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Inspired Teaching Institute

Using Improvisation to Engage All Learners

Inspired Teaching Institutes are FREE, improvisation-based professional development for teachers and school leaders. They move participants beyond passive professional learning: Inspired Teaching teaches the way people learn best – with our whole selves. 

All Institute sessions, both in-person and online, are fully interactive. Online sessions are “cameras on” and “mics unmuted” so participants can get to know and interact with one another. Participants are not going to do a lot of sitting and listening! We encourage you to sign up with colleagues to deepen learning and create space for growing ideas as a community. You are guaranteed to leave these sessions feeling energized and ready to try something new.

Certificates of completion will be provided for all participants. DC Public School teachers get PLUs through the Washington Teachers’ Union for participation.

Upcoming Institutes

February: Inspire Curiosity

The process of discovery is often relegated to learning about science but inquiry has its place in every subject area and it is often the secret to engagement. In this Institute, participants will explore six different activities that can be adapted to multiple grade levels and subject areas that center inquiry in the learning process. From sensory explorations, to working with manipulatives to uncover the “why” behind a given concept, to writing prompts that inspire wonder, each of these activities offers an opportunity for personal discovery and growth.

Attendees will also receive a FREE t-shirt in the mail, just in time and perfect for celebrating Pi Day (March 14).

March: Crafting Assignments with Purpose

As humans, we long to do work that is meaningful and that is just as true in school as it is in life beyond the classroom walls. In this Institute, we’ll challenge ourselves to take whatever content we have to teach and turn it into learning with purpose. Connect science and social studies concepts to social action. Connect writing and math to crafting compelling arguments for change. Using a simple lesson planning framework and a handful of adaptable Inspired Teaching strategies and activities, participants will come away with 3 new purposeful assignments they can implement right away.

Resources from Past Institutes

20 Ways to Start School Days

In this Institute, we explored the necessity of setting the tone and taking the temperature at the beginning of each day. This booklet includes 20 strategies for starting class with enthusiasm, from how to welcome students in the door to exercises for connecting greetings to the day’s lessons.



21 Ways to End School Days

In this Institute, we explored the necessity of closing out the day in a way that reinforces what was learned while creating community and receiving feedback. This booklet includes 21 strategies for synthesizing the day’s lessons, and creating excitement for tomorrow’s.




Fostering Mutual Respect

In these complementary Institutes, participants learned the importance of Mutual Respect in the classroom — for nurturing student-led conversations and social-emotional learning. The Fostering Mutual Respect resource guide includes physical, mental, and emotional activities and strategies teachers can use to build trust, accountability, and engagement with their students.



Games That Build Student Expertise

We often learn best through play but play can feel at odds with all we have to “get through” in our curriculum. In this hands-on, full-body Institute, participants learned how play and instruction can go hand-in-hand, while building student expertise. When, for example, students are tasked with working collaboratively and using their bodies to demonstrate a math concept, they must rely on what they know and understand to accomplish that task. Centering their knowledge in this way builds confidence and it’s also fun!


Standards Addressed

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Competencies

Self-Awareness: The abilities to understand one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior across contexts. This includes capacities to recognize one’s strengths and limitations with a well-grounded sense of confidence and purpose.

Social awareness: The abilities to understand the perspectives of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and contexts. This includes the capacities to feel compassion for others, understand broader historical and social norms for behavior in different settings, and recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.

Relationship skills: The abilities to establish and maintain healthy and supportive relationships and to effectively navigate settings with diverse individuals and groups. This includes the capacities to communicate clearly, listen actively, cooperate, work collaboratively to problem solve and negotiate conflict constructively, navigate settings with differing social and cultural demands and opportunities, provide leadership, and seek or offer help when needed.

Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language

Knowledge of Language:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.


Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing

Text Types and Purposes:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.

Production and Distribution of Writing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

Range of Writing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening

Comprehension and Collaboration:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading

Key Ideas and Details:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

Craft and Structure:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.6 Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards

Dimension 1: Developing Questions and Planning Inquiries
Developing Questions and Planning Inquiries

Inspired Teaching Institute ’22-23 Calendar

Join us all school year-long for monthly Institutes! Download the calendar below for details on dates, times, and themes. Learn more about each and register for future Institutes at the button.

Inspired Teaching was a great recharge for me, and it breathed new life into my curriculum and teaching practice. My most important goal as a teacher has always been getting my students to be the ones doing the thinking, so Inspired Teaching’s Instigator of Thought framework really resonated with me. After Institute, I’ve tried to move away from any type of lecture where students are only sitting and listening, and you can see the results in my class.

Inspired Teacher Leader

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