Teaching it Forward

SPED Newsletter for Region 2

The Very Best Apple- August 2021

I had the pleasure of visiting a couple of amazing districts last month. My favorite part of visiting a new school is learning. Each school brings with it a unique culture which prioritizes differing values and sets of rules. Each school is filled with hardworking people that want to do right by kids and yet styles of dress, communication practices, initiatives, and the communities they serve vary from place to place.

One day, I did an activity that I had learned from a mentor and professor of mine at TAMUCC, where groups of professionals received a bag of apples and had to choose the best apple and write down observable criteria which helped them make that decision.

I am always amused by how proud people become of their chosen apple. Yet, when their "gifted apple" transferred to another table and was measured by the criteria of another group- it often didn't measure up to that group's standards. The incoming apple didn't fit in. It might be red where the others were green, be small where the others were large, or it didn't have a stem like the rest.

Like these apples- children come to school meeting a set of criteria that may not match the criteria we grew up with or the criteria the school has adopted to measure success. Being able to see and critically evaluate our preconceived standards along with providing some space to learn the values, rules, and experiences of the unique human beings in our class can have a positive impact on our teaching practices.

A child may still be learning how to meet the standards of our classroom. But, they have a lot to offer.

I encourage you to imagine each child that walks into your school as someone's very best apple.

July's Edition of Teaching it Forward

July's edition focused on building classroom environments, reinforcement, and pairing.

Contact Me

Ambra Sherrod M.S. served as a Special Education teacher for 10 years. In that time, she received over 300 hours of training on behavioral principles and communication intervention from the Central Texas Autism Center’s Trainer of Teachers program. She has a MS in Special Education from TAMUCC and a Graduate Academic Certificate in Behavior Analysis from UNT. Currently, she works as an Autism and Behavior Specialist at Region 2’s education service center. Her areas of expertise include communication intervention utilizing behavioral principles and developing skills based Interventions for severe problem behavior.