• Curriculum

    Black History Month in the Middle School Classroom

    Many of these months or holidays honoring a group or person, like Black History Month, seem to fall on the shoulders of the ELA teacher. It is the easy way out because scholars can read a story or text by a particular author and then you’ve covered all your bases AND taught some multi-cultural history. There are a few reasons why this is ineffective. One, it is a tired tradition of passing off these responsibilities to the ELA teacher. Two, there is a lot of repetition among teachers in who from Black History is studied. Perhaps the most important point is that there is such a broad spectrum of historical…

  • Curriculum

    9 Middle School Novels for Cross-Curricular Lessons

    I don’t know about you, but in the second school I taught at, my administrators were huge advocates for creating cross-curricular lesson plans. This was a brilliant idea to me, why not work together to create a unit in which the scholars can interact across all of their classes? It was such a positive way to show students that their subjects are inter-related. We had a successful unit regarding biographies in which science, math, social studies, and ELA were able to work hand-in-hand to make the material relevant to the students. It was one of the best buy-ins I have seen and the engagement was phenomenal. Needless to say, I…

  • Classroom Management

    How to Manage So Students Will Listen

    Let’s face it, there are a million and one ideas out there on how to create a successful classroom management system. There are many parts to a management system including: rules and procedures [along with the dreaded consequences], desk arrangement, and accessibility to the tools students need to learn. All of these are critical in creating a management system that works. Even with all of these in place, I still found I was struggling to keep students motivated enough to stay on-task while I was teaching. It wasn’t really about student engagement at this point. My lessons were creative, and I felt that I was doing everything I could to…

  • Building Relationships

    Are we doing any work today?

    While I agonize over how to begin my first ever post on this blog, my thoughts keep turning over a question my student asked me on Friday: “Are we doing any work today?” My first reaction to this question was one of sarcasm and frustration, “Of course we’re doing work… this is school.” This quickly turned to anger, and I think to myself: This student hasn’t been in school for the past four days and the first question she asks is “Are we doing work?” What am I doing wrong? I think this speaks a lot to the current attitude towards education, particularly within inner-city public schools. Teachers are over…

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