Instructional MicroShifts to Magnify Student Empowerment

Saturday, April 4th, 1:40pm - 2:25pm - Strategy Sessions

It can be formidable to majorly overhaul instruction. Yet, pedagogical change can combat student disengagement. The focus of this mini-session is on strategic microshifts that teachers can make to existing pedagogy to heighten student personalization and engagement, within the framework of project based learning. These include: making dramatic changes to student groupings, front loading projects, and including an external audience. Participants will join a swift design burst to incorporate collaboration and feedback and will leave with an understanding of the why and how of these strategies along with a plan for integrating at least one strategy in an existing class project.

Monica Housen
Monica Housen has over twenty years experience as a secondary math teacher in New Jersey, Connecticut, and overseas. She is a two-time Fulbright teacher, teaching in both Latvia and Hungary. Her experiences led to her co-authored book, Our International Education: Stories of Living, Teaching, and Parenting Abroad. Dr. Housen has also contributed to Mathematics Teacher, the publication of the National Council of the Teachers of Mathematics. She currently serves on the Connecticut Mathematics High School Reform task force, a joint effort to examine the current state of math education. Dr. Housen lives in New York State with her husband and three children. Together, they enjoy hosting puppies for the Guiding Eyes for the Blind. Her hobbies include knitting and origami, which she loves to incorporate into her Geometry classes. Dr. Housen earned her Ed.D. from Northeastern University, an Ed.M. in Language Education from Rutgers University, and a B.A. in Physics from Colgate University.
Ray Bielizna
Ray Bielizna has been a high school math teacher for 36 years. He graduated from Fairfield University in 1983, where he was a Math major. Ray worked at Ethan Allen in Danbury for one year then decided to leave the world of fine furniture to pursue a career in education. Ray’s grandfather was the Superintendent of Schools in Naugatuck, CT. His father was a history professor. His mother was also a math teacher. Ray began teaching math at New Fairfield High School in 1984. Ray was the Varsity Boys’ Basketball coach at New Fairfield High School from 1990-1999. Ray was the Math Team coach at New Fairfield for 5 years. Ray began teaching at Ridgefield High School in September of 1999. Over the course of his teaching career Ray has taught practically every course offered from Algebra I to AP Statistics. Ray prides himself on the fact that he can make a connection with a wide variety of students of varying ability. He has had success with lower level students as well as Honors