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VCCS Tidewater Regional Center for Teaching Excellence

Presents the

Virginia Association for Developmental Education Fall 2008
Tidewater, Mid-Central, and Northern Virginia Regional VADE Seminars

The VCCS Regional Centers for Teaching Excellence and the Virginia Association for Developmental Education are pleased to announce the Fall 2008 Tidewater, Mid-Central, and Northern Virginia Regional VADE conferences, presenting Dr. Rita Smilkstein and Dr. Janet Elder.  Professors Smilkstein and Elder will conduct a day-long seminar on brain development research and pedagogy at two locations: Staunton, Virginia on October 2nd; and Hampton, Virginia on October 3rd.  There are no charges for registration or the luncheon for employees of the VCCS or VCCS invitees.

Agenda for the Day

8:00-8:45 Check in. Please check in and make yourselves comfortable before 9 a.m. We'll start right on time. Coffee and tea service will be provided throughout the morning.


Session I: "Increasing Student Motivation, Engagement, Empowerment, and Success with Brain-Compatible Teaching"

Presenter: Rita Smilkstein, Ph.D.

Presentation Description:  This interactive presentation presents classroom research about how students naturally learn and research about the brain’s innate learning process. These areas of research converge, providing a classroom-proven guide to help faculty develop and deliver curricula that make it possible for every student to experience engaging, empowering, successful learning. Handouts included.

Purpose: The purpose is to share with participants research about how students experience learning, research about the role of the brain in the learning process, and how to translate these two converging areas of research into brain-compatible, interactive, student-centered curricula/lessons and pedagogy. When teachers do this, they can increase their ability to help every student become a naturally motivated, engaged, empowered, and successful learner. This is the ultimate purpose.

12:00-12:10 Evaluation and closing remarks.

12:10-12:50 Lunch will be served in the meeting room. (Included with registration.)

12:50-3:50 Note: Iced tea service will be provided in the afternoon.

Session II: "This Little Light of Mind: Using Brain-Friendly Strategies to Help Students Shine"

Presenter: Janet Elder, Ph.D.

Description and Purpose: This lively, interactive session is designed to show how brain-friendly strategies can energize teaching and enhance student learning. It focuses on the application of practical, effective, and simple-to-implement brain-friendly strategies. These strategies capitalize on the way the brain learns naturally, and therefore, most easily. Moreover, they are especially apropos and engaging for the “digital natives” who fill our classrooms: students who have grown up with technology as an integral part of their lives. These strategies can be applied in any content area course, and many can be adapted for tutoring situations. Presentation includes music, PowerPoint slides, demonstrations, and audience participation.

3:50-4:00 Evaluation and closing remarks.


To attend the Tidewater Region seminar in Hampton, which will be held at the Peninsula Workforce Development Center Conference Room, 600 Butler Farm Road, Hampton Virginia, 23666, copy and fill out the registration information below and email it to Rick Dollieslager at dollieslagerr@tncc.edu
Directions to PWDC

To attend the Northern/Mid-Central Region seminar in Staunton, which will be held at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel Conference Center, 24 South Market Street, Staunton, Virginia 24401, copy and fill out the registration information below and email it to Barry Selinger at bselinger@nvcc.edu



Mailing address (at which to send your certificate):

Work email:

EMPL ID # (needed to process your certificate and CEUs):

Accommodations and Directions

If you wish to stay over in Hampton on 10/2 or 10/3, the Candlewood Suites, located less than 1/2 mile from the conference site, will extend state rates to participants who identify themselves as state employees who are in Hampton to attend the VCCS/VADE seminar at the Peninsula Workforce Development Center at TNCC:

Candlewood Suites
401 Butler Farm Rd, Hampton, VA 23666
(757) 766-9137
(800) 465-4329
Directions & Links

To stay at the Stonewall Jackson in Staunton at state rates on 10/1 or 10/2, identify yourself as a state employee who is attending the VCCS/VADE seminar at their conference center on 10/2. If the clerk on duty has not been informed, please tell him or her that arrangements have been made through the Stonewall Jasckson's Catering Sales mananger, Joe McDowell, to extend state rates to participants.

Stonewall Jackson Hotel & Conference Center
24 S. Market Street · Staunton, VA 24401
phone: (540) 885-4848 · fax: (540) 885-4840
toll free: (866)880-0024
Directions & Links

The Presenters

rita smilkstein

Dr. Rita Smilkstein, a frequent speaker nationally and internationally on brain-compatible teaching, is currently Professor Emerita (English), North Seattle Community College, and Invited Faculty at Western Washington University’s Woodring College of Education, Seattle Urban Campus. Her publications include textbooks and articles on brain-compatible curricula and pedagogy. Her book We’re Born to Learn: Using the Brain’s Natural Learning Process to Create Curriculum (Corwin Press, 2003) was awarded the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International's Educator's Book of the Year Award for 2004. This award recognizes books that "may influence the direction of thought and action necessary to meet the needs of today's complex society." In 2005 she was honored with the College Reading and Learning Association’s most prestigious award, the Robert Griffin Award for Long and Outstanding Service. In 2006 she was elected as a Fellow of the American Council of Developmental Education Associations, the highest honor in the field of developmental education, learning assistance, and tutoring services. A founding member of The Washington Center for the Improvement of the Quality of Post-Secondary Education, she is a national leader in the learning communities movement. She has a B.A. and M.A. in English, a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, and has taught middle school through graduate school, including 28 years at North Seattle Community College. Among her many teaching awards are two Excellence Awards from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development.

Born to Learn web site

Browse publications by Dr. Smilkstein

Index to PowerPoint and .PDF supplements for VADE/T-RCTE presentations

Dr. Janet Elder is a reading specialist whose teaching experience includes secondary and undergraduate levels, as well as clinical remediation. For three decades, she taught college reading improvement and study skills courses at Richland College (Dallas County Community College District) and served as a reading program coordinator for many of those years. She also implemented the college’s Honors Program and directed it for six years before returning to teaching full time. In addition to teaching reading courses, Dr. Elder periodically served on honors English and humanities teaching teams. Dr. Elder was a three-time nominee for excellence in teaching awards. Disability Services students also selected her three times as the recipient of a special award for “excep¬tional innovation, imagination, and consideration in working with students with disabilities.” She is a recipient of the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development’s Excellence Award. In fall, 2004, she left teaching in order to write full time. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Texas in Austin, Dr. Elder holds a B.A. in English and Latin, and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She earned her master's degree through a government fellowship she was awarded for Southern Methodist University's reading research program. She attained a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction in reading from Texas Woman's University, where the College of Education presented her the Outstanding Dissertation Award.

Reading Prof web site

Browse Dr. Elder's publications

janet elder

Go to Virginia Association for Developmental Education web site

Go to VCCS Tidewater Regional Center for Teaching Excellence web site