Reducing Anxiety in the Classroom

Ability and Opportunity in the Rearview Mirror

Pre conference

Creating the Learning Support Classroom of Tomorrow

This workshop will introduce a new framework for developing individual learning support programs that are highly personalized, engaging, effective, and centered around increasing student agency.

After unpacking the framework, participants will use their unique context(s) to create and/or improve their own learning support classrooms. In addition to improving their learning support class, participants are invited to join a community that will continue to support each other in the future.

The MARIO Framework is primarily designed for middle and high school learning support teachers to provide a customizable structure for improving the overall effectiveness of dedicated learning support classes.  Unlike many educational platforms, the MARIO Framework is completely free and run by fellow teachers in the field. In addition to being an effective approach to helping students reach their potential through personalized instruction, the framework’s modular design allows teachers to increase their impact in multiple ways.

Teachers can instantly access quality resources and strategies, share what works for them with others, and leverage an opportunity to improve already existing content.


Philip Bowman is in his ninth year at International School Bangkok and has been a learning support teacher for over thirteen years.  His career in special education began shortly after being diagnosed as an adult with ADHD. Drawing on his personal experiences with ADHD and varied background in science, research, liberal arts, special education, motivation, mindfulness, and video games, he has created an empathetic and playful approach to learning support that focuses on sustainable results through personalized learning.  Philip believes that, in addition to in-class support, all students with exceptionalities should have access to effective learning support classes that target overall learning and life-long success. He recently founded the MARIO Framework to help further this mission by providing a shared space for learning support teachers to build and/or improve their own ideal classroom.

Practical Strategies for Reducing Anxiety and Disruptive Behavior in the Classroom

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States reports that one in four thirteen-eighteen-year-olds has had an anxiety disorder in their lifetime.  Without intervention, these children are at risk for poor performance, diminished learning, and social/behavior problems in school. Understanding the role anxiety plays in a student’s behavior is crucial and using preventive strategies are key to successful intervention. Effective behavior plans for these students must avoid the reward and punishment-based consequences from traditional behavior plans and focus instead on the use of preventive strategies and on explicitly teaching coping skills, self-monitoring, and alternative responses.

As a result of this workshop participants will be able to easily implement preventive tools, strategies, and interventions for reducing anxiety, increasing self-regulation, executive functioning, and self-monitoring.


Jessica Minahan, MEd, BCBA, is a licensed and board certified behavior analyst, special educator, and consultant to school’s internationally. Jessica has over seventeen years of experience supporting students who exhibit challenging behavior in public school systems.  She is a blogger on The Huffington Post, as well as the author of The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students, with Nancy Rappaport (Harvard Education Press, 2012) and author of The Behavior Code Companion: Strategies, Tools, and Interventions for Supporting Students with Anxiety-Related or Oppositional Behaviors (Harvard Education Press, 2014).

Brain Frames

This training is for grade K-12 special education or general education teachers of any subject area who want effective tools for teaching students to actively organize their language and thinking in academic tasks. Brain Frames are a set of graphics that organize, but they aren’t traditional graphic organizers. This workshop introduces the six Brain Frames and provides participants with hands-on practice in using each of them for a variety of instructional purposes.

Forget about pre-made handouts — a blank piece of paper, a pencil, and the right strategy will do the job. By drawing their own Brain Frames from scratch, teachers and students can show what’s in their brains by constructing a visual “frame” so they can see, reflect on, and share what they know and understand. Thus, they can visually capture their ideas graphically without being constrained or frustrated by someone else’s pre-made organizer.

Brain Frames are visual-spatial displays of the patterns underlying basic things we do with language every day.

All day, every day, from a very young age, we:

  • tell what we know
  • sequence ideas
  • show contrasts
  • identify causes
  • recognize effects
  • categorize
  • show relationships between concepts

Awareness of these patterns is largely unconscious to most people but directly influences comprehension, and academic success.

Brain Frames give students organizing frameworks needed for academic success. They are a manageable set of graphics that will help them “do school.” They can use them in any subject and any grade level. Similarly, Brain Frames give teachers a manageable set of effective graphics that they can use across their curriculum.


Bonnie Singer, Ph.D., CCC-SLP is the Founder/CEO of Architects For Learning, where she trains educators, consults with schools world-wide and directs a staff in the Boston area that provides academic intervention, assessment, and consultation services.

In partnership with Dr. Anthony Bashir, she developed EmPOWER™, a method for teaching expository writing, and Brain Frames®, graphic scaffolds for language, literacy, teaching, and learning. Her primary research and publications focus on the relationship between spoken and written language, cognition, spatial processing, and self-regulated learning.

Executive Functioning: A School-based Tool Box to Support Student Growth

Contribute to a SENIA Executive Functioning Tool Box by developing and refining resources to build EF skills in students from K-12th grade. By the end of the day, your tool box will include ready-to-use lesson plans, practical strategies, an EF IEP goal bank, and a complete EF workshops for your own faculty and parents. Participating teachers must come with a strong background in EF Skills and be ready for focused collaboration with grade-level based grouping.


Lori Boll

Lori Boll is an experienced Special Education leader with a personal connection to individuals with disabilities.

In 2003, Lori’s son Braden was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. This milestone event changed her focus from teaching elementary students to advocating for all children and their education.

In Shanghai, China Lori worked as a program director for a school focused on students with special needs and went on to co-found the first inclusive school in the city. Currently, Lori is running the new Intensive Needs Program which opened up at International School Bangkok this school year.

Lori has two graduate degrees; one in Reading Education and the other in Special Education and has been teaching for over twenty years in international schools, including American International School Riyadh, Jakarta International School, and Concordia International School, as well as in the United States in California and Colorado.

Priscilla Leighton

A special education leader who advocates for inclusion and putting kids first. Her adventure in the world of special education began in California, where she worked as a Resource Specialist for 7 years. She earned a Master’s Degree in Special Education before moving overseas in

Now she is the Student Services Coordinator for Middle and High School at Brent International School Manila.

As local chapter liaison for SENIA, Priscilla supports the local chapters on their own inclusive journey. She also serves on the board of the SENIA local chapter in Manila and personally experiences the benefits of being a part of a local chapter.

The keys to Priscilla‘s heart are held by her husband, two daughters, and a very large poodle. She’s always looking for a chance to whisk them away and explore the world (preferably

Workshop Leaders

Tafik Teacher

Tafik Teacher

International School Manila
Tafik Teacher

Tafik Teacher

International School Manila
Tafik Teacher

Tafik Teacher

International School Manila
Tafik Teacher

Tafik Teacher

International School Manila