Session Topics

Are you looking for an incredible professional development experience for your teachers? I offer high quality gifted and talented professional development sessions for educators, as well as parent and youth sessions.

These titles and descriptions are provided to allow session organizers to choose sessions that will work best for them. Sessions indicated with an asterisk (*) are appropriate for parent audiences. Some sessions are not feasible or ideal in a virtual setting. Those are indicated.

Topics are divided into five strands:

  • Creativity & Instructional Strategies
  • Depth & Complexity
  • Differentiation
  • Identification & Assessment
  • Social & Emotional Needs of the Gifted

Sessions not in those areas are listed under Special Sessions.

Sessions for youth are listed under Youth Sessions.

My most popular day is PD Improv. For PD Improv, we take the general needs of the group and curate a list of possible sessions. Participants vote on the sessions they would like, and we do those – on the spot! It’s truly targeted, tailored PD, and it’s a huge hit across the country. [3 – 6 hours]

Most sessions can be adapted for virtual delivery. For virtual conferences, Q&A sessions are also available.

If you need help selecting the perfect sessions for your event, please feel free to email at

Creativity & Instructional Strategies

This session, created with Ian Byrd, explores the intricate and interesting connections amoung creativity, critical thinking and curiosity and delves deeply into how to integrate theem into classroom practice. (Note: This session is not available virtually, as it involves a lot of participation and movement.)

Participants will:

  • Know how creativity connects with cognitive intelligence 
  • Understand the value of critical thinking practice and how to blend the levels of Bloom’s in a way that allows the free flow of thinking across levels
  • Develop their own curiosity and be able to excite curiosity in the minds of students through specific strategies shared
  • Implement differentiated practice as a result of what they’ve learned
  • Length: 6 hours.
Hold on to your hats or Lisa might just do a trick with them! This workshop is non-stop engagement from beginning to end. Participants learn all kinds of tools of the trade in how to use humor and creativity to improve classroom environment and performance.


Even shy teachers will learn low-impact ways to invigorate their classrooms. Fill your toolbox with the most popular and effective strategies that will infuse classrooms with one of the most critical skills for gifted learners: creativity.
Length: 6 hours.

Interested in critical thinking in the classroom but not sure exactly what that means? Examine and practice strategies for increasing the level of critical-thinking in the classroom in this session that covers the theory and practice of critical thinking. Learn different ways to help students think more deeply and analytically while exploring options for creative directions to improve student achievement. Participants will experience and practice different methods for incorporating higher levels of critical-thinking into their lessons as they gain an understanding of the importance of higher-level thinking to the learning process.

Length: 1, 2, 3, or 6 hours.

Moving even further into the reach of critical thinking’s practical applications in classrooms, this workshop builds on the practical guide of part 1, leading teachers through more strategies. Dive deeply into the techniques and practices that facilitate critical thinking in students. (This workshop may be taken as a stand-alone session. Attendance at the first part is not required).

Length: 1, 2, 3, or 6 hours.

Hands down the most popular workshop Lisa presents, this is a treasure of practical strategies any teacher can use to infuse creativity into the classroom. Lisa shares twelve tools and techniques any teacher can easily use that will improve student performance and enhance the classroom experience for teachers and students alike.
Length: 1.5 – 2 hours

If you want students to deepen their thinking, become more creative, and engage more fully in their learning, they’ve got to get more curious. This session shares how to do just that with specific strategies any teacher can use right away to excite curiosity in their students (and maybe even themselves!). Taking a page from Alice in Wonderland, we’ll get curious (no rabbit hole required).

Length: 1 hour

Looking for a great way to create authentic audience for student work? Ready to invite real-world applications? Classroom blogging may be just what you’re looking for! This session shares the nuts and bolts of how to get students blogging, how to protect privacy, how to use your own blog for professional development, rubrics and more. I’ve successfully facilitated student blogging for years, and I’m sharing all of my secrets.
Length: 1 hour

Depth & Complexity

This is the thorough training to onboard educators to the Depth & Complexity framework that allows for immediate implementation.

Meet Depth & Complexity, the instructional elixir. In addition to an in-depth understanding of Depth & Complexity, the session shares literally dozens of content-specific examples, as well as ideas for activities and how to introduce the framework to students. After the session, participants will be able to apply the framework in their classrooms to raise students’ thinking level and differentiate instruction.

Course Length Options:

Single Day: Introduction to Depth & Complexity, examples from content areas, activities, ideas for introducing to students

Two Days: All of single day content, in addition to the connection to Content Imperatives, alignment with standards, opportunities to apply to individual educators’ needs, deeper exploration of fundamentals

Three Days: All of Two-Day session content, with a follow-up day at least six weeks after integration to explore and resolve issues, questions, suggestions, and to refresh and solidify the practice.

Don’t stop with the icons! This session will share with teachers how to integrate the Content Imperatives, taking their Depth & Complexity practice to the next level!

Length: 1 hour

These are the two most fundamental elements of Depth & Complexity, yet they are often used much too shallowly by teachers.

In this session, educators will learn how to extend their students’ application of these prompts. You will be surprised at how much you don’t know about these elements!

Length: 1 hour

Frames are one of the most common Depth and Complexity activities, yet most teachers have never had strong instruction of how to use them to their fullest potential in class.

Let’s explore how to make these a powerful tool in your classroom to extend and enhance learning!

Participants will:

  • Recognize best practices
  • Correct issues in frames
  • Create strong frames to extend and enhance learning

Length: 1 hour

Wondering how to address the required standards while retaining your integrity as an educator and doing what’s best for your students? Depth & Complexity pairs perfectly with all content standards, and this session empowers educators to use the framework as a lever to lift their content to meet any standards system.

Length: 1.5 hours.

Looking for a one-stop shop for raising the thinking level of students in your classroom? Look no further than Depth & Complexity. This session will provide a helicopter tour of the framework, sharing the fundamentals of how it works in real, live classrooms. This session is designed for educators with little or no experience working with the framework.

Length: 1 or 1.5 hours

Love the richness of the Depth & Complexity model, yet wondering how to do more than just share the pictures, questions, and framing? Come participate in this active workshop that will guide you through a session designed to take your DepCom skills to the next level.

Length: 1 or 1.5 hours

Wondering about the best way to introduce the icons to your students? This session offers three different possibilities for sharing the framework with students. One of them is sure to meet your own teaching style and the needs of your students. This session is designed for educators with little or no experience working with the framework.

Length: 1 or 1.5 hours

Would you like to know how to do more than just insert pictures of the icons next to questions? This session shares a buffet of ideas for classroom activities using the Depth & Complexity Framework. There will be ideas for all grade levels and content areas. Participants are encouraged to bring topics they teach – they’ll be able to find out activities they can use for that particular content.
Length: 1 or 1.5 hours


Prepare to be surprised. Although differentiation is the key to effective service of gifted students, it is one of the least understood principles in education. Because it encompasses such a wide variety of strategies and has a specialized vocabulary, many teachers feel overwhelmed just thinking about it. Join us for a strategy-rich tour of differentiation, from its fundamental roots to its practical (and do-able) application in the classroom. Find out the easiest (and most effective) ways to differentiate for all learners. You will leave feeling more confident about differentiation and ready to try it (or delve deeper) in your own classroom.

Length: 6 hours

This is an intermediate differentiation workshop that is interactive and fun. The day is broken up into six sections participants engage in as the fast-moving workshop unfolds. During this practical workshop, watch objections to differentiation fall away as participants:


  • Participate in the Definition Workshop
  • Ramp up your differentiation skills with Tiered Instruction
  • Celebrate the social side of gifted
  • Workout in the Preassessment Bootcamp
  • Play the Differentiation Game!
  • Differentiation Crowdsource Case Study

Note: devices for every participant and internet access are required for this session

Length: 6 hours

Created with Ian Byrd, this workshop is differentiation on steroids. It’s how to take differentiated practice to the next level by implementing four strategies. Learn how students can take content every which way but even loose in order to allow for differentiated practice in the GenEd classroom. Leave with strategies you can use tomorrow, as well as those you can develop into deep practice. If you think you’ve seen it all, try this.

Length: 6 hours

Are you looking for effective ways to differentiate that won’t break your time bank? This session shares a literal alphabet soup of ideas for a broad range of grade levels and content areas. You’ll find ideas you can do tomorrow, as well as those that will become your go-to strategies for years to come. Meet the needs of your students, both cognitively and emotionally, with far less effort than you thought possible.

Length: 1 hour

This workshop answers the question, “Can you become a better teacher?” in the affirmative, sharing ten tips to turn any classroom into a more effective learning environment. The simplicity of the ideas makes them easy to implement. The research behind them makes them invaluable.

Length: 1 hour.

Would you like to learn ways to move students in and out of groups flexibly and effectively? Would you like to know what the research says about productive grouping? This workshop explores grouping in the real world classroom in a way that builds camaraderie and saves time. Take away great ideas and an understanding of when to use what!

Length: 1 and 2 hour options

Ready to move to Differentiation 2.0? Heard about tiered instruction and wonder what it looks like in a real, live class with actual students? Join in and find out what it is, what it isn’t, and the hacks you need to make it seamless and integral part of your classroom. If you’re ready to take your differentiation skills to a new level, this is the session for you.

Length: 1 hour

Students of all ages work better and more effectively when they move frequently. Find out how (and a little about why) to integrate this into your class without losing control. Find strategies for micro and macro movement opportunities, and learn how much of the work has already been done for you! This wildly popular session shares strategies for educators and students alike.

(Note: This session is not available virtually, as it involves a lot of participation and movement.)

Length: 1, 3 and 6 hour options

An entire alphabet of pre-assessment strategies teachers can implement right away, this session is a perfect deeper dive into differentiation. Participants will understand when to use pre-assessments, how to do them, and what to do with the data. This popular session is perfect for teachers ready to take the next step in differentiation.

Length: 1 hour

Would you like to know how to create engaging, compelling presentations? Join two self-professed PowerPoint snobs to learn insider tips on the technology you need, the platforms you can use, and the sources that will help you become a presentation rock star. Turn your classroom into a model of presentation power. This presentation was designed by Lisa and Brian Housand.

Length: 1 hour

They’re not just for social and emotional needs anymore! This session shares how educators can use intensities across the curriculum. Character analysis? Check! Evaluating the Periodic Table? Can do. We’ll emphasize language arts, but promise something for every content area.


Intensities and Overexcitabilities are well known in the social and emotional domain of giftedness, but Lisa and Ian turn it around and use it as an analysis tool, allowing youth to see their own intensities as a strength and aspect of their depth of character, rather than a weakness.

Attendees will learn not only how to introduce the intensities to youth, but how to apply that to curriculum, using them as a tool for high-level thinking and analysis. The session explore examples of each intensity in multiple literary works, and extend beyond literature to science, social studies, mathematics, and the arts.

This session was designed with Ian Byrd.

Length: 1 hour

Identification & Assessment

Who are they and how do we find out? This session, part of the initial 30-hour introductory course for teachers, explores what it means to be identified as gifted and how the definitions arose. Participants will understand the different tests given and what they show (and don’t). They’ll be able to explain standard deviation and interpret multiple assessments.

This session provides a strong foundation for understanding what it means to be gifted.

Length: 6 hours

Want to know how to develop a state-of-the-art ID process? Want to avoid common pitfalls that mire districts in red tape and complaints and other difficulties?

We’ve got you covered with this workshop that shares specific instruments, as well as general policy considerations. It’s a consultation-in-a-box, and it’s well worth your time.

Length: 1 hour (ish)

Social & Emotional Needs of the Gifted

Virtual learning has become a fundamental skill educators need, yet most of us were not trained in best practices for distance instruction. Much of what has been written responds to adult learners, not youth.

This session shares how elementary and secondary teachers can make their distance learning meaningful and effective.

Participants will learn how to:

  • Make virtual learning more personable
  • Include analog experiences
  • Integrate tech tools
  • Create community
  • Avoid common mistakes

Length: 1 hour

Join us for a peek inside the complicated brain of the twice exceptional student. We’ll explore identification practices and issues, as well as classroom interventions and possible, practical accommodations. This full-day workshop explores issues in identification and service, as well as experience in developing intervention plans.

Participants will:

  • Understand best practices in the identification and service of the twice exceptional student
  • Create actionable intervention plans for a variety of exceptionalities
  • Develop a toolbox of strategies for meeting the needs of 2e students

Note: This session requires that all participants have a device and internet connectivity.

Length: 6 hours

This fast-paced, practical course gives administrators the tools they need (including a specially designed walk-through form) to observe GT strategies in the classroom. Administrators will learn the power of best practices in observation and discover the paradigm shift that will transform the way they assess teachers.

Length: 1 hour

How can districts provide quality, effective PD without breaking the bank or teacher revolt? Learn strategies and models for delivery of PD. Find out what’s new, what’s working, and what should be abandoned. Leave with a plethora of ideas and a great PD record form for teachers.

Length: 1 hour

Learn the strategies that work (and don’t) with gifted students who have dyslexia (or any reading/writing difficulty). This practical session emphasizes respecting ability while acknowledging challenges, and shares useful, useable take-aways that can benefit a wide variety of students.

Length: 1 hour.

It can be done. No, really. This session addresses diagnosis complications, as well as what ADHD looks like in the classroom (like you didn’t know), as well as specific ways to support students that can actually be done. While nothing is guaranteed, this session will get you started on your way to effective support.

Length: 1 hour.

Go beyond “hard” and get to effective in the ELA classroom using differentiation strategies that really work. Look at Depth & Complexity specifically from an ELA perspective. Find out how to get writers to revise their work, even when they think they don’t need to. Discover how to help students become content disciplinarians. Learn the power of a great transition words, and be able to share with students the cognitive ability markers in the realm of Language Arts. This three-hour workshop is practical, research-based, and a perfect drag-and-drop-into-use session for ELA teachers (and it’s got a meaty handout,too).

Length: 3 hours

Kindergarten is special, and this session shares everything Kindergarten teachers need to know to be able to teach students and reach parents. Kindergarten teachers thrive in professional development sessions designed just for them, and this one is it! Great resources and strategies, as well as the cutting-edge in research combine to make for a wonderful and very popular session.

Length: 6 hours

Do you worry that virtual reality is becoming your child’s reality? Do you struggle to balance your children’s desire to play video games with other pursuits? How much is too much? This session shares a close-up view of what the research is telling us about best practices for families in the digital age. You’ll learn the tips and strategies you need to hack parenting the digital native.

Length: 1 hour

Youth Sessions

What does it really mean to be smart? What should a kid’s next steps be to take control over their minds in powerful, effective ways? This interactive workshop uses the word “smart” as an acronym to take students on an exploration of the gifted mind from an owner’s perspective. They act out the science of smart, learn to manage their minds mindfully, act appropriately, reflect, and learn the best thinking practices for helping your ability match your outcomes.

Length: 1 – 4 hours (not all sections will be covered in shorter workshops)

What can youth learn from the characteristics of a hero in order to learn to become heroes in their own lives? Seizing on their strengths, recognizing the powerful forces in their favor, learning their place in the world, and understanding just what it means to be a hero can increase motivation and a sense of empowerment.
Length: 1 hour

If you are interested in scheduling a session or have questions, please tell me about it.