Day 2: Boost Student Engagement and Motivation – Differentiate & Personalize Learning


January 10, 2020 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Grappone Center
70 Constitution Ave
Jan Yost, Executive Director

On January 9 and 10, Mike Anderson, educator, consultant, and author, will be facilitating a two-day NHASCD Winter Conference.

Mike has been an educator for more than 25 years. An elementary school teacher for 15 years, he has also taught preschool and university graduate level classes. He spent many years as a presenter, consultant, author, and developer for Northeast Foundation for Children, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping create safe, joyful, and challenging classrooms and schools.

In 2004 Anderson received a national Milken Educator Award, and in 2005 he was a finalist for New Hampshire Teacher of the Year. Now, as an education consultant, Anderson works with schools in rural, urban, and suburban settings. He is the author of many books about great teaching and learning, including The Well-Balanced Teacher (ASCD, 2010) and Learning to Choose, Choosing to Learn (ASCD, 2016). His newest book is What We Say and How We Say it Matter: Teacher Talk That Improves Student Learning and Behavior.

Register for both days or just one of the sessions.

We all want students who are energized and excited about learning—students who are highly motivated and engaged. And yet so many of our students seem to be apathetic or overly compliant. Some may refuse to do any work at all, while many others do the least amount possible. Even many high-achievers seem to be no more than expert box-checkers—compliant and obedient workers with little real joy or zeal for learning. What’s going on, and what can we do about it?

In this active and interactive two-day conference, K-12 educators will learn many practical and powerful strategies for boosting student engagement and motivation in the classroom. They’ll also explore common pitfalls to avoid—strategies often used by schools with the best of intentions that do more harm than good when it comes to student motivation.

These two one-day workshops are interrelated and make for a perfect pairing, yet each can stand alone as a separate experience. Whether you come for one day or two, you will return to your school with many new strategies to try and with a renewed sense of energy and passion for great teaching and learning!

Day 1: What We Say and How We Say It Matter

We all have the best of intentions when it comes to our students. We want our students to be self-motivated. We want to create warm, supportive, and collaborative learning environments. We want students to grow in their capacity to be responsible, kind, and ethical. And yet…we may find ourselves in language habits that actually undermine many of these (and other) positive goals for students.

“I like the way Mark is sitting so quietly!” is meant to make Mark feel good and promote positive behavior among his classmates. In fact, it may create resentment towards Mark and make others feel devalued. “Wow! You did that math problem so quickly! You’re so smart!” is meant to reinforce and boost confidence, but it likely puts students in a fixed mindset and reduces their chance of taking on challenges or taking risks in math. Although we want our students to feel ownership of their work, we may say things like, “Here are the three things I’ll be looking for in this next project,” or “Here’s what you’re going to do for me next.” Each of these statements actually emphasizes teacher ownership of work.

So, what should we say? That’s what this workshop is all about! Through an active and interactive format, educators will…

  • Learn key content about effective language\
  • Consider many language habits that support student motivation and engagement
  • Engage in rich discussions with colleagues
  • Learn a process for changing language
  • Create a personalized plan for shifting a language habit
  • Gain access to an online binder of resources for further reflection and to share with colleagues
  • Receive a copy of What We Say and How We Say It Matter: Teacher Talk That Improves Student Learning and Behavior (Mike Anderson, 2019, ASCD)

Day 2: Differentiate and Personalize Learning

“When work is a pleasure, life is a joy! When work is a duty, life is slavery.” -Maxim Gorky

There is an uncomfortable truth about many children’s school experiences–with little voice or autonomy, many students languish with schoolwork that has little personal relevance. They view school as something done to them, not something in which they have true power and voice. Additionally, as learners come to school with more diverse needs than ever before, we know that a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching and learning will leave most kids either bored or overwhelmed. Some school districts’ well-intentioned but misguided attempts to personalize learning through self-paced online portals may offer the promise of differentiating learning without overwhelming teachers, but it rarely leads to joyful or engaged learning.

Is it possible to differentiate learning—and even personalize it—in ways that are manageable by overwhelmed teachers and fun and exciting for students?


Through the skillful use of structured choice, teachers can teach students how to make appropriately challenging choices to differentiate their own learning while also tapping into their strengths and interests. When used well, choice doesn’t have to involve herculean teacher planning. In fact, many teachers find that they have more positive energy and passion for teaching when using choice. Their time is spent more efficiently, and they get excited as their students come alive in the classroom.

In this active and interactive presentation, educators will…

Understand a process for facilitating choice effectively

  • Explore key strategies that support the effectiveness of differentiation and personalization
  • Gain practical strategies and skills for implementing choice effectively with students
  • See many examples of choice in action
  • Experience meaningful choice as a part of the workshop
  • Gain access to a robust set of resources to help guide their ongoing implementation
  • Receive a copy of Learning to Choose, Choosing to Learn: The Key to Student Motivation and Achievement (Mike Anderson, 2016, ASCD)

Registration Fee:

  • One Day:  $195 for NHASCD Members; $245 for non-members
  • Both Days:   $300 for NHASCD Members:  $350 for non-members

Register For This Event

When registering, the option to register for both days or one day will appear after entering your contact information.