We met Veronica Svoboda towards the end of last November. You could tell immediately that she was an innovative teacher with really amazing students. She was looking to engage her students and teach them valuable social skills. Ms. Svoboda is a Special Education Teacher from the Toms River School District. She runs a self-contained Autism High School Classroom for 9th and 10th graders.
SILAS knows that every classroom is different but that teachers like hearing the success stories of other teachers. So we asked Ms. Svoboda if she would be our SILAS spotlight for January. We then asked her what she does and how she does it. We hope sharing her SILAS story can give you ideas for yours.
SILAS: How do you integrate SILAS into your schedule?
Ms. Svoboda: Any time I want to teach a social skill my students need, I often will integrate it into my reading time. I can also work with the speech teacher during our speech groups to use Silas.
SILAS: What brought you to use SILAS/What problems does SILAS help you solve?
Ms. Svoboda: My supervisor was sharing the jumpstarts on our google classroom. I did one lesson with my students and realized how much of an impact it had on my students. During a PLC with my supervisor, I inquired about the program and asked if I could have access to Silas to use in my classroom. Now that I am using it, I have access to unbelievable amounts of supportive lessons. Each lesson provides that opportunity to differentiate the instruction based on my students’ needs. My students often struggle with social skills, so Silas has provided me with an interactive approach through the use of avatars to make a movie. While making the movies, they are highly engaged since video games are very familiar to my students.
SILAS: How do your students/clients feel about SILAS?
Ms. Svoboda: My students enjoy the lessons and really seem to be able to connect with the lesson. They also enjoy and love creating the movies with the avatars. It gives them the opportunity to have a voice.
SILAS: What component of the curriculum is your favorite?
Ms. Svoboda: I like how organized and detailed each lesson is. It provides objectives, materials, activities, and questions to even ask your students. I love that there’s not much pre-planning I need to do before a lesson. It gives me the flexibility to use whatever I need for my students.
SILAS: What has been your favorite SILAS story or experience?
Ms. Svoboda: Watching my students being able to create their own movie for the first time with a partner. Some guidance was needed, but seeing them being able to connect with the lesson through the movie really helped them understand. They all wanted to share their movies with their friends after they were created.
SILAS: What advice might you share with a teacher considering using SILAS in their classroom or with clients?
Ms. Svoboda: I believe that it’s a program any classroom can really benefit from. Social skills are very important and these lessons provide all the materials. I encourage any teacher to just try it one time. I feel they will really see the benefits it provides.