Teacher Tips!

Behavior is the most basic form of communication. When our students are unable to use words to express their thoughts and feelings, they instead act out in inappropriate ways. The most effective way to increase desired student behavior is to build relationships. Students who feel respected and heard are more likely to reciprocate the actions. Below are examples of strategies to increase your students’ success! 

Any Time Accommodations

  • Statements Not Questions: Many times when giving students directives, we ask the students in the form of a question instead of communicating the expectation through the use of a statement. You may have found yourself asking, “Would you like to go to math?” When we ask a student if they would like to follow a directive, we provide them with the opportunity to say “NO!” Instead state, “It is time for math.” 
  • Wait Time: As teachers, it is our nature to fill every moment with words. Silence tends to make individuals uncomfortable. Providing students “wait time” to comply with a directive or allow students the opportunity to answer a question relating to either their behavior or academic subject. Helpful examples; “I know you are upset. I will set the timer for two minutes, then we will talk.” 

Building Relationships

  • 2×10: Building relationships is the best way to increase positive outcomes with at risk students. A simple trick to assist in building relationships is the 2×10 strategy. Spend two minutes each day for 10 days in a row just talking with your student about anything…but school! 
  • Q-TIP: Most times, a student who is acting out knows your “buttons.” He or she knows exactly what to say or do in an attempt to escalate your behavior as well. An easy reminder, Q-TIP, Quick Taking it Personally. The more we can avoid engaging the student during the undesired behavior, the less the student will exhibit the behavior. 

Lights! Camera! Action! 

Now it is your turn to show us your positive behavior strategies in action!

  1. Choose an “Any Time Accommodation.” 
  2. In small groups or 1:1 with students, create a dialogue including the accommodation. 
  3. Submit your movie by Nov. 30th.
  4. The students that create the best movie will receive a pizza party.  The teacher/s will receive a $25 Amazon Card!

User Spotlight: Cari Neal

At SiLAS, we know how talented and passionate our users are. That is why we are committed to showcasing these amazing educators and how they’re using SiLAS to improve student learning!

This post’s User Spotlight is Cari Neal. Cari is a Special Education teacher for students with emotional/behavioral challenges at Huntington County Community School Corporation (HCCSC) in Huntington, Indiana.

Here are 5 questions with Cari Neal:

1) What were your first thoughts after seeing SiLAS?

Upon first seeing SiLAS, I knew it was something that would engage my students and allow for a great deal of flexibility to meet our needs. 

2) How are you using SiLAS with students?

Students participate in weekly lessons utilizing the SiLAS curriculum. After completing the lesson, students enjoy making animations. Animations are shared with others in a variety of ways. We have SiLAS Skills Showcase posters hanging in the hall of the school with QR codes for students to scan and view. We have hosted a SiLAS Celebration in which district leaders were invited to preview student animations from a variety of topics. Animations are uploaded to YouTube and links are sent out for parents to enjoy.

3) What do your students and parents think about SiLAS?

Students LOVE SiLAS and enjoy being the star of the show when we preview them as a class. Parents enjoy receiving the animations and being able to discuss with students what they have been learning. Parent sheets are now being utilized to send home as well.

4) What has been your favorite SiLAS story or experience? 

I have enjoyed seeing the students’ excitement when they are working on their SiLAS lessons. It is amazing to see them work together to create a final project.

5) What do you think other teachers should know about SiLAS?

The possibilities are endless with SiLAS. Just take the first step and give it a try.

Thank you to Cari for sharing the amazing ways he is using SiLAS in the classroom!

User Spotlight: Dr. Julie Bassi

At SiLAS, we know how talented and passionate our users are. That is why we wanted to start a new feature where we spotlight these educators and how they’re using SiLAS to improve student learning!

Our first user spotlight is Dr. Julie Bassi. Dr. Bassi is the school Psychologist at Bow Elementary School in Bow, New Hampshire. Among the many hats she wears, Dr. Bassi is responsible for teaching guidance classes. There she teaches her students how to have conversations with each other, even when they seem not to be getting along that well.

Here are 6 questions with Dr. Bassi:

What were your first thoughts after seeing SiLAS?
I thought my students would love it. I thought my students would have a blast playing around with it, and I thought that it would be a great new medium to practice teaching kids how to listen to each other and speak to each other in meaningful ways.

What are your goals for your students growth? How does SiLAS help?
I would like all my students to practice letting other people know how they feel about issues, and practice listening to what other people have to say. SILAS helps by setting up a medium where kids can practice having conversations in ways that are not immediately entrenched in their feelings, but they can rehearse events and situations that may have happened in the past and may happen again in the future, and they can become better listeners and more compassionate toward one another – promoting learning and growth in all areas.

What do your students think about SiLAS?
I think they enjoy the process approach to learning about communicating, with a finished product at the end to showcase their work. I think they get a kick out of hearing their own voices, though they often report that “it doesn’t sound like me!” I think they like playing with the game controller, but in a way that facilitates learning with a clear purpose of learning to work together to solve problems.

What is your favorite SiLAS story?
We created a social animation where two girls are fighting in art class, and one student drew on the other student’s art project, and she says, “I’m so mad at you; it was my perfectest picture ever!” I didn’t know that we could go beyond perfect, but I guess we can! I also got a kick out of working with two fourth grade boys who mastered the “eye rolling” when they didn’t like what the other character had to say.  I also laugh when they try to walk off the set and sometimes ram into each other.

What do you think other teachers should know about SiLAS?
Not only are we practicing SEL, kids are also practicing reading fluency, writing fluency, and pulling off a lot at once when they bring their social scripts to life. There is a collaboration in place when kids work together to record their pieces, and academic instruction is a big part of the mix.

Whats next for you and your students?
We are taking a bunch of videos and showcasing them for an “Ignite the Night” parent night. Basically, we will invite kids and parents to a 45 minute showcase, giving the kids an opportunity to show their “film” and to answer questions (in a public microphone setting) about the experience of writing the scripts, thinking about topics that tend to invite controversy, and working through those issues in constructive ways with SILAS characters. We call the practice “guidance gig,” but essentially it’s a way that we can teach kids to let others know how they feel and why, and we teach them that when other kids share feelings like that, it’s their job to listen, repeat back to clarify, and make amends if needed. Also, there’s always a plan for next time. SILAS can help us teach and reinforce this practice.

Congratulations to Dr. Blassi for being our first SiLAS Spotlight! She and her students are so impressive. We can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

Stay tuned!