Presenter: David Sebek, Joe Bernhart, Troy Drayton
T-TESS Domain: Planning 1.3
Grade Level: Elementary & Secondary
Hours: 1

Duck. Duck. Goose! Ever thought about why this simple game is so delightful to young children? Our brains look for patterns in the world around us. Patterns help us remember details and help us block out extraneous information. In Conceptual Teaching – Using Universal Themes to Inspire Student Investment, teachers will learn to use this innate feature of their students’ brains as a powerful teaching tool. Conceptual teaching helps students connect patterns to larger themes and concepts by helping students discover universal themes and generalizations that connect different pieces of learning.

This course specifically addresses the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS). 

Need more hours? Save $10 with our 3 hour bundle or save $30 with our 6 hour bundle!

View Pricing

View Course Demo


Think of all the childhood games that combine both the elements of pattern and surprise: duck, duck, goose!, jack-in-the-box, peek-a-boo. Although these are games for very young children, they highlight an important function of our brains — to recognize patterns and block out extraneous information. As they get older, students use this same function of the brain to recognize patterns within larger concepts and themes.

However, in order to overcome our students’ tendency to block out information they already know (or assume they know) teachers must plan conceptual teaching methods in a way that leads students to new learning. In this course, your teachers will learn how to use conceptual teaching to leverage their students’ backgrounds and prior knowledge in order to connect them to new learning. Recognizing that each student has their own unique learning style and approach to the content will help your teachers create meaningful and rich learning experiences.

In this 1-hour course, teachers will learn:

  • How teaching through the lens of themes and concepts encourages student investment across content areas
  • Tools for using universal themes in lesson planning
  • How to use conceptual teaching to fulfill T-TESS Planning Dimension 1.3: Student Knowledge
This course specifically addresses the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS).

Presenter Bio

David Sebek is co-founder of GT Innovators which was formed in 2011 by three educators who wanted to change the world of professional development for teachers. David has been offering unique professional development solutions to school districts in and around the Texas Gulf Coast Region. Mr. Sebek was the 2011 TAGT State Teacher of the Year for the Gifted and have coached various problem solving teams to Regional, State and International Competitions through Destination Imagination and Future Problem Solvers. 

Joe Bernhart is an author, speaker, and expert in researching and implementing curriculum with a focus on creativity, differentiation, and the social/emotional needs of GT students with an ever-developing expertise on their nature and needs as well. Building on over a decade of previous experience working in an inner city middle school in Houston ISD as a teacher, English department chair, parent coordinator, and Title I coordinator, Mr. Bernhart’s expertise transcends and traverses content areas and demographic definitions, allowing him to be part of a team that offers high quality professional development to meet the diverse needs of teachers in diverse settings. 

Troy Drayton has thirteen years of experience teaching in public schools, with 8 years as English/Language Arts (ELA) Department Head. Mr. Drayton has a Bachelor’s degree in English Composition and Language with an emphasis on Linguistics and a minor in Music from the University of North Texas. He completed his Master’s degree in Administrational Leadership and Supervision from the University of Houston in 2008, but has remained in the classroom because teaching is his true passion. 

Additional information

Core Area



Grade Level



Course Content

6 reviews for Conceptual Teaching – Using Universal Themes to Inspire Student Investment

  1. Sherry – Mobile County School District (verified owner)

    This course gave practical ideas to use in the classroom.

  2. Cristen – Private Pay (verified owner)

    This is a very basic course. I hoped it would go a little bit deeper.

  3. Krista – WODEN ISD (verified owner)

    Concepts are very applicable to any classroom, and especially helpful for co-planning aross the subject areas.

  4. Hillaree – MIDWAY ISD – WOODWAY (verified owner)

    Great course that is meaningful for all teachers regardless of the grade/subject you teach.

  5. Dezman – BEAUMONT ISD (verified owner)

    pretty good

  6. Thomas – NORTHSIDE ISD – SAN ANTONIO – REGION 20 (verified owner)

    Good information. A little random in its order.

Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.