• students
    Best Teaching Practices

    What No One Tells You About Teaching Middle School

    There are many things no one tells you about teaching middle school. Going into teaching (9 years ago) at this point, I am pretty sure I was living in a fantasy world about how I would be the next Erin Gruwell (Freedom Writers), Louanne Johnson (Dangerous Minds), or Jamie Escalante (Stand and Deliver). Well, those notions flitted out as quickly as they came. By the second full year of teaching, I realized this is not the movies. I already knew the pay would be crappy and my resources would be limited because I came from a family of teachers. Both my aunts taught elementary school, and my mother taught elementary…

  • Curriculum,  Technology,  Uncategorized

    10 Must-See TED Talks for Great Middle School Discussions

    Who doesn’t love a good TED Talk? Students engage with these because often times the presentation is something they can relate to. They provoke student discussion. One way to use TED Talks in the classroom is through Socratic Seminar. [I will post a whole article on this soon.] I have scoured the internet and found 10 TED Talks, not only recommended by me, but by other teachers out there. 1. Tavi Gevison: A Teen Just Trying to Figure it Out I found this TED Talk in 2013 when I was teaching in my first middle school classroom. This is a favorite because Tavi is hoping to empower young women and…

  • 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…

  • 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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