Laker Lessons

As more and more teaching and learning moves to a virtual setting, the GVSU CSO is recording short webinars for educators to view whenever they prefer. Our Laker Lesson videos tackle the broad topics that we usually cover each year during in-person workshops such as literacy, tech tools, or utilizing digital assessments.


Laker Lessons for Literacy

Understanding English Code Complexities (Part 3)

Description: In the final part of their conversation around decoding words, Wendy Miller and Jill Weber demonstrate how to show kids that the same letters can sometimes make different sounds.

Post Date: 6/14/2021
Run Time: 10 minutes

Understanding English Code Complexities (Part 2)

Description: Wendy Miller and Jill Weber continue their decoding discussion by demonstrating how to use sound boxes with students to show them that the same sound can be created through multiple letter combinations.

Post Date: 6/14/2021
Run Time: 13 minutes

Understanding English Code Complexities (Part 1)

Description: Decoding the English language is an important skill kids should learn from an early age to succeed in literacy. Wendy Miller and Jill Weber demonstrate how teachers can use sound boxes in 1-on-1 or small group settings to show students that more than one letter can spell a sound.

Post Date: 6/14/2021
Run Time: 13 minutes

Phonemic Awareness and Manipulating Sounds

Description: After students understand blending and segmenting sounds, they are ready to learn how to manipulate them. Wendy Miller and Jill Weber demonstrate how to teach kids to delete and substitute sounds while they are learning to read.

Post Date: 5/5/2021
Run Time: 15 minutes

Phonemic Awareness and Segmenting

Description: Once students understand how to blend sounds, they can quickly move to segmenting. Wendy Miller and Jill Weber guide viewers through the research behind phonemic awareness and segmenting and demonstrate how to appropriately segmenting instruction in both an in-person setting and virtual environment.

Post Date: 5/4/2021
Run Time: 12 minutes

Phonological Awareness and Blending Sounds

Description: Blending letter sounds is critical literacy building block that every young student should master. Wendy Miller and Jill Weber will guide viewers through the research behind phonemic awareness and blending and demonstrate how to appropriately provide blending instruction in both an in-person setting and virtual environment.

Post Date: 3/3/2021
Run Time: 7 minutes

Laker Lesson for Technology

How to "Level Up" Your Google Site: Building Better Buttons

Description: Now that you know the basics of Google Sites, join Alissa Thelen again as she shows you how to take your creation to the next level with more themes and fun design tools. 

Post Date: 2/16/2021
Run time: 18 minutes

5 Reasons Why You Should Create a Google Site for Your Classroom

Description: Instructional Leadership Specialist Alissa Thelen demonstrates how Google Sites can improve communication between teachers, students and families. During the lesson, Alissa guides viewers through the first steps of building a site, shows examples of Google Sites that other teachers have created, and answers some of the top questions about the tool.

Post Date: 11/4/2020
Run Time: 23 minutes

Laker Lessons for Assessment

Assessment in a Post-COVID World.

Description: The world of assessment is always changing, and that is particularly true in the last year as we grapple with the implications of the global pandemic. Assessment expert Dr. Venessa Keesler provides the latest information on what K-12 assessment is slated to look like for Michigan students in 2021 and beyond. Dr. Keesler is an education consultant with more than 20 years of experience of education leadership at the local and state level, formerly serving as the Deputy Superintendent for the Michigan Department of Education.

Post Date: 3/3/2021
Run Time: 29 minutes

Additional Laker Lessons

Understanding the Meaning of "Evidence-Based"

Description: Educators are often told they need to utilize "evidence-based" instructional practices. But what does "evidence-based" really mean? Dr. Venessa Keesler, an assessment expert and former Deputy Superintendent at the Michigan Department of Education, breaks down the term and provides tips that will help teachers select practices that are grounded in quality research.

Post date: 10/14/2021
Run Time: 50 minutes

Tutorial of a Resource Livebinder Available to New Teachers

Description: GVSU’s Alissa Thelen introduces a curated Teacher LiveBinder filled with online resources specifically gathered to support early-career educators. Resources within the LiveBinder include items to help teachers enhance their lessons, tools that can improve student engagement, and standard-aligned sites that compliment classroom instruction.

To access the LiveBinder, go to​ and use access code: teach

Post Date: 3/22/2021
Run Time: 5 minutes


If you have any questions about Laker Lessons or issues with the videos, please email Michael Cousins, the GVSU CSO's manager of communications.