Recall two things:
1. The Theory class jokes with me about big words.
2. I love to expand on unrelated subject matter [when appropriate].
Then share my joy in showing savethewords.org to them.
Some weird things happened in my last General Music class. There's one student who is, frankly, weird. He doesn't respond to social cues as others do and has his own brand of nervous humor. He spends a lot of time with a guidance counselor and gets bullied. It is extremely difficult to keep the class from shamelessly laughing at him during an embarrassing moment, as well as to keep him from intentionally doing strange things to get their attention. I spoke with the counselor that the boy works with and got an interesting background story on the boy and some of his relationships.
I very often find myself saying, "Gee, I wish I had been informed of that earlier!" There are some very relevant details about some students that don't get passed on (I don't know if this is always the case or if it's because I teach a "special"). Enough, in fact, that I have to be very cautious to not approach or discipline a student for something that they may feasibly have some explanation for (this extends beyond discipline, too; I recently had a student cry when moved to sit next to somebody that she is apparently very uncomfortable near (this has been addressed)). However, as I already talk about being overwhelmed with IEP's, a system of passing on this type of information may also be overwhelming. I'm just tired of chasing down learning support teachers and guidance counselors to get answers. At least the ones I know are helpful (mostly — I recently had a girl act out who has a behavioral plan, so I sent an e-mail and never heard back, only to find out through the grapevine that her learning support teacher spoke to her, but he never told me and I easily could have given her a double-dose of reproach.)