Curriculum and Instruction

  Link to past Faculty/Department Highlights

Faculty/Department Highlights

2017 Illinois Reading Council Conference, 50 Years of Reading Excellence

IRCDr. Frances Steward and students presented enthusiastically, and with knowledgeable ease, to an audience (15) on October 6, 2017, at the 2017 IRC Conference. The presentation was entitled: Strategic Student Engagement: Motivating Through Use of Children’s Books. Students shared, during a power point slide show, their applications of motivational technology and their special designed instructional products. A happy positive experience for everyone!

In photo L to R:  Amy Lesjner, Trisha Cramer, Dakota Morris, Dr. Steward, and Lauren Marchetto









We Won 2017

2017 A Storybook Homecoming "Dec the Office" Contest 1st Place Winner:  Curriculum & Instruction Office

We are excited and honored to be chosen first place winner of the 2017 A Storybook Homecoming "Dec the Campus for Western" office decoration contest. We won THREE years in a row!!

Click here for pictures of our prize winning decorations!



Dr. Frances Steward, Laura Avelar and John Avelar at the Moon Over Macomb

Moon Over Macomb 2016 On Oct. 15, 2016, Moon Over Macomb, on the Courthouse Square, was a huge success!  We had a grand total of 405 attendees! Dr. Frances Steward and Curriculum and Instruction Department students guided Families, friends, and children in decorating baby pumpkins and bookmarks, making scarecrow puppets, and reading seasonal books to parents, grandparents and children.

Twenty-eight volunteer students from RDG 433, LLA 313, C&I 370, RDG 384, SPED Block, the Parks and Recreation Department, and Beta Alpha Pi. Also attending were Dr. Barry L. Witten, C & I Interim Chair with his 2 adorable grandchildren; Professor, Jon Jones and his wife; Retiree, Nancy Chu and her family training dog; and Jackie Richmond, Field and Clinical Experiences Coordinator. We appreciate supportive attendees and the special community event training experience for our pre-service teachers. What fun!

 For more pictures click here.



2016 Homecoming "Dec the Office" Contest 1st Place Winner:  Curriculum & Instruction Office

We are excited and honored to be chosen first place winner of the 2016 Homecoming "Dec the Campus for Western" office decoration contest. We won two years in a row!!

Click here for pictures of our prize winning decorations!




Dr. Anderson and Dr. Lee present at the WIU Faculty PechaKucha Night at the Figge Museum

qrssAssociate Professor Dr. Christine Anderson and Associate Professor Dr. Debbie Lee presented at the prestigious Figge Art Museum on Thursday, April 21st at the WIU Faculty "PechaKucha Night."  Dr. Anderson presented on her artwork, and Dr. Lee presented on her trip to visit preschools in Italy.

The WIU-QC Quad Cities Research and Scholarship Symposium (QRSS) paired with the Figge this week to sponsor WIU Faculty PechaKucha Night.  It is the first of such nights they have sponsored.  The QRSS sponsors Last Lectures speeches.  Drs. Anderson and Lee are both members of the QRSS.  

The Figge Museum holds free "Thursdays at the Figge" events each week, where community members can enjoy a drink at the bar and stroll through their galleries of world-class traveling exhibitions. Different lectures, classes, performances or exhibitions are presented each week. PechaKucha refers to a Japanese style of concise, fast-paced presentations.

gg it Shown picture above left are members of the WIU-QC Quad Cities Research and Scholarship Symposium. Pictured left to right are Co-Chair Dr. Mary Hogg (COFAC), Officer Dr. Christine Anderson, Communications Officer Dr. Debbie Lee, and Co-Chair Keva Hibbert (COBAT).  C&I Associate Professor Dr. Fred Isele is also an officer and Faculty Counselor Liaison of the QRSS.  The photo on the bottom left is a drawing done by Dr. Anderson.  The photo on the bottom right is a preschool classroom Dr. Lee visited in Italy.  



Dr. Laverne Logan Supervises Illinois Science Olympiad State Competition Event

llOn Saturday, April 16th Professor Laverne Logan served as the Event Supervisor at the Illinois Science Olympiad State Tournament at the University of Illinois-Champaign. Dr. Logan was supervisor for the high school division of the "Write It, Do It" event which was just one of 25 high school events during the tournament. Write It, Do It is a two team member event where one student must write a description of an object and how to build it, and then the other student will attempt to construct the object from the written description. Dr. Logan designed the object to be described, read each team's written description, and also assessed and evaluated the final object which each team constructed. A total of 51 high school teams participated in the day-long tournament.






WIU Infant & Preschool Children Raise Money for Kids in St. Jude Trike-A-Thon, WIU Fraternal Order of Police Donates Helmets and Teaches Biking Safety

trChildren of the WIU Infant and Preschool Center learned the importance of helping others by participating in the Preschool's annual Trike-A-Thon to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital .  Prior to the event, Western Illinois University Police Sergeant Derek Watts visited the children and brought them each a bike helmet, donated by the WIU Fraternal Order of the Police (FOP) No. 169 . Watts assisted Kelly Morck, lead teacher for the preschool, in teaching the students about bicycle safety, helmet safety and why children should wear helmets.

tri"We love that our students have such a good relationship with the OPS [ Office of Public Safety ] officers," said Sherri Moon, director of the Infant and Preschool Center. "Throughout the year, the officers are so great about just stopping by to check in or coming in to read to the kids. They really love it, and they are always excited to see the police officers."



Powers Conducts STARLAB Planetarium Training at the Rock Island Regional Office of Education

starlab Professor Don Powers conducted a day-long STARLAB Planetarium Training at the Rock Island Regional Office of Education on Friday, April 8 , 2016.  During the session teachers learned how to set-up, operate, and maintain the inflatable STARLAB Planetarium system. The teachers also participated in a number of hands-on astronomy activities to increase their knowledge about astronomy and learned how the study of the Sun , Earth, Moon, planets, and stars in their classrooms align with the Next Generation Science Standards.  At the conclusion of the training participants were certified by the ROE to borrow the STALRLAB system for use in their own schools.


Dr. Lyons Presents at Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development Annual Conference

mlAssistant Professor Megan Lyons presented the 2016 Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Annual Conference & Exhibit Show in Atlanta, GA on April 2-4, 2016. Dr. Lyons presented an interactive session entitled "Using Differentiation in STEM to Assist Exceptional Learners," which highlighted unique ways for elementary teachers to differentiate STEM activities to effectively meet the needs of average and struggling learners. Her presentation focused on best practices that are engaging and that incorporate rigor, as well as how to incorporate the inquiry process into other academic disciplines.



Dr. Powers, Dr. Singh, Dr. Lyons and Dr. Ortmann Present at NSTA National Conference on Science Education

nstaProfessor Don Powers, Associate Professor Abha Singh, Assistant Professor Megan Lyons and Assistant Professor Lisa Ortmann presented at the 2016 National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) National Conference on Science Education in Nashville, TN on March 31 through April 3, 2016.  

Dr. Powers presented two hands-on workshops.  The first, "Bringing Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science into the Elementary and Middle School Classroom," showcased activities that integrate engineering and technology that are appropriate for elementary and middle school classrooms and connect to NGSS standards.  Next Generational Science Standards (NGSS) is a three-dimensional learning model incorporating 1: Practices, 2: Crosscutting Concepts, and 3: Disciplinary Core Ideas.  The second workshop, "Astronomy Activities for Your Classroom," spotlighted a variety of low-budget, hands-on astronomy activities for immediate use in the classroom.

Drs. Singh, Lyons and Ortmann presented on "NGSS for Early Childhood Learners."  This presentation explored the proposition that science lessons learned in early childhood can produce powerful outcomes in children, making them more at ease with science as they get older. 

Featured left to right in the photo are:  Dr. Ortmann, Dr. Lyons, Dr. Singh and Dr. Powers.


Dr. Anderson and Dr. Lyons Present at SITE 2016 International Conference


Associate Professor Christine Anderson and Assistant Professor Megan Lyons of the Curriculum and Instruction Department presented at the 27th Annual International SITE 2016 Conference (Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education) in Savannah, GA on March 21-25, 2016.

Dr. Lyons presented a brief paper on "Incorporating Inquiry Strategies to Engage Online Learners."  Dr. Anderson presented a full paper on "Technology and Language Arts: A Good Recipe for One Adolescent Girl" along with former WIU Curriculum & Instruction faculty member Dr. Laura Kieran.  

Dr. Anderson also facilitated an international roundtable discussion on "International Inclusive Learning Technology Issues" with virtual participants from around the globe. Dr. Anderson is the Chair of the SITE Special Interest Group on Special Education.

The pictures above, left to right, are:  Dr. Anderson facilitating the international roundtable discussion, Dr. Lyons presenting, a conference participant attending virtually via a "Beam" remote-presence mobile video conferencing unit, and the SITE conference logo.

Click HERE to view a video of the Google Hangouts session from the conference sponsored by the the Society for Information Technology in Teacher Education's UDL, SPED, and Assistive Technology SIGs, the Inclusive Learning Network of the International Society for Technology in Education's International Committee, and the International Association of Special Education. The Hangout discusses issues of technology for individuals with disabilities internationally.   


Dr. Lee Publishes Article in Early Childhood Education Journal

by Assistant Professor Boh Young Lee of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction had an article accepted for publication in the Early Childhood Education Journal.  The article is entitled "Facilitating Reading Habits and Creating Peer Culture in Shared Book Reading: An Exploratory Case Study in a Toddler Classroom. "  Click HERE to read the article.





Dr. Singh and Dr. Lyons Publish Chapter in Nova Science Publisher Book

abAssociate Professor Abha Singh and Assistant Professor Megan Lyons of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction published a chapter on "Evidence-Based Models in Science Education" in the book Professional Development: Recent Advances and Future Development  published by Nova Science Publishers, Inc.






Dr. Lyons Presents at Learning Disabilities Association Conference

Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction Megan Lyons presented "Successfully Transitioning High School Students with Exceptionalities into Higher Education" at the Learning Disabilities Association's 53rd annual International Conference in Orlando, FL on February 15-18, 2016.


                  NAACP Officers Bring Teddy Bear Hugs to Preschool Center

picture of preschoolers with teddy bears

The NAACP officers brought each of the preschoolers a teddy bear for Valentine's Day! What a WONDERFUL surprise!! Thank you NAACP!! Those teddy bears are being well-loved by the preschoolers!!

Dr. Stinnett Conducts Research on Inquiry Learning in New Zealand

                                  Dr. Stinnett with students

Dr. Stinnett is working with a group of year 7/8 (grades 6 and 7; ages 10-13) during her sabbatical trip, spring 2016.  She is conducting research on inquiry instruction. Dr. Stinnett is visiting Viscount Learning Community in Auckland, New Zealand where they instruct most of their subjects with the use of Inquiry instruction.

MSEd. in Elementary Education Receives New Name: Now Called MSEd. in Curriculum and Instruction

msedci In order to more accurately reflect the variety of options our MSEd. in Elementary Education offers, it will now be called the MSEd. in Curriculum and Instruction, starting in Fall 2016.  Current students in the MSEd. in Elementary Education program who plan to graduate December 2016 or later will be able to request a change in catalog if they would like their degrees to reflect this title change.

This degree name change reflects recent changes made by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) in licensure for teachers, which now defines elementary education as grades 1 through 6.  Changing the degree name to MSEd. in Curriculum and Instruction will better serve degree candidates in this program who are specializing in Early Childhood Education (birth to grade 2), Middle School Education (grades 5 through 8) and Secondary School Education (grades 9 through 12). 

"A graduate program with the designation 'Curriculum and Instruction' will assist faculty and staff in recruiting candidates who teach or have an interest in early childhood, elementary grades or at the middle/secondary level," explains C&I Graduate Coordinator Dr. Barry Witten.  "In addition, middle/secondary level candidates who may have seen the label 'elementary education,' may have dismissed the opportunity, not realizing that courses in the program, in fact, did cover the school curriculum through the eighth grade and beyond."

According to WIU Department of C&I Chair Sara Simonson, the change in the degree's name will help to meet the current demands of today's educators and school systems. She also noted that online options provide students with more flexibility in their individual pursuits of graduate degrees to help advance their careers in the education field.

"This change will allow us to grow and offer a greater variety of courses to a wider audience. The degree program enables master's degree-seeking students to develop an area of specialization in literacy education, science, mathematics, social studies, early childhood education or curriculum (a combination of courses from three other specializations). Two of the areas of specialization in the degree program, literacy education and elementary curriculum, are fully online. Other areas of specialization (social studies, science, math and early child education) are mostly online. These are appealing options for potential degree candidates," she added. 


Dr. Don Powers Presents at the 2015 Illinois Science Education Conference

Teachers building the tallest free falling object out of one sheet of paper teachers using paper to build tallest free falling objectDr. Don Powers presented at the 2015 Illinois Science Teachers Association's Illinois Science Education Conference in Tinley Park on October 23rd, 2015 . The title of the presentation was "STEM Activities for the Elementary and Middle School Classroom".The session focused on tower, bridge building, and other engineering investigations for the classroom. Following the completion of the investigation teachers discussed the alignment of the activities to the Next Generation Science Standards and A Framework for K-12 Science Education's Scientific and Engineering Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas.

Photos of teachers engaged during Powers' session building the tallest possible free-falling structure using just one sheet of paper and 30 centimeters of masking tape.

C&I Faculty Present at the Biennial Kappa Delta Pi Conference in Orlando, Florida

KDP faculty at conference Kappa Delta Pi International Society in Education conducts the KDP International Conference in Education biennially. This year it was in Orlando, FL ( Oct 22 -25, 2015). One chapter of this International Society in Education is housed in our Department (C&I)-Alpha Epsilon (Chapter 29). There are over 700 chapters of KDP worldwide, and it continues to grow. The faculty that presented were Dr. Melissa Stinnett, Dr. Frances Steward, Dr. Abha Singh, and Dr. Megan Lyons. The theme of the the Conference was "Growing Great Minds." Shanna Peeples, 2015 National Teacher of the Year; English Teacher, Mentor, and Coach, Palo Duro High School in Amarilo, Texas was the featured speaker at the banquet.

Presentation 1:  Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Education and Critical Thinking
Presenters: Dr. Abha Singh & Dr. Frances Steward
Focus of Presentation: STEM for ALL Early Childhood Learners
The purpose of this presentation was to provide ideas for Early Childhood teachers on how they can integrate science and literacy through STEM and technological design in the classroom by using everyday materials.

Presentation 2: Student Engagement in Science
Presenters: Dr. Abha Singh & Dr. Melissa Stinnett
Focus of Presentation: Demonstrated Engagement in Science and Literacy. There was a literacy component that demonstrated regarding how reading can be incorporated with science inquiry using the 5E model to engage elementary students. The presentation also reported on the research and initial study results study that gathered data last year.

Presentation 3: Data, Tenets, and online Dialogue
Presenters: Dr. Abha Singh, Dr. Megan Lyons & Dr. Frances Steward
Focus of Presentation:  Using Assessment Data for Student Learning. The presentation used two examples of assessment data obtained from the edTPA. The main purpose was to demonstrate how assessment data may be used to guide instruction construction for improved student learning.

Presentation 4: edTPA Highs and Lows:  Comparing Criteria and Evidence. 
Presenter: Dr. Melissa Stinnett
Focus of Presentation: Explored the connection between teacher knowledge and students’ literacy outcomes, and discussed implications for public policy mandates regarding teacher pay linkage to student outcomes.

Literacy Faculty and Students Entertain Children at 2015 Moon Over Macomb Fall Festival October 17, 2015

moonCurriculum and Instruction literacy faculty members Drs. Frances Steward and Lisa Ortmann joined their literacy students and students from the WIU Social Work Club and Delta Zeta sorority to entertain local children at the 2015 Moon Over Macomb fall festival on the morning of Saturday, October 17 on the Macomb Courthouse Square.

Faculty and students read stories to children and helped them create seasonal crafts like decorated pumpkins and scarecrows.  Hundreds of local children and family members enjoyed their special attention on this beautiful fall day.

For more pictures from this event see the WIU Curriculum and Instruction Facebook page.

Moon Over Macomb is an annual community event held by the City of Macomb Downtown Development office.






Dr. Frances Steward and Literacy Methods Students Co-Presented at the Fall 2015 Illinois Reading Council Conference October 3, 2015

rcDr. Frances Steward and her literacy methods students co-presented at the Fall 2015 Illinois Reading Council Conference in Peoria, Illinois on October 3, 2015.  Students Kyleen Kenny, Danielle Thorman, Angela Galasso, Liz Jepsen and Jordan McGhee-Miller and Dr. Steward presented on "Digital Designed Strategies: Current Nonfiction Children's Books (Grades 4-6)," demonstrating content strategies with digital processes and journal articles that connect and supplement nonfiction children's books. 

In photo L to R:  Kyleen Kenny, Danielle Thorman, Angela Galasso, Dr. Frances Steward, Liz Jepsen, Jordan McGhee-Miller









ww 2015 Homecoming "Dec the Office" Contest
1st Place Winner:  Curriculum & Instruction Office

We are excited and honored to be chosen first place winner of the 2015 Homecoming "Dec the Campus for Western" office decoration contest. 

According to the WIU Office of Student Activities "our judges were blown away by your hard work and dedication, and were very impressed by your office!  Thank you for being so spirited and setting a strong example for our students and our campus."  

Click here for pictures and video of our prize winning decorations!


Dr. Frances Steward and RDG 433/LLA 313 Students Donate Books to
Gila Indian Reservation

resFifty children's books were donated by Dr. Frances Steward and her RDG 443 and LLA 313 students to the schools of the Akimel O'Odham/Pee Posh Tribes Council in the Gila Indian Reservation, AZ earlier this August 2015.  The grade K-6 books were cross-curricular, fiction and nonfiction, topics of interest for their studies, and cultural connections.  

Dr. Diana Goff (featured in picture at left) received the book collection at her home in Casa Grande, AZ and distributed them to the reservation schools were they were well received.  Dr. Goff is a retired WIU Curriculum and Instruction Department instructor.






 Dr. Frances Steward and RDG 433/LLA 313 Students Prepare Mother's Day Gifts for WIU Infant Preschool Center Moms

sherri js C&I faculty member Frances Steward had students from her RDG 433 and LLA 313 classes lovingly sign Mother's Day greeting book labels on 39 word seek puzzle books and present them as gifts to the mothers of children in WIU's Infant Preschool Center for Mother's Day. 

The books were donated and signed by Dr. Steward personally, and her graduate assistant Jessica Scheckel wrapped ribbons around all the books.  Word seek puzzle books were given to Infant Preschool Director Sherri Moon and to her staff members as well, as they are also mothers. 

Infant Preschool Director Sherri Moon is pictured at the left holding the Mother's Day gifts.  Graduate Assistant Jessica Scheckel is pictured at the right assembling gift packages.



Dr. Melissa Stinnett Receives Research Grant to Study New Zealand Schools

nzC&I faculty member Melissa Stinnett received a $4,994 University Research Council grant for her research project "Inquiry-Based Instruction, New Literacies, and Common Core State Standards: Lessons for Implementation from One Exemplary New Zealand School."  Dr. Stinnett traveled to New Zealand to study the aspects that make certain of their schools so successful, and she will be returning next spring to continue her research.  She hopes to launch a Study Abroad course in New Zealand as well. 

Dr. Stinnett is an Associate Professor of Reading and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses and serves as President of Kappa Delta Pi. Dr. Stinnett has had much experience with early literacy instruction, teaching Reading Recovery, kindergarten, first, and second grades. She is a frequent presenter at state and national literacy conferences, and writes the research column for the Illinois Reading Council Journal.



C&I Faculty Present at WQPT PBS Ready To Learn Early Childhood Conference


Three Curriculum and Instruction Department faculty members presented at the WQPT PBS Ready To Learn Early Childhood Conference on Saturday, April 18, 2015 on the WIU Quad Cities Campus.  Early Childhood Education faculty members Dr. Debbie Lee and Dr. Boh Young Lee presented, as did C & I Department Chairperson Dr. Anne Gregory.  Other WIU faculty presented as well, along with early childhood education professionals from several regional agencies. 

Dr. Debbie Lee presented on Creating a Caring Community: More Than Warm Fuzzies, Dr. Boh Young Lee presented on Got a Picture? What Do You See?: Observing and Recording Behavior, and Dr. Gregory presented on GLUE: Guiding Language Understanding for Everyone. 


mlDr. Megan Lyons Presents at Alabama Transition Conference

Special Education faculty member Megan Lyons presented at the Alabama Transition Conference in Auburn on "Literacy Best Practices for Inclusive Classrooms" on March 2, 2015.  This workshop provided teachers with low-preparation assignments incorporating best-practices that can be applied to improve vocabulary, reading comprehension, writing and metacognitive skills. 

Dr. Lyons also attended the AACTE Annual Meeting, which was held in Atlanta in March.




First Annual WIU Assistive Technology Conference a great success.

We are very grateful to the students of the Council for Exceptional Children for their organization and initiative in hosting the conference. And for the financial support of Infinitec and the Illinois School Board of Education in making this wonderful event possible.

On Friday February 13, more than 65 students, faculty, and area educators gather in Horrabin 1 for the FIRST of what will be an annual conference hosted by WIU. The conference ran from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm with three separate sessions, and most participants attending all three. The first session was "Overview of Assistive Technology," followed by "AAC's and 1,2,3's: An Introduction to Augmentative and Alternative Communication for Educators," and then "Visual Strategies via Apps." 

Dr. Mary Jensen, the faculty sponsor, was very pleased with this years conference and is extremely excited it is going to be an annual part of the departments calendar. Look for registration for the 2016 conference this coming fall!

Dr. Debbie Lee presents at TWO area conferences already this year.

Debbie Lee] We are very excited and proud of Dr. Debbie Lee's commitment to both expand and share her knowledge with the larger education community. 

On January 22, 2015 Dr. Debbie Lee presented "Creating a Caring Community - More Than Warm Fuzzies" at the Chicago Metro Association for the Education of Young Children Opening Minds Conference. 

On February 4 Dr. Lee and Sarah Jecks, an almuni of the Elementary Education graduate program, presented "The Growing Great Families Conference: Hosting a Conference for Parents" at the Illinois No Child Left Behind Conference, which was also held in Chicago.


WIU's "Twice Purple" Veterans Association Holds Veterans Day Celebration

Vet Day 1

WIU's Twice Purple Veterans Association held their Veterans Day Celebration on Monday, November 10, 2014 in the Quad Cities Complex Flag Court at 12:15 pm.  The day also served as the grand opening for the QC Veterans Center.  The Veterans Day Celebration is sponsored by Student Affairs in the Quad Cities, and includes a breakfast and program to show appreciation for the service of QC Veterans.  This is the 3rd year for the event.  Click here for more veterans celebrations going on this week during WIU's Military Appreciation Week, November 7-13.

Vet Day Committee

Members of the Twice Purple Veterans Committee pose at the WIU-QC Riverfront Campus.  L-R:  Dr. Lloyd C. Kilmer, Assistant Dean, COEHS; Jamie Lange, Director of Development, WQPT TV; Dr. Debbie M. Lee, Associate Professor, Curriculum & Instruction Department; Dr. Christine Anderson, Associate Professor, Curriculum & Instruction Department; Dr. Lance Brendan Young, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication.  Dr. Anderson is the Chair of the Committee.


Christine Anderson Presents at Teacher Education Division of Council for Exceptional Children 37th Annual Conference.

TED LogoProfessor Christine Anderson, from our Quad Cities campus, joined hundreds of educators in Indianapolis from November 5-8 for the 37th Annual Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children Conference. She gave two separate presentations, "Modeling  Technology Use with Teacher Candidates" and "Evaluating Technology Use." In addition to presenting Professor Anderson served as a reviewer for the conference. 

Click here for more information about the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children.



C&I and EIS Faculty Participate in Day-Long Field Trip to Canton, IL to Observe Response to Intervention Principles Used By Elementary School Educators

Canton Field Trip

Front row (center): Jeanine Wilker, WIU assistant professor, Curriculum and Instruction (C&I). Second row, L to R: Heather Medina, Canton, fourth-grade teacher; Cortney VanHouten, Canton, K-12 reading specialist (WIU alumna); Melissa Stinnett, WIU associate professor, C&I; Monica Wright, WIU instructor, C&I (WIU alumna); Megan Lyons, WIU assistant professor, C&I; Mary Jensen, WIU professor, C&I; and Melinda Grimm, WIU instructor, C&I. Third row, L to R: Sara Simonson, WIU professor, C&I; Krista Smith, Canton, first-grade teacher (WIU alumna); Michelle Franzoni, Canton, K-12 reading specialist (WIU alumna); Joanne Sellen, WIU assistant professor, Education and Interdisciplinary Studies/Ed Leadership (EIS); Pam Campbell, WIU assistant professor, C&I (WIU alumna); Sebastian Szyjka, WIU assistant professor, C&I (WIU alumnus); Tammy LaPrad, WIU instructor, EIS; Tom Cody, WIU professor, EIS; Gary Daytner, WIU associate professor, EIS; and Heather Crouch, WIU instructor, C&I (WIU alumna). Dr. Anne Gregory, C&I Chair, also attended.

On September 12, 2014 fifteen faculty members from the C&I and EIS departments traveled to Canton, IL's Westview Elementary School to observe how teachers are putting Response to Intervention (RtI) principles into practice in their classrooms. This visit enabled faculty to connect with Westview and Lincoln Elementary School educators—many of whom are WIU alumni—to learn about their daily routines, assessment practices and data-collection methods. The information learned during this visit will inform the faculty members' instruction and practices at the undergraduate and graduate levels. C&I Literacy Professor Dr. Sara Simonson is the Technical Assistance Coordinator and representative for the grant at WIU, working with representatives from eight other universities across Illinois, including Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Chicago State University, Eastern Illinois University, Illinois State University, Loyola University Chicago, National Louis University, Northern Illinois University and Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Funding for this field trip was made possible by a Illinois Higher Education Partnership Grant through the Illinois State Board of Education and the Office of Special Education Projects. It is the fifth and final year of the grant.

 "Our primary objective is to increase the number of undergraduate and graduate educator preparation programs that integrate RtI content into their program curricula (courses and field experiences)," explains Dr. Simonson.  "The project's key principles include a multi-tier system of supports (MTSS), universal core instruction, evidence-based practices, a problem-solving process, formal and informal assessments, data-based decision making, positive behavior supports, parent involvement/collaboration, and integrity of implementation. The long term objectives of this project incorporate increasing the supply of educators prepared to implement RtI practices after completing approved courses of study, increasing the capacity of educator preparation programs to partner with school districts to increase the number of field placement sites in districts and schools effectively implementing RtI, and increasing the capacity of educator preparation programs to partner with school districts to increase the number of highly qualified graduates employed by low-performing districts with high populations of students from low-income backgrounds."

Click here for more information regarding the RtI field trip.


Faculty and Students Present at Illinois Reading Council "Harvesting the Fruits of Literacy" Conference, Oct. 2-4, 2014.

Frances and Students at IRC 2014

The Illinois Reading Council brought thousands of literacy advocates, educators, and researchers together to learn and present at its 47th annual conference, including some of WIU's own faculty and students.

Dr. Frances Steward, C&I Literacy Professor, with WIU students Liz Jepson, Danielle Thorman, and Kyleen Kenny co-presented "Latest Children's Books: Language to Literacy, Grades K-3." The students and Dr. Steward had ELA standards aligned with multiple texts and 3 models of vocabulary charts for 50+ educators. Excitement was at its maximum for new learning! The demonstration of models exemplified quality children's literature with teacher and WIU students guiding the development of critical thinking skills for primary guided reading groups.

Dr. Christine Anderson, C&I Special Education Associate Professor, also presented research from two of her graduate students from their action research projects from Spring 2014. Dr. Anderson presented with her graduate student Amy Ahern on Ms. Ahern's project "Group Tutoring and the Effects on Reading Fluency and Motivation to Read Using Related Science Activities." Ms. Ahern is a teacher in East Moline School District 37. Dr. Anderson also presented on "Self-Regulated Strategy Development: The Effects on Narrative Essay Writing of Struggling Writers," the research project of her graduate student Jenna Adolph, a teacher at Chadwick Junior High in Chadwick, IL.

Click here for more information on the Illinois Reading Council.


Dr. Melissa Stinnett Briefs US Congress as Coalition for Teaching Quality Panelist

msC & I Literary Education Professor Melissa Stinnett participated on a panel on October 8, 2014 briefing the House and Senate in Washington DC on initiatives to ensure that all students have access to effective teachers.  More than 100 education advocacy groups are operating under the Coalition for Teaching Quality which has released a roadmap of recommendations for what makes an effective teacher.  Dr. Stinnett joined other teaching professionals to educate legislators on the importance of these initiatives.  The CTQ has mobilized in response to the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights statement made earlier in October reminding schools to make sure all students have equal access to educational resources, including quality teachers.  The Obama administration will soon release a rule aimed at regulating teacher preparation programs, so it is important that teacher educators make their voices heard at this time. 

Click here for more information on the CTQ's roadmap and recommendations for creating effective teachers.


Dr. Stinnett (left) joins other panel members in DC.


Annual Kappa Delta Pi Conference Brings Learning, Relaxation and Fun to Students and Faculty on Saturday, September 27.

KDP Conference PresentationStudents and faculty alike were enlightened, entertained and de-stressed by the line-up of engaging speakers from our C&I faculty. Dr. Anne Gregory, Department Chair gave the keynote address, followed by Dr. Frances Steward and LLA 313 students who strategic "Strategic Primary Reading." Dr. Melissa Stinnett then presented "De-Stressing to Promote Learning," and showed attendees how to read while doing yoga. Dr. Sebastian Szyjka then presented "Memorization Techniques of Ancients", followed by Dr. Megan Lyons who presented "Special Education Topics." Thanks to Dr. Abha Singh, faculty advisor to the Kappa Delta Pi WIU chapter, for putting together this enjoyable conference.


WIU students Kyleen Kenny, Liz Jepsen, Jordan Miller-McGhee and Danielle Thorman co-presented "Strategic Primary Reading" at the annual KDP conference demonstrating actively engaged audience participation.

Click here for more information on Kappa Delta Pi.


Dr. Mary Jensen Wins COEHS Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. JensenC & I Special Education Professor Mary Jensen was one of five College of Education and Human Services faculty members honored with the 2014 Excellence in Teaching Award due to her numerous faculty contributions and commitment to continual improvement of instruction in her classrooms.

"It is an honor and a privilege to write this letter recommending Dr. Mary Jensen for the Excellence in Teaching Award. Dr. Jensen not only makes extraordinary contributions daily in her role as a special education faculty member in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, she willingly and selflessly shares her gifts, talents and expertise with all students….The field of education demands that mentors and leaders be capable of demonstrating and guiding students effectively. Dr. Jensen has done this in numerous ways throughout her career at [WIU]. Currently, she serves as the advisor to the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). This organization was selected as the Outstanding Small Student Organization in 2013. Further, CEC members under Dr. Jensen's tutelage have presented at state conferences, TechFest and Undergraduate Research Day on campus. These activities coupled with the volunteer work that Dr. Jensen undertakes with students outside of class speak to her dedication and commitment to mentoring these future special education professionals. It is Dr. Jensen's interest and enthusiasm for teaching and through her promotion of student learning that teacher candidates see firsthand the impact they will have in their future classrooms. Dr. Jensen thoroughly prepares for her classes, promoting discussion and interaction, modeling appropriate teacher behaviors, demonstrating and discussing assignments, coupling these assignments with interactive group activities, and providing additional amounts of her time and assistance for students who require additional support."  WIU Curriculum and Instruction Department Chair Dr. Anne E. Gregory

Click here for more on Dr. Jensen and the rest of the Excellence Award Winners.


Monarch Metamorphosis Monday!

Monday September 29, 2014, Dr. Powers' Science Education 364 classes experienced the hatching and later release of a monarch butterfly. 

        Monarch caterpillar prepping for chrysalis.                              Caution! Metamorphosis in progress!

        Prepping for chrysalis.                           Chrysalis

            Fully emerged monarch butterfly.                Dr. Singh releasing the monarch butterfly into the Western Illinois wild.

Butterfly in cage.                                    Butterfly release.

The monarch butterfly flew off in a West/ Southwest direction embarking on a short but beautiful life.

                                                           Butterfly flying


Dr. Debbie Lee Featured in LOOKING4LEADERSHIP Article and Video Interview


C & I Early Childhood Professor and Graduate Advisor Dr. Debbie Lee was featured in an inspiring interview on the Looking 4 Leadership early childhood advocacy website in April 2014.  Education was always highly valued in Dr. Lee's family, and she spent 20 years gaining experience working with hearing impaired children, teaching kindergarten, opening her own home day care and working in a variety of positions for the Moline School District while also attending Western Illinois University in the Master's program and raising three daughters! When Dr. Lee had taken all the courses offered in the Quad Cities area, she commuted to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and in 2003 received a Doctorate of Education. She then taught at Scott Community College for several years before moving to Western Illinois University in 2008.  We are very proud to have her leadership in our Graduate Elementary Education - Early Childhood program.

Click here to read the entire article and Dr. Lee's video interview.


Dr. Frances Steward and Students Present "Science Bicycles" Workshop at 28th Annual PreK-8 Science Education Update Conference at WIU

fsC & I Literacy Professor Frances Steward along with WIU students Raquel Romero and Danielle Bojko presented a workshop entitled “Science Bicycles and Feature Analysis with Nonfiction Children’s Books (Fiction, too!)” at the 2014 PreK-8 Science Education Update Conference on April 25, 2014 in Horrabin Hall.  Every spring since 1985 WIU's Science Education Center has hosted the Annual PreK-8 Science Update Conference. The purpose of this local conference is to bring teachers together to share activities and ideas for improving the teaching of science in preschool through 8th grade. Presenters at this conference include outstanding science teachers who are willing to share their expertise. The conference also includes commercial exhibitors who share want is new in the area of science education.

Click here for more information on WIU's Annual PreK-8 Update Science Education Conference.