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Katherine McKnight        

Award-Winning Author & Expert on Educational Leadership, Literacy and Student Skill Development

Dr. Katherine McKnight is a dynamic presenter, dedicated teacher, and award-winning author. She began her career in education over 30 years ago as a middle school and high school English and social studies teacher in the Chicago Public Schools. In addition to speaking at professional development conferences, she is a regular consultant in schools and classrooms across the United States, in addition to speaking internationally.

McKnight’s 15-year distinguished university career culminated in her assignment to Distinguished Professor of Research at National Louis University. She is the founder of Engaging Learners, an educational company built around her successful Literacy & Learning Center model. Her work in educational leadership, literacy, and student skill development has resulted in unprecedented academic achievement in many struggling schools.

McKnight has received several awards for her publications and teaching at the university level. She has authored 20 books that support educational strategies to engage all learners. Her titles include the bestseller "The Teacher’s Big Book of Graphic Organizers," winner of the 2013 Teachers’ Choice Award, and Literacy & Learning Centers for the Big Kids, grades 4-12. In 2008, she co-authored the popular book "The Second City Guide to Improv in the Classroom: Using Improvisation to Teach Skills and Boost Learning." Most recently, she founded Morning Meeting webinars during the COVID-19 pandemic as a weekly forum to bring together educators to engage in professional learning.

Speech Topics


Literacy & Learning Centers: The Intersection of Literacy and Disciplinary Knowledge (grades 4-12)

Elementary schools have long used learning centers – also known as “rotations” or “stations.” But middle and high school teachers have unique challenges, so Dr. Katherine McKnight developed collaborative learning centers designed specifically for grade 4-12 learners. Literacy & Learning Centers are an effective tool in all classrooms, and they’re being used in districts all over the country to improve.

Improv and Active Learning: Yes...And for the Classroom

Improvisation builds growth mindset and promotes literacy skill development because it encourages creation, analysis, and interpretation of text. It enhances community, encouraging an atmosphere in which creative risk-taking is the norm rather than the exception and it supports an educational environment in which all students are truly included. Dr. McKnight leads an active learning workshop; participants can expect to be on their feet, discovering the principals of classroom improv and identifying effective applications in whatever content area they teach.

Standards- and Skills-Based Grading

Attendees, both teachers and administrators, discover the value of examining their school’s existing proficiency scales, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and creating customized proficiency scales as needed. Teachers are given tips for recognizing the goals of the standards and instructional methods that align with those goals. Administrators learn the importance of streamlining content and aligning it with clarified goals, and they explore a few best practices that will position teaching staff to dramatically increase their teaching effectiveness.

Reading and Writing for the Big Kids

So often, adolescent readers can decode text but as soon as teachers ask them to dig more deeply, we find that they are unable to do so. Understanding the author's message, the main idea, or theme is oftentimes challenging. In this presentation, Dr. McKnight introduces educators to classroom-ready strategies that all content area/discipline area teachers can use to build student comprehension.

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