Ann Lewin-Benham Photo

Lecture Topics

Sept 08 - May 10

 

Read brief descriptions of Ann's lecture topics organized by date.

Scroll down to find upcoming events.

 

September 10, 2008

"The Reggio Approach and its Implications

for Creating an Environment"

Public Invited // Don Harrington Science Center // Amarillo, TX

Description of Presentation

If your goal is to adapt the Reggio Approach as the basis for designing an exhibit or a classroom, you must first understand the philosophy of the approach, its implications for practice, and the constraints in your own program. This presentation looks at the image of a child, the environment-as-teacher, and relationship building as essential aspects of the Reggio philosophy. Then it examines such constraints as adults' perceptions of children and myths about learning, and concludes with some conditions that foster learning .

 

September 22, 2008

"Coco, The Turtle, and Documentaton"

National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis TN // 6 PM // Public Lecture

Description of Presentation

Coco was the Model Early Learning Center's cat and to everyone's amazement, Coco formed a friendship with a large box turtle that was given to the school. The presentation shows the children's reaction to the emerging friendship and their emotions when the time came to release the turtle. The story is a case study in how to document an experience and contains many examples of emerging literacy as the children expressed their feelings, captured Coco's relationship with the turtle, and wrote to their friend the turtle once he was back in the wild.

 

October 10, 2008

"An Image of the Child"

Keynote Address

By Invitation // St. John’s Episcopal Preschool // 3240 O St, NW // Washington, DC // 202-338-2574

Keynote: The Mid-Atlantic Expicopal Schools Association

Description of Presentation

What we believe about children determines what we do in the classroom.  The amazing work by children in the Reggio Emilia (Italy) schools results from a belief that children are “rich, strong, and powerful.”  Numerous images show preschoolers engaged in activities that call on children to use advanced thinking capacities, challenging materials, and sophisticated emerging literacy skills.  Their work is significant because it is creative, complex, original, competent, and joyful.  The presentation is based on Ann’s books, Possible Schools and Powerful Children, and is inspired by th eReggioschools.

 

October 14, 2008

"Powerful Children"

Public Invited // Bus Boys &Poets // 4251 Campbell Avenue // Arlington, VA // 703-379-9756 or 1-800-763-9131

Description of Presentation

Powerful children are capable of expressing themselves well, using books to find important information, and thinking at a level beyond what most believe is young children’s capacity.  They are self-regulated, collaborative, and empathetic.  Hear stories and see images from Ann’s 2nd book, Powerful Children, about significant work that is creative,complex, original, competent, and joyful.

 

October 29, 2008

"An Evening with Parents"

Parent Education Program // Natural Learning Schools // Memphis, TN

Description of Presentation

A short presentation with a few images of Reggio-inspired school environments. Followed by an open-ended hour-long question and answer session with parents about the benefit children derive from using open-ended materials and free-flowing time with teachers who use intentional teaching technques.

 

October 30, 2008

"Questions for a Mailman: A Context for Literacy "

Public Invited // Davis Kidd Bookstore // 387 Perkins Extended // Memphis, TN // 901-683-9801

Description of Presentation

All children in the Miodel Early Learning Center (MELC) had their own mailbox. The MELC also had a well-equipped Communication Center for message making. When the children began to realize that they would receive something if they sent something, it stimulated a huge traffic in messages. One thing led to another as they explored the relationship between their messages and real letters, visited the Post Office, and eventually wrote to a mailman and iinvited him to visit. These stories are told in Chapter 6 of Powerful Children; this presentation brings that chapter to life in dozens of images.

 

November 7, 2008

NAEYC Annual Conference, Dallas // Convention Ctr A130/131, 10 - 11:30 AM

Description of Presentation

See September 22, 20008

 

 

November 16, 2008

"Learning to Think: Changing School Structure "

By Invitation // Home of Libba &Irvin Schatz // Memphis, TN

Description of Presentation

The presentation challenges you to think about traditional school environments -- desks in rows, frontal teaching, M and M candy or other rewards -- and to contrast them witha different kind of schools. Different schools keep alive young children's innate drive to learn by taking advantage of the brain's need for novel and complex experience and by spurring the brain's capacity to solve challenging problems. All points are made using images of children in different schools.

 

November 20, 2008

"Coco, the Turtle, and Documentation"

Public Invited // National Civil Rights Museum // 450 Mulberry St // Memphis, TN // Kira Duke, 901-521-9699

Description of Presentation

See November 7, 2008

 

December 4, 2008

"Essential Features of the Reggio Approach:

3- to 6-Year-Olds"

Annual Meeting: Metro Washington, DC Network of Jewish Preschools

By Invitation // Partnership for Jewish Life & Learning // Temple Rodef Shalom // Falls Church, VA

Description of Presentation

"Essential Features of the Reggio Approach: 3- to 6-Year-Olds"

The Preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy are considered the best in the world.  This presentation shows why by illustrating the 9 basic features of the Reggio Approach that are described in detail in Chapter 2, Possible Schools and are featured one to a chapter in Powerful Children. The presentation contains over 100 images and concludes with the story of a project. 

 

December 6, 2008

"Powerful Children"

By Invitation // 5-7 PM // Int'l Arts & Artists Gallery // 6 Hillier Place, NW // Washington, DC // 202-338-0680

Description of Presentation

See October 14, 2008

 

January 14, 2009

"Environments for Infants: A Matter of Relationships"

Part 1

Public Invited // Urban Child Institute // 600 Jefferson Ave // Memphis, TN // 901-523-9119

Description of Presentation

This presentation is based on the philosophy of theInfant/Toddler Centers and Preschools of Reggio Emilia. One central belief is that environments should be designed to foster the formation of relationships. The presentation addresses the issues of who the child is for whom you are creating the environment, how to create environments that are “3rd teachers,” and how to use an environment as the basis for building relationships among babies, adults, and the materials in an infant/toddler center. 

 

January 23, 2009

"Theory into Practice - Part 2"

By Invitation // The World Bank Children's Center // Washington, DC

Description of Presentation

Following "Theory into Practice - Part 1, which looks at why it is hard to "do" Reggio in America, this presentation examines beginning steps in using the Reggio Aproach. It looks at the 5 commitments made by the teachers at the Model Early Learning Center (MELC), Washington, DC as they began to undertake an attempt to use the Reggio philosophy. Very early work by children in the MELC provides examples of what happened as the teachers began to bring their commitments to life in the classroom and with the MELC's families. The presentation draws on the book Possible Schools.

 

January 26, 2009

"The Easter Dove, the Cuckoo Bird, and the Nest":

The Teacher's Role"

Public Invited // Bus Boys and Poets // 2021 14th St., NW // Washington, DC // 202-387-7638

Description of Presentation

Children in the Model Early Learning Center, inspired by a gift of a fantastic bird from their Italian friends, made the new bird a companion which they named "Cuckoo Bird." Then they made "Cuckoo Bird" a home, then clouds to fly through. But . . . Learn what disturbed the children and how they resolved the problem. The presentation explains the complex and multi-faceted role of the Reggio teacher who is, simultaneously, researcher, designer, orchestrator, collaborator, documenter, and mediator. The presentation is based on Chapter 8 in the book Powerful Children.

 

February 17, 2009

"What I Have Learned"

By Invitatio // Rhodes College Bonner's Scholar // Memphis, TN

Description of Presentation

In her only presentation without images, Ann talks about some of the things she has learned as teacher, school founder, author, and social entrepreneur. She advises students to expect the unexpected, learn by doing, collaborate, change the paradigm, and read, read, read, read! The presentation involves lively dialogue among Ann and students.

 

February 19, 2009

"Powerful Children"

By invitation // Mid-South Reads // 515 Erin Dr. // Memphis, TN // 901-684-1564

Description of Presentation

See October 14, 2008

 

February 25, 2009

"Environments for Infants: A Matter of Relationships"

Part 2

Public Invited // Urban Child Institute // 600 Jefferson Ave // Memphis, TN

Description of Presentation

This presentation builds on Part 1 which explains the importance of relationships and shows many examples of the kinds of relationships infants and tddlers form with the environment and the people and materials in it . Part 2 shows 3 projects carried out with infants or toddlers in 3 different Infant/Toddler Centers in Reggio Emilia. All 3 projects grow out of the relationship among the babies, their environment, the materials, and others. The presentation is based on publications by Reggio Children, the outreach entity of the Municipal Preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy.

 

February 26, 2009

"Romance with Materials: Reactions in the Brain"

Public Invited // St. John’s Episcopal Preschool // 3240 O Street, NW // Washington, DC // 202-338-2574

Description of Presentation

Young children's attraction to materials is as strong as bees' attraction to nectar. This presentation explains the kinds of materials to use and how to engage children and their families in finding, sorting, and storing them. It then shows that using vastly different materials in many varied ways encourages the brain to grow - finding patterns in random information, logically sequencing related ideas, making comparisons in order to categorize - to name just three of the virtually limitless number of functions a brain can perform. The examples answer questions about what children are learning from experiences that do not drill abc's or 123's.

 

February 27, 2009

"Essential Features of the Reggio Approach:

3- to 6-Year-Olds"

By Invitation // Scott Montgomery Elementary School // 421 P Street, NW // Washington, DC // 202-673-7245

Description of Presentation

See December 4, 2008

 

March 29, 2009

"Learning to Think: Changing School Structure "

By Invitation, Temple Israel // 1376 E. Massey Rd. // Memphis, TN // Iinformation: Barb Gelb, 761-3130

Description of Presentation

See November 16, 2008

 

May 4, 2009

"A Conversation Tool Kit"

By Invitation // Gan HaYeled Preschool, Adas Israel // 2850 Quebec St, NW // Washington, DC

Description of Presentation

The presentation uses images of preschoolers engaged in projects to describe what conversation is, to see it in action, and to learn how to use it in many different situations. The talk is based on the premise that conversation is the basis for literacy, that children learn language by using it, and that mastery of the spoken language takes frequent, repeated practice over several years. The talk draws on Vygotsky's understanding of the dual role of language as both the expression of our thinking and a tool that shapes our thinking.

 

May 6, 2009

"Romance with Materials: Reactions in the Brain"

Johns Hopkins Univ. & the Dana Alliance for the Brain // "Learing & the Brain, Arts & Creativity" Conference

Description of Presentation

See February 26, 2008

The format of the presentation at this event will be a poster, that is a large board with text and photos. At preannounced times, Ann will be available to talk with conferees about the poster and answer questions.

 

June 14, 2009

"New Paradigm/Complex Play:

Reggio-inspired Strategies that Foster

Cognitive Growth through Play"

NAEYC Professional Development Institute // 2 - 4 PM // Convention Center // Charlotte, NC

Description of Presentation

Research confirms that complex play provides greater stimulation for brain growth than abc drill. This presentation uses several case studies to show what complex play is, the teacher's role in encouraging complex play, what it means for a teacher to be intentional when she engages in play, how complex play helps children develop, and what children can learn from complex play. Case studies are of children in the Model Early Learning Center.

 

August 4, 2009

"A Materials-Rich Environment"

Shelby County Head Start // 8 AM and 10 AM // U of Memphis // Memphis, TN

Description of Presentation

Scores of images of materials used by children in novel ways. Followed by hands-on examination of a boxful of found objects to play with and discuss their possibilities for original work by children.

 

August 17-18

Two-Day Teacher Pre-Service Workshop

By invitation // Community Academy Public Charter School // Washington, DC

"Inspired Environments"

Description through scores of images of the role of an environment in learning. Discussion on designing the classroom environment. Walk-through and remake of a classroom.

"A Materials-Rich Environment"

See August 4, 2009

"Documentation: A New Way to Listen"

The presentation begins with examples from classroom walls of what is not documentation, explains with images what docmentation is, and shows scores of examples of documentation. As viewers learn, documentation is the record in images and chldren's words of their investigations of materials or of projects that have undertaken; it is displayed on large panels on classroom walls. Its purpose is to engage children in telling their own stories, in remembering what they have thought and done as a way to spur what do to next. It makes classroom walls transparent and brings children back into the moment of their activities. In time, children learn the stories so become interpreters of their own history that they show with pleasure to classmates, parents, and visitors.

The 3 presentations, with discussion and hands-on activities, 8 AM - 4 PM

 

September 14, 2009

"Intentional Teaching in a Reggio-Inspired Classroom"

By invitation // Akiba Academy, Dallas

This presentation describes what it means to be an intentional teacher by showing teachers with children in the role of designer, researcher, orchestrator, collaborator, provocateur, and documenter. The emphasis is on teaching techniques in which teachers are astute observers and listeners and intervene with meaning and authority in children's work. The role is described in dozens of classroom images.

 

October 13 and 14, 2009

By invitation // Akiba Academy, Dallas

"A Conversation Tool Kit"

See May 4, 2009

"A Materials-Rich Environment"

See August 4, 2009

 

November 8 and 9, 2009

By invitation // Akiba Academy, Dallas

"Romance with Materials: Reactions in the Brain"

Description of Presentation

See May 6, 2009

 

November 10, 2009

"Intentional Teaching in a Reggio-Inspired Classroom"

By Invitation // Annual Meeting: Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative, New York

See September 14, 2009

 

Novermber 21, 2009

"Authentic Assessment in a Reggio-Inspired Classroom"

Annual Meeting // National Association for the Education of Young Children // Washington, DC

A dozen different ways to assess children without using standardized tests are shown in images of systems to keep track of each child's skills, accumulate work product in different types of portfolios, and make records of children's growth in the use of language and other emerging literacy skills. The techniques are shown in the context of integrating assessment with curriculum and informing families of children's growth and development. The techniques are easy, inexpensive, and provide a far more comprehensive picture of children's growth than standardized tests.

 

December 7 and 8, 2009

"Alice in Wonderless Land: Using "Old" Materials in New Ways "

By invitation // Akiba Academy, Dallas

Description of Presentation

Tried and true can be tired and few. This presentation shows how to make typical materials such as pencil, paint, beads, scissors activities, water, and blocks the basis fornumerous exciting ways to encourage children to see new relationships and build new skills. Actual examples are from urban children who did not come from "primed" homes with lots of materials; yet, t heir work outshone the formulaic activities often mistaken for "art."

"Documentation: A New Way to Listen"

See August 18-18, 2009

 

January 19 and 20, 2010

"Building Literacy"

By invitation // Akiba Academy, Dallas

Description of Presentation

Literacy begins in several ways - conversing with chldren, encouraging them to express themselves in writing, both images and proto-writing, and reading books. Big events are spurs for literacy: they generate conversation and writing. The images in this presentation show the transitions from conversations, writing, books, and events to ever-increasing froms of literacy and gradually developing skills in each form.

 

March 6, 2010

"Learning to Think: Changing School Structure"

Kiwanis Clubs Mid-South Region Annual Training Session

Description of Presentation

See November 16, 2008

 

March 11, 2010

Annual Meeting: Metro Washington, DC Network of Jewish Preschools

By Invitation // Partnership for Jewish Life & Learning // Temple Rodef Shalom // Falls Church, VA

"Romance with Materials: Reactions in the Brain"

Description of Presentation

See May 6, 2009

 

Project for Jewish Life and Learning,

 

See May 6, 2009

 

March 16, 2010

"Documentation and Materials"

By invitation: Project for Jewish Life & Learning, Rockville, MD

Description of Presentation

An open-ended discussion, sprinkled with images to clarify the meaning, in response to the questions of a group of Directors and teachers in their 2nd year of beginning to use Reggio practices.

 

May 18, 2010

"Learning to Think: Changing School Structure"

Whitehaven Kiwanis Club, Memphis, TN

Description of Presentation

See November 16, 2008

 

 

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