Category Archives: Linky Party

A Middle School Blog Hop Just For You!

This post has TWO very important purposes.

 #1 Thank you to everyone who entered (and contributed to) my Back to School Giveaway. The winners have been contacted (and they’re very excited). Check your email/junk mail - I still have one winner who hasn’t gotten back to me yet – maybe it’s you!

#2 Kristy from 2 Peas And A Dog has generously volunteered to organize a Back to School Blog Hop for Middle Years – complete with freebies and a giveaway! I know, another giveaway SPECIFICALLY for Middle Years. How often does THAT happen? You’re welcome!

Alright. Kristy asked us to share a great tip for Back to School survival in our blog hop posts. My best tip would be to take those first few days to really get to know your kids. I know that you’re behind, almost before you start with the curriculum that you’re expected to cover. However, it’s in those first few days that the middle school students before you will decide what sort of a teacher you are, which will in turn impact the kind of year that you’ll have. That whole “Don’t smile until Christmas” advice from eons ago is simply garbage. Smile. Enjoy yourself. Get to know the dynamic, intelligent and funny people in front of you. Tell them about yourself and your family. I don’t mean take five minutes to introduce yourselves – but really talk to them. Don’t pass out the text books first, please. It can wait. What is more important, a promptly distributed text book or learning a bit about the students you’ll be teaching this year? I do realize that we have to pass out the books as well, I’m just saying don’t start with that. 

So, other than starting the first day with a big coffee and always having a stash of Advil in your desk (let’s face it – you’re going to need it) to survive and thrive this year, I’d say make sure to take QUALITY time to get to know your middle school students. They can be a fickle bunch and being treated with respect is huge for them. Rather than simply talking about respect – might as well start showing it to them right off the bat by having a conversation – asking them questions and really listening to their answers.

One way that I like to get to know my kids quickly, is through student surveys. Enjoy the rest of the hop! Oh, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway below!


Want More Back to School Goodies?

Enter our AMAZING back to school giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Oh yes – there’s just one more thing. TeachersPayTeachers has announced that their Back to School sale will be this Sunday and Monday – August 18th-19th. My entire store will be on sale! Now’s the time to stock up for those first few months!
Back to School Giveaway 
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

Valentine’s Day “Making Words” Literacy and Math Freebie ~ Plus a February Freebies Link-Up!

Teaching grade 7, I don’t do as many activities with my students for holidays as perhaps teachers in the younger grades. Every once in a while though, it’s kind of nice to break away from the routine a bit, and celebrate a special day.

So, I have a Valentine’s freebie for you! It would be a great bell ringer activity for Valentine’s Day.

It’s a “Making Words” activity for grades 4-7, but has a math twist for the older students. Students must make words with the letters in “Happy Valentine’s Day” but depending on which challenge you give them, they are doing one of five things.

The freebie is below for you to have a look at!



valentine freebie activity


valentine's day freebieSlide4Slide5valentine's day freebievalentine's day freebie valentine's day activity   Also, I’ve linked up to an awesome February Freebies Link-up with Laura Candler of Corkboard Connections. Be sure to check out her blog post for TONS of February freebies by clicking on the heart!

Tracee Orman has a Valentine’s Link-up under way as well! Be sure to check her freebies out by clicking on the image below.




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


Flash Giveaway Winners and An Outside the US Link-Up

Just a quick post this evening…two things…

1) Thanks to everyone who entered my flash giveaway! I decided to choose three lucky winners and they were Mary B., Carey W. and Sherie R. Carey and Mary chose to receive:


 organzing writing

and Sherie received one of my newest items:

Fractions Percents and Decimals Package


This weekend it was a little giveaway – next weekend…I have something BIG planned! Stay tuned because you won’t want to miss out!


2) Making It As A Middle School Teacher is hosting an “Outside the US” link up and so of course I had to link up Lessons From The Middle, as I am in Canada! Check out all of the awesome bloggers from around the globe who have linked up! It’s such an amazing time that we are living in and technology allows us to connect with people from all over so easily. It’s really inspiring to see and read about what’s going on in other teachers’ classrooms in other parts of the world. Thanks for hosting another great link-up Michelle!

around the world link up


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

Middle School Math Freebies

Okay, first of all – I’m so sorry about the typo in the title of my last post! Ugh…made my stomach turn when I saw it. I know that my typing (and my spelling skills) need work sometimes but a mistake in the title? So sorry! Good thing I never claimed to be perfect, huh?


I wrote a post in the spring of last year, which linked up a whole bunch of great middle school math freebies. A few more links have been added and so I decided to post the collection again. If you have a great middle school math freebie that you’d like to add – feel free to link up! You can use the title of your product as the “Name”. I hope to see this collection GROW!




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

“A Year in Preview” Linky Party

a year in preview link-up photo

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are enjoying your last few days of break. I know that I am! I took time off from everything over the last week – school work, blogging, writing - the whole thing. I’ve had lots of fun playing trucks and Lego’s with my boys, curling up to watch movies with my hubby, and visiting with friends and family. I’ve also made a conscious effort to appreciate the little things - like my beautiful Christmas cactus blooming just in time for Christmas Day. This cactus only blooms once a year – how does it know? Amazing!a year in preview link up photo

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is behind us already. I undecorated the house yesterday and you would never know that Christmas even happened here except, of course, for the lovely gifts that Santa left behind. You wouldn’t think that an area rug could make someone so happy! Any who, as I was contemplating what to blog about today, I found an awesome linky party that one of my blogging buddies, Michelle from Making it as a Middle School Teacher is hosting. It’s all about the upcoming year.

So, here’s my year in Preview!

a year in preview link up photo

 What do you have planned for 2013? What do you hope is in store for you?


Happy NewYear!

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 -

  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

Add Improv into Your Classroom with This Holiday Freebie

My students are very vocal and energetic this year. Many are hands-on learners as well, and they love activities where they can get out of their seats. Rather than fight this, I’ve been trying to embrace it and to draw on those strengths and learning preferences.

Well, Christmas is quickly approaching and you know what that means! The holidays (for me, anyways) mean more chatting, more restlessness, and energy levels reach a new high. Monday mornings are like Friday afternoons, if you know what I’m saying. So, knowing that this is what lies ahead for the next month, I’ve been trying to think of some activities that I can do with my students to incorporate their excitement for the upcoming holiday, while still covering the curriculum that I am responsible to cover.

Not too long ago, I posted about an excellent book that I found (CCSS aligned) about teaching literary elements with picture books. I mentioned in that post about a “Point of View” improv activity from the book, that I was excited to try with my students. Since writing that post, I have done the activity and as expected, they ate it up! So, I decided to take the idea and add a holiday twist.

For this improv activity, students put themselves into a character’s position and speak from their point of view. It helps students identify point of view in what they read and to take on different points of view in their own writing. It also builds their skills with the writing trait of “voice”.

Adding Improv Into Your Classroom…

Improv is not for everyone and it’s definitely not for all students. However, if you think this would be up your students’ alley, this is what you need to do!

Create some scenarios for students on cards, much like in the game Charades. These scenarios can be as creative as you like (this is where you add a holiday twist) and call the student to speak from a unique point of view.

A volunteer chooses a card, reads it out loud and then speaks from the point of view dictated by the card.

Here are two examples:

Point of View Improv scene

Point of View Improv scene

Most of my students love being in front of an audience and so activities like this are perfect for them. I know that they are not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea. However, with the Christmas season upon us and energy levels on the rise, I’ll be saving this holiday version of the improv activity that they loved, for a time when they need to get out of their seats and be a little silly.

Following this improv activity, students can work with a partner to create their own improv scenes for Christmas. They could act out these scenes or even choose one to inspire a short creative writing piece. I have a freebie in my TPT Store, if you have a class like mine, that would thrive on this type of kinesthetic activity and I’ve done all of the work for you. Point of View Improv Activity


Laura Candler of “Corkboard Connections” is hosting a Holiday Learning Link-Up. This is an awesome collection of holiday teaching ideas, tips and resources to make your holiday season the best yet! Christmas is just a month away, now. Be sure to check out this link-up if fresh ideas for your classroom is on your Christmas wish list!

Thanks for all of your hard work in putting this link-up together, Laura.


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

 For more freebies- check out TBA’s Freebie Friday!

Freebie Fridays

Cyber Monday…Plus Tuesday…Don’t Miss Out!

Cyber Monday Plus Tuesday Teachers Pay Teachers Sale photo

It’s that time of year again – the TeachersPayTeachers Cyber Monday Sale. This year it will be even better, as it is actually Monday AND Tuesday. That’s two days to stock up on some essentials for your classroom.

Teachers Pay Teachers is offering 10% off of all purchases – just use the code CMT12. In addition to that, many store owners (myself included) are also putting their items on sale for those two days. All items in my TPT Store will be on sale, at 20% off. That’s 28% off overall.

You really don’t want to miss out. Head over to TeachersPayTeachers and join the frenzy! People have already started filling their carts and crossing items off of their wish lists.

As if that wasn’t enough, The 3am Teacher has set up a link-up for your viewing pleasure. Hop around to everyone’s blog – see what they’re offering in the way of sales and score yourself some deals. Thanks again for setting this up, Michelle!Photobucket





Enough talk – let’s get to the good stuff! So many savings…where to start? 


Math Project: Create a Math Themed Game, Poster or Rap

This is one of my newest products. It’s for grades 5-8 and students work to create either a math themed game, poster or rap. Rubrics are included and students really enjoy this math project. It’s also generic, so that it can be used with multiple grade levels and math concepts.

Math Menu: Differentiating Math in Your Classroom

My Math Menus resource has been very popular. It’s a great way to differentiate math in your classroom and again, is generic enough that you can use it with various concepts throughout the year. Multiple menus are included, so that you can adjust to your own needs.
In my TPT Store, I also have Language Arts
 and Health resources. I teach Math, LA, Social Studies and Health to grade 7 students and so I have a variety!
Organizing Writing
My Health Choices Activities
I have lots of other resources on everything from Making Connections in Language Arts, to Transformational Geometry, Fractions, Classroom Management, Integers, Rounding, Probability, Independent Reading, Vocabulary and lots more! I have lots of great freebies too – one of my newest ones is on Word Choice and it’s been very well received! I’m also busy trying to get a holiday writing lesson posted – and I hope to have it up in time for the big sale!
Well, that’s it for me! Happy blog hopping and have that cart ready for check-out on Cyber Monday or Tuesday:)
middle school lessons from the middle school blog canadian blog, middle school math photo



Successful Parent Teacher Conferences and Efficient Reporting Link-Up

I don’t know about you, but man o’ man this year is going by quickly! Maybe it’s just that I’m getting older, but whatever it is – it’s just shocking to think that our first parent teacher conferences are behind us and Christmas is just around the corner. Our conferences finished up yesterday. As I waited for my first parent to arrive, I was remembering  how anxious I was, the first time I had to meet with parents. Those first parent-teacher conferences can be terrifying to think about! I’ve always had nothing but great experiences, but it’s the unknown that can be scary. Will they tear into me about how I’ve been teaching Math? Does their child tell them that I’m cranky? Do they think I’m doing a good job of educating their child? The potential judgements can make your head spin!

successful parent teacher conferences photoWith that in mind, I asked around a bit for tips on how to make parent teacher conferences most successful, for new and seasoned teachers alike. Some of the ideas are mine, things that I already do, some have come from fellow teachers (including the book recommendations).

How do you make parent-teacher conference MOST successful?

1) Have the students write about what they’ve done a good job of so far in the term, and what they could improve on. This way, they are assessing themselves, and the teacher doesn’t have to look like the bad guy bringing up the things the student needs to improve on. Nine times out of ten, the student will write about the things you’d like them to improve - the need to study more, do more homework or stop chatting so much. This way, you can show the parent, “Well this is what he said he needed to work on…” And you’re on your way!

2) Always start with something positive about the student. If you don’t have something – find something! This child is their parents’ whole world. Be kind.

3) End with a positive. You want your parents walking away feeling good about the conference – so end on a high note!

4) Straighten up your room and make it as inviting as you can. It should be shining and looking as spiffy as it did on Day 1 this year.

5) Have a basket of business cards and candies on the table and tell parents to help themselves. You can pass along your information to them if they didn’t receive it at the first of the year, or if it’s been misplaced. And let’s face it: Candies put everyone in a better mood!

6) Make sure to leave time for parents to ask questions. Have a pad of paper at the ready to record questions that you need to go and find the answers to (questions for other subject teachers, resource teacher or principal etc.). Take down their phone number as well, so that you can contact them when you find the answer to their question.

7) It you teach younger children, have a table set up with adult sized chairs, so that parents feel more comfortable.

8) Always try to stick to appointment times and have parents choose another time to continue the meeting if need be.

9)There should be no major surprises at parent teacher time. Make sure to contact parents ahead of time about behaviors and/or marks that are a major concern. If parents know what their child needs to work on, they can help them. If the child is failing and report card time is the first the parent has heard that their child is struggling, you may have some explaining to do.

Link Up Effecient Reporting10) Be prepared. Have your comments ready to share and any paperwork the needs to be signed by the parents ready to go. Many teachers at my school keep a folder on each child where completed work, tests, and assignments are stored. I teach grade 7 and so I have students file their own work, which makes things easy. When parent-teacher time rolls around, I can pull out each file to help me write report card comments and for my discussions with parents. Make sure to have files like this available to help you discuss what you need to, with parents.  

A friend of mine has a great blog post on efficient reporting and is hosting a link-up as well on the topic. Head over to Teaching FSL to get some great tips or to link up  your own blog post.


Some book recommendations…

When recommending books, sometimes I recommend books that I found, own and have read. I recommend the book based on having read it and seeing the potential for how it could be used in the classroom. Sometimes I recommend books on the glowing reviews I’ve received about titles, from other teachers. The three books below, I haven’t personally read, although I trust the judgements of my colleagues. The second one on how to deal with difficult parents was mentioned by multiple teachers and looks like a funny and light read (and may be where I’d personally start)!


For help writing your report card comments – this book may provide some inspiration:


To give you some ideas for dealing with difficult parents:


While this book is not specifically for parent-teacher conferences, it is a new release for how to effectively establish “student led” conferences, which is not completely unrelated to the topic at hand – plus I saw that the foreword was from Rick Stiggins – so it’s got to be good!


To all of you new teachers out there who have yet to get your first classroom, or who are in your first year of teaching, I hope that these tips will help you on the way to having the best parent-teacher conferences possible. If we don’t have parent support, it makes it very difficult to do our jobs. Do what you can to get parents on your side and keep them there.


~Thank you to those who left your ideas for me on my Facebook page on this topic – Queen of Click, Melissa Henderson, Sue Kenmotsu, Dalia Guillén Alvarado and Jennifer Cramer Armour.~


Have you had parent-teacher conferences yet this year? How’d they go and what tips could you add?