Category Archives: End of The Year

Helping Middle Schoolers Avoid the Summer Slide

~Happy to have another blog post from guest blogger Catherine Ross. Summer slide. How can our kids avoid it?~

summer slide

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Every summer, an evil monster waits in the dark looking for its next victim – a young mind ready to stay idle for over three months. What evil monster? Why, the dreaded Summer Slide indeed! Children lose mammoth educational ground during their summer breaks because they are away from regular studies for a long time. Summer slide affects middle school children the most as they are in the most crucial phase of their education – the middle school years not only help kids discover their favorite subjects and areas of interest, but also help them set the foundation for advanced studies. While parents get busy planning family holidays as soon as summer sets in, ensuring that the learning doesn’t stop sometimes takes a backseat. So how can summer slide be tackled among middle school children while simultaneously making the most of the sunny, breezy season? Below are a few ways to make learning seem like a game and prevent summer slide in middle school children.

Setting goals

summer slide

https://www.flickr.com/photos/lex-photographic/11676314583/

 

Middle school children must understand that it is important to stay connected to their last year’s syllabus. What they’ll learn in the next grade will build upon what they learnt in their previous grade. So it’s essential to know their last year’s math, science, and grammar syllabi. Set goals with your middle school child and try to make the learning experience fun. Examples: solve 100 math problems in a week, read four short stories in two days, conduct three science experiments in 5 weekdays, etc. The time limits will make it challenging for a middle school child to achieve the goals and eventually help in preventing the inevitable slide.

Practicing

summer slide 4

https://www.flickr.com/photos/cogdog/4623512730/

 

Setting a goal of reading four short stories in two days doesn’t necessarily translate into reading four short stories in one day. Or, solving 100 problems in a week doesn’t mean the middle schooler will solve 50 on the last day of achieving the goal. The whole objective of ‘setting goals’ is to ensure that the middle schoolers continue to practice their lessons through the break. So oversee your child’s daily routine and make sure she plans out the tasks sensibly. If a child has to read four short stories in two days, she should ideally read two a day, and solving 100 problems in a week will mean solving 14 a day on an average. When your child gets bored of solving problems and reading stories, switch to fun games for kids online that are both educational as well as fun.

Rewarding

summer slide

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Plan mid-summer rewards for kids on successfully achieving their goals. Why would they want to complete the tasks assigned to them within a limited time if there’s nothing waiting at the end of it for them? But avoid rewarding them with very fancy gifts and instead choose books, stationery, puzzles, board games, etc. In other words, choose rewards that have an educational value.

Going out

summer slide

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There’s another objective to summer besides trying and avoiding summer slide – enjoying summer! Museums, nature parks, and zoos never cease to teach us. Take kids out to these destinations and give them a chance to explore beyond their textbooks. Incorporate learning cleverly into these trips by studying maps of the places you explored, going back home and writing essays on the trip, documenting the trips to make a journal on their summer holiday, and more. After all, summers are meant to be outdoorsy!

Don’t forget to enjoy the sun while trying hard to avoid summer slide. Play while learning and learn while playing to make the most of both.

 

Author Bio:

Catherine Ross is a full-time stay-at-home-mum who believes learning should be enjoyable for young minds. An erstwhile elementary school teacher, Catherine loves coming up with creative ways through which kids can grasp the seemingly difficult concepts of learning easily. She believes that a ‘fun factor’ can go a long way in enhancing kids’ understanding and blogs at http://kidslearninggames.weebly.com/

Surviving the Chaos Blog Hop

Keeping students engaged (especially middle school students) can be a challenge to say the least. Here’s a no prep idea that you can try in that last month, or on those last few days of school to tame the chaos!

Have your students write a letter to themselves in the future – for their “high school graduation”. What would they say to themselves? What advice would they give themselves? What do they imagine themselves doing? What are the next steps that they are about to take in their lives? What challenges could they remind themselves of (things they’ve already persevered through) or fun times that they’ve had, but may not have thought about in years? What inspirational words would they share?

As an extension, students could also create a collage or piece of artwork of what they hope for themselves in the future.

If you’re in a situation where it would be possible to actually give these letters back to students on their grade 12 graduation night, how cool would that be? 

letter to grad

 

Thanks for stopping by! Have fun with the rest of the hop!

 

jamberry nails giveaway

 

 

 

Time to Pamper Yourself! Jamberry Nail Wraps Giveaway!

jamberry nails giveaway

Have a special occasion coming up? Or maybe your daughter has prom this year!

Do you smell that? Take a deep breath….Ahhh…..Yep, that’s the smell of summer. Well – the smell of “almost-summer”. The school year is winding down, we’re thinking about how we’ll be spending those glorious summer months with our family and friends – it’s a thing of beauty! You’ve done so much work this year – heck we all have! And we deserve some TLC, for sure! In the spirit of all things “summer” to come, I’ve put together a little “Teacher Appreciation” giveaway, if you will. Of course, this one’s just for the ladies (sorry guys, although you should enter for that special lady in your life).  

I just became an Independent Consultant with Jamberry Nails (super simple to do, by the way). Jamberry Nail wraps  come in 350+ designs – I’m sure you’ve seen them come across your feeds already! Just to be clear – they’re not false or press-on nails, nor are they nail stickers. They are vinyl nail wraps that adhere to your nail when heat is applied. The best part? They last 1 – 2 weeks on your fingers and up to 6 weeks on your toes and they don’t chip like nail polish does. 

So with the summer season fast approaching, upcoming events like weddings, family reunions, and manys-a-day lounging on the beach (a major job perk) why wouldn’t you want to take a few minutes for a little pampering, after the year you’ve put in! Think of it as a well-deserved pat on the back just from me 🙂   

So, on to the giveaway!

Click here to enter to win your own set of Jamberry Nail Wraps!

jamberry giveaway

Almost time to kick back and really relax!

jamberry nails giveaway

It’ll soon be time to kick those shoes off! Don’t you want your toes to be pretty?

 

Good luck everyone and happy pampering!jamberry nails giveaway

 

 

Wrapping Up The School Year

I’m more than a little jealous of those of you who are done for this school year. I personally can’t wait for the weather to warm up a little bit and start my daily outings with my own kids – you know, the ones I gave life? It’s been a chilly and rainy May, and I’m hoping for a nice warm and sunny summer. I have so many plans for the beach, picnics, playing at the park, and finding new places on this little island that perhaps I haven’t seen yet. Below is a shot of the fam from last summer. We camped that evening with some friends, went on a bit of a nature hike and ate out at one of our favorite little spots that’s only open in the summer time. All in all, a perfect stay-vacation! Insert sigh here…Wrapping Up The School Year

However, before all of the summer fun that I have planned, I need to make it through the final month of my school year!

end of school year ideasOn that note, Laura from Corkboard Connections, was kind enough to allow me to write a guest blog post for her and I’d love for you to check it out if you have a moment. I know I’m not the only one left wondering how to wrap things up in this final month of school!

Please, shoot me a comment with your best end of school year ideas so that everyone can benefit!

 

bullying video

TPT Appreciation Sale is on now!

Just in case you haven’t heard…

TeachersPayTeachers is having their annual Teacher Appreciation Sale today and tomorrow, May 7-8. I’ll be having a sale in my TPT Store as well! Many people find that this is the sale that they like the most! The year’s almost over and people are thinking ahead for the next school year. Wouldn’t it be nice to have yourself all stocked up so that when Back to School time rolls around you’re already set to go?

 

Anyhow, I had to let you know about the sale! Happy browsing!

teachers pay teachers may sale

 

bullying video

 

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

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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

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Celebrating Students’ Achievements

Yes, school is at an end for most of us – just around the corner again for some. Regardless, at the end of my school year, I made a mental list of some things that I’d like to tackle and do a better job of next year. I’m getting lots of tips and ideas from my summer reading to implement in the fall – which is great. Something else, though, that I’ve done a better job of in years past, is to celebrate students’ learning and achievements. It’s one of those things that I kept “meaning to get around to” this year. Now here we are. July, and I’m disappointed in myself that I didn’t follow through on what I meant to do.

I know how important it is to truly step back with students, parents, family members and staff and really applaud all of the hard work that students have done. Two years ago (when I was VERY pregnant, actually) I had a publishing party to celebrate the writing of my grade sevens. Many had gotten published that year in one of two anthologies. We decorated the room, I took in treats and we sent out invitations. All students had someone come in to support them that year. It was wonderful. Students read their pieces aloud to the group and I cried (only partly due to the pregnancy hormones). It was a beautiful thing and one of my proudest “teacher moments”.

  I know in my heart that there are reasons as to why things didn’t go quite according to plan this year. This was a challenging year. My most challenging yet. I won’t get into the details and I’m not about to rant – although I could;) Oh boy, could I! We’ll just say that taking on one more task, such as inviting parents in to celebrate students’ work and planning such an event, was not at the top of my to-do list.

Anyhow, next year will be better! I know that, because at the end of this school year our grade 5 teachers got it right. They had been doing a book club with their students entitled, “Have You Seen Art?”. The students were very engaged during this unit and the way that the unit was finally wrapped up was through an art gallery of the students’ work. Parents, family members and staff and students were invited to the art show. It was just awesome! The students had worked with various mediums and got to choose which pieces of artwork were to be formally assessed. Students were on hand to explain the exhibits in the gallery and they did a wonderful job. They were so engaged and so proud. And rightly so! To see all of their work displayed around the classroom was proof positive that we (I) need to make sure not to neglect that ever-important final step of sharing work – whether that be artwork, Science Fair projects or writing. It’s not enough to just share with the class – which is what I did this year. We need to really make it authentic and invite in family and other guests so that students feel as important as they are!

lessons from the middle, celebrating students

Invited Guests Enjoying the Artwork

 

lessons from the middle, celebrating students

Art Display

 

So, thank you to Mrs. MacIsaac and Mrs. Deagle for getting it right this year and giving me the visual reminder that I needed to make sure that I get it right next year.

 

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

 

 

 

A GREAT art site to use in the classroom (thanks for that too, Mrs.MacIsaac)!

National Gallery of Art for Kids

Flash Sale today!

I haven’t done this before, but I guess there’s a first time for everything. I’m having a FLASH SALE today, June 16th, until this time tomorrow. Everything in my TPT Store is 20% off. I know many people have finished for the year and next year is the furthest thing from their minds. However, school schedules vary depending on where in the world you are. I still have a couple of weeks left, and I know I’m starting to reflect on what my plans may include for next year. Perhaps you’re the same!

 

As I’ve mentioned before, most of my resources are for grades 6-9 Math, Language Arts, Classroom Management, Back to School…etc…  Come on over to my TPT Store today to grab some items in my first ever flash sale!

 

 

 

 

lessons from the middle, flash sale

Math Project

 

 

lessons from the middle, flash sale

lessons from the middle, flash sale

Transformational Geometry Math Centers

lessons from the middle, flash sale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

lessons from the middle, flash sale

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

Have you gotten your students to assess your teaching yet?

I posted a challenge for you a while back. In case you missed it, I suggested that you ask your students to give you some feedback on your teaching before the end of the year. This is the original blog post: End of the Year Challenge for the Teacher

There are lots of different ways to do this, however, I like to keep it simple. I ask my students to give me three things that I did a good job of, or generally positive comments about me and/or my teaching AND one thing that I could try to improve on for next year.

Well, I would never ask you to do something that I wasn’t going to do myself. So, just the other day, I had my students assess me and my teaching. As always, it was VERY worthwhile and I got lots of helpful feedback for next year. I thought I’d share just a few of these comments with you and remind you to take up the challenge to have your student assess you, if you haven’t done so already. As I said in the original post, you will be putting yourself “out there” when you take on this challenge. Students could try to hurt your feelings, however, I have found that they do take the task seriously for the most part, because I stress that it’s really about me being able to do a better job next year.

I gave my students some ideas to start off with about comments that would be helpful and those that would just be hurtful OR simply not helpful. “Too much homework” would not necessarily be helpful. I asked students to give a possible solution if they had a problem with how things were done this year, rather than just complaining about what they may not have liked. This way, they had to really think about what they were going to write before they wrote it. If they had a problem with how something was taught, this was the time and place to say so, however, I also was asking for a suggestion for how I could have done it differently – again focussing on me trying to improve things for next year.

Here’s what some of my students had to say. You’ll see from some of the comments, why I keep putting myself out there, year after year. It’s always worth it.

Lessons From The Middle, middle school lessons blog, feedback for the teacher

 

Lessons From The Middle, middle school lessons blog, feedback for the teacher

 

Of course I love the comments that give me the warm fuzzies – especially at this grade level and after a very challenge-filled year. Some students put that there wasn’t anything that they could think of for me to improve – not true…but nice to hear:)  

I also got some great suggestions from my students: More in-class breaks, offering scheduled after school help for all subjects – not just Math, providing more time to rehearse presentations and giving more options for students who don’t like to talk in front of the class, switch from binders to scribblers to be more organized…etc… It was also quite clear that they appreciated the Social Studies and Math projects and games that I worked so hard on this year. I’ll definitely continue with those next year.

So, it’s time. Take on the challenge. As long as your students are still in front of you, it’s not too late. Be brave. Keep an open mind. And of course, let me know how it goes!

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