Track B Courses

Groovy Geology!

Workshop: B1
Presenter: Barbara Cargill
Ages: 3 – K
Core Knowledge Areas: Professional Practice, Methods, & Curriculum
Description: Volcanoes, fossils, rock treasures, and dinosaurs! What more could an amateur paleontologist ask for? Experiments include making edible metamorphic rocks, fossil imprinting, digging treasures from sedimentary rock, sore sampling the earth, erupting volcanoes, and excavating dinosaurs from ice. Your students will love geology when doing these hands–experiments and activities!
Barbara Cargill is the Founder/Director of Wonders of the Woodlands Science Camp which just celebrated it’s 23rd year of offering summer camps, school outreach programs, and teacher professional development. ( Barbara has an education degree from Baylor University and a graduate degree in science education from Texas Woman’s University. Barbara’s interest in creative learning for children and a love for science motivated her to found the WOW program in 1995. With over 1,200 children, 3 years old through 4<sup>th</sup> grade, attending Science Camp each summer, Barbara brings a wealth of experience to professional development!

What I learned as a therapist that I wish I had known as a teacher!

Workshop: B2
Presenter: Casey Casteel
Ages: 3–K admin
Core Knowledge Areas: Guidance
Description: Teachers play many roles in the classroom! From a counselor’s perspective, we will discuss new ways of understanding, managing and working with students. We will have the opportunity to learn new ways to observe, understand, manage and refer challenging behaviors and ways of communicating with both parents and students to help provide a positive outcome.
Casey has an M.A. in professional counseling and works with children and families as a play therapist in a local private therapy practice. She is also an elementary school counselor at an EC–12th private school. She has twenty years in experience in the education field working in various fields from early childhood through middle school, the arts, special education and counseling.

Science, Math & Literacy Through Cooking!

Workshop: B3
Presenter: Courtney Challis
Ages: 3–K
Core Knowledge Areas: Professional Practice, Methods, & Curriculum
Description: Come and see how integrating cooking into your classroom can be educational, fun and easy! Let’s talk about helping kids learn without them even realizing it! Bringing together literacy, science and math skills to create impactful hands–on learning experiences that taste great too!
Courtney currently teaches Pre–K at St. Paul’s school. She is certified to teach EC–4th grade and has also taught kindergarten & second grade. She recently completed the year long Story-Telling Project through Rice University. Her love for learning how kids learn and helping them to do so has led her to 17 years of experience working with children in various settings.

Bounce from a Book: Creating Writing Experiences Inspired by Quality Children's Literature

Workshop: B4
Presenter: Sharon Dworaczyk
Ages: PK & K
Core Knowledge Areas: Professional Practice, Methods, & Curriculum
Description: During this presentation, participants will be introduced to quality children’s literature and ways to extend children’s understanding of the written word. From class quilts to creative art experiences, find out ways to enhance children’s literature that make the reading process a fun and engaging one.
Sharon Dworacyzk has worked with your toddlers through second grade age children for over twenty years. Her education background consists of an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education specializing in Early Childhood and English as a Second Language from Texas A & M University in College Station and a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Houston, Clear Lake. She was trained in the Classroom Storytelling Project from the School Literacy and Culture from Rice University in 1966, and has continued with the project as a mentor teacher, seminar leader, and Special Projects Coordinator.

Bringing God to Work

Workshop: B5
Presenter: James Evans
Ages: All
Core Knowledge Areas: Professional Practice, Methods, & Curriculum
Description: How do we bring God to work? Pastor Evans will show us how to integrate spirituality into the work place. He will share insights into how to allow the spirit to help produce a healthy environment.
James is the founder and president of JC Ministries. He holds a B.A. in communications from the University of Houston – Downtown

Ways to Intrinsically Motivate ALL Young Learners

Workshop: B6
Presenter: Gayle Fisher, M. Ed., Tech.
Ages: T – K admin
Core Knowledge Areas: Child Development
Description: Self-Directed Learning (SDL) is the bridge between how we teach children (pedagogy) and how adults learn (andragogy). We will look at how you can offer young learners SDL, in–the–flow (Csikszentmihalyi) learning, and intrinsic motivation. This will help them take joy in learning, best insure transfer from short–term working memory into long–term memory, and increase meta–cognition (thinking about their thinking). This also works wonders in behavioral redirects and in assessments when expressive language and other typical tools fail to serve.
Gayle is a mom in the spectrum and an educator who continues to present workshops at LSC–M Academy of Lifelong Learning and out in the community. She helps run &, as well as write at She loves to collaborate, and surely speaks from her heart as well as from her experience.

Full of Fun Keeping Our Lessons Playful

Workshop: B7
Presenter: Janine R. Groth, M. Ed.
Ages: T-K
Core Knowledge Areas: Professional Practice, Methods, & Curriculum
Description: Because teachers have curriculum to cover, some lessons have lost the fun. Participants will examine why play is the most important, as well as effective, method of teaching. Activities need to be planful, purposeful and playful to reach our students on a daily basis. Research gives us the proof we need that learning happens for children through play, however teachers have an obligation to identify and create quality materials that teach. Research out of Eastern Connecticut State University had developed a toy study of TIMPANI (Toys That Inspire Mindful Play and Nurture Imagination) that gives teachers useful information to identify quality of play. Participants will leave understanding the stages and components of play in a hands on, interactive environment.
Janine Groth has been in the Early Childhood Field for over 30 years. She has held many positions in ECE and is currently teaching at the college level. She operated a large NAEYC accredited center for almost 5 years and then moved into higher education arena in 2005. Janine mentored teachers for a state research grant and worked in collaboration with many of the Houston and surrounding area school districts. Ms. Groth is an adjunct professor for University Of Houston-Downtown, Lonestar College and Houston Community College. Janine was an active member of HAAEYC since 1997, finishing her tenure as V.P. of programs in 2015. Since 1998, Janine has been a Master Level Registered Trainer through the state of Texas. She has trained nationally, regionally, and locally for more than 20 years.

Sing, Dance and Play the Winkie Way

Workshop: B8
Presenter: Winkie Ballas Jamail
Ages: All
Core Knowledge Areas: Professional Practice, Methods, & Curriculum
Description: Let’s sing, let’s dance, let’s play! No time for snoozing, I’ll keep you moving. Everyone will receive free mp3’s of the music we use in class. Be prepared to LAUGH, LAUGH, LAUGH!
Ms. Winkie taught preschool music for ten years, and she is currently freelance teaching Classroom Management, Diversified Instruction for K–12, and Music & Movement for preschool.

Science Detectives: Birds, Spiders, and Insects

Workshop: B9
Presenter: Aileen Kirkham
Ages: T-K
Core Knowledge Areas: Professional, Practice, Methods, & Curriculum.
Description: This make and take session includes lessons, recommended books, songs, and other curriculum based activities.
Aileen is and author of children’s works, Professional Storyteller PK-6, and Staff Development Presenter in Houston and area preschools and conferences.

Play: The Springboard to Learning

Workshop: B10
Presenter: Marlyn Kramer
Ages: 3-K admin
Core Knowledge Areas: Professional Practice, Methods, &Curriculum
Description: Is it really “just playing”? The participants of this workshop will discover the characteristics of play; the importance of play on the neurological and cognitive development of young children; and how play can foster problem-solving, premath, pre-reading, and science skills in the young child. Classroom management techniques to promote play and open-ended play manipulatives will be introduced.
Marlyn Kramer is the founder/CEO of ECE training Dynamics, LLC, and a Master Registered Trainer (#3620) with the Texas Early Childhood Professional Development System. She holds a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Texas and an undergraduate degree in ECE from Southwest Texas State University. Ms. Kramer is passionate about young children and incorporating developmentally appropriate practices in the early childhood classroom! Prior to her position as a Pre-Kindergarten teacher, she taught hearing impaired students for Hays ISD and 1st grade Austin ISD.

Classroom Activities to Foster Healthy Eating, Activity, and Family Routines

Workshop: B11
Presenter: Laura Laine
Ages: T – K, Admin
Core Knowledge Areas: Child Growth & Development
Description: Overweight conditions now affect 25% of children ages 2-5 years. It has been shown that children in childcare were protected from overweight condition compared to those cared for by parents and relatives. This talk will discuss the causes of overweight in preschool children and offer ideas for classroom activities to foster healthy eating, activity, and family routines.
Laura Laine is a registered dietitian spiritual director, and owner of Sophia Grace Center for Nutrition, Health, and Spirituality. Laura worked at Texas Children’s Hospital 22 years and served as Parish Administrator of St. Laurence Catholic Church for 8 years. She and her husband Greg have been married for 33 years and have 2 grown children who are both gourmet cooks!

Touchable Literacy

Workshop: B12
Presenter: Literacy Enrichment and Play
Ages: T-PK
Core Knowledge Areas: Professional Practice, Methods, & Curriculum
Description: Learn how to take your literacy lessons to the next level by creating an environment where all of the children’s senses are engaged. Providing a mix of open-ended and guided multi-sensory play materials enhances imagination and allows children to invent and discover. During this workshop, teachers will learn the importance of multi-sensory learning, as well as how to apply it to their literacy lessons.
Wesley Gibson and Sarah Williams have a combined over twenty years of teaching experience in early childhood and elementary schools, as well as master degrees in education. Their passions for literacy led them to create Literacy Enrichment and Play, and enrichment program that aims to teach of love of literacy and learning in the early years. Wesley and Sarah continue to teach their literacy program throughout Houston schools, as well as train early childhood teachers using their multi-sensory/play methods.

Together Time for Infants and Toddlers

Workshop: B13
Presenter: Susan MacHugh
Ages: I&T
Core Knowledge Areas:Professional Practice, Methods, & Curriculum
Description: Come and discover the importance of creating an age- appropriate setting for the youngest children. See how you can engage these children by designing an inviting and tranquil setting where infants and toddlers can come together to explore and learn through play. Learn how the singing bag, puppets, and musical activities become the necessary tools for making gathering time and transitions a fun and educational part of each school day.
Susan Machugh has worked in the field of Early Childhood for over 30 years as a Preschool Founding Director/Head Teacher, Early Childhood Specialist, and Trainer with the Texas Early Childhood Professional Development System (TECPDS). She is the owner of The Singing Bag Solution and serves as a support group leader for the Kingwood/Humble/Atascocita Chapter of Attention Deficit Disorder-Southern Region (ADDA-SR).

Sing Across Texas With Me: Greatest Hits

Workshop: B14
Presenter: Devora Miller
Ages: 3 – K
Core Knowledge Areas: Professional Practice, Methods, & Curriculum
Description: Celebrate the great state of Texas with songs and games that embrace our diverse culture. Rodeo, Farm, and bilingual songs and activities will be included. Curriculum connections for reading, math, and social studies will be demonstrated. Come a ki yi yippy yippy pay!
Devora is the music specialist at The Briarwood School in Houston and has been sharing her love of music with children and educators for the past 27 years. She also teaches creative dramatics at Grace Presbyterian Church and is the founder of Big Books That Sing!

Let’s Get Physical with Zoo-phonics!

Workshop: B15
Presenter: Dana Schuetze
Ages: T – K,
Core Knowledge Areas: Professional Practice, Methods, & Curriculum
Description: Come and experience how our animal friends can help teach phonemic awareness, phonic and word blending using multi-sensing, brain efficient approach. We will demonstrate how to incorporate Zoo-phonics throughout your day into small groups and/or literacy centers. This will be a fun and active session using music and movement.
I have taught for 35 years. I have taught in Montessori Preschools, public school Kindergarten, First Grade, Reading Specialist/Coach. In 2000, I left the classroom to begin my Educational Consulting business full time. I am a national presenter for Zoo-phonics. I set up and present my own full day workshops, as well as participate in conference session exhibiting. I also work In classrooms helping teachers implement Zoo-phonics.

Why They Do What They Do: Brain Development in Early Childhood

Workshop: B16
Presenter: Tom Wilbeck, MA, LPC
Ages: 1 – PK
Core Knowledge Areas: Child Growth & Development
Description: 3 key regions of the brain will be explored to understand why children act the way they do in various stages of development. teachers will be challenged to look for typical childhood behaviors and shape their classroom to meet the needs of developing child.
Tom Wilbeck is a Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in child and adolescent therapy. He is in private practice and mainly serves children in CPS custody. Tom is also known as “Mr. Tom” from Tom’s Fun Band, a top ranked children’s musical group.


Advanced & Director Tracks

Directors, please note that you can click on Account Summary to see a summary of registered participants from your school. PAYMENT IS DUE BY January 15, 2016. If we have not received your payment at the address below by January 15, 2016, the price per registrant increases to $100. Please note: if we do not receive payment for the conference, your school may not be allowed to register in the future.

Thursday: Meaningful Math for Young Minds

Workshop: B17 AT/PK
Presenter: Chrissy Liverman
Ages: PK-K
Core Knowledge Areas: Learn ways to foster the development of mathematical concepts and skills in a fun and meaningful way! We will discuss ways to enrich implementation so that strong mathematical foundations of learning are being formed in each of your students.
Chrissy Liverman is currently in her 17th year of teaching. She has taught kindergarten and first grade in Katy I.S. D. and she is currently teaching Transition at Holy Covenant Child Development Center. In her career, she has had the privilege to serve in the role as Lead Campus Mentor which allowed her to work directly with mentors to better support first year teachers. In 2005, she was awarded Teacher of the Year at McRoberts Elementary School. This past Fall, she had the honor and privilege to speak and train teachers at other schools.

Friday: Nursery Rhymes with Infants, Toddlers, & Twos

Workshop: B18 AT/IT
Presenter: Susan Meriwether
Ages: I & T
Core Knowledge Areas: Professional Practice, Methods, & Curriculum
Description: Children who listen and learn to rhyme become readers. Become aware of the importance of introducing nursery rhymes early and their influence on child development. Learn to use nursery rhymes as a teaching tool with infants, toddlers, and twos.
Susan has been in the field of early education for over 20 years and has a Masters degree with a Specialization in Working with Infants, Toddlers, and Families. Recently, she graduated from the Rice University’s School for Literature & Culture Early Literacy Leadership Academy (ELLA). She teaches two and three-year-old children at St. Francis Episcopal School.

Friday: Follow the Leader & Ask the Experts

Workshop: B19 DT
Presenters: Mark Lukert, Jodi Carroll, Anna Williamson, Janie Gallagher
Ages: Admin
Core Knowledge Areas: Professional Practice, Methods, & Curriculum
Description: Mark Lukert will start us off with an inspiring workshop, Follow the Leader, where he will discuss how as school leaders you Instigate, Facilitate, Evaluate, Delegate, and most importantly CELEBRATE! Leading your school by example is of utmost important. He will share team-building ideas that focus on valuing your teachers, and building your staff through the intentional use of team-builders and motivators.
Following the lunch together, you will have an opportunity to “ask the experts.” We’ve brought together a panel of experts moderated by Jodi Carroll, Director of Holy Covenant Child Development Center. Our experts Include: Mark Lukert (retired principal and national leadership speaker), Anna Williamson (Infant/Toddler Team Leader and Assessment Coordinator, St. Luke’s Day School), and Janie Gallagher (Human Resource Manager, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church)


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“Share with your friends”
We’ve all said this… now it’s your turn to share with your ECMC friends!

Remember to bring a developmentally-appropriate activity to display in the Sharing Room. Other teachers will love to get ideas from you!

Each item must be accompanied by the Sharing Room Activity Description form which has been sent to your director. Or simply download the form below. Bring your sample activity and form to the Sharing Room on Thursday morning and pick it up before you leave on Friday.

Sharing Room contributors will earn one additional clock hour!
Be sure to cruise the Sharing Room to see great new activities that you can take back to your classroom. Feel free to bring a camera to capture the look and purpose of the activity.

If you have questions about the Sharing Room,
please email Debbie Durkin:
Don’t miss this opportunity to let your favorite activities shine!
Click Here to Download the ECMC Sharing Room Contribution Form