• Writing Prompts
    Curriculum,  Writing

    50 Writing Prompts for Middle School Students

    There can never be too many writing prompts. I think writing is something that every student should constantly work to improve. It really isn’t the focus in middle school classrooms anymore. But, I always try to bring in a fun prompt here and there to get my students’ creative juices flowing. Here are some fun writing prompts I’ve come up with! 25 Personal Narrative Writing Prompts: Write about a difficult time in your life and how you overcame that situation. What are your goals and how do you plan to accomplish them? Describe your favorite room and why you like it so much. Pick 5 objects from your personal belongings…

  • 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…

  • Best Teaching Practices

    5 Easy Steps to More Reflective Teaching

    Reflective teaching is the way to grow and develop as a teacher. Teachers should continually challenge themselves so that they become better. Teaching is one job where this is especially important. Why? Because teaching is about the students and helping them become life-long learners. However, unless you practice this yourself, it is hard to maintain that expectation for your own students. Teaching challenges you in new ways every day and it is critical to keep raising the bar even higher. Learn and grow from your practice and your mistakes. Here are 5 easy steps to becoming a more reflective teacher: 1. Student Feedback I think feedback is always one of…

  • 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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