Category Archives: Middle School

Back to School Giveaway

As I gaze out at this beautiful August afternoon, I can’t help but wonder what kind of a year I will have. I feel like I’m standing in the line-up to ride a really scary roller coaster. I want to ride, even though it’s scary because I know that it’s also going to be exhilarating and I know I’ll love it. I’m sick of waiting and I just want it to be my turn already! 

I’m always excited to begin a new school year, and this year is no different in that way, but very different in many other ways. I am in our new/renovated K-12 school – a huge change what with a new build and combined staffs. And, I’ll be starting my Master’s in just days. I know it’s going to be a year of changes, flexibility and stress, but also one of learning and growth. We go back on Tuesday and the kids come on Thursday, and I’m going to enjoy this last weekend, but I’m very much looking forward to my turn on the roller coaster!

That being said….

I need to start this year on the right foot – with a Back to School Giveaway, of course!  And this is going to be a great one! I have ONE “grand prize” that will be given out to one lucky teacher and it could be you!

Back to School Giveaway

 In total, the prizes are valued at approximately $200, depending on your choices from my TPT Store and your choice of wall decal.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A little more about the prizes…

 

5 TPT Items

Get browsing! I have lots of resources in my TPT store  and the winner will get to choose any FIVE of them. I’ll simply email them the files that they choose!

 

31 Gifts

Lunch Thermal – the perfect lunch bag! You’ll be eating in style this year, for sure! (No monogramming on your lunch bag)

Wall Decal From Wise Decor

You have your choice of 3 wall decals! (I can’t wait to get mine up in my new classroom, and I’ll be sure to post a picture when I do.) You can choose your size and colors to totally personalize your wall decal. And, they go on looking like paint – no see-through film like some of the cheaper versions of wall decals. Your three choices are: a Student Encouragement Wall Decal, Classroom Rules Modern Wall Decal or a Whimsical Classroom Rules Wall Decal. They are pictured below – but keep in mind that you can personalize your colors to match your room!

Student Encouragement – this is the one I went with for this year!

Classroom Rules Modern

Classroom Rules Whimsical

 

The Red SunA great read for your classroom this year

 

the red sun

 

The Red Sun is the first book in The Legends of Orkney, the spellbinding series of adventure fantasy novels by Alane Adams. It follows Sam to the realm of Orkney where witches, wraiths, and other menacing creatures cause serious peril to the unsuspecting Sam. Now, it’s up to him to save his friends and all of Orkney from a cursed red sun. Can a young witch girl named Mavery help him?”

The fantasy genre is so hot right now – the kids love it! What grabbed my attention about this book right off the bat was its accessibility to my boys, especially. Within just the first 2 pages, we learn that the main character Sam is a self-professed “non-hero”. He’s not perfect, his family is not perfect, he’s disconnected from his father, he has a temper and sometimes gets into fights. I know that certain students in particular will relate to his imperfections and the fact that he’s “real” just like them. The action starts within the first chapter really, and definitely is underway by chapter two. I feel that this element is super beneficial to my more reluctant readers who find it difficult to “hang in there” and continue to read to get to the “good part” of some texts. There’s conflict essentially from the beginning and that paired with a mysterious new teacher with an attitude, and a dwarf in his garage, you can’t help but be hooked into learning more about Sam and what’s really going on in his life. This would be a great first read, for students new to the fantasy genre! 

I think your students will truly enjoy “The Red Sun” and it’ll be a wonderful addition to your classroom library.

 

I wish you all a wonderful school year with your students! Thanks for entering my Back to School Giveaway, good luck to you all! Feel free to share my post with your teacher friends!

jamberry nails giveaway

 

Life-Saving Labour Day Blog Hop

So happy to be a part of this “life-saving” Labour Day link-up! This link-up is filled with no prep and low prep ideas for you to grab at the last moment before the busy school year begins! You’re welcome!

The item that I am highlighting for this “life-saving link-up” is my This is Who I Am collage project for grades 7-9. It can be used any time, but it’s great for Back-to-School time! It contains 50+ pages, including everything you need to get high quality collages from your students, by clearly communicating the expectations for them. It’s low prep and basically ready to go! Through this engaging project, you’ll get to know your students better and they’ll get to know themselves better, as well! The completed collages also make an awesome display!

 

this is who i am


Basically, students are required to use photos, drawings and text to create a visually appealing collage, representing who they are.

I’ve included:
-Assignment sheet for students
-A checklist for students to make sure that they include everything
-3 choices of graphic organizer to plan the collage
-A rubric (in case you decide to formally assess their work)
-A PowerPoint with 3 activities to walk students through how to use symbols on their collages to raise the level of their work (printables included for these as well)
-A PowerPoint to help students come up with their personality characteristics
-A printable list of characteristics as reference (by no means a complete list of every personality trait – but it’s a start)
-A printable to help students find an appropriate quote, poem or song lyrics to add to their collage (again – raises the level of their work)
-Step by step instructions for the teacher for how they may want to conduct the project 

 

You can choose to do parts of this project, or the whole thing. There are lots of options for you and since I have included the PowerPoints and any printables required – you should be good to go!

 

If you want a great project that will engage students right off the bat, encourage creativity and enable you to get to know them better – check out my “This Is Who I Am” resource in my TPT Store

 photo SecondaryTopTeachersBTSpromo-CAN.png

 

And thanks to Tammy Aiello at Teaching FSL for organizing this awesome blog hop and link-up!

jamberry nails giveaway

 

 

A New Chapter…Master’s of Education

I’ve been thinking about it off and on for the last 4 or 5 years and the timing was just never right. Well, I have jumped in and am very proud to announce that I’ll be beginning my Master’s of Education on September 2nd. That also happens to be my first day back at school. Gulp. And to complicate things further, it happens to be our first year in a new/renovated K-12 building. I haven’t been in the school yet this summer (usually my classroom would be half set up by now) because the school (including my classroom) is not yet finished! Double gulp? I know what you’re saying, and THIS is good timing? No, not really. But, what I have decided is that there will never be a perfect time. That, I know for sure.

I have no idea what all of this means for my blogging life – I’m hoping that it’s not over, but I know that my full time job as a grade 7 and 8 teacher and my course work commitments are going to pretty intense. Only time will tell, I guess!

So, a little bit about my program, it’s completely online through Walden University. It’s an accelerated program and I’ll complete it in 16 months! Yay! I’ll be done next Christmas – that’s pretty amazing to me! Finally, it’s a Master’s of Science Education in Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment (K-12). The courses sound awesome, practical and like I’ll actually be able to use my course work to enhance the achievement of my students “in real time” not just in theory or down the road. There are courses on designing curriculum for learning, differentiating instruction, assessment, teaching students with learning disabilities, and motivating students -among other things. I truly am excited to be starting this journey! So, if I happen to drop off the face of the blogging planet – you’ll know where I am, and I will be back. Wish me luck!

A New Chapter...Starting my Master's Of Education

Anyone who’s been thinking about a Master’s program – just apply. Don’t wait for a perfect time – it’ll never happen. Just take the plunge. You’ll never finish if you don’t first begin! So take the steps to begin! If you want any information on the program or school that I have chosen, just comment below and we can have a chat. They have made the process so easy for me and I can’t wait to get going on my journey. I’m really glad that I’ve taken this first step.

 

jamberry nails giveaway

The Write Genre: Activities and Mini-Lessons to Promote Writing

If you want help with organizing your writing program and teaching genres of writing more effectively, I HIGHLY recommend,Write Genre, The: Classroom Activities and Mini-Lessons That Promote Writing with Clarity, Style, and Flashes of Brilliance. I WISH that I had found it at the beginning of last year, as improving writing instruction in my classroom was something that I actively worked on. Better late than never, I suppose!

I love this book for a few reasons:

1.  Very readable and practical with lessons that I can take and use NOW

2. Suggestions are provided for assessment (6 Traits of writing)

3. It covers Personal Memoir, Fictional Narrative, Informational Writing, Opinion Pieces, Procedural Writing, Poetry and Multi-Genre chapters – basically everything I need to teach in Grade 7 LA! 

It’s a perfect fit for me, and the curriculum that I am expected to teach. Although I really like our relatively new resources in Grade 7 for Language Arts, I find that they do lack in writing, which is why I was working more on it last year (and why I wish I had found this book LAST summer – would have saved me bunches of time)!

If you have been looking for help with teaching writing, I strongly suggest having a look at this resource! I am so lucky to have such a great staff – someone recommended it and we were even able to purchase multiple copies for other staff who were interested (that’s how I ended up finding the book- lucky, I know).

Do you have any titles or websites to share that assist with writing in the classroom? I’m always looking for great mentor texts (of what to do or what not to do in a piece) and student samples! Please comment if you have some to share!

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LOVE These Clips! A Simple Way to Organize Your Papers

Just bought these for next year at Scholar’s Choice and even though I probably overpaid, these clips are exactly what I’ve been looking for to organize my paperwork. My desk is not always the neatest, and I really think that these fancy shmancy clips may do the trick! I know how crafty some of you are and it would be so simple to “bedazzle” a couple of plain clips for your own needs. I bought 2 sets of 2″ clips, but I think I’ll try giving some of my plain clips a facelift with some snazzy new labels – for classes/subject/permission slips etc. I also think that the “To Be Filed” clip may be a little dangerous for me… Again, showing my nerdiness to be excited about binder clips (in July, no less) but I have never seen these before and I think that they just may save my organizational life :)

Organizing papers

My first Back to School Purchase! Too early? Naaaa!

What’s your favorite way to keep your desk tidy? jamberry nails giveaway

Yay! More Math!

It’s the little things that make you happy – and also make you realize confirm that you are a bit of a nerd. I get to take on more math next year, having grade 7 and 8 math classes as well as being a support person in one of those classrooms. To have this new curriculum guide and text home with me this summer just makes me smile (I will also continue to teach LA, as well).

math rocks

Math is my favorite and always has been, and so I’m very excited to think about how I may engage and teach my students – the students that I just said good-bye to in grade 7. Won’t they be surprised to see me, again! Hopefully it will be a happy surprise! What I am most excited about, is the fact that there is a new project coming into place in September for grade 7 and 8 math. It includes a “boot camp” package of materials and a lot of emphasis is put on having basic numeracy skills before getting started with the actual grade level curriculum. Every year kids come in who don’t yet know how to multiply or divide, don’t understand place value or fractions etc. This boot camp should help to fill some of those gaps with direct instruction on these skills and so I’m excited that it’s actually built in to our year plan! A pacing guide was given to us as well, and an example of one of four formative assessments that we will have access to next year to make sure that our students are grasping the foundational learnings that have been identified as most important for the grade level. It just all seems so organized and I love the sound of anything that may work better than what I did the previous year, so I’m in!

I say again, Yay! More Math!

How do you feel about your assignment for next year? Or, are you still waiting?

jamberry nails giveaway

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

 

 

 

And the Winner Is…

#43 Beth Foose ~ Congratulations!

 

marble blue

Beth’s Choice ~ Marble Me Blue

If you would like to give Jamberry a try or just want to see what’s available – check out my link: http://krystalmills.jamberrynails.net/ 

Thanks for playing, everyone!

jamberry nails giveaway

5 Top Educational Apps For Middle School Teachers

We all know how important it is to integrate technology into our classrooms when we can. That’s why I’m so happy to have George Campbell, a freelance writer specializing in various topics including education, to supply me with a helpful blog post on 5 TOP apps for middle school teachers! Please be sure to add your own favourites by commenting on this post!

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1- Science Glossary (Free)

Science Glossary is an app which offers students a comprehensive glossary of scientific terms, as well as a collection of succinct biographies of famous scientists. Simply enter a scientific term and the app provides an easy to understand definition as well as additional scientific terms related to the topic which was searched. Teachers and students can also use the app to connect with the educational website; Vision Learning. The website promotes itself as a “free digital resource for teaching and learning science”, so all you need to get started is an Internet connection! This combination of the Science Glossary app and the Vision Learning website enables both teachers and students to access detailed science learning modules in order to further supplement studies and stimulate scientific curiosity!

  top educational apps for middle school teachers                     

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2- GoSkyWatch Planetarium – the astronomy star guide ($3.99)

With the GoSkyWatch app students can explore the universe from the palm of their hand! This app presents over 200 high resolution images of planets and deep sky objects in day, sidereal and time lapse animation. Students can immerse themselves within images of constellations, boundaries and star patterns as well as comprehensive information on the various planets, stars, comets, constellations, galaxies and DSO ephemeris data. This app also informs students of the current moon phase calendar as well as sunrise and sunset times, enabling them to extensively expand their knowledge of the universe.

 

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3-Mental Maths (Free)

Mental Maths is an app is created by educational agency Maths Doctor. They provide a series of educational resources which are centered around the principle that; “every leaner is an individual with their own needs, abilities, strengths and weaknesses”. Subsequently, both their website and app endeavour to offer children multiple methods through which they can enjoy expanding their mathematical knowledge. To use the Mental Maths app, students simply select a maths topic and are presented with a related question. There is no time limit whilst they work out the solution in their head, then swipe the screen to reveal the answer. If students get the answer wrong, they are able to try again as many times as they wish until they confidently understand the mathematical principle. What’s more, the app hosts a built-in percentage tracker so that teachers can monitor their students’ progress and challenge their newly developed knowledge with an end of topic test. As a result, this simple yet creative app offers a fun and interactive medium through which your students can overcome any mathematical obstacles!

 top educational apps for middle school teachers

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4-History: Maps of the World (Free)

History: Maps of the World provides a great resource for developing your students’ historical and geographical knowledge. Using the app, you can gain exclusive access to 178 historical maps from across the world, all of which display the source of each map as well as highlighting any geopolitical and geographical shifts which have occurred over time. Within the app, maps are grouped by category or era, or alternatively can be located via a keyword search. Each map is accompanied by a wealth of information which details its rich historical significance. This facilitates an innovatively visual method through which you can educate your students about major historical, social and regional changes.