Literature Circles in Middle School: Assignments & Assessment

Over the course of three articles, I have talked about doing Literature Circles with my 8th-grade students. For a list of the novels we used, check here. To read about the procedures I put in place for my students, check here. And for an explanation of how I used mini-lessons both as a full class [...]

Have You Used Play-Doh In Your Middle School Classroom?

One of the huge challenges of teaching middle school is creating an environment where students know that their teachers care about them first. My teaching mantra over the last 26 years has always been "Kids first, curriculum second." Middle school kids need to know that they are being listened to, they are important, and that [...]

By | 2016-11-01T13:44:40+00:00 September 19th, 2016|Child Development, Instruction&Curriculum, Middle School|1 Comment

Math Standards in Middle School

I taught middle school math for 30 years. During my career I used many different types of math standards. These standards included school district standards, NCTM standards, a new set of district standards, textbook “programs,” and finally the Pennsylvania state standards. The PA standards very closely resemble the current Common Core standards with one exception. [...]

By | 2016-11-01T13:45:07+00:00 September 8th, 2016|Instruction&Curriculum, Mathematics, Middle School|0 Comments

Encouraging Conversation About Teen Suicide

We’re just a few weeks into the new school year, and already communities are mourning the tragic deaths of students by suicide. From the public outcry of Daniel Fitzpatrick’s parents to the private grief of classmates, teen suicide plagues the school community. How do we talk to our students about the devastating realities of depression [...]

10 Terrific Team-Building Activities for Secondary Students

Once students reach Middle School and beyond, teachers often believe that students must know each other already. As a result, team-building often gets skipped. Last year, I realized that some of my students didn't know each other after all. This moment came two-thirds of the way through the year, when I asked a student to get "Charlie" [...]

By | 2016-11-01T13:45:19+00:00 September 1st, 2016|Back to School, Middle School|0 Comments