S'more Stuff

Something new and shiny for your teacher bucket.

You Matter

You are essential to the support and development of students, but also to us as teachers. We learn from each other and collaborate together. It is amazing the things you do each and every day. Just a few words about how you matter!

8th grade science teachers matter! Thank you for continuously implementing creative ways to get all students up and moving, chanting, singing - addressing all learning styles!

Choir teachers matter! Thank you for allowing our students time for extra tutorials during your class. The students grades are positively affected by your actions.

Math teachers matter! They look for opportunities to hook kids into math. Learning about kids interests and drawing them in to math.

You Talkin' To Me?

When students have difficulty becoming interested in the topic you are covering here are a few tricks you can try:

* Tell stories which relate to the student's life

* Establish Relevancy

* Provide concrete examples

* Provide current event articles that stimulate interest

* Seat the student closer to the teacher.

When a student is disengaged in the lesson it is important to look at the function of the behavior. Ask W questions. Why is the student resistant to participate? What does the student want? What is influencing the student's behavior? How does the student's disability effect them accessing this lesson? What happened outside this class that may be causing this behavior?

Some times an increase in rigor will increase a student's involvement. There was an article published on 12/13/2014 that addresses this very idea. Worth a read. "3 Tips to Boost Student Question Asking". The comments section can also yield lots of great strategies and tips. Loved the comment on the "I Wonder" poster. May have to make one of those!

Problem Solving

"You know how to do this?! What happened?" "Why didn't you ask for help?" said no teacher ever - right. Our students frequently let things slip through the cracks or even let little problems snowball into big problems.

Middle school students continue to learn problem solving strategies. They are trying out different scenario's and different tools to solve the problems. They haven't figured out that no one way works all the time and that they will need an arsenal of strategies to solve problems in their future. One thing we can do to hep students develop problem solving skills is to give them a frame to work in.

Step 1: Identify the problem

Step 2: List all the possible solutions to the problem

Step 3: Predict the outcomes to the solutions

Step 4: Pick a solution to solve the problem, based on realistic expectations.

Step 5: Work the steps of that solution keeping in mind time management.

Step 6: Be willing to ask for help, and try another avenue if the first attempt doesn't work.

Teachers can support by teaching ways to effectively plan and follow through on the solution. It is essential to any good plan to identify the possible resources and the students best resource is you. It's someone with experience problem solving, and can talk them through to see if it will be a reasonable solution. Sometimes teachers want to give explicit steps to solving the problem instead of guiding the student toward the solution. Offering choices, allowing the student to make the choice and to receive the natural consequences is essential to the learning process. Teaching students to "fail forward". That they don't just give up on a problem because their solution doesn't work. It's just another option they can cross off and learn from for the future. Allowing students to accept responsibility for those choices increases student ownership and eventually student engagement.

How can you be explicit in teaching problem solving using TEKS?

  • When students ask a question refer them back to their resources (notes, websites, textbooks, etc.)
  • Ask questions that will guide them toward the answers. Why would the Texans respond that way to Mexico? If the sun's rays hit the surface of the water what happens to the molecules? All those great open ended questions.
  • Modeling asking for help. It is good for students to see us ask each other or even other students for help. Seek those opportunities out. They are priceless.
  • Show them the end project and ask them how they might get to that result. Brainstorm ways to do those projects while demonstrating knowledge of the content.

Your SpEd Team

Shanna Ellis, Team Lead

Paul Mitchell and Crissy Morris, 6th Grade Inclusion

Dawn Bjorge and Colleen McAllister, 7th Grade Inclusion

Hope O'Connor and Karen Taff, 8th Grade Inclusion

Kim Walker, GOALS

Ellen Deckinga, SCSS

Nancy Perkins, ICAP

Jenny Davidson, LSSP

Robin Alkek, Diagnostician

Susan Cox, Speech Language Pathologist


Thank you everyone for making our first edition of S'More Stuff such a huge success! Did you know that S'Mores offers analytics in order for the creator to analyze the content? There were 51 visitors to our first S'More! There were no visitors to our first Round Table discussion on the PLAAFP. If you have special requests on tips, tricks, or additional training please let us know. We would love to help!