Middle School Students Work Cooperatively as Leaders and Learners

At the Western Wayne Middle School some eighth grade students are taking part in a special endeavor where they get to work as student leaders by assisting some of their peers to do research. These students were given an option to use some of the time during their academic lab period to work with peers in a special education classroom to assist them in doing research for a science project.

Mr. Todd Pauler, middle school teacher, and Mrs. Elizabeth Bellush-Moore, special education teacher, collaborated for the unique project which students are taking part in during the third quarter. Pauler thought it would be a good way for all students involved to learn from one another.

“Classrooms are social environments that rely heavily on students being able to interact, socialize and communicate with others effectively and appropriately. This can be a challenge for all students but especially students with autism and other learning disabilities,” Pauler explained. “So, the main goals of this cooperative activity are to help students gain these social skills, to not be overwhelmed by the process and to become aware and accepting of the different needs that some of us may have. The secondary goal is to learn about different wetland animals.”

Pictured are some of the students and the teachers who participated in this special cooperative-learning project at the Western Wayne Middle School. From left, standing: Mrs. Elizabeth Bellush-Moore, Emily Shemanski, Riley Kennedy, Gabby Ostolaza, Owen Kotchessa, Kennedy Mistishin, Becca Boots, and Mr. Todd Pauler. From left, sitting: Braydon Christian, Daisy Ann Kuniegel, Colin Cordier, Brody Cleveland, and Jamey Christopher.

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