Work with Alexis

Alexis offers trainings, workshops, and Skype consultations on the following topics:

Click on the workshop title below to learn more:

Spider Web Discussion: The Best Class You Never Taught

Brief description: The best classes have a life of their own, powered by student-led conversations that explore texts, ideas, and essential questions. In these classes, the teacher’s role shifts from star player to observer and coach as the students

  • Think critically,
  • Work collaboratively,
  • Participate fully,
  • Behave ethically,
  • Ask and answer high-level questions,
  • Support their ideas with evidence, and
  • Evaluate and assess their own work.

Spider Web Discussion is a simple technique that puts this kind of class within every teacher’s reach. Also called, “Harkness 2.0” this session will give you all the research behind why Spider Web Discussion is so powerful and all the specifics you need to begin it Monday morning in class. This is Alexis’s most popular workshop, based on her education best-seller The Best Class You Never Taught (ASCD).

Audience: teachers of all subject levels and ages, instructional coaches and administrators

Available adaptations: general audience focus or department/division-specific focus


Essential Questions: High Engagement, Deep Inquiry

Brief description: Do students often say your class has made them think more than any they had before? Do students regularly leave your room still passionately discussing the lesson as they walk down the hall? Do students write you hand-written notes at the end of the year saying how grateful they were to have been challenged by the depth of inquiry your course required?

If not, you likely haven’t discovered the simple joy of teaching with great essential questions.

Essential questions are one of the most efficient ways to design curriculum and assessments with a deep, lasting impact on student learning. Yet most teachers aren’t sure how to tap their power.

This practical, creative session first clarifies what is and isn’t an essential question, a key misunderstanding in education. Then, participants of all grade levels and disciplines will learn how to re-frame their existing curriculum around core essential questions designed for deep inquiry and long-term learning.

Leave this session absolutely inspired and invigorated, with a toolbox full of great essential questions to transform any course, whether it is U.S. History, A.P. Biology, statistics or American Literature.

Audience: teachers of all subject levels and ages, instructional coaches and administrators

Available adaptations: general audience or department/division-specific


Writing with Power

Brief description: In-depth analysis, critical thinking, and cogent writing are the English teacher’s ultimate goal, but it often feels like a Sisyphean task to get all students there. Not anymore.

In this practical, hands-on workshop, teachers will learn fresh approaches to teaching sophisticated written rhetoric and analysis. This workshop will energize teachers with three core practices for teaching adolescent writers: opportunities for authentic audiences, student choice, and self-assessment, all within the aim of creating effective writing. Every student can be a powerful writer; come experience how Alexis uses these methods to achieve results in her own classes.

Audience: MS/HS English teachers; also appropriate for science, humanities, and world language teachers interested in improving rhetorical and analytical writing.


Assessment: A Practical Approach to Formative and Summative Assessment

Brief description: Everyone is talking about assessment, but how do we ensure it works? How do we make sure assessment criteria are clear to all teachers and students? Are rubrics helping or hindering? How do we make formative assessment work in our actual classrooms, given concerns about time constraints and student engagement?

This workshop offers tips on how to design effective assessment strategies for any middle- and high-school classroom. Learn how to use criteria for purpose-built rubrics that inspire student creativity, engagement, and meta-cognition, not stifle them. Learn how to create a bank of student work that serves as a valuable tool for communicating to parents, teachers, and students about assessment. Learn tips for setting up your grade book to make formative assessment a boon, not a burden. Walk away from this workshop with a practical set of solutions to raise your classroom or school’s assessment game and get every stakeholder on the same page.

Audience: MS and HS teachers of all subjects, instructional coaches, and administrators

Available adaptations: grade-level- or department/division-specific


Fearless Feedback: How a Culture of Feedback Can Transform Learning

Brief description: Feedback is the keystone to deep learning, bridging the gaps between content, skills, and assessment. This workshop offers specific ways teachers can employ feedback to lessen grading time and empower students. You will see student portfolios, course evaluations, and student-teacher conferences like you have never seen them before in this innovative session on how feedback transforms learning.

Audience: teachers of all subject levels and ages, instructional coaches and administrators

Available adaptations: general audience or department/division-specific


Approaches to Teaching and Learning: Practical Strategies for Maximizing Teaching and Learning

The most dynamic, vibrant classrooms are ones in which students find inspiration, drive, and clearly-communicated goals. Based on the IB’s Approaches to Teaching and Learning, this workshop highlights the importance of five key skills for students and six key skills for teachers in creating the best classroom environments. You will walk away from this workshop with dozens of practical tips, activities, and new methods to inspire you. This sessions offers a treasure-trove of some of the most current, practical, and effective strategies out there — all in one place.

Audience: teachers of all subject levels and ages, instructional coaches and administrators

Available adaptations: IBDP schools version and non-IBDP schools version

Contact Alexis

Ready to work with Alexis? Have questions about a workshop? Click the link below to contact Alexis directly.