For Teachers & Leadership

The following sessions are offered by the University of Dallas Classical Education k-12 Professional Development Team. Regardless of the model of your school, they can adapt any session and customize to the needs of your campus staff or homeschool community.

Recommended for K-12 Teachers

Introduction to the Trivium as Modes of Learning – “In the beginning was the Word” echo the words of scripture and the essence of how we learn. Teachers will learn how to activate the trivium as modes of learning through the theory of a LogoCentric® model in a Christian education.  Teachers will experience the art of teaching the trivium as both curriculum and pedagogy.

Introducing a Classical Instructional Framework with Lessons Aligned to State Standards ‒ This is a very hands-on class. Teachers will be instructed to read the standards through a classical liberal arts lens. Using a Classical Instructional Framework, teachers will learn the elements of various liberal arts pedagogy, and see where and how they align with state requirements. Teachers will have time to create lessons and then present their lesson plan with alignments. This class is suitable for all subjects including electives. (4 hours) Prerequisites recommended for this class include: “Defining Socratic Methods.”

Introduction to Socratic Teaching ‒ Teachers will learn how to develop meaningful lessons with Socratic questions. The difference between Socratic questions and Seminars will be examined. The focus will be on the art of asking good questions. Theory and strategy will also be discussed. (2-3 hours. Three hours allows for more participatory lessons.)

Asking the Important Questions in Any Class: How to Exercise Maieutic Questioning Skills ‒ In this session, teachers will learn about the four categories of questions. They will engage in a role-play lesson and hands-on activities learning to rewrite poorly written questions into Socratic questions. Ideal for all teachers for all grade levels and subjects. (2 hours)

Cultivating the Moral Imagination through Classical Children’s Literature – In this session we will explore the concept of the “moral imagination” as presented by Vigen Guroian (Tending the Heart of Virtue) and others, focusing on the idea that the moral imagination is best nurtured indirectly by allowing students to experience characters’ moral choices in stories, rather than by directly drawing out moral lessons for them to learn. Stories to be discussed might include various fairy tales, Pinocchio, The Secret Garden and others.

The Importance of Beauty ‒ Experience how to rightly form the imagination and affections of students towards an aesthetic life. In this day of technology and data reports, we must not forget that the ultimate purpose of education is the formation of the whole person: body and soul; mind, will, and affections. Charlotte Mason asserts that we refresh students by offering opportunities “to train the seeing eye, the hearing ear, and to drop seeds of truth into the open soul of the child, which shall germinate, blossom, and bear fruit…” How do we teach the complete perfection of color, form, proportion and harmony in a world that screams relativism and subjectivism? (2-3 hours – 3 hours if we do a nature study lesson too)

Fun with Number Theory – “Unfortunately it’s not a multiple of 17,” my student said to me as we were staring at the number 102,683. “It’s also not the sum of two squares,” said she. 17 is my favorite number, so she was commiserating with me. One reason that I like 17 is that it is the sum of two squares: 4^2 + 1^2. That student is not a genius of any sort, she just has some basic understanding of how numbers work as you add and multiply them. That’s what this workshop is about. (2-4 hours with Dr. Hochberg)

Introduction to Teaching Grammar and Sentence Diagramming – This session can be adapted to any grade range and may include: using Montessori grammar symbols to introduce young children to the parts of speech; an introduction to sentence diagramming for beginners; more advanced sentence diagramming; how to use beautiful works of art to teach and reinforce grammar concepts while fostering an appreciation of beauty and a sense of wonder.

Writing as Imitation – Teachers will learn how to use this ancient technique to improve students’ writing, from the micro- to the macro-level, by imitating the great writers of the past. For grades 6-12, but especially 9-12. (2-8 hours with Dr. Roper)

Mastering the Four Arguments – Teachers will learn how to use the ancient rhetorical method of Stasis Theory to help students discover a topic, find a thesis, and most importantly organize and defend their arguments with well-chosen evidence and reasons. Teachers will learn how to use templates for the four basic arguments (Definitional, Causal, Evaluative, and Problem-Solution) to help students see how different kinds of arguments are related, how they each take a different “shape,” and how they each need different kinds of evidence. For grades 6-12, but especially 9-12. (2-8 hours with Dr. Roper)

Introducing the Progymnasmata: Classical Writing & Rhetoric for grades 3-8 ‒ Teachers will learn to teach the first 2 stages of the progymnasmata for elementary children (narratio and extending a fable). Discover the research that supports this pedagogical method and how children with language delays benefit from the progymnasmata exercises. After we do a few lessons, teachers will create one to share. For grades 3-8 (3 hours)

The Art of Narrating ‒ Teachers will learn the art of retelling, as Quintilian practiced with his students in Rome. In The Institute Oratoria of Quintilian, he asserts that narration is arguably, “the most important department of rhetoric in actual practice.” This ancient pedagogy sparks metacognition and leads students to develop habits of attention, memory, and rhetoric. The idea of narration is also a theme throughout Scripture and the liturgical life. Learn how to apply this pedagogy within a classical instructional framework. (1.5 hours)

Narrating through the Trivium ‒ Teachers will experience the trivium as arts rather than stages of development. Discover the art of narration as it unfolds in grammar (through mimesis), in logic (through dialectic and maieutics), and in rhetoric (through poiesis, the progymnasmata and the five canons of rhetoric). Experience the various ways of narrating stories, expository text, pictures and music. Learn how to set goals, assess narrations and how to transition into written narrations. (4 hours) Prerequisites recommended for this class includes “The Art of Narration.”

Teaching Classical Literature with State Standards ‒ This is a very hands-on class. Literature lessons will be divided into genre-specific categories and spiral categories. Teachers will be instructed how to create classical lessons with a classical instructional framework in complete alignment to state standards. (1 hour)

Beautiful Pictures for Beautiful Words: Teaching Literature with Art ‒Teachers will experience how to use illustrations of classic children’s literature to increase students’ understanding of and involvement with the texts and to nurture their imaginations. Using various illustrators’ versions of the same or similar scenes not only cultivates the habit of attention, but also focuses students’ attention on how exactly the images relate to the words. Teachers will learn to help students see, for example, which aspect of the text the illustrations emphasize. Using illustrations (from Latin: to illuminate, explain, make clear) is also a vital strategy for helping ESL and special education students read literary classics with joy and comprehension and for improving their narrations. 

Teaching Shakespeare – Guide students through reading and even performing the work of the greatest English playwright with confidence. This session provides direct instruction in both understanding and teaching Shakespeare, as well as how to create love of the Bard in students from 4th grade to high school (1.5 hours)

Answering the Popular Brain Worms of Edu-Speak – We all know about “ear worms,” when a song or phrase gets stuck in our heads. But progressive education creates “brain worms” like “facts and knowledge do not matter; critical thinking does” and “we need to get away from ‘drill and kill'” and “we don’t want a Sage on the Stage but a Guide on the Side” and “Project-Based Learning is superior to all other kinds” and “we want students to make their own meanings.” This workshop shows what is wrong with these brain worms, how to respond to them, and how classical liberal education is superior to all of them. (1-3 hours with Dr. Roper)

Teaching Latin and Modern Foreign Languages Classically K-3rd Grade and 4th-12th Grade – Latin teaching from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance did not focus on the value of Latin for mental gymnastics and improved SAT scores. Instead, the goal of learning foreign languages was to experience language as an art, and language teaching focused on the ability to speak, read, write with ease. This session explores the role of foreign languages in the Trivium, and demonstrates how students can experience the grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric modes of instruction in every language class. In K-3rd grade, teachers will experience how to use pictures and gestures to help students memorize songs, nursery rhymes and poetry, how to do Little Socratic dialogs with their students, how to use beautiful works of art as well as classic stories, and the Gouin series. For 4th grade and up, teachers will experience the continued value of memorizing poetry and prose, how to use Socratic questions and narration in reading lessons, how to create meaningful and effective grammar exercises, and how to teach composition to promote accuracy and fluency. (Ideally split up in two different sections for K-5 and 6-12 but can be combined as needed.)

Reading and Narration in Latin and Modern Foreign Language Classes – This session is ideal for teachers who have already had an introduction to teaching Latin and foreign languages classically. Reading is at the heart of a classical education, in foreign languages no less than in English. This session emphasizes the importance of reading not just to decode and translate, but to narrate and internalize the text. We will explore and practice many different strategies for implementing narration effectively in the foreign language classroom, both in Latin and modern foreign languages.

Classically Bilingual – Children are supposedly like sponges, soaking up language effortlessly. And yet, even students in bilingual schools often don’t become fully fluent and proficient in both languages. This session will highlight the need for biliteracy to achieve full bilingualism, and present ways for teachers to use classical methods to help children learn to read, write and speak fluently and proficiently, and understand the grammar of both languages.

Recommended for K-8 Teachers

Integrative Instruction Model ‒ Discover the classical philosophy of integrating subjects. Research supports the benefit of self-contained classrooms teaching with a literature-rich curriculum as the basis for instruction in the primary grades. The TEKS require students to integrate all core subjects through proficient habits of thinking, speaking, reading, and listening across subjects. Learn about the current research that supports self-contained integrated instruction over departmentalized instruction for K-5 classrooms and how to embody this through a classical instructional framework. (30 minutes)

Integrating Music and Art ‒ Plato’s “music” refers to the Muses (Μοῦσαι) who governed the arts of literature, poetry, song, and dance. “Music” to the Greeks included not just singing and instrumental playing, but also theater, dance, poetry, sculpture, drawing and painting, reading great literature, and imitation. Quintilian in defense of unifying the study of music with lessons in rhetoric reminds his readers “the knowledge of music as necessary to his ideal statesman.” Discover the importance and joy of integrating music and art into classroom instruction. (1 hour)

The Trivium: Memory and Habits – The Heart of Grammar – In this session we will cover three sections. Part I: The Theory of Classical Ed & History of the Trivium; Part II: The Trivium as a LogoCentric® Curriculum; and Part III: The Trivium as Pedagogy. Teachers will learn how to activate the first part of the Trivium through practical methods for K-8 learning. (3-6 hours)

The Trivium: Dialectic and Rhetoric for K-8 – In this session we will build upon The Heart of Grammar session as we delve into the whole trivium as an active pedagogical experience in the K-8 classroom. (4-6 hours) Prerequisite The Trivium: Memory & Habits – The Heart of Grammar.

Introduction to Teaching Grammar and Sentence Diagramming – This session can be adapted to any grade range and may include: using Montessori grammar symbols to introduce young children to the parts of speech; an introduction to sentence diagramming for beginners; more advanced sentence diagramming; how to use beautiful works of art to teach and reinforce grammar concepts while fostering an appreciation of beauty and a sense of wonder. (1-3 hours)

Seminar for Little People ‒ The philosophy behind Socratic methods will be discussed in-depth through a Seminar format. Teachers will also experience a Seminar that they can use in their classrooms. The philosophy is easily adapted for upper level instruction. (2-6 hours) If time permits, two seminars can be experienced. Some possible seminar options include: K-2 Geography/Citizenship, 3rd grade Fable, 2nd grade history/literature, 5th/8th grade history, 5-8 grade arithmetic poetic seminar. Prerequisites recommended for this class includes “The Art of Narration” and Introduction for Socratic Teaching.

Recitation, Dictation, Penmanship, and Copywork ‒ Teachers will learn theory and history behind these methods and experience instructional strategies. There is much modern research to support these ancient practices in student achievement. Discover why these practices are an important part of education, and how they can transform the learning environment and cultivate positive habits in the classroom. (3-4 hours)

Awakening Wonder and Developing Observation Skills ‒ Teachers will experience how picture studies can awaken wonder and prepare students for a lesson in any subject. Teachers will also learn how to select art, how to discuss and narrate a picture, how to secure habits of attention, and how to use art to scaffold a lesson. In addition, they will experience the differences between synthetic and analytical lessons. (1-3 hours)

Creating a Book of Centuries ‒ Teaching students to create beautiful timelines that they can keep forever builds historical memory. In this session, you will receive direct instruction, and create a lovely book of centuries. Use your book to model for students a template and standard for creating timeline books that they will treasure forever. This establishes good habits in penmanship and strengthens the memory. (2 hours)

Nature Study ‒ Teachers will experience a nature study lesson. Learn how to start a nature journal and motivate students to observe and wonder about the natural world. This is ideal for the teachers and students who are afraid of art and do not feel confident in starting nature journals. Supplies are needed and a list will be provided.

Poetry for All Ages and All Subjects ‒ Experience the joy of reading, reciting, and  contemplating poems, Teachers will also participate in poetic conversations to open math and science lessons. and then dive into a Socratic seminar using two history-focused poems that apply rules of civil discourse.

Recommended for Schools Transitioning to a Classical Model or Schools with new teachers, needing to recast a vision

The Spirit of Classical Education ‒ This session reflects on the spirit that drives a liberal arts program. Experience the meaning behind the mission and rediscover why you became a teacher in the first place. What drives you to teach students and how can you rekindle the things that matter in a data-driven environment? (30 minutes for theory or 3 hours with practical application)

Integrating Music and Art ‒ Plato’s “music” refers to the Muses (Μοῦσαι) who governed the arts of literature, poetry, song, and dance. “Music” to the Greeks included not just singing and instrumental playing, but also theater, dance, poetry, sculpture, drawing and painting, reading great literature, and imitation. Quintilian in defense of unifying the study of music with lessons in rhetoric reminds his readers “the knowledge of music as necessary to his ideal statesman.” Discover the importance and joy of integrating music and art into classroom instruction. (1 hour)

Nature Study ‒ Teachers will experience a nature study lesson. Learn how to start a nature journal and motivate students to observe and wonder about the natural world. This is ideal for the teachers and students who are afraid of art and do not feel confident in starting nature journals. Supplies are needed and a list will be provided. (2 hours)

Cultivating an Atmosphere for Learning This class will present practical ways to nurture the divine life in a child though the atmosphere of the classroom. Helping students to set their affections on the True, the Good, and the Beautiful begins in the atmosphere of the classroom. Discover current research that supports classical liberal arts philosophies for establishing an atmosphere that support habits that improve classroom management and create optimal cognitive function for both the teacher and the students. (1 hour) Can be combined with “The Importance of Beauty.”

The Importance of Beauty ‒ Experience how to rightly form the imagination and affections of students towards an aesthetic life. In this day of technology and data reports, we must not forget that the ultimate purpose of education is the formation of the whole person: body and soul; mind, will, and affections. Charlotte Mason asserts that we refresh students by offering opportunities “to train the seeing eye, the hearing ear, and to drop seeds of truth into the open soul of the child, which shall germinate, blossom, and bear fruit…” How do we teach the complete perfection of color, form, proportion and harmony in a world that screams relativism and subjectivism? (2-3 hours – 3 hours if we do a nature study lesson too)

Cultivating Truth, Goodness, and Beauty ‒ Cultivate the three pillars of the transcendentals through establishing wonder, examining their principles, and defending their virtues. In this session, teachers will learn how truth, goodness, and beauty build the intellect and soul of a student. Experience practical lessons that can be implemented with middle school students. (3 hours)

Answering the Popular Brain Worms of Edu-Speak – We all know about “ear worms,” when a song or phrase gets stuck in our heads. But progressive education creates “brain worms” like “facts and knowledge do not matter; critical thinking does” and “we need to get away from ‘drill and kill'” and “we don’t want a Sage on the Stage but a Guide on the Side” and “Project-Based Learning is superior to all other kinds” and “we want students to make their own meanings.” This workshop shows what is wrong with these brain worms, how to respond to them, and how classical liberal education is superior to all of them. (1-3 hours with Dr. Roper)

Introduction to Socratic Teaching ‒ Teachers will learn how to develop meaningful lessons with Socratic questions. The difference between Socratic questions and Seminars will be examined. The focus will be on the art of asking good questions. Theory and strategy will also be discussed. (2-3 hours… three hours allows for more participatory lessons)

Awakening Wonder and Developing Observation Skills ‒ Teachers will experience how picture studies can awaken wonder and prepare students for a lesson in any subject. Teachers will also learn how to select art, how to discuss and narrate a picture, how to secure habits of attention, and how to use art to scaffold a lesson. In addition, they will experience the differences between synthetic and analytical lessons. (1-3 hours)

Recitation, Dictation, Penmanship, and Copywork ‒ Teachers will learn theory and history behind these methods and experience instructional strategies. There is much modern research to support these ancient practices in student achievement. Discover why these practices are an important part of education, and how they can transform the learning environment and cultivate positive habits in the classroom. (3-4 hours)

The Art of Narrating ‒ Teachers will learn the art of retelling, as Quintilian practiced with his students in Rome. In The Institute Oratoria of Quintilian, he asserts that narration is arguably “the most important department of rhetoric in actual practice.” This ancient pedagogy sparks metacognition and leads students to develop habits of attention, memory, and rhetoric. The idea of narration is also a theme throughout Scripture and the liturgical life. Learn how to apply this pedagogy within a classical instructional framework. (1.5 hours)