DeVos Grand Center | River Overlook rooms A/B

Saturday, August 5, 2017

8:00 AM -   9:00 AM  On-site Registration /  Credential Pick-up

9:00 AM -   9:30 AM   Froebel's Method in the 21st Century

Scott Bultman
Director, Froebel USA

Froebel’s Kindergarten model is based on play and activity. He helped children develop design skills, creative problem solving, and critical thinking, which he saw as essential to their success in the adult world. He even created a number of tools — most notably the geometric building and pattern blocks known as Froebel Gifts — to engage children in these kinds of experiences. Froebel’s methods spread to America, where it shaped our burgeoning education system in the mid to late 1800s. Much of what remains standard in early childhood education across all methods/models draws directly from Froebel’s work 200 years ago. While his process and materials disappeared from practice a century ago, they can be integrated into any educational setting today while meeting the educational standards.

Participants will gain an understanding of how his design education methodology can be easily utilized today in both our homes and public/private classrooms for children in preschool through high school.

9:30 AM - 10:30 AM   Children As Mathematicians, Mathematicians As Children

Thomas Banchoff, Ph.D
Geometer / Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Brown University

The Froebelian concept of “a natural sense of wonder about shapes and patterns” characterizes all levels of mathematical thinking. This fundamental idea begins early, but is vitally important to come back to over and over again. Drawing on his article in the NCTM journal, “Teaching Children Mathematics,” Tom will introduce his favorite hands-on models for school children and participants will construct and explore. He will lead participants through interpretation of two dimensional drawings, handling ambiguities in familiar optical illusions, as well as identifying number patterns that describe what we are seeing. These concepts, which are foundational in the lower grades, are built upon as students move through and build their repertoire for future mathematical success. Included in the presentation will be a short film, “The Hypercube: Projections and Slicing.”

Participants will learn activities and construct models for helping children experience mathematical dimension and pattern through hands-on experiences. These activities build spatial literacy through a play-based approach to math education.

10:30 AM - 10:45 AM   Break (beverage/snacks provided)

10:45 AM - 12:00 PM   Common Core Using Froebel Gifts

Juanita Copley, Ph.D
Professor Emerita of Education, Instruction & Curriculum at the University of Houston

Nita’s main focus is: How do children learn? How do they discover things and how do they learn them? “People have a tendency to say, ‘here’s a standard &emdash; I want kids to add and subtract.'" They make it very procedural versus conceptual. Conceptual learning means you are connected, that you connect this piece of knowledge to this piece of knowledge to this piece of knowledge and you see those connections.” Drawing from her new book, Putting Essential Understanding of Geometry and Measurement into Practice, Nita will demonstrate how she uses Froebel materials and methods to create necessary context for understanding basic math concepts within the Common Core standard.

Participants will learn the difference between procedural and conceptual learning and specific ways to apply this to teaching basic math concepts.

12:00 PM –  1:00 PM   LUNCH (buffet provided)

1:00 PM –  1:45 PM   Math in Your Feet: Math & Movement

Malke Rosenfeld
Percussive Dance Teaching Artist, TEDx presenter, Author

Kids love to move, a developmental imperative that Froebel himself recognized. Using techniques from her book, Math on the Move [Heinemann, 2016], Malke will demonstrate techniques to harness this innate playfulness in ways that literally move our students to conceptual understanding of elementary math. Learn how the whole, moving, dancing body can be a tool for doing and learning mathematics in deep and engaging ways.

Participants will learn how the whole, moving, dancing body can be a tool for doing and learning mathematics in deep and engaging ways. Harnessing the student’s inherent body knowledge can be used for new understanding and facility with mathematical ideas that often seem remote and impenetrable.

1:45 PM – 2:45 PM   Mother Songs & Games

Tiffeni Goesel
Waldorf certified / Froebel teacher and author/researcher

In his book Mutter and Koselieder, Froebel states: I have recorded the most important aspects of my educational theory in this book; it is the starting point for an education based on nature, for it shows the way ... the germinal buds of human potential have to be nourished and supported if they are to develop healthily and completely. Based on her own upcoming book, The Mother Play Book: A Humanities Course for Children, Tiffeni will demystify Froebel’s use of music, movement and games to extend classroom learning. She will demonstrate how lessons can be created with parent/child plays, songs, games, art activities, and nature for the children of all ages. Lessons for the elementary years include fairy tales, fables, hero tales, tall tales, journey stories, and ancient cultures tales. Middle school years include lessons on geography, botany, zoology, studies of man, architecture, and art. The high school years uses the Mother Play book to study history, literature, and the trades, leading towards hands-on apprenticeships.

Participants will learn how to organize multi-sensory activities around a central theme using plays, songs, games, arts and crafts, and nature activities for children ages three months through high school. Participants will share what they have learned by coming together for a “group think and sharing” at the end of the presentation.

2:45 PM – 3:15 PM   Gift Play in a Waldorf Classroom

Brad Kampf
Waldorf teacher at City of Lakes School, Minneapolis, MN

Waldorf education is based on the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Anthroposophy (students as beings of body, soul and spirit). It is education that emphasizes the role of imagination in learning — striving for a holistic integration of the intellectual, practical and artistic development of students. As a teacher at City of Lakes School in Minneapolis, Brad will demonstrate a Froebel Gift play within a traditional Waldorf curriculum.

Participants will gain a hands-on understanding of how Froebel materials can be adapted to meet goals in other educational philosophies and environments, including Waldorf, Montessori and Reggio Emilia.

3:15 PM –  3:30 PM   Break (beverage/snacks provided)

3:30 PM –  5:00 PM   The Kindergarten documentary film series

Scott Bultman
Director, Froebel USA

A sneak peek at content from the upcoming documentary film series The Kindergarten, from Froebel to present day. Participants will gain perspective on the 200 year history of early childhood education from its origins with Froebel to today.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM  Spherical Unity-Folding Circles

Bradford Hansen-Smith
Author/Sculptor

An almost endless number of mathematical principles are observable in each fold of a paper circle. Froebel considered the sphere as primary unity. Circles are spherical compressions and information is generated from the creases formed by moving the 2-D circle through three dimensions … while preserving the unity of the sphere. The patterns revealed provide context for a deeper understanding of math concepts and relationships.

Through hands-on activity participants will experience and observe the differences and similarities between 2-D work of Froebel, the 3-D of Buckminster Fuller, and 4-D concepts observable in the presenter’s Wholemovement™ series of books. These activities can be used in the home or classroom to help children experience mathematical dimension and pattern using inexpensive paper plates, and build spatial literacy through a play.

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM  Think & Play with Printing Lines

Cathy Topal
Author / Professor Emerita of Art Education, Smith College

From her book Thinking with a Line [Davis, 2005], Cathy will lead the group in a line printing activity with tempera paint that can be used to explore/enhance literacy, math and science curriculum as well, as social and political subjects.

Participants will learn line-printing art activities that meet the National Visual Arts Standards, as well as national standards in mathematics, science, and English language arts. These craft activities build literacy, spatial reasoning, and incorporate content from science, math and social studies curriculum.

10:30 AM – 10:45 AM   Break (beverage/snacks provided)

10:45 AM – 11:30 AM   Literacy Assessment with Froebel Gift Play

Stacey Wellman, Ph.D
Teacher/Speech Pathologist at the Greeley School, Winnetka, IL

Stacey will demonstrate Froebel Gift activities she and her Greeley School staff use for literacy assessment.

Participants will learn speech and literacy assessment techniques using traditional Froebel Gifts and Occupations.

11:30 AM – 12:15 PM    Combining Froebel Gifts, Occupations and Storytelling

Tiffeni Goesel
Waldorf certified / Froebel teacher and author/researcher

How does one unite a Froebel Gift Play with a Froebel Occupation? Does one teach the Gifts in numerical order? How does a parent or teacher use self-activity and guided-play in the most beneficial way? What exactly are the Forms of Life, Beauty & Knowledge? Which Occupations go with each Gift? Where can I find the materials? Where does the music & movement plays go? What about nature studies & gardening? Tiffeni Goesel will be your guide through Froebel’s all-encompassing methodology and help current and future parents & teachers; whether the child is a new-born or a teen.

Participants will learn understand how to combine a Froebel Gift Play with a Froebel Occupation activity materials to extend lesson plans and curriculum goals.

12:15 PM –  1:15 PM   LUNCH (buffet provided)

1:15 PM –  2:00 PM  Learning from Froebel: New Conceptions of Organic Architecture

John Reynolds, AIA
Professor of Architecture, Miami University, Oxford, OH/p>

The Miami University architecture program developed by John Reynolds uses Froebel block plays with design prompts as exercises in critical thinking.

Participants will learn K-12 design education techniques that can be applied to a variety of grade levels and subject areas, including social studies, history and language arts, as well as develop critical thinking and problem solving.

2:00 PM –  2:45 PM  Froebel in a Modern Setting

Julie Bennett
Educator at Northpointe Christian School, Grand Rapids, MI

The beauty of Froebel’s Gifts and Occupations is that they are designed to work in various content areas and with any age. In her 20+ years of teaching, no manipulative has been more utilized for a variety of activities than Froebel’s materials. In this session, Julie will demonstrate how the various Gifts and Occupations can be used for Project Based Learning units, differentiation within a single classroom as well as multi-age projects between grades.

Participants will design activities that fit within their own curricular framework and walk away with inspired, engaging activities, regardless of student level. Please come prepared with at least one unit of study to build up using Froebel’s materials.

2:45 PM –  3:00 PM   Break (beverage/snacks provided)

3:00 PM –  3:15 PM   Outdoor Kindergarten Lesson

Jeff Lende
Retired Educator, Blandford School, Grand Rapids Public Schools

Our communities and schools provide natural opportunities for children to satisfy their desire to steward the area arounds them. There is a sense of pride that comes from the creation of a more beautiful and productive environment. As a career teacher at Blandford School, a sixth grade-only nature immersion program of Grand Rapids Public Schools (Michigan) housed on the grounds of the Blandford Nature Center. Jeff will share outdoor lesson plans for early elementary grades.

Participants will be challenged with integration of nature-based learning into their own school environment after reviewing lesson plans developed by Jeff Lende over his career in outdoor education, including a design for possible nature areas on their school’s grounds.

3:15 PM –  3:45 PM  Resources for Expanding Froebel's Methods

Tiffeni Goesel
Waldorf certified / Froebel teacher and author/researcher

Drawing on her Waldorf training and years working with students in classroom and homeschool environments, Tiffeni will offer resources for those new to Froebel’s methodology and take questions from participants on how to approach specific situations.

Participants will gain information on resources and methods pertinent to their own school or home education setting by receiving answers and information to their specific questions.

3:45 PM –  4:30 PM  Open Forum

4:30 PM –  5:00 PM  Closing Comments

Scott Bultman