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Guest-Led Discussion: Making the Pieces Fit: Identifying and Boosting the Integrated Skills Addressed in a Transitions-Minded Lesson

Welcome Stephanie Sommers and Heather Turngren!

I want to thank our colleagues Stephanie Sommers and Heather Turngren for sharing their expertise with us this week. During yesterday's webinar on "Applying a Growth Mindset in a Transition-Minded Lesson" these experts shared a number of excellent, practical strategies for supporting learners to meet their transition goals. They demonstrated a lesson-planning process that helps teachers to address various skills including professional skills, basic skills, digital skills and content-specific skills in a user-friendly way. They also shared many great resources with all of us.

These experts sure make a great tag team! Stephanie and Heather, we are looking forward to a meaningful discussion this week!

And a warm welcome to everyone! You are all invited to share your ideas and resources as well as your questions related to growth mindset and supporting learners' transitions.

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, Teaching & Learning CoP


  • Stephanie Sommers has worked in adult education in Minnesota for over 15 years. She has extensive experience designing and delivering effective, engaging professional development in both face-to-face and online formats.
  • Heather Turngren has worked in Adult Education with Minneapolis Adult Education since 2000, when she earned her M.Ed. in Education and Adult Basic Education licensure from the University of Minnesota. She also coordinates career pathways curriculum for Minneapolis and is an ATLAS consultant. 



Stephanie S.'s picture


Heather and I would like to thank everyone who attended the webinar yesterday! It was such a wonderful experience for us and we were very impressed by all of the active participation. 

We know that people were wondering about how to access the slides and handouts. Here is a link to a Google Drive folder with all of our materials:

Stephanie S.'s picture

The focus of our first day's discussion is going to be on soft skills. These are also called professional skills or employability skills. We would like you to share how you teach these skills or bring them into your classroom. Which soft skills do you think your students need most? How do you identify the gaps when it comes to soft skills?

Susan Finn Miller's picture
One hundred

Hi Stephanie, During yesterday's webinar you shared a number of tools -- all of which are available at the Google link in your message above -- for addressing four skills areas, one of which is professional/soft skills. You asked the audience to share additional tools that have been helpful. In Pennsylvania we have been using the Foundation Skills Framework for many years. In my local program, we are asking teachers to plan their teaching to address each area of the Foundation Skills wheel, which includes:

  • Basic Workplace Skills
  • Basic Employability Skills
  • Workplace Knowledge
  • Lifelong Learning Skills

The Employability Skills as well as the Lifelong Learning Skills are similar to the professional/social skills you talked about during the webinar. I like using the term professional skills. I think teachers are more aware of supporting learners to build and enhance these skills as part of instruction. The 4-part graphic organizer you shared with us is a useful tool that teachers can use for planning to be sure they are integrating each of these areas into instruction.

I'm eager to hear from members how they integrate professional skills into their teaching.

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, Teaching & Learning CoP

Heather Turngren's picture

Thank you for the link to the Foundation Skills Framework used in PA.  I learned more about this framework at a COABE presentation last March from some of your PA colleagues.  I also agree with you that referring to 'soft skills' as 'professional skills' can be more engaging for teachers and students. 

In my own classes, I model professional skills and when appropriate, I inform students of the intent.  One example is using polite requests in the classroom. There are posters with sentence frames to help students practice the polite requests.  It may seem like a small thing, but students comment that they appreciate the reminder about using polite requests. 

I hope to learn from others!


Heather Turngren's picture

The focus of the second discussion is going to be on basic skills. These skills refer to effective reading, writing, numeracy, listening, and speaking skills. We would like you to share how you teach these skills or bring them into your classroom. Which basic skills do you think your students need most? How do you identify the gaps when it comes to basic skills?  Please share with your colleagues!