Susan P. Miller, Ph.D.
- Department of Special Education
- University of Nevada Las Vegas
- Las Vegas, NV
- Certified SIM Professional Development Specialist
- University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning
- Lawrence, KS
My Background and Interests
One of my favorite childhood pastimes was playing school. My students, at that very young age, included stuffed animals, dolls, and sometimes neighborhood friends. My more formal teaching experience was acquired years later when I taught employability skills to adults who lived in poverty, social studies and compensatory math to junior- and senior-high students without disabilities, reading and language arts to middle-school students with disabilities, and math, reading, and language arts to elementary students with and without disabilities. I loved each of these teaching experiences, and I like to believe that I touched the lives of my students in positive ways.
Subsequent to this teaching experience I worked as Program Administrator for the Multidisciplinary Diagnostic and Training Program at the University of Florida and currently serve as a Professor of Special Education at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). In this role, I teach courses in learning strategies, instructional methodology, and leadership. My research interests focus on learning strategies and mathematics interventions. I’ve had the opportunity to share much of what I’ve learned from colleagues within the SIM network, teachers, and students as author of Validated Practices for Teaching Students with Diverse Needs and Abilities and as co-author of Designing and Implementing Mathematics Instruction for Students with Diverse Learning Needs as well as the Strategic Math Series.
The Story Behind the Strategic Math Series: Level 2
Upon completion of the Strategic Math Series: Level 1, I knew that additional work should be done with skills that extended beyond basic math facts and initial place value. Through my work with teachers in the area of mathematics, skill deficits related to addition and subtraction with regrouping and related word problems consistently emerged as areas of particular concern. Bradley Kaffar, one of my previous doctoral mentees and one the coauthors of Addition With Regrouping and Subtraction With Regrouping programs, contacted me about conducting math-related research in a summer camp designed for students needing help in elementary math skills (e.g., addition and subtraction with regrouping). The rest is history. Lessons were developed, field tested and revised until we believed they were ready for publication. We were thrilled to learn that Jean Schumaker and Don Deshler supported the initiation of Level 2 of the Strategic Math Series.
My Thoughts about the Strategic Math Series: Level 2
It has been a joy to witness the positive effects of the Addition With Regrouping and Subtraction With Regrouping lessons with students who struggle with this type of computation and related word problems. Students who receive this instruction develop conceptual understanding, learn to use procedural strategies, and develop fluency related to regrouping problems. Students also learn to discriminate between problems that require regrouping and those that do not. They learn to attack word problems without fear, and they absolutely love the one-minute timings and the Pig Games! Engagement in these fluency-building activities provides the extensive practice needed for skill mastery and keeps student motivation high. Students who receive instruction in these two programs will be ready to advance to more complicated math skills with the necessary prerequisite knowledge for future success.
Teacher and Student Feedback on the Strategic Math Series: Level 2
Both teachers and students report high levels of satisfaction with the two programs. Teachers report that the lessons are easy to implement and they plan to continue using the program with future students. Students report the base-ten blocks, drawings, and the “RENAME” Strategy all help with solving regrouping problems. They also report that the Pig Games and Minute timings helped them learn. A doctoral student recently taught a group of elementary students the addition with regrouping lessons. In a follow-up session with these students, one of the students asked her to please teach his teacher how to teach this way. Another heart-tugging event occurred when the doctoral student met individually with students to discuss the progress they made during the program. When one student was shown her progress chart and told how much she improved since the pretest, she began to cry and said, “You mean I’m not stupid?” I can think of no greater reward than teaching students in ways that allow them to experience success, feel pride, and discover that they are NOT stupid.
My Contact Information
Susan P. Miller, Ph.D.
Department of Special Education-Box 453014
University of Nevada Las Vegas
Las Vegas, NV 89154
Work Phone: 702 895-1108