Breakout Sessions

We’re immensely grateful to the literacy and education professionals who  generously made their knowledge and experience available to the Texas literacy community for the 2022 Annual Conference.

Session summaries from the 2022 program are arranged below by primary topic area. Click on the main topic to read titles and summaries of the sessions in each category.

Basic Adult Literacy and Pre-GED for Hispanics

Presenter: Yolanda Medina • PD Category: Other
All about Plaza Comunitaria, a free curriculum for community-based programs, which focuses on helping Hispanics learn how to read and write, and includes a Spanish component for beginning literacy students. Read more about this session.

Introducing the TX AEL Family & Civics Content Standards 3.0

Presenters: Paula Bauer, AnneMarie Molinari-Sanders • PD Category: LIT
Are you wondering about the new Texas AEL Family & Civics Content Standards? Come join us to learn about and review the core anatomy and structure of these relevant and exciting new standards. Read more about this session.

Pre-GED Program for Spanish Speakers in the US? Best Program: Plaza Comunitaria!

Presenter: Rosa-Maria Crocker • PD Category: Other
Plaza Comunitaria and its accredited Adult Basic Education Pre-GED program are a bridge for the academic, social, cultural, and economic integration of Hispanic youngsters, adults, and families into the US. Read more about this session.

The 3 R’s of GED Prep: Recruitment, Retention & Resources = Success!

Presenter: Liz Lanphear • PD Category: Other
Learn about GED Prep Connect and GED Manager, tools to recruit and retain students; discover additional free resources available to help you teach effectively. All of these added together equal RESULTS! Read more about this session.

TABE Testing Updates and Best Practices to Improve Student Outcomes

Presenters: Chasity Wright, Mike Johnson • PD Category: Other
Learn best practices for TABE testing, including remote proctoring, and how use of the new TABE Writing Test can help improved HSE testing outcomes. Read more about this session.

Taking Contextualized Video Lessons to Your Classroom

Presenters: Krista Mosher, Ashly Winkle • PD Category: LIT
Learn strategies to incorporate the contextualized Adult Ed Med videos into your classroom, along with techniques for enhancing lesson plans with videos. Read more about this session.

Teaching Reading is Harder Than I Thought!

Presenter: Lara Speights • PD Category: LIT
Learn strategies for teaching basic reading skills that reading specialists use – the strategies will be explained in “plain English” and made usable by tutors who do not have a literacy instruction background. Read more about this session.

The Power of Plickers

Presenter: Ashly Winkle • PD Category: LIT
Plickers is an EdTech tool for collecting real-time formative assessment data without students needing paper and pencil or their own devices. Use Plickers face-to-face, or in remote and/or flex models. Read more about this session.

13 Considerations: Becoming an Effective Partner Under WIOA

Presenter: Mahalia Baldini • PD Category: Other
Explore the 13 considerations when determining a program’s ability to effectively implement WIOA (the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) and how that knowledge can better support local partnerships. Read more about this session.

A Community Center and Storybooks: Case Studies in Collaboration

Presenter: Crystal Pennington • PD Category: Other
What does collaboration look like for community partners with overlapping goals? Possible outcomes: A refugee-focused community center, bilingual storybooks, and plenty of hiccups along the way. Read more about this session.

Let’s Build An Employer Partnership

Presenter: Jacqueline Aguilera • PD Category: Other
This presentation provides you with an opportunity to analyze leading employer-driven service models, and ways to apply their success to your partnering efforts. Read more about this session.

Resolving Attendance and Recruitment Issues Through Community Collaboration

Presenters: Jenny Walker, Kristina Rivas-Jones • PD Category: Other
This session will dive into the concept of collaborative case management and how it can positively impact attendance and recruitment of students. Read more about this session.

A Computer Lab at Our Organization? Can We? Should We?

Presenters: Dr. Kevin Williams, Rachael Cherry • PD Category: Other
Learn of one non-profit’s struggles and successes in the creation, implementation, and deployment of classes in their brand-new 6-seat computer lab – successes will be highlighted. Read more about this session. 

Assessing for and Promoting Digital Literacy in Marginalized Communities

Presenters: Mariana Vázquez, Caroline Silva • PD Category: Other 
Learn to define digital access and literacy, describe factors associated with disparities in marginalized communities, and develop strategies to promote digital literacy and learning in online literacy programs. Read more about this session. 

Become a PD Portal Expert

Presenters: Katie Snow, Laura Greer • PD Category: Other
TCALL’s PD Portal Team will show you how to create a PD Portal account and access hundreds of training options and dig into some of the PD Portal’s most frequently asked questions. Read more about this session.

Community Keeps ‘Em Coming! Creating Community Among Distance Learners

Presenter: Michele Vick • PD Category: PAL
Explore activities using digital tools that help build community within cohorts of distance learners; leave with practical tools, and ideas for fostering community among students who rarely meet in person. Read more about this session

Developing Safe Learning Spaces

Presenter: Keighty Ward • PD Category: Other
Learners who have or had trauma in their lives may find the educational setting upsetting. Learn to develop a friendly relationship with learning and create secure spaces with reflection, patience, and practice. Read more about this session.

Hold the Judgement: Revealing Unconscious Bias

Presenter: Dr. Olga Escamilla • PD Category: Other
Learn to increase understanding of the potential adverse impact unconscious bias has on people, and increase awareness of unconscious bias. Develop confidence to engage in honest conversations about bias. Read more about this session.

(Re)Framing Our Conversations Around Adult Education

Presenter: Melanie Sampson • PD Category: Other
Explore some of the everyday language of the adult education and workforce development sectors; work together to explore new ways to talk about our work and center communities, not systems. Read more about this session.

Why Do We Instantaneously Judge People?

Presenter: Horacio Sanchez • PD Category: Other
Implicit bias can impact how we interact with others. We all have biases; they are a byproduct of the human brain, but we can learn what bias is, how it occurs, and how to mitigate its negative impact. Read more about this session.

Hands on Burlington CORE: Make Your Program Shine!

Presenters: Martin Loa, Erin Cococcia • PD Category: Other
With Burlington CORE, teachers can re-envision the traditional classroom and create technology-rich learning communities where students develop language proficiency and master digital literacy skills. Read more about this session.

Integrating Cultural Humility into English Teaching

Presenter: Karin Bates • PD Category: Other
Explore what cultural humility means, how to practice it, the impacts of building (and not building) cultural humility, and how this can help us better communicate across language barriers. Read more about this session.

Making Corrections – Encouraging Mistakes and Correcting Effectively

Presenter: Karin Bates • PD Category: LIT
In this interactive workshop, we will discuss the importance of encouraging mistakes in the classroom, and how to make effective corrections that students remember and practice. Read more about this session.

Pronunciation: Climbing Mountains, Skirting Molehills, and Telling the Two Apart

Presenter: Elizabeth Martinez • PD Category: LIT
Learn techniques to help students pronounce sounds and correct errors through learning both the “how” of sound production, and the “why” of the underlying phonetic patterns of English. Read more about this session.

Pronunciation for Adult ELLs

Presenter: Karin Bates • PD Category: LIT
This workshop will provide you with practical, easy-to-use tools and techniques to help adult students speak English well, while building confidence, rapport, retention, and participation in class. Read more about this session.

Reflect: Using Scaffolded Activities and Writing Models to Improve Writing

Presenter: Janet Kay • PD Category: LIT
Explore Reflect, a new series from National Geographic Learning which focuses on reading, writing, and critical thinking skills; learn about scaffolding and writing models, and receive a free sample book. Read more about this session.

Sounding Out, Sound Blending and Sight Words: How to Build Literacy in Beginners

Presenter: Elizabeth Martinez • PD Category: LIT
Learn to meet the needs of non-literate beginners through techniques for teaching phonics, in particular the skill of sound blending, where beginners learn to do the sounding-out that readers do unconsciously. Read more about this sesion.

Ventures in Cambridge One: Engage and Motivate Your Students

Presenter: Robin Graybill • PD Category: Other
Explore Ventures, a flexible digital experience for Adult Ed programs that engages and motivates students to make teaching easier, track learning, and help enrollment through retention. Read more about this session.

Back to the Basics: Improving Student Learning Through Delivery of Instruction

Presenter: Ann Beeson, M. Ed. • PD Category: PAL 
In this presentation you will learn the basics of adult learning theory, and we’ll talk about differentiated instruction as a reflection of adult learning theory, including how it can improve adult learner outcomes. Read more about this session.

Barbara Bush National Action Plan for Adult Literacy

Presenter: Federico Salas-Isnardi • PD Category: Other
The collaborative National Action Plan from the Barbara Bush Foundation outlines a 5-pronged national response to low literacy for the post-pandemic world. Come explore the new national plan together. Read more about this session.

Brain Hacks: Teaching Moves that Deepen Understanding and Strengthen Recall

Presenter: Michele Vick • PD Category: PAL 
There’s a lot of murky “brain-based” teaching advice out there; dispel some common neuromyths and learn about proven, research-based instructional strategies that teachers can use strengthen learning. Read more about this session.

Building a Reflective Teaching Practice

Presenter: Keighty Ward • PD Category: Other
Learn what it means to be reflective and what it would look like to teach reflectively; discuss how a reflective teaching practice can increase social change and equitability in our education community. Read more about this session.

Creating Accessible Content for our Neurodiverse World

Presenter: Melanie Sampson • PD Category: Other
Neurodiversity embraces variations in how humans experience and interact with the world; we’ll consider strategies for communication practices with people in our networks to more effectively meet their needs. Read more about this session.

Dyslexia and Illiteracy: Structured Literacy and the Science of Reading

Presenter: Jenny Cantrell, CALT, LDT • PD Category: Other 
You will learn about dyslexia and the causal relationship with adult illiteracy rates in Texas. We will explore why some children are left behind in the Texas education system and become adults who cannot read. Read more about this session.

Got Accommodations? Assisting Adult Learners in the Classroom

Presenters: AnneMarie Molinari-Sanders, Beth Ponder • PD Category: LIT 
Learn how to turn everyday items into tools that become assistive technology (AT) aides, which provide support for students during instruction and help them leverage their neurodiverse strengths. Read more about this session.

Making Space for Everyone: Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Presenter: Keighty Ward • PD Category: PAL
Delve into the principles of UDL and investigate how adopting a UDL approach can help reduce harm in your classroom and ensure everyone in the class can learn the material – regardless of learning needs. Read more about this session.

The “Greening” of Workforce Literacy

Presenter: Jacqueline Aguilera • PD Category: LIT 
Opportunities in alternative fuel options are growing, and Environment Literacy is the next level of optimizing AEL programming and preparing learners to participate in the future of work. Read more about this session.

Make Your Brand Work for You

Presenters: J.R. Labbe; Kathryn Thompson • PD Category: Other
You are competing for attention when it comes to attracting students, tutors, donors, and board members. Learn how to create a clear, compelling brand as an answer to your community’s literacy challenges. Read more about this session.

Plain Language 101

Presenter: Melanie Sampson • PD Category: Other
Whether we’re creating flyers, forms, web content, or social media posts, it’s critical that we focus on the needs of our audience when we are communicating, and make everyday written content accessible for all. Read more about this session.

Telling Stories With Purpose

Presenters: J.R. Labbe; Kathryn Thompson • PD Category: Other
Learn how to take advantage of social media to engage audiences, with practical, easily accessible tools to bolster community awareness, funding and recruiting of students, tutors and board members. Read more about this session.

Program Evaluation: The Why and the How

Presenters: Kristen Deppe, Erika Lyles • PD Category: Other 

How do we know if programs achieve their goals? Learn about the key factors and activities to determine impact, convey value, and make decisions to improve programs for the people we aim to serve. Read more about this session.

Building Capacity in Adult Literacy Programs

Presenter: Kathy Houghton • PD Category: Other
By sharing proven practices around program management, training, and program models, this workshop can help programs build capacity in their organizations. Read more about this session.

Intake to Outcomes (I2O) Online Tutor Training: An Incredible Resource!

Presenter: Kathy Houghton • PD Category: Other
The most difficult, expensive, and most important thing volunteer literacy programs do to support adult learners..? Turn volunteers into well trained, well supported tutors! I2O is free – learn all about it! Read more about this session.

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