Teaching Outside the Box

February 2016

Meg Strnat

HSE High Ability Coordinator

Hamilton Southeastern Schools

mstrnat@hse.k12.in.us

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Add Rigor with Math Model-Eliciting Activities

Want to add rigor to your math or science lessons? To promote real-life math? To focus on 21st Century skills? MEA problem-solving activities push students to develop a model to solve a problem with recurring criteria. Student teams must balance client needs and constraints in an open-ended problem.


CPalms offers free online MEA lessons for specific grade levels that can easily tie back to topics already used in your classrooms. What a great opportunity to teach outside of the box! CPalms materials can be downloaded at http://www.cpalms.org/Resources/PublicPreviewResourceCollection.aspx?ResourceCollectionId=59.


Your building coordinator can provide you with a copy of "Real Life Applications of Mathematical Concepts" by Scott A. Chamberlin (NAGC's Teaching for High Potential Winter 2016) if you would like more information about MEAs and their value in high ability classrooms.

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If you're a believe in Beers and Probst's Fiction Signposts like me, then get ready, because their Nonfiction Signposts are even better. You can learn about the new book by taking the The Importance of Stances in Nonfiction Workshop.


No more asking students to take boring notes when reading nonfiction. Now students will take a stance and question the nonfiction author's purpose because the students have the tools (stances, signposts, and strategies). Reading nonfiction becomes a much more meaningful process for students and thus more engaging. Best of all, students will become independent and self-reliant readers.


Contact me at mstrnat@hse.k12.in.us if your school would be interested in a before or after school 50-minute interactive presentation on Reading Nonfiction & Note Stances, Signposts, and Strategies.

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You Asked for It...One More Economics Workshop

Workshop: Playful Economics

When: Wednesday, March 9th 4:15-5:30 p.m.

Where: Admin Board Room

Facilitator: Kathy Stratton, Franklin Township

Email mstrnat@hse.k12.in.us to sign up

The 15 lessons in the Playful Economics curriculum help teachers introduce economic concepts in a fun, hands-on way using modeling clay. Each lesson provides a brief description of the economic concept(s) covered in the lesson along with teaching tips and ideas for follow-up activities. Playful Economics is one of the most effective and motivating ways to teach economics at the elementary school level.

Engineering Workshops: It's Not Too Late

PictureSTEM units link language arts and math to engineering.

When: Wednesday February 24, 2016

Time: Grade 5 Teachers 4:15-5:15 pm

K-2 Teachers 5:15-6:15 pm

Where: HSE Admin Building Board Room

Facilitator: Dr. Tamara Moore, Purdue professor

Email mstrnat@hse.k12.in.us to sign up

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Kathy Collins Workshop Update

A number of HSE teachers attended a Kathy Collins workshop on February 6th. If you're a K-2 teacher, see if someone in your building attended and ask about the session. I have heard that Kathy Collins was well worth a free Saturday.

February HA Coordinator Meeting

Ask your high ability coordinator for more details about this month's Coordinator Meeting agenda:

  • Promotion of Model-Eliciting Activities (MEAs) for deeper thinking in high ability classrooms
  • Strnat workshop on Reading Nonfiction & Note Stances, Signposts, and Strategies
  • Discussion of job expectations and training for high ability coordinators in 2016-2017
  • Upcoming engineering and economics workshops

Last HA Coordinator Meeting of the Year

Our last HA Coordinator Meeting is Tuesday 3/8/16 from 4:15-5:30 p.m. at the Admin Board Room. This is a joint meeting of elementary and intermediate coordinators to discuss spring testing. Please make sure you find another high ability teacher in your building to sub for you if you are unable to attend.