Moderation state
Grant Applicant
Matthew Drexel
School Site
Grant Category
Grant Date

Research has demonstrated time and again the impact students' social and emotional wellbeing can have on their learning; consequently, as the Elementary Social Skills Teacher for the district, I serve students with some of the most significant needs.

Through implementation of the Why Try Resilience Curriculum (of which I am a trained, Level 2 Facilitator), I have helped students to grow critical learning skills, such as perseverance, dedication, group problem solving skills, and self confidence.

However, the curriculum is only so effective without the supplementary Learning Activities Kit, which costs $899.99.

The WhyTry Learning Activities Kit provides WhyTry facilitators with several of the materials and props needed to effectively implement WhyTry’s learning activities. The kit contains more than 45 props for over 75 of WhyTry’s learning activities. The kit also includes:

  • WhyTry’s Learning Activities Expansion Pack, which gives detailed instructions for 140+ WhyTry learning activities.

  • A Learning Activities Kit User Guide, where you’ll find a list of props associated with each activity and 5 BONUS learning activities that you won’t find in the Expansion Pack (props included!).

  • Processing Cards: A “recipe box” containing detailed processing questions for each activity in the Learning Activities Expansion Pack. The numbering and order of the question cards are identical to the numbering and order of the activities in the Expansion Pack, making activities easy to find and replace. You’ll also find a bonus section at the back of the box containing the processing questions for the 5 bonus activities included.

In addition to me using this curriculum, Why Try is also used in the middle school and high school social emotional classrooms.  As a result, vertical planning can ensure a continuum of support and common language from Kindergarten, through twelfth grade.

Benefits of Program

The WhyTry Program is a resilience education curriculum that provides simple, hands-on solutions for dropout prevention, violence prevention, truancy reduction, and increased academic success.

The WhyTry curriculum utilizes a series of ten visual analogies that teach important life skills (e.g., decisions have consequences; dealing with with peer pressure; obeying laws and rules; plugging in to support systems). 

The visual analogies are reinforced through the creative use of customized hip-hop music, video, over 150 learning activities, journal activities that help students reflect on program concepts, and other multimedia. The WhyTry curriculum engages all major learning styles (visual, auditory, and body-kinesthetic). WhyTry is often used for RTI and PBiS.

And these resources would be available not only to students in the Truckee Elementary Social/Emotional classroom, but to the school as a whole.  As a Level 2 Facilitator, I can help coach my colleagues on the implementation of the curriculum, and hopefully someday conduct both tier two and tier three interventions for students across the whole K-5 spectrum at Truckee Elementary.

Success of Program

Success would be measured in the reduction of Daily Office Referrals, as measured by School Wide Information Systems (SWIS data), and suspension rates.

Additionally, a happier, more dedicated and resilience student population will likely perform better on standardized tests, as well as in the community at large.


Early stages would see implementation of the curriculum daily, in the elementary social/emotional classroom -as well as both resource classrooms on an as needed basis.

Later stages would see implementation at both the tier two and tier three levels -helping general education students through targeted lessons based on SWIS data and teacher feedback.

Final stages would see the common Why Try strategies/analogies used in the tier one setting, allowing teachers to support all students socially and emotionally with common language, strategies, and supports. 

Can you share this grant with your grade level or subject team?

The resources this grant would provide would be shared with the entire school.  At the least, it would be shared among the special education staff at Truckee Elementary.

This would be a one time grant. Resources in the activity kit would be reusable and share-able.
Amount Funded
Individual Budget Items(s)
Budget Notes

 Learning Activities Kit Props List

Props used for multiple activities

  • Toothpaste, Masking tape, Gallon can, Hacky sacks, Stopwatch, Dice, Ping-Pong balls, Mousetrap, Decks of cards, 10-inch ball, Balloons, Blindfolds, String, 3-foot rope, Rubber bands, Blue tape, Toothpicks, Wristbands, Cotton twine, String

Reality Ride

  • Poker chips, 3x5 numbered cards, Gift bag


  • 8-ounce can, Safe edge can opener, Super glue, Gold coins, Laminated sheet of 6.5x20 paper

Motivation Formula

  • Sheet protector, Letter-size cardstock paper with a big question mark (?), Letter-size cardstock paper with a big “NO”, 3 sheets of paper with a picture of a pig on each sheet

Defense Mechanisms

  • Funnel, Envelopes

Climbing Out

  • Puppets, Glass bottle, Matches, Isopropyl alcohol spray

Jumping Your Hurdles

  • 16-foot bungee cord, Cups, Straws

Desire, Time, and Effort

  • Throwing ring, Cones

Lift the Weight

  • 2 white jugs

Get Plugged In

  • Beach ball

The Wall

  • Sunglasses, Vaseline, Plastic bottles

Bonus Activity Props

  • 2-foot PVC pipes, 1-foot PVC pipes, Elbows, Straight couplers, T’s, Marbles, Ropes