Association for Constructivist Teaching Conference 2020

A Curated Event

October 24, 2020

Join us in a day of conversations about the meaning and role of "peace", "justice", "equity" and "equality" in the classroom.

A portion of the conference fee from the event will be donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Christopher Emdin

Dr. Christopher Emdin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology at Teachers College, Columbia University; where he also serves as Director of the Science Education program and Associate Director of the Institute for Urban and Minority Education. He is the author of the book For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood…and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education.

Dr. Martin Nalls

Dr. Nalls has more than seventeen years of public education experience. As a leader in education, Dr. Nalls has served on several state boards and task forces including the Alabama Association of Middle School Principals.
He currently serves as the head of I3 Academy, a charter school whose mission is the encourage children to imagine, investigate and innovate.

Workshop Speakers

Jane Broderick

Professor, Department of Early Childhood Education, East Tennessee State University.

Her research focuses on the development of curriculum to meet the needs of diverse children within an emergent curriculum / Reggio inspired environment, teacher development and play. She has taught and developed several early childhood curriculum courses. She coordinates an Emergent Inquiry Certificate Program and co-coordinates a PhD Program. She and her co-researcher, Jane Broderick, are co-authors an NAEYC publication, From Children’s Interests to Children’s Thinking: Using a Cycle of Inquiry to Plan Curriculum. She has presented in international, national, and regional conferences.

Seong Bock Hong

Professor, Department of Early Childhood Education, University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Her research spans the development of curriculum to meet the needs of diverse children with a Reggio- inspired environment. She has taught and developed several early childhood curricula. She and her co-researcher, Jane Broderick, are co-authors an NAEYC publication, From Children’s Interests to Children’s Thinking: Using a Cycle of Inquiry to Plan Curriculum. She has presented at international, national and state early childhood conferences and has published scholarly articles documenting her research. She is president of The Association for Constructivist Teaching (ACT). She contributes to both state and national organizations regarding best practices for educating future teachers and working with in-service teachers to promote the development and education of young children.

Dr. Steven L. Jacobs

Chair of Judaic Studies, Emeritus Aaron Aronov Endowed Chair in Judaic Studies, University of Alabama

Dr. Jacobs’ most recent book is entitled Antisemitism: Exploring the Issues (2020) Dr. Jacobs’ primary research foci are in Biblical Studies, translation and interpretation, including the Dead Sea Scrolls as well as Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

He received his B.A. from Penn State University; and his B.H.L., M.A.H.L., D.H.L., D.D., and rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. A resident of Alabama for more than three decades, he has taught at Spring Hill College, Mobile; University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham-Southern College, Samford University, Birmingham; the University of Alabama in Huntsville and Calhoun Community College, Huntsville; as well as serving congregations in Birmingham, Mobile and Huntsville.

He will speak about hate crimes in America.

Alex Levinson

Special Education Teacher, Thompson High School, Alabaster, AL

Mr. Levinson earned his B.S. in Collaborative Education at Birmingham-Southern College and his MEd in special education at Seattle University. While in Seattle he spent 3 years teaching at South Shore K-8 in Seattle, WA. The scope of his teaching includes students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Mr. Levinson will speak from his perspective as a white man living and working in South Seattle. He is passionate about building relationships with students, parents, and colleagues in order to honor the lived experience of each child.

Sonia Semana

Director of the Fullerton College Child Development and Educational Studies Lab School

She has a strong background in constructivist theory and practice that guides her leadership at the lab school and in the broader early childhood community where she organizes and supports innovative professional development opportunities.

Mark Van Ryzin

Lecturer, University of Oregon College of Education

Dr. Van Ryzin is a statistics instructor at the University of Oregon in the College of Education and a Research Scientist at the Oregon Research Institute in Eugene, Oregon. Dr. Van Ryzin has a PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota and has conducted research with middle and high schools for more than 10 years. In that time, he has published a substantial number of scientific research articles in peer-reviewed journals on topics such as school climate, bullying and victimization, substance use, delinquent and prosocial behavior, academic engagement and achievement, and teacher-to-student and student-to-student relationships. He has also collaborated with dozens of teachers in the implementation of group-based approaches to instruction in middle and high school classrooms, and he uses these techniques in his own teaching at the University of Oregon. Dr. Van Ryzin has led workshops on group-based approaches to instruction for a variety of audiences over the last several years and has presented at dozens of scientific conferences during his career as a researcher.

Leslie Zorwick

Professor of Psychology, Hendrix College

Dr. Zorwick’s research includes how people are influenced by the presence and absence of group stereotypes and effective remedies for stereotyping and prejudice. She will address these issues specific to middle school classrooms.

More speakers to be announced soon!

Register Now

One of the signature features of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was to provide for the integration of schools. Our country has been struggling to actualize the spirit of that law for many years. Perhaps the revitalized social justice movement of 2020 can help us all finally reach the law's goals.

The Association for Constructivist Teaching has chosen a conference fee of $19.64 to remind the membership and conference attendees of our pledge to uphold social justice principles in every setting in and out of school. $19.64 also represents our commitment to offer an affordable opportunity for all to participate. No one will be turned away due to hardship.

A portion of each fee will be donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center, founded in 1971 to work toward the promise of the civil rights movement, with headquarters in Alabama, the state of the originally planned 2020 ACT conference.

  • Professional Affiliation, School, or Business
  • Price: $19.64
  • $0.00

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View map of attendee locations

Call for Proposals

Thank you for your interest in presenting at the 2020 conference of the Association for Constructivist Teaching. All proposals are peer reviewed. This national conference includes educators at all levels from early childhood to higher education.

Please include the following information in your proposal and submit it as a Word document. The submission deadline is Sept. 30, 2020.

Submission should be sent to Dr. Gay F. Barnes (

  1. Proposal Title
  2. Description of workshop
  3. Program Proposal Description (2 pages)
  4. Briefly explain:
    1. Purpose of the session
    2. Goals and outcomes of the session
    3. Engagement(s) for participants
    4. Intended audience
  5. The focus of the ACT Conference Event is “Peace, Justice, Equality and Equity in the Classroom.” This can take many forms. How does your proposal support this theme?
  6. Presenter and Co-presenter
  7. Preferred presentation time (October 24 between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. EST.)
  8. Books, Educational Materials

2019 Conference Photos

Take a look at our photos from the 2019 Conference. We hope to see you in person next year!