Category Archives: Blogging

Figment – An online collaborative writing tool for students

It takes no time to get into the swing of things, huh? I have only had two days with my new grade 7’s (and I’m aware that it’s still the honeymoon period) but they are simply a lovely bunch of kids and I’m really looking forward to my year with them! That being said, I found a cool new writing tool over the summer that I plan to try out with them and so I thought I’d also share it here. So, just to be clear it’s brand new to me and I haven’t used it with a class yet – but it looks REALLY cool!

The site is called “Figment” and it’s  a site where your students can write, collaborate with each other and ultimately publish their finished pieces online for either the whole class or the entire Figment community to comment on and/or review.

 figment pic

Here’s how I plan to use Figment in my room – hopefully in first term!

One of the first major writing assignments that my students will have this year is to write a Memoir. My plan is to have them type these memoirs into the (simple) template on Figment – basically a word processor. Educators also have the option to “create groups” which means I’ll have all of my students in a private group. I hope that some initial sharing, giving of feedback, revisions and edits will occur in this group. When the pieces are ready, I plan for my students to publish to the Figment community! It’s very fulfilling when you become a “published author”. Using this site, all students will be able to label themselves in this way – which I love.

There is a special spot on Figment for educators to create those private groups, so if you’re interested, be sure to check it out. You have to send off an email request to have access to the private groups and so it’s not immediate. You kind of have to plan ahead, if you want to use this as an option. From what I can tell, though, I can start a thread in the group, asking students to work on a really strong lead today. Perhaps next class, I’ll ask students in a new thread to replace three of their verbs with more precise, active verbs. Students can also start threads, asking for advice and feedback. I’m very excited about this site and I think it has amazing potential.

I’ll be sure to post again after we actually get started with it, to let you know how it’s working in “real life” with real kids.

I also have my plan laid out for my students to blog again this year. I’m excited to begin that process with them this month and I already have two teachers (one in Pakistan and one in USA) who my class will be collaborating with – we’re going to be audiences for each other! Lots of plans! Don’t you love September? Everything seems possible and exciting. I have lots of energy and I just can’t wait to get started!

Side note: If you were interested in blogging with your students this year, I started a Google Doc a while back to help us find each other around the globe and to make collaboration a little bit more structured. Feel free to have a look and add your info if you’re interested and be sure to contact any teachers on the list who have a class that matches yours!

Please, share your goals for writing with your students this year! Cool sites, blog plans – I’d love to hear what you’ve got going on!

 

And the winner is…(Plus Info on Student Blogging)

Thank you to all who hopped on over and followed our blogs and TPT Stores last weekend! Your participation in this little event was awesome! We do have a winner to announce

Drumroll please……

Teachingisagift McKay – your resources and Amazon gift code are on the way! Congratulations! Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter!

cartoon winner

I want to mention one more thing this evening. My post just went live on Global Teacher Connect yesterday and it’s about student blogging. I’d really encourage you to have a peek if you are currently blogging with your students OR if it’s something that you’d be interested in trying next year. I have a Collaborative Project: Student Blogging Form that you can fill out with your info so that you are able to contact each other and pair yourselves up! So far, there are teachers from Morocco, US, Canada, Ecuador and Bermuda who would like to blog this year or next! How cool is that?

If you would like to be contacted next year for blogging – just add that as a note on the form. We already have two teachers who have posted their info, who would be interested in something for next school year.

I’ve just started blogging with my students in the last month or so and we’re about to collaborate with another school on the Island and one in Ontario, Canada. The kids are trying to “fix up” their blogs a bit more for their audience – which is what we want! We want them writing for a purpose, and with an audience in mind! Anyhow, I can see this evolving into something more for next year. Maybe even a “Blog-folio” type of idea. Regular blogging would be great, but also, having their best pieces of writing displayed for an audience would be so cool. It would also be neat to see their writing abilities progress through the year. Anyhow, I am quite excited about what we’ve done with the blogs so far, although we all still have much to learn!

Check out the post on GTC and even if you’d be interested in having your students READ the student blogs and comment on them – fill out the form! The wider the audience the better! Plus, I’d love for my students to get comments from kids all around the world. That would be a big part of my ultimate goal. (I’ll be working on this next year…so stay tuned if you’re at all interested…)

That’s it for this evening! Please leave a comment here or on the Global Teacher Connect post if you have any tips or questions for me about student blogging.

bullying video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

School’s (Almost) Out Blog Hop and Giveaway

Bloghopdone.jpg

 

I know what you’re thinking! What do you mean school’s almost out? We have 2 months to go! Well, I wanted to have one more giveaway before it got too close to the end of the school year to use the awesome ideas and  resources you’ll find in this event!

So, I’ve teamed up a new blogger-friend, Joey, from Create, Teach and Share. We’ve come up with this fantastic blog hop and giveaway! The participating bloggers are below. Be sure to hop to each of their blogs this weekend, check out their posts and give them a follow. The theme of the blog hop is “year-end” and so I know that you’ll find some great ideas for the end of the school year and because of the timing – you’ll be able to use them this school year. Per-ty smart, huh?

So, for my post in this School’s (Almost) Out Blog Hop, I’ve got three “End of Year” inspired ideas!

1) I am a reflective person by nature and so I made a little Student Reflection freebie for students to think back on the year that was. You can have them fill it out, decorate it and then laminate the reflections and give them back with report cards, or use them as a display for “closing ceremonies”. I know that I would love to have a little memento from my school year and so I hope that they will as well.

 student reflection for end of year

 

2) In my school, the students “graduate” in grade seven as we are currently a grade K-7 school. I always do a slide show presentation for their “graduation” and so at this point in the year I’m on the lookout for songs that would be useable for the slide show. Just in case you’re in the same boat – here are a few songs for you to consider! (I’ve included the versions with lyrics:)


 

3) Do you get your students gifts at the end of the school year? I never did, until last year (too cheap). I got this idea from Confessions of a Teaching Junkie last spring. It’s a Wordle! What’s a wordle, you ask? Well, it’s word art. This is how I did it.

In June, I gave the students a class list and told them that I was planning something for them, but that I couldn’t give them any details. I asked the students to put a kind word/compliment beside each classmate’s name (and gave lots of appropriate examples to begin with). Athletic, kind, creative, musical, funny – you name it. I collected and compiled the compliments. Then, I used the Wordle website to make a personalized piece of word art for each student containing their name and all of the kind words that their classmates said about them. I also framed the wordles with dollar store frames, to make them more substantial. The finished product was really beautiful! The kids appreciated them on graduation night – and I think I’ll have to do them again this year because they were so well received!

Okay, that’s just about it from me. Be sure to hop over to my co-host’s blog Create, Teach and Share – you’ll love her! She’s awesome, as are the dozen teacher-bloggers below who have joined in the fun this weekend. Grab a cup of coffee, kick back and enjoy. Oh and of course, don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post!

 

Little Lovely Leaders Addie Education – Teacher Talk
The Teacher Wife 2PeasAndADog Blog
MissMathDork Composition Classroom The Teaching Bank
An Educator's Life Numbers Rule My World The SuperHERO Teacher's Adventures and Advice!

 

Lots of awesome prizes to be won by ONE Grand Prize Winner!

Thanks again to the teachers above for their donations! Both Joey and I are giving you a choice of any three items in our TPT Stores and there’s a $35.00 Amazon gift card thrown in there as well:)

Krystal’s TPT Store

Joey’s TPT Store

I’ve been super excited for this event, so I hope you enjoy it!

 

PLEASE NOTE: Just in case you’re new to Rafflecopter, clicking the “Follow Me” link on the widget doesn’t automatically follow the stores and blogs of the contributing teachers. It takes you to the store or blog and it’s up to you to follow once you’re there. If it’s a TPT Store, click on the red “Follow Me” above their name. If it’s a blog, look for how to follow them on the side bar – usually there are a few options. When you “Like” a Facebook link, it is automatic and then you can enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

bullying video

Do your students blog?

I’ve mentioned before that I’m lucky enough to be a contributing teacher-blogger to Global Teacher Connect – an awesome teacher-blog with contributors from all over the world! Head on over and check out my latest post on GTC about my plans for getting my students started with blogging this week. Give us a follow while you’re there!

 

bullying video

 

My Blog Birthday Winners, A Canadian Teacher-Blogger Link-Up, and Great Giveaways

This post is a little bit of a mish-mash!

First, thanks so much to all of you who entered (and contributed to) my Blog Birthday Giveaway. The winners of the packages have been contacted and have begun to receive their prizes!

#1 Lesley

#2 Sue

#3 Ursula

#4 Lee Ann

#5 Brianne

#6 Beth Ann

#7 Ann

#8 Laura

#9 Susan

My TPT  Store shopping spree winners: Kari and Amanda

Thanks for all of your comments, your follows and your support! It was a great first blog birthday. Here’s to many more.

 

Second, I just found a new link-up for you Canadian bloggers out there! If you’re a Canadian teacher-blogger and would like to link up – The Adventures of an Occasional Teacher would love to have you!

 

Canadian linky party

 

 

 

Finally, some wonderful giveaways for you to enter!teacher giveaway

Tammy at Teaching FSL is celebrating her first Blogiversary with a great giveaway and I am so happy to be a part of it. Lots of amazing teacher resources to be won! Head over to her blog to enter now!

Who likes coffee? How about TeachersPayTeachers gift certificates? Fifth is Fabulous is having a giveaway – just because. There’s a $25 TPT gift certificate and a $25 Starbucks gift certificate up for grabs.  

 

If you have a long weekend like me (it’s Islander Day here in PEI tomorrow) – have an extra cup of coffee tomorrow morning and enjoy your day! If you’re back to work as usual, I hope you have a painless Monday;)

 

What do you have coming up this week in your classroom? We’re working on divisibility, fractions and free verse poetry (among other things, of course).

 

canadian link up, giveaway

Celebrating My First Blog Birthday with a BIG Giveaway! $500 in Resources and Gift Certificates to be Won!

Celebrating my first Blog Birthday - Lessons From The Middle

**~** This giveaway has now ended. Thanks everyone for making it such a success! The winners have been notified and I’ll wait to hear back from them before I post…**~**

 

I can’t believe it’s been a year!

I had no idea when I began Lessons From The Middle a year ago, that I would learn so much and meet so many amazing teachers in such a short span of time. I’ve said this before, but the connections and ideas that I get from all of you are simply awesome and I know that they have made me a better teacher. For this, I thank you.

Now, let’s not waste any time getting to the good stuff. I was taught that it’s better to give than to receive. So…. of course I’ve got a giveaway for you!

So many generous teachers and teacher-bloggers have donated their products and gift certificates for this giveaway (you all rock, by the way) totaling about $500 which is simply incredible!

There are NINE prize packages to be won, based on grade level (keep in mind that some items are grouped in one grade level, but may also be appropriate for other grade levels as well – a bit higher or a bit lower). You may enter to win all nine prize packages, or just the ones most suitable for your grade level.

I’ve decided to keep the prize packages a bit of a mystery – a birthday surprise for the winners, if you will. SO, you’ll know the grade level, approximate value and general contents of each package, but not the exact items until you win! Fun, eh? Think of each prize package as a beautifully wrapped birthday gift just begging to be opened! Who doesn’t like a little mystery?

In addition to the NINE prize packages, donated by 95 teachers and teacher-bloggers, there will also be TWO $50 shopping sprees in my TeachersPayTeachers Store to be won. To qualify to win one of these, simply comment on this blog post as one of your entries in the prize package(s) of your choice. Then, I’ll use a random number generator to choose TWO lucky winners from those comments.

I couldn’t have done this without the generosity of all of the contributors for this giveaway – again thanks so much for helping to make my blog-birthday extra special! Follow them in their TPT Stores, blogs and on Facebook; they are amazing educators with so much to offer (plus these follows earn you more chances to win, of course).

PLEASE NOTE: Just in case you’re new to Rafflecopter, clicking the “Follow Me” link on the widget doesn’t automatically follow the stores and blogs of the contributing teachers. It takes you to the store or blog and it’s up to you to follow once you’re there. If it’s a TPT Store, click on the red “Follow Me” above their name. If it’s a blog, look for how to follow them on the side bar – usually there are a few options. When you “Like” a Facebook link, it is automatic and then you can enter.

Also, each of the nine giveaways will have a winner. Therefore, you’ll need to enter in each of the prize packages that you’d like to win. For example, entering to win Prize Package one, will not enter you to win the awesome resources for Gr 7-9 in Prize Package two.  

Let the giveaway begin!

 Celebrating my first blog birthday with an awesome teacher giveaway!

Prize Pack ONE

Grade 7-9

My awesome contributors for this prize package:

 

prize pack 1 revised

 

 

 

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

Celebrating my first blog birthday with an awesome teacher giveaway!

 

Prize Pack TWO

 

Grade 7-9

 

My awesome contributors for this prize package:
 
 
prize pack 2 revised
 
 
 
 

        a Rafflecopter giveaway
Celebrating my first blog birthday with an awesome teacher giveaway!

 

Prize Pack THREE

Grade 4 -6

My awesome contributors for this prize package:

Celebrating my first blog birthday with an awesome teacher giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Celebrating my first blog birthday with an awesome teacher giveaway!    

Prize Pack FOUR
 
Grade 4 -6
 
My awesome contributors for this prize package:

Celebrating my first blog birthday with an awesome teacher giveaway! a Rafflecopter giveaway      Celebrating my first blog birthday with an awesome teacher giveaway!      
Prize Pack FIVE
 
Grade 4 -6
 
My awesome contributors for this prize package:

Celebrating my first blog birthday with an awesome teacher giveaway!     a Rafflecopter giveaway       Celebrating my first blog birthday with an awesome teacher giveaway!     
Prize Package SIX
 
Grades K-3
 
My awesome contributors for this prize package:

      Celebrating my first blog birthday with an awesome teacher giveaway! a Rafflecopter giveaway  Celebrating my first blog birthday with an awesome teacher giveaway!  

 

Prize Pack SEVEN

Grade K-3

My awesome contributors for this prize package:

  prize pack 4 gr k-3

  a Rafflecopter giveaway   Celebrating my first blog birthday with an awesome teacher giveaway!    

Prize Package EIGHT
 
Grade K- 3  
 
My awesome contributors for this prize package:

  Celebrating my first blog birthday with an awesome teacher giveaway! a Rafflecopter giveaway bunting  
 Prize Package NINE
 
Grade K- 3
 
My awesome contributors for this prize package:

  Celebrating my first blog birthday with an awesome teacher giveaway!       a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Celebrating my first blog birthday with an awesome teacher giveaway!

This giveaway runs Feb 8th – 11th.

Winners will be emailed their products and gift certificate codes, so PLEASE make sure to check your email following the 11th (spam folder too) in case you’re a winner!  Of course, you can also check back here to see if you may have won. If you do not respond to my email within a week of being notified, another winner will be chosen.

Thanks for celebrating with me!

 

assessing writing in middle school

 

Buntings by: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Cat-Lady-Graphics

 

Calling All French Teachers!

You know those people who you just admire? They are so passionate about what they do and are so talented, as well? I am fortunate to be surrounded by these people in my life (you know who you are). 

I’d actually like to take a minute to highlight one of these people and if you happen to teach French or know someone who does, you’ll be all the more interested.

Tammy Aiello, author of Teaching FSL has a witty writing style on her blog and offers a range of products in her TeachersPayTeachers Store, aimed mostly at middle and high school French teachers. Yes, there are people out there making products just for you!  

You may remember me mentioning Tammy a few months ago when we actually met up in person. She lives in Ontario and I, in Prince Edward Island. Our families had a great little visit at the beach last summer when they were vacationing on the Island.

Some of her awesome products are below, but you really should take the time to browse her TPT Store Teaching FSL, follow her and pass her links on to your French teacher colleagues! Thirty two of her 37 items are under $3.00 or free! How can you argue with that?

 

coat of arms project

 

 

helpful phrases for french

 

 

i have who has french game

 

 

 

  

Tammy doesn’t know that I’m writing this post. I hope she’s okay with me highlighting her talent here on Lessons From The Middle! If not…too bad, I guess;) I just felt like giving her a well-deserved shout-out!

On a different, but not completely unrelated note, I mentioned in a previous post, I had a rough week last week, which was made all of the rougher by finding out that a former student of mine passed away in a car accident.

I’ve been reminded this week that life’s too short. Too short for what? For anything that does not bring you joy. Have a look at those in your life. Make a point of telling a friend that they’re doing a good job, or tell someone that you appreciate all that they do. Appreciate what matters and be kind.middle school lessons from the middle school blog canadian blog, middle school math photo

 

The 12 Days of Gift-Mas Secondary Blog Hop~Day 6

12 days of gift-mas

 

I am super excited to be Day 6 in this middle and high school holiday blog hop! Thanks again to Michelle from Making It As A Middle School Teacher for coming up with this entire idea!  

There are twelve of us participating. Each day we’ll be highlighting some of our best freebies! Some teachers are giving away usually priced products for free on their special day,  and others are having gift card giveaways! I’m doing a combination of all of the above! 

I hope you got to check out Day 5 from Liz’s Lessons and don’t miss For the Love of Teaching Math‘s post tomorrow.

 

12 days of gift-mas

 

On the 6th day of Gift-Mas, Lessons From The Middle gave to me…

 

 I have a special holiday freebie that I spoke about in a previous blog post. Students speak from different points of view with this improv activity, with a holiday theme. It’s fun and I’ve got some great feedback on this freebie!

Point of View Improv Activity

 

FREE FOR TODAY ONLY: A product that is usually priced at $5.00, but can be yours free for today, Dec 6th only is:

 

Write an A to Z Holiday Story

 

And now on to the giveaways!

#1: You can enter to win a $25.oo gift card from Amazon.

#2: $25.00 shopping spree in my TPT Store.

Feel free to enter both!

 

~Win a $25.00 Amazon gift card~

 amazon christmas gift card for blog hop giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
 

 ~Win a $25.00 Shopping Spree in my TeachersPayTeachers Store~

Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth - TeachersPayTeachers.com

  a Rafflecopter giveaway     Make sure to come back each day for more freebies and giveaways! We’re only half way through this awesome holiday blog hop!  Lots more to be given away and to be won! I’ll announce the winners of the Amazon gift card and my TPT Store shopping spree, on December 13th. Stay tuned!    

middle school lessons from the middle school blog canadian blog, middle school math photo

My Poem for Teachers…Plus a special announcement

~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.

lessons from the middle , giveaway

Rose Clipart: http://office.microsoft.com

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.

                                        

                                        ~Krystal   

 

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”.

 

back to school, giveaway, lessons from the middleAs 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!

Lessons from the middle, canadian teacher blog, middle school lessons 

 

 

 

 

Most Fascinating Blog – Voting runs August 18th-25th

UPDATE: Thank you so much everyone for voting! I won:)

click here

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 Wink

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.

Click here to vote for Lessons From The Middle

Check this outLessons from the middle, canadian teacher blog, middle school lessons