Monthly Archives: August 2012
To everyone who was a part of this event – thank you! It’s been a great success. To all of you who took on the blog hop challenge – congratulations to you all. Your freebies will be emailed out later today. Double check your junk mail if you haven’t found the 2 messages in your inbox by this evening.
So, are you one of our THREE lucky winners? Again, each of these winners will be receiving a package of products and shopping sprees donated by all of our participating teacher-bloggers. You three can expect an email notifying you of your win, shortly.
And the winners are:
Thanks again to all who entered!
~To all of the teachers beginning a new school year ~
For all of the lessons that you plan,
All of the prep that you do,
Always doing whatever you can,
Willing to try something new.
Doing your very best each day,
To reach your students – every last one,
Not wanting to end the year asking,
Is there something else I could have done?
Teachers are a special breed,
This is nothing new,
Desiring success for your students,
It’s who you are – not just what you do.
But, when you’re frustrated and you’re tired,
Not sure if you’ll make it to the end,
Remember the students you’ve inspired,
Those you helped when they needed a friend.
With the beginning of another school year,
You’re busy and will feel some stress,
So hold on to the passion you feel right now,
Take a deep breath and just do your best.
From my classroom to yours, thank you for all that you do and will do this year. Don’t ever let there be a doubt in your mind – your hard work IS appreciated, and so are you. I hope you all have an awesome year with all of your “little lovelies”.
As a special thank you for all that you do, I also have an announcement. Tomorrow, Ann Marie Smith (Innovative Connections) and I will be launching an event that we’ve been planning for the last month! It’s called “The Ultimate Middle Years Giveaway and Blog Hop”. We have $300 worth of prizes up for grabs, and a fun blog hop that will earn you LOADS of freebies, if you choose to take part. Make sure you come back tomorrow to enter the giveaway, discover LOTS of middle school blogs to follow and maybe even grab some freebies (if you’re up for our blog hop challenge). We have planned all of this just for you guys – so I hope you take part and enjoy!
There are lots of philosophies on creating class rules. Some teachers try to keep their list to five, and have it posted on the wall to go over with students on that first day of school. Other teachers rather create a list of class rules with their students so that they have more ownership in the rules and hopefully, will be more likely to follow them.
Personally, I don’t really do either. I have a class discussion about what they think our class rules should be and why it would make sense to have those rules in place. Sometimes I’ll record their ideas on chart paper, other times we keep it to a discussion. When we get to the end, I tell them that they have great ideas (they always do) but I think we only need to have ONE rule in our class – can they guess what it is? Someone always names my ONE rule: RESPECT.
Everything else, all of the other rules, fall under the umbrella of respect and so I keep it to that. We talk about examples of what respectful behavior looks like and what it does not look like. They’re in grade 7 – they know! Our “Respect” rule is in place for all of us – them and me. I tell them that I will always show them respect and I need for them to show that respect back to me, their classmates and the school. If we can follow our one rule – we won’t have too many problems!
I always look forward to this class discussion, because it’s effective in setting the expectations and tone for the class, for the rest of the year!
How do you go about establishing rules in your class?
Do your students use the agendas that they’re so excited to buy that first week back to school? I’m lucky – many of my students do buy an agenda. Using it, however? That’s another story.
I’ve actually realized that I’ve been part of the problem.
I teach grade 7. I have been using the fact that I teach junior high, as an excuse of sorts. “They’re old enough to know what they need to do. If they don’t do it – that’s really their problem. I’m trying to teach them to be self-sufficient and independent here!”
Well, I’m thirty. I KNOW that I need to exercise. Do I always do it? Sometimes, I get lazy – plain and simple. Wouldn’t it be nice if I had a cheerleader helping me along? Wouldn’t I be more apt to go for a run? Well, I’m going to be more of a cheerleader to my students this year (probably in more ways than one). They know what they need to do (just like I do) but they’re going to need my help to get and stay on track.
Here are some things that I plan to share with my students to help them get on the right track with using their agendas.
Here are a few things that I’m also going to try this year, in regards to agendas.
1) Give students more time and REQUIRE that they use their agendas. I wasn’t forceful enough in the last few years with getting students to use their agendas – the result? They didn’t use them. I don’t plan on using my brute force or anything, but I do plan on setting my expectations MUCH higher!
2) Spend MORE time talking about the agendas at Meet the Teacher night - how I plan to use them, what parents can do to help etc. I plan to really talk them up!
3) We always send home monthly reports about student behaviors, homework etc. I’m thinking about switching to weekly reports and then having students staple the reports in to their agendas. Then, parents will know to ask to see the agenda each week to check out their child’s report.
I’m excited about the changes I plan to make with the use of agendas in my class this year. If you would like a copy of the tips and poster above, head over to my TeachersPayTeachers Store to grab a free copy. I hope that my raising of expectations and putting more responsibility on the students will increase their overall success!
What are your thoughts on student agendas?
UPDATE: Thank you so much everyone for voting! I won:)
I’ve seen this little badge of honor on so many blogs that I look up to and admire. Who knew? Now it’s my turn!
I’m very excited to share with you that Lessons From The Middle has been nominated for Most Fascinating Blog 2012, in the Middle School Teacher category. It sounds so cheesy but, “It’s an honor just to be nominated”.
I started this blog to share ideas that I have and that I find from other teachers, to collaborate with educators from all over, to save teachers time, to inspire, to learn, and to engage teachers in conversations about education. I started just 6 months ago, but I have learned so much from so many and I hope that I’ve reciprocated that knowledge as well.
I would very much appreciate your vote for this blog award. I’d love to display the “Winner” badge, rather than just the “Nominated” badge! (Although it’s pretty cool to have that nominated badge there. ) It’s just the glory I’m looking for with this one. There is a great prize for the winner too, but since I’m Canadian, I can’t claim it anyway. Oh well! I’ll take the glory over a monetary prize any day – and not just because I have to
Thanks for taking the time out of your jam-packed days to read my blog. I put a lot of effort into it and I still have a lot more to say.
This is the third post in a series about how you can effectively communicate with home – which is so important at Back to School time, and all year long. The first and second posts are here if you missed them.
Communicate regularly (from the beginning)
After that ever important first phone call, and the homework and other info that you’re providing on your class blog, some of you may think you’re done. Others, know better of course! The really tough part is to keep it all together on a day-to-day basis. My tips for this, would be to make yourself reachable and have a system in place.
Making yourself reachable begins with a helpful tip that I stole from another blogger, Stephanie at Teaching in Room 6. She had said that she always starts the year by giving her parents a fridge magnet with her contact info on it. What a great idea! At my school, we all get little blue cards to send home with our students with our name and the school phone number – but a magnet is so much better.
I found Vista Print this summer and so I ordered custom magnets from them. What a deal! I had them within a week and I ended up ordering 50 (enough for two years) for $26 Canadian – and that included shipping! I plan to pass them out to the parents who come to Meet the Teacher and send one home to the parents who can’t make it that night. I included my name, blog url, school phone number and email on the magnet so that I’m as reachable as possible for parents.
Having a system in place could be anything – using student agendas, weekly class newsletters or monthly reports. The other grade 7 teacher and I use what we call “The Clipboard”. We track behaviors and send home a report at the end of the month. I’m thinking, maybe we’ll do it weekly this year - it may carry even more weight! We are also continuing to try to link consequences to these monthly reports, but we haven’t found a fool proof method yet – loss of privileges (attending school events for poor behavior) natural consequences (lower marks for no homework) and so on…We re-vamp it a bit each year.
We are going also going “live” this year with our mark system, meaning parents will have online access to their child’s attendance and marks, so that will be a help for sure, as far as keeping the doors of communication open. No surprises at report card time!
Finally, I’m thinking about really training my students to use their agendas more effectively this year. I find, some students buy them – but then never open them and perhaps they just were never shown how to actually utilize them as an organizational and time management tool. (Look for a future post on using student agendas more effectively.)
How do you maintain communication with home for the whole year?
You never know where things are going to take you or who you may meet along the way.
I’ve “met” so many wonderful teachers and bloggers online in the last few months. I never really thought I’d get to meet one of them in person! But like I said, you just never know.
A fellow Canadian teacher-blogger I’ve been chatting and collaborating with, Tammy Aiello, was on the Island with her family this summer and we actually had a chance to meet up in person. As the kids splashed in the waves and collected treasures along the shore, we had chance to talk about “teacher stuff”. It was a really unique experience and I’m so glad that we made the time to meet and have a chat. Check out Tammy’s blog, Teaching FSL.
Thanks again for stopping by Tammy and have a great year with your grade 8s!
Teachers Pay Teachers is having their annual Back to School sale August 12th-13th. They’ll be offering their usual 10% off, with many store owners offering up to an additional 20% off.