Category Archives: Uncategorized

The results are in! Are you one of my lucky winners?

WOW! What a week! You guys have been awesome. Thanks so much for helping me to more than DOUBLE my goal of 50 followers. I now have 109 followers of my new blog Lessons From The Middle!

With that being said – let’s get right to it. I had 341 entries for my Spectacular Spring Giveaway. I used to select my winners. Again, it’s luck of the draw. If you’ve won something that you can’t use at this point in time, please pass it on to a fellow teacher at your school! Think of it as a random act of kindness.

middle school lessons from the middle giveaway

Congratulations to all of my WINNERS:

$10 TPT Gift Card ~ Dawn (Livnlaughalot)

Package of resources valued at over $40:

Alissa Miller

Michelle Lundy

Amanda Collier

Elaine Covert

$40 of resources PLUS $25.00 Amazon gift card ~ Andie Mitchell

middle school lessons from the middle winners

Shopping Spree Winners:

The Winner of each Shopping Spree, followed by the store link and amount:

Jana Wilson   ~ ~$25.00

Lacy Best    ~ ~ $25.00

Mike Millard ~  ~ $25.00

Kelly Brown  ~  ~ $20.00

Maureen Smith ~ ~$20.00

Stephanie Hulbert ~ ~ $50.00

Denise Goshert ~ ~ $25.00

middle school lessons from the middle winners

Again, thank you everyone for all of your follows, tweets, pins, likes, comments and enthusiasm!

Shopping spree winners: Your email addresses have been passed on the appropriate store owners and they will be contacting you shortly to see what files you would like from their stores. Please click on the link above to take you to the TPT store of your shopping spree and select your prizes so that you’re ready when the owner contacts you! All other winners, you can expect your winnings to arrive in your inboxes soon!

Anyone who missed out on this giveaway, and who doesn’t want to miss out on the next one – feel free to add your name and email to my list and I’ll be sure to include you in the loop next time around! The next giveaway promises to be even bigger and better! If you answered “yes” to the email question on the giveaway form – I’ve got you already! I may also send out some great freebies, activities, and ideas periodically. To add your email to my ever growing list click the link: Please Keep Me Informed of the Next Giveaway From Lessons From The Middle.

If you have a Teacher Store and would like to particpate in my next giveaway by donating resources or a shopping spree in your store, I would LOVE to have you! I know that the teachers this time around got lots of traffic to their blogs, and followers. If you are interested, just fill out this form: I’d love to be a participant in your next big giveaway by donating from my store!

middle school lessons from the middle

Ask and you shall receive…A solution to my geometry set dilemma

This is why I love the blogging community!

I posted yesterday about how my students’ compasses and protractors seem to disappear into some sort of Geometry Set Bermuda Triangle, never to be seen again. It turns out that I’m not alone. Even better, though, I was given the perfect solution to my problem! Only a math teacher could be excited about this!

Kim Hartikainen, of Teaching By Hart posted a link on my FB Fan page to a product that she uses. It looks like an essential for all math teachers. Maybe I’m the only one out there who doesn’t have one of these little tools – but just in case…

SchoolMart offers a product that is a compass, protractor and  ruler all in one! The best part is – they’re cheap! Less than $2 a piece. I’m definitely going to look into those little gems for next year. Thanks again for the tip Kim!

middle school lessons

Kim is one of the wonderful teachers donating her resources for my huge Spectacular Spring Giveaway. Follow the link for all of the giveaway details and entry form. The short version: Over $250 in prizes including a $25.00 Amazon gift card, shopping sprees in TeachersPayTeachers Stores and lots more!

I have 16 teachers helping me out with this giveaway! These three teachers are among the seven offering shopping sprees in their TPT stores!!! They offer products across a range of levels and subject manner.  Check out their stores and blogs and follow them for even more chances to win!

Valerie Young @ All Students Can Shine

Laurah Jurca @ ESOL Odyssey

Katie Hoss

middle school lessons

My Class is like The Bermuda Triangle for Geometry sets!

Each September, as I help my students organize their supplies, I think, “This year will be different. This year, everyone will hang on to their geometry sets – right ’til June!”

As you can imagine, it hasn’t happened yet. Now don’t get me wrong. They don’t lose the entire kit – oh no! That would almost make sense. They just lose the parts that we actually need to use! Now, the eraser – I don’t care about. I have extras. The sharpener? I have one of those on the wall. Rulers – I’ve got lots! I have more of those triangles than I could shake a stick at. But why, oh why, do they always lose the compass and the protractor? It never fails!  It makes it almost impossible to do the lessons that we need to do without those vital pieces. Almost… I know that they all start out with a complete geometry set, but somewhere along the line it disappears as if there’s some sort of Bermuda Triangle in my classroom. Or maybe, a geometry set vortex opens up when I’m out on duty and sucks all of the compasses and protractors away into an alternate math universe. Well, wherever they go – it makes it really difficult to teach a lesson that requires those vital pieces.

middle school lessons

Geometry Set Vortex

 I’ve come up with three possible solutions that may help you out a little, if you also have this terribly annoying problem…

In our Math text-book, our most recent chapter (on circles) started out with having students draw a circle (with a particular radius) using a tack, string and their pencil. They loop the string around the tack, and loop it around their pencil at the proper radius and ta-da! They have a make-shift compass. Well, it was quite an exercise in patience to get these “compasses” to actually work. It sounds simple – and it is! But, it was a little difficult for them to actually get a half decently accurate measurement with this method. However, at the end of the lesson, I asked, “So who will have their geometry sets with them tomorrow? No compass means that you’ll draw your circles for this chapter with the tack and string.” Everyone who didn’t have a compass assured me that it would be in class tomorrow. Problem solved!

middle school lessons

And then, we have the protractor. I only have so many extras to go around, and so it is an issue when students lose theirs. An option that I, and other teachers in my school have come up with, is to actually photocopy protractors on to overhead transparencies, cut them out and have students use those. If it were me, I’d rather have the real thing. Therefore, some students will go out and get a geometry set, knowing that the other option is the “fake kind” of protractor.

Finally, what I think I’ll do for next year, is to go out and just purchase a class set. I’ll number them and keep them all in a bin in my room. Students will still need their own set at home to do homework, but at least while we’re in class, they’ll have the tools that they need, to get the tasks accomplished. I was quite surprised to see full geometry sets at the “Dollar Store” and so for next year, I’ll save the hassle and just buy the sets myself.

Now, on a completely unrelated note…

There are only a few days left in the Lessons From The Middle Spectacular Spring Giveaway! Follow the link to get all of the details. Over $250.00 in prizes to be won, 13 winners in all, and sixteen different teachers (plus myself) participating!

Speaking of those generous teachers helping me out…

The Teaching Bank is offering one of their products as part of the package that five teachers will win. They have hundreds of items in their TPT Store, especially lots of Literacy resources at the middle school level. Be sure to follow them while you’re there!

Terri, from Terri’s Teaching Treasures, has many freebies on her blog and in her TPT Store. She’s got lessons right from K-12. She’s also got tons of cool VistaPrint ideas on her blog! Be sure to follow her as well!

Again, thanks to all who’ve followed me for this giveaway. I hope you’re enjoying your virtual goodie bags, and good luck to all of you who’ve entered so far!

middle school lessons

My Sunday Spot Light…

middle school lessonsThank you SO much to Michelle Lundy at Making It As A Middle School Teacher for spotlighting Lessons From The Middle on her Share-A-Blog Sunday. It’s pretty cool, considering I’m still quite new to blogging!

Michelle has wonderful resources and ideas for all you middle school teachers out there. What’s really great about her blog, is that she has her posts organized by subject area -Math, Science and Social Studies! I love this feature…I want an idea foooooor….Math! Click! Such a time saver! I especially love her Math Day Mondays – being the Math nerd that I am;)

So why not head over to her blog and find out a little bit more about me! While you’re there, become a follower of Michelle’s blog and even grab her button! I’ll count this follow as another way to enter my Spectacular Spring Giveaway. “Spectacular Spring Giveaway?” you say. If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard, Lessons From The Middle is having a HUGE giveaway! I initially wanted 50 followers of my blog, but it’s been so successful that now I’m aiming for 100! Want to help me get there and score yourself some free resources along the way? Go to my original post to find out all about Lessons From The Middle’s Spectacular Spring Giveaway. There’s over $250 in prizes to be won! Don’t miss your chance!

Keeping with the theme, I’d like to “spot-light” a few more of the awesome teachers who are generously helping out with my giveaway!

Thanks again to the awesome teachers who are making this giveaway possible!

All middle school teachers must visit Runde’s Room. Jen currently teaches a 5/6 split and so, many of her ideas are geared for that grade level. She literally has hundreds of items in her TPT Store. Be sure to follow her as well.

HoJo’s TPT Store has lots of items for Language Arts, Balanced Literacy, Math and more. Her items go from K-8 and over half of her store contains FREE items! You should also check out and follow her blog: HoJo’s Teaching Adventures.

Is it Math that you need? You must visit the TPT Store and blog: Go Figure! of Scipi. Her blog is a place where mathphobics and lovers of math can converge! She has so many useful ideas and tips for your classroom!

Finally for today, we have Addie Williams. Again, she has well over 100 items for the middle school grades and beyond – everything from Earth Science and Writing, to Media Awareness. Addie also won an award recently, for her blog Addie Education: Teacher Talk, so check her out and follow her as well. Congrats Addie!


As a side note, I’ve been sending out my “virtual goodie bags” for the giveaway as entries are coming in. A handful, though, have been bounced back to me. I’m so sorry that you haven’t received your goodie bags – but my hands are tied! I’m assuming that it’s a spam blocking issue OR a misspelled email. If you haven’t received your goodie bag – feel free to post a comment on my FB page and we can figure something out!

Thanks again Michelle, for the spot-light and thoughtfully written blog post. I’m new to the blogging community, but it really is an amazing place to share, collaborate, gain some fabulous resources and connect with other like-minded individuals.

middle school lessons

Spectacular Spring Giveaway ~ Have you entered yet? Over $250 in prizes…Plus info an ANOTHER GREAT GIVEAWAY

middle school lessons contestWell,  my first big giveaway is well under way! I reached my initial goal yesterday, of reaching 50 followers of my new blog! Thanks everyone! The giveaway runs until March 31st…Can I reach my next goal of 75?

For the intial blog post and all of the prizes in more detail, click on the link: Lessons From The Middle’s Spectacular Spring Giveaway.

I hope all who have entered are enjoying their goodie bags:) If you haven’t gotten yours yet – don’t worry. I’ll get it to you soon! I must say, I could not have run this giveaway without the help of some very special teachers. So, over the next few days I’ll be telling you a bit more about each of the teachers who are helping me out through their generosity!

Sixteen teachers (plus myself) have put together some awesome prizes for you to win!

First of all, everyone who enters will receive a “virtual goodie bag” of resources JUST for entering!

Five lucky winners will receive a package of resources (valued at over $40) from various TPT authors.

One of those lucky five will also be awarded a $25.00 Amazon gift card!

Seven lucky winners will receive a shopping spree valued at $20 – $50 in a participating TPT seller’s store (My TPT Store is included).

Finally, one lucky winner will receive a $10 TPT gift card, generously donated by TeachersPayTeachers.

Entering couldn’t be easier…

Follow my blog and fill out the Lessons From The Middle Spectacular Spring Giveaway Form to enter. To “follow me” just click on “Follow My Blog” on the Networked Blogs icon, and then click on the green “Follow” button. You can also choose to follow me via email – your choice. You can do both if you wish;) That’s it!

As I said, my next goal is to have 75 followers…If you already follow me – THANK YOU! Please just fill out a form to enter.

For more chances to win, Follow Me in my TeacherPayTeachers Store, Tweet about my giveaway (my handle – @LessonsBlog),  Like Me on Facebook, follow me or pin this post on Pinterest, blog about this giveaway on your own blog…feel free to fill out a ballot each time you follow me or spread the word.

Once you’ve followed MY blog,  please check out and follow the blogs and stores of the generous teachers who’ve offered their resources for this giveaway. You may also enter for every “follow” of these fine folks, as well.

Speaking of those fine folks – let’s meet a few, shall we?

Heidi Raki at Raki’s Rad Resources has tons of resources on her fabulous blog and in her TPT Store. Lots of items for a variety of grade levels and many freebies. She’s also got her own giveaway on the go too, which is AWESOME! So, after you  enter my Spectacular Spring Giveaway, hop on over and enter hers: Heidi’s Expo Ticket Giveaway.

Do you teach Language Arts to the middle grades? If so, then you must check out Ann Marie Smith’s blog Innovative Connections and her TPT Store. She’s a grade 8 LA teacher and has tons of useful resources for your classroom!

What about the French teachers out there? Check out Teaching FSL with Madame Aiello for lots of great ideas and helpful links. Also check out her TPT Store, especially if you teach grades 6-12, for some wonderful resources.

The Teacher Couple has a variety of resources in their TPT Store for you to browse through – mostly at the grade 3-8 level. Be sure to have a look!

Finally, for some great Math resources (especially at the grade 3-8 level) check out the TPT Store of a fellow Canadian, Kim Hartikainen (Teaching By Hart). You should also Like her Facebook Page.

That should hold you over until tomorrow when I feature another group of wonderful educators.

Of course, I’d love for you to check out my own TeachersPayTeachers Store. I’ve got lots of resources for grades 5-9: Language Arts, Math, Classroom Management and items for Back to School as well (it’ll be that time before we know it). Lots of freebies are there too (as well as listed on the tab on this blog).

You may want to check out my Awesome Earth Day Package for a ton of resources for your classroom to celebrate with on April 22nd. Follow me while you’re there for an extra chance to win!

Time to get down to business! Enter my Spectacular Spring Giveaway for your chance to win AND to receive your virtual goodie bag:) People are lovin’ those goodie bags! You don’t want to miss out do you?

Spectacular Spring Giveaway ~ Over $250.00 worth of Prizes ~ ENTER NOW to Receive Your “Virtual Goodie Bag”

I am so excited about my Spectacular Spring Giveaway – hopefully, the first giveaway of many from Lessons From The Middle. I have put a lot of work into this – so here we go!

As I’ve mentioned before, I am lucky to belong to a fabulous group of teacher-authors on When my fellow teachers heard that I wanted to have my first giveaway to promote my blog, they were more than happy to offer their resources for the contest. What does that mean? Winnings for all! (No…I’m totally serious!)

middle school lessons from the middle

Here’s the deal:

Follow my blog and fill out the Lessons From The Middle Spectacular Spring Giveaway Form to enter.  To “follow me” just click on “Follow My Blog” on the Networked Blogs icon, and then click on the green “Follow” button. You can also choose to follow me via email – your choice. You can do both if you wish;) That’s it!

If you already follow me – THANK YOU! Please just fill out a form to enter.

For more chances to win, Follow Me in my TeacherPayTeachers Store, Tweet about my contest (my handle – @LessonsBlog), share the link and Like Me on Facebook, Pin this blog post or follow me on Pinterest, blog about this giveaway on your own blog – I’d appreciate any exposure you’d be willing to send my way!!! Every follow, tweet, share, pin etc…gives you another chance to win – so feel free to fill out a ballot each time you follow me or spread the word.

Also, please follow the blogs and stores of the generous teachers who’ve offered their resources for this giveaway.  You may also enter for every follow of these fine folks.

What’s my goal?

I’ve been putting more time into my new blog and I’m aiming to reach 50 followers of Lessons From The Middle, while sharing some amazing resources with you hard-working educators. (If I pick up more fans along the way of my TPT store, FB page etc…that’s a bonus! Hint Hint…)

The best thing about this giveaway: Everyone wins!

Let’s face it, we all love to enter contests. However, it’s disappointing when you never, ever EVER win anything! I was one of those people who treasured the “participation” ribbon that everyone who ran the race received. So now, I’m giving you, your very own. Everyone who follows my blog and fills out an entry form will be rewarded with a virtual goodie bag of resources from myself and my fellow TPT friends. You’ll each be emailed a package of amazing freebies: Lessons, activities, games and more, for your classroom as a THANK YOU for following my blog! How can you argue with that? You can’t! Oh, but it gets better…

Five lucky winners will receive a bundle of resources, valued at over $40.00, that have been generously donated by some amazing teachers. (Thanks again folks!)

These resources include:

A Piece of Pi: Math Challenges (Grades 6-8) Contributed by: Krystal Mills

Irregular Verb Magic Square (Grades 4-6) Contributed by: Hojo

Alien Text Talk QTR 1 Daily Language Practice~ Grammar, Spelling (Grades 4-12) Contributed by: The Teaching Bank

Verb Tenses: Graphic Organizers and Student Review Handouts  (Grades 6-8) Contributed by: Ann Marie Smith

Writing A Fictional Narrative – A Writing Workshop Unit (Grades 4 – 8) Contributed by: Runde’s Room

Projects for Any Novel – Creative and Unique Worksheets (Grades 4-10) Contributed by: Addie Williams

Complete Poetry Unit (Grades 4-8) Contributed by: tchrBrowne

Solving Simple Math Formulas Using a Triangular Graphic Organizer (Grades 6- 10) Contributed by: Scipi

Tiling – 3 and 4 digit x 1 digit Multiplication Puzzles  (Grades 3 -6) Contributed by: Heidi Raki

Making Numbers – A Warm-up Math Activity (Grades 5 -8) Contributed by: Teaching By Hart

Class Helpers Sign for French, Spanish or other rotary teachers (Grades 5- 12) Contributed by: Madame Aiello

Aztec, Inca, Maya, Mississippian Civilization Game (Grades 5-8) Contributed by: The Teaching Couple

Not only that, one of these five winners will also be awarded a $25 Amazon gift card to spend at their leisure!

What would you buy with a $25.00 Amazon gift card?

Oh, but I’m not done yet – not even close.

In addition to these five winners, 7 lucky teachers will win a shopping spree in one of the TPT stores listed below! It’s the luck of the draw. If you win a spree from Science Stuff but you don’t teach Science – buy some items and donate them to your school or pass the winnings along to a colleague who teaches that subject matter. Think of it as a random act of kindess!

Shopping Sprees Have Generously Been Offered By:

1)  Krystal Mills (ME):


2)Valerie Young:


3) Terri Browne:


4) Laura Jurca:


5) Stacy Mickelson:


6) Katie Hoss:


7)  Amy Brown:


Finally, one lucky winner will receive a $10.00 TPT gift card (donated by TeachersPayTeachers) to spend in ANY TPT store. What’s on your wish list?

So many ways to win – 13 WINNERS in ALL!

Whether you teach middle school or not, every teacher can benefit from this giveaway!

Thanks to the generous teachers who’ve made this giveaway possible. Please visit their blogs and become followers (if you’re not already) as a great big thank you!

Innovative Connections

Runde’s Room

Addie Education-Teacher Talk

HoJo’s Teaching Adventures

The Teaching Bank

Science Stuff

All Students Can Shine

Terri’s Teaching Treasures

The ESOL Odyssey

Go Figure!

Raki’s Rad Resources

Madame Aiello FSL Teacher’s Resources

What are you waiting for??? Follow me and then Click Here to Enter

I ‘ll be randomly choosing winners with “” and the giveaway closes at 10:00pm EST on March 31st. The winners will be notified by email and then posted to my blog.

Well, that’s it! It’s Go Time. I’m aiming to reach 50 followers. I know you’ll help me do it!

Thanks again to all who’ve made this giveaway possible -all you wonderful teachers and of course,!

middle school lessons from the middle

Good luck and let the winning begin! So…who wants their goodie bag?

Do You Need To Take Some Time Just For You?

Some years seem to be more hectic than others. This year is just flying by for me. Where the heck has March gone? I’ve got three days left of my Spring Break and I’ve been thinking…I really need to take some more time for myself.

I teach full-time and have 2 young children, probably not unlike you. I always strive to reach the students who live in my classroom each year. But between the yearbook committee meetings and my son’s ear infections, the after school Math help, parent meetings and play dates – I find that I have been sapped lately. So, I’m posting this, not to complain and gripe. I’m posting this as a reminder to myself and to all of you, that we, as teachers are no good to anyone – our families, our students or ourselves if we are constantly tired, drained and not operating on all cylinders.

We need time to read a book of OUR CHOICE, not just the next novel that we have to cover. We need to exercise, have hobbies, and spend time with our families – with the correcting put away and the computer turned OFF.

It can be easier said than done, but it really is important to do at least ONE thing each week (each day would be even better) that is just for you. The weekend can be a great time to catch up on some house work and planning – and of course those things have to be done. But, don’t forget to put yourself on your priority list – near the top would be the optimal spot. With the weekend coming up and Spring Break behind many (and only a matter of weeks left in the school year) what will you do this weekend that will completely re-charge your batteries, rejuvenate your spirit and propel you into Monday morning? You’re worth the time.

…But How Do I Reach “That” Student?

**Always use your professional judgement – you know your students best! You may want to discuss this strategy with your principal before trying it. It’s a great strategy but is not meant to be used in all situations.Read the comments below this post for more info! **


As teachers, it’s just “in” us to want to help people. We want everyone to be happy, we want to help our students as much as we can and we want to fix them when they appear to be broken. What do you do, though, when you have “that” student whom you just can’t seem to reach no matter what you do?

There are lots of tips that I could throw at you here. There is one strategy, however, that I came across a few years ago in a book – as I was searching for answers for how to deal with “difficult” students. Students in the middle years can be a struggle. Most students want to be treated like young adults, even though some of them actually display the behavior of young children (and not the well-behaved ones).

Maybe there is a student in your class right now who misbehaves, is hard to read, difficult to get a response from etc. you – know who I’m talking about! It’s that student who drives you crazy because you can’t find a way to connect with them. You can’t seem to “fix” whatever is broken with their behavior and many teachers (myself included) being the control freaks that we are find this very frustrating and disempowering. We’ve all had “those” students from time to time – unless you’re brand new to teaching or have a horseshoe up your…never mind…

An idea that I have had success with in the past, is to phone the student at home. If you get the parent, say hello and ask to speak to the child. Without the audience in the classroom, the rushed 8 minute recess break to have a heart-to-heart, and with no where for them to hide, take a few minutes to just talk to them. Have a conversation about what you are struggling with in terms of their behavior. Is there is a reason for how they’re acting? How could you make it better? Make sure that you make it clear that they’re not in trouble! You don’t want to send the wrong message. You do not want or need to talk to their parents. You really just want to talk to them to try to make things better for everyone.

This tactic is not magical. It will not work with every difficult student. However, I have used this technique on more than one occasion and there is something about the teacher caring enough to call at home that strikes a chord with kids of this age. They know that you could ask to speak to their parent at any time – but you don’t. They know that you have a family and your evenings are busy – but you took ten minutes to call them.

If you’re struggling with one of those “difficult to reach” young people – give this tactic a try. What have you got to lose?

  1. I’ve compiled a package of behavior management strategies and ideas to engage learners. It’s available in my TPT store and you can check it out by clicking on the photo above.

The Lovely Blog Award Goes To…

I was so excited to have been awarded  The Lovely Blog Award by Ann Marie Smith at Innovative Connections ( Thanks again Ann Marie!

Here are the rules for the Lovely Blog Award:
1. Link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Pass the award onto 15 followers/fellow bloggers.
3. Follow the person who sent it to you.


Here are some awesome teacher blogs that you should check out! I’d like to pass this lovely award on to each of them:)

1. Caught in the Middle  (

2. Mrs. Knapp’s Sack (

3. Runde’s Room (

4. Secondary Solutions (

5. The Organized Classroom Blog (

6. Go Figure! (

7. For the Love of Teaching Math (

8. Teacher4Kids (

9. Mrs. Tilmon Says…(

10. Teaching Junkie (

11. Vintage Teacher (

12. Fearless Tech For Teachers (

13. Teaching: The Art of Possibility (

14. The Best of TeachersPayTeachers (

15. Effective Teaching Articles (



Fun with ABC’s – An Improv activity for almost any subject matter

Sometimes, in the middle grades especially, we need a break from the normal routine. We need to shake things up a little and have some fun with our students. There’s an activity that I love for this! First of all, I find it really difficult to do something fun without a true purpose or outcome, whether that be strictly academic/curriculum related or for team/community building in the classroom – that’s just me! This activity is fun, but is also easily linked to your curriculum outcomes. You may also want to have a balance of “curriculum-related” and “just for fun” rounds.


I call it “Fun with ABC’s” and it’s basically improv in the classroom.

Have 5 willing students come up front and give them their scene/context. For instance, if you are reading a particular novel – perhaps this is the context. Maybe you are covering Confederation in Social Studies or fractions in Math – whatever your desired subject matter is – use it to make up your scene or context. You can also create “just for fun” scenes to mix things up even more. So perhaps there is a meeting of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny about joining the holidays – something silly….

Number students 1 – 5 and either randomly choose a letter, have a student in the “audience” choose a letter or use letter cards if you have them.

Student 1 will begin the scene and his/her sentence must begin with the letter given. Student 2 picks up on what Student 1 says, and his/her sentence must begin with the next letter. The aim is to have some fun and some laughs, but still make a coherent scene to review some type of content. If a student uses the wrong letter or can’t come up with something to say in about 5 seconds or so – buzz them out and have a volunteer from the “audience” take that student’s place and the student who was buzzed can sit back down.

So, for example:

Subject matter: The novel “Holes”

Starting Letter: B


Student 1: But I don’t want to go to jail!

Student 2: Camp Green Lake is your only option, then.

Student 3: Don’t you know that we’ll turn you into a “good boy”.

Student 4: Ever been to camp?

Student 5: First we’ll teach you how to dig.

Student 1: Guess I have no other choice.

Student 2: Have you any idea what it will be like?

Student 3: It’s so hot there!

Student 4:J……no response…another student comes up and switches spots….


Scenes can last for about 2 minutes, until you’ve gotten back to the letter you started with or until there’s a natural ending to the scene (in less than three minutes). You can also assign “roles/characters” to students or leave it up to them to evolve naturally.


When the scene has ended, you may want to re-cap or review some of the main concepts that were addressed.

The only downfall with this activity – as you probably have guessed, is your wall flowers who don’t want to be up in front of the class on a good day – let alone in this “risky” context. So far, I always have had more students willing to participate than not. Also, I’ve found that the other students in the class encourage those more reluctant students and they often come up and give it a try because the atmosphere we create is “safe”. They know that when the others laugh, they’re not laughing at them, but with them. Of course I would not attempt this activity with just any class, or early in the school year. However, at this point in the year, most of us have created an environment in our rooms that will allow for a little risk-taking.

There are so many ways that this activity can be used and adapted. You could create a vocabulary list of key terms and include that for students to draw from to make their scene more valuable. Students could be given their scenes and beginning letters and then have 5 minutes to write out the first few lines of their “scene” to get theme started.


March Break is just around the corner – why not try a bit of improv before the break?  Oh, and if you want to really take a risk – you should join the first round of improv yourself to get a taste for how it feels to your students!