Category Archives: Middle School
I don’t know about you, but I’m always on the lookout for a great inspirational video to show my kids, and I have found a few good ones this year. Recently, I’ve been looking into some good sites for independent films that I can show to my students, which either provide a text for discussion or written response in Language Arts, or that cross over with some of our outcomes in Social Studies and Health. I wanted to share a site that I found which looks pretty promising!
The site is called indie flix and I will tell you up front that it is a paid subscription site. That being said, indie flix has been generous enough to offer Lessons From The Middle TEN, 2 month subscriptions to share with you! How awesome is that? I’ll simply email the ten winners from the Rafflecopter widget below a redemption code and they will not be required to enter any credit card information. Winners will have two months to preview thousands of films from all over the world. Films are rated by age (although you should always preview a video before you show it to your students) and there are films from all genres and on many topics.
Let’s face it. It’s getting to “that” time of the school year
when you just want to when students begin to lose their focus, and it can be difficult to keep everyone on pace until the end. That’s why I’m pretty excited! There are many great films on the site that you could use as texts in your classroom to base a discussion around or a writing assignment. tear your hair out
Finding Kind is a video currently on free preview until May 24th, and I plan to show it to my students. It’s focused on the epidemic of girls bullying girls.
In February 2009, two young women, Lauren Parsekian and Molly Thompson joined forces having both been affected by female bullying throughout their youth and decided to create change by giving females a platform to speak out about this universal experience. What began as an idea for a documentary about girl-against-girl bullying, ultimately became Kind Campaign, an internationally recognized movement, documentary, and school assembly program based on the powerful belief in KINDness that brings awareness and healing to the negative and lasting effects of girl-against-girl “crime.”
This is just one video on indie flix. As I said, there are thousands of films and although all are not appropriate for the classroom, but many are! There are films on everything from parkour to poverty, and all that’s needed is a teacher to see how the film could be effectively incorporated into her room.
I think that this is the perfect time of the school year to receive a two month free preview from this independent films site! Two months will take us to the end of the school year, and films on controversial or simply interesting topics will hold our kids’ attention when we need it most! Not to mention, the preview will run into the first weeks of summer. What teacher wouldn’t want to curl up with a cup of coffee and thought provoking film on a rainy July afternoon? I can’t think of any!
Would you like to receive a 2 month subscription to indie flix? Enter below!
Please feel free to share any independent film sites that you use, in the comments below, as well!
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
Teachingisagift McKay – your resources and Amazon gift code are on the way! Congratulations! Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter!
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.
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.
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!
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:)
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 little stressed here this evening….
We just got news that the three classes of students in the basement of our building must be relocated to other areas of our school immediately. This means that we will lose our Tech lab, part of our library and our staff room and that those teachers will be in make-shift classrooms for the remainder of the school year, and potentially into next year. Awesome.
I don’t really care about losing those areas – as much as it sucks. The health of our kids and our staff is what matters. We have been battling with a few air quality concerns in our school for a while now, and things just aren’t getting any better.
Rather than holding our PLC meetings tomorrow, as planned, our staff will be helping to pack up boxes for those teachers who must vacate their rooms. We got this news today and the kids will be in their new “classrooms” on Monday. With only two months left in the school year, it’s just not the extra stress that anyone wants right now.
I know that there are more important things to worry about in the world, and that in the grand scheme of things, this is not even a blip on the screen. I know that. Rest assured I know how lucky I am -a new/renovated school is planned for us for 2014. However, the pressure and tension in our school today was evident and I hate that feeling!
I’m about to sound worse than one of the kids with my exaggeration, but why are we never in the papers for something positive?
Enough of the ”poor me” attitude … Thanks for allowing me to vent. I don’t do it often – but it was just one of those days!
The actual reason that I sat down to write this evening was to let you know about a giveaway and blog hop that I’ll be co-hosting this weekend with my blogger-friend Joey, from Create, Teach and Share. It’s a “School’s (Almost) Out” blog hop and giveaway and is aimed at you awesome middle school teachers, of course! Be sure to check back this weekend to partake in some fantastic blog posts, freebies, and of course to enter the giveaway.
The choices we make affect what happens in our lives and can impact who we become. You know that. I know that. But how, oh how, can we get our pre-teens and teens to truly understand that? Many of them make poor choices that simply sabotage everything that they really want, and they act as though they’re a victim of circumstance. Some cry the “poor me’s” or are trapped in an endless cycle of learned helplessness and it drives me crazy! I can try to help them, but there comes a point where they need to help themselves first.
Of course, certain things ARE out of their control – that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the choices within only their control, that they are making within the run of a regular school day; choices that will or will not help them reach their overall goals.
So, why am I randomly talking about choices? Well, I’m sitting here doing my planning and I am SO hopeful for this week. We have been lucky enough to be one of four schools in PEI who will be a part of the Light Up Your World program. Presenters will be coming to our school and, in a workshop type of atmosphere, talk about choices and decisions and how we can make a difference in this world. (There’s more to it than that – but that’s the main idea!)
We have 2 grade seven classes and both will be involved with these workshops Monday – Wednesday, for hour and a half chunks each day. (It certainly makes planning for this week of classes a little lighter!) What I am hoping, though, is that this program will REALLY resonate with each student, but a couple in particular. I’m excited that we were chosen as a school to be a part of this and I’m even more excited to see how the students will react to the presenters and the overall message. I’ll be sure to let you know how it all plays out!
Here’s the link to the program, if you’re interested in checking it out: Light Up Your World
I hope you’re enjoying your Sunday! It’s a beautiful day here in PEI. I think maybe we’ll be heading to the pool for a swim and then some time outside for sure! Make the most of the rest of your weekend!
If I’ve thought it once,
I’ve thought it a million times,
Each year, a new kid,
Why do you act the way you do?
I spend so much of my time,
Trying to really figure out who you are,
Do you not see that I care?
I really, honestly care?
I want you to do well,
And to have every opportunity that you deserve.
If you do see that I give a shit,
Then, I ask again,
Why do you act the way that you do?
What are you so angry about?
Why are you so unfocused?
Why, when people try to help you,
Do you put your back up and then walk away?
Why do you act this way?
I’ll never know the life you live,
I have a feeling that if I did,
It would truly break my heart,
I can try to understand you,
I will always try,
But at the end of the day,
I do have enough sense to know,
That I’ll never fully get it,
There’s no way that I possibly can,
We’re just too different, you and I.
I do know,
That I’ll keep trying,
I’ll keep turning the other cheek, and then turn I’ll turn it again,
Because I know that tolerance, acceptance and kindness is what you need,
I know deep down that there are a million and one reasons,
Why you act the way you do,
I guess I just wish,
That I could help you to act the way I know YOU want to.
How do you get through to your most challenging students? What about when they don’t want to let you in?
Welcome to Kristy, from 2 Peas and a Dog, my guest blogger for today. Thanks again for such an awesome idea, Kristy. Enjoy folks!
Need a strategy to improve student achievement? Have you tried Bump It Up Boards? They are a great visual way to help your students self monitor their achievement.
How To Get Started:
Choose a curriculum expectation or focus you see as a need in your classroom. I chose the 4 R’s [retell, relate, reflect, review] reading reflections strategy.
Collect many work samples of your focus. You can use previous student work, ask colleagues for their examples, create your own, use government standardized test exemplars or search the internet for examples.
Ensure your samples represent a range of student achievement levels – not just ones that meet or exceed expectations.
Students worked in groups to read the responses and “grade or mark” each response based on their previous knowledge of what makes a good Retell, Relate, Reflect and Review.
A student in each group was the recorder and wrote down all of their ideas on what made the each exemplar a Level 2, (C), Level 3 (B) or a Level 4 (A).
We had a class discussion and compared our answers to ensure consistency among our expectations for Level 2, 3 and 4 work.
Final Process to Create the Board:
Type up student thinking under the appropriate curriculum expectation categories – this will become your Success Criteria.
Type up the assignment expectations and format the graded work samples to fit on to the display board.
Colour code your examples by level and attach to a bulletin board or poster board. Have students reference this board while working on their assignments to self monitor their progress.
Products to Support Bump It Boards
Report cards have gone home. Parent-teacher interviews are over and March Break is just 2 days away. Life is good!
At report card time, I always have my students do a self-assessment and I have them assess me and my teaching. One thing that a student said in the most recent assessment, was that we don’t do enough “art”. Fair enough. However, they all have an actual ”Visual Arts” class – so don’t feel too badly for the poor art-deprived dears! It’s just that they want more!
Anyhow, we really don’t do much in the way of arts or crafts projects. So, I had a little peek online and I found a fun looking activity. The short version? Use Borax crystals to make a pretty ornament.
With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, I thought – we’ll make crystalized shamrocks for decorations. I really can’t just do something fun without an actual “outcome related” purpose – it’s just not in me! This activity goes along with what students were studying on solutions in Science in their last unit and I also had them write a set of instructions for doing the activity – just in case someone from another class saw the ornaments and wanted to know how we did it. Got to get that purposeful writing in there!
Making a Crystalized Shamrock (or any other shape)
Form a shape with a pipecleaner – a shamrock, spiral - heart, snowflake…Some students may want a template to refer to….
Tie the ornament to a pencil so that you can suspend it in a jar
Add three cups of boiling water to 1/2 cup of Borax crystals
Stir to dissolve
Suspend your ornament in the solution, with the pencil across the top of your jar
Make sure that your shape isn’t touching the sides/bottom
Within 3 hours, crystals will start to form – leave overnight for best results!
The finished product is really cool – crystalized shamrocks!
How does it work? Basically, when you add the crystals to boiling water, more Borax is able to be dissolved creating a supersaturated solution. As the water cools, the molecules become unstable and the excess crystals separate from the water molecules and cling to the pipecleaner.
We had only one “dud” with this activity which was kind of a bummer! A teachable moment, though! Why didn’t Peter’s work? The students figured out pretty quickly that we must have put fewer crystals in his water and if it wasn’t supersaturated, there weren’t any crystals to be released from the water molecules upon cooling and so – no crystal ornament.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
I just wanted to let you know that I found what looks to be a promising money-saving “deals” site specifically for teachers. We all know that we spend WAY too much of our own money on our students and in our classrooms. That being said, none of us have any plans of stopping, either. We get what we need for our students – period.
This new site is called Educents and launches in early April.
The bonus? You get a $15 gift certificate to the site JUST for signing up (which takes about 20 seconds). I haven’t used the site since it’s brand new – but I just wanted to share in case it really is something special AND they only have the sign up deal on for a limited time.
Sign up to get your gift certificate now! I figure, we’ve got nothing to lose! We can check out the site when it officially launches in April, see if we like it and spend our gift certificates.
Here’s to buying more and spending less! (My husband will LOVE to hear about this;)
Hope you’re having a lovely Saturday!