November Newsletter

Upper Moreland Township School District Special Education

Turkey Time......

As the fall weather turns decidedly colder and leaves drop from the trees, the first major holiday of the season is just around the corner. Many teachers start to wonder where the time is going. It seems like just yesterday kids were heading back to school and now the Winter Break is in sight.

As you head into a time of year when kids start to get antsy, remember to plan activities that maximize engagement while allowing students to move around the classroom.

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Special Education Updates

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"Young adolescents will move mountains for teachers who they sense respect them."

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Tips and Tricks

Collaboration is more than just working together in groups according to author, Donna Tileston. Rather, collaboration is the whole communication process in the classroom. With that in mind, teachers need to be mindful of how they are communicating with students, parents and colleagues in the building.

Research studies suggest that we learn more in environments when we are with others. This means that students should have the opportunity to practice cooperative and collaborative learning strategies to help them solidify what they have learned and to provide practice for individual assessments. These skills are also necessary for the real world, where collaboration is a key component of success.

In order to create a highly collaborative environment, consider these 4 factors:


1. Teacher to Student Communication

- Teacher sets the tone through verbal and non-verbal communication

-Create a positive environment, free from high stress and threats that cause students to fall into a "survival" mode

-Communicate expectations verbally and in writing

-Provide assignment expectations for success (i.e. rubrics, grading documents, etc)

-Set benchmarks to check for student understanding

-Actively monitor students

-Serve as a catalyst for learning

2. Student to Student Communication

-Start small with groups

-Allow students to pick familiar groups at first and then move to unfamiliar students

-Make group work meaningful

-Time activities and stick to a schedule

-Tell students the purpose for working in groups

-Attend PD about cooperative learning techniques to continue to improve

3. Communication with Parents

-Provide frequent communication (email, phone call, newsletters, etc)

-Invite parents in to observe your classroom (**Follow district procedures)

4. Teacher to Other Staff Member Communication

-Seek out administrative support

-Contribute to a positive school climate

-Meet in collaborative teams

-Communicate about assignments with other team members


From: 10 Best Teaching Practices by Donna Walker Tileston