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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

Using “Factory Girl” by Barbara Greenwood As A Middle School Read Aloud

Okay, so I bit the bullet and have tried my very first VIDEO post. I told myself I never would (the whole being in front of the camera thing) but – here we are. I know how much I enjoy others’ video posts on all sorts of topics – and so I thought I’d try one for a change on pace.


Below you’ll find my video blog post on “Factory Girl” by Barbara Greenwood. Enjoy!


Man…I should have straightened my hair…oh well…don’t make too much fun;)





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

“The Ultimate Middle Years Giveaway and Blog Hop” has Arrived!

By Innovative Connections and Lessons from the Middle!I am SO excited to announce “The Ultimate Middle Years Giveaway and Blog Hop”. This event has been designed with you amazing middle school teachers in mind, by myself and partner in crime Ann Marie Smith author of Innovative Connections. If you haven’t visited Ann Marie’s blog, go, visit, follow! Her writing style is very accessible and a pleasure to read.You’ll want to check out her “Freebies” page, as well as the “Innovative” teachers that she so graciously spotlights. She’s also got TONS of resources for you to browse, in her TPT Store


We’ve worked really hard to create an awesome giveaway and blog hop aimed just at middle school teachers, so you’re in luck. Of course we couldn’t have done it alone! We have 30 fantastic teacher-bloggers helping us with this event. They’ve donated products and shopping sprees in their stores, and have come together to create our blog hop challenge. All for you! So let’s get right to it.


The Giveaway


We have $300 worth of prizes to be won thanks to the generosity of everyone involved in this event. That’s simply amazing to me. These products and shopping sprees have been split into three prize packages for three lucky winners. One of these three winners will receive the “grand prize” which contains about $125 worth of resources and shopping sprees. Someone has to win. Why not you? Check out the list below of all the prizes that have been donated. You’ll find the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this post to enter the giveaway. Lots of different ways to enter and more entries mean more chances to win! 

This giveaway and blog hop event runs August 25th-27th, ending at 12:00 am EST.




The Blog Hop Challenge 


We could have just given you the chance to win prizes – that alone would be pretty fantastic. However, because middle school teachers are so special – we’ve decided to do just a little bit more for you.


There are 24 bloggers involved (plus Ann Marie and I) in this blog hop challenge. Each blogger is highlighting another in the hop. For each blog, there is one question to answer on the form below. Answer the questions on the form correctly (might as well follow the blogs while you’re there) and you’ll be rewarded – big time! 
Our oh-so-generous teacher-bloggers have donated a truck-load of goodies to go to EVERYONE who successfully completes the blog hop! A great way to start off the new school year, wouldn’t you say? I’m not going to list everything that’s included in the package – but let’s just say that there’s something for everyone. Perhaps even better than these resources, is the collection of blogs that you’ll create for yourself, at your grade level, to refer to and benefit from all year long!
At the bottom of this post, you’ll find the collection of the blogs that are participating in the blog hop, as well as the entry form.
Prize List and Donors



$15 to Spend in Addie’s TpT Store!


EVERY PRICED item in Elizabeth’s  Fun in Room 4B TpT Store



$5 Spree in Heidi’s TpT Store

Secondary Solutions Blog


Kristen Bowers’ 101 Writing Prompts for Fall!


$10 Shopping Spree in Madame Aiello’s TpT Store!

Scipi's Specials



Homophones: Lessons, Homework, Tests, Writing



Shopping Spree in Andrea’s TPT Store for $10


HoJo's Teaching Adventures

$15 Shopping Spree in Hojo’s TPT Store

Liz's Lessons


$10 shopping spree to TPT store Liz’s Lessons


$20 shopping spree in Tracee’s TPT Store

The Tutor House


Adrianne’s Integer Elevator Game




$10 Shopping Spree in Michelle’s Making It Teacher’s TPT Store



Teaching Rocks!


“Your Essential Teacher Binder” from Loriana, Elita and Lisa Classroom Organization Kit (of choice)


Michelle’s Dear Mr. Henshaw Comprehension Question Packet



Polkadots and Pencils
Lacie’s Data & Probability Scoot Game



Jennifer’s Survival of the Fittest Bear Hunt Game



Joy of Teaching
1 Item of Choice from Joy’s TpT store!



ELL blog
Any 3 Items from Lori’s TPT store!

$15  Shopping Spree in Amy’s TpT Store!




Your Choice: 1 Item from Science Penguin’s Store!






E-Motive Teaching! Winner’s Choice: 1 of Deborah’s Free 

TED Talks Viewing Guides!




Kristine’s Classroom Procedures to Teach!

Teacher´s Clip Art

25 Frames Clipart from Oxana’s Store!! 


Confessions of a Teaching Junkie
 $10 Worth of Products from Teresa’s TpT Store!



Life in Middle School

$15 Shopping Spree in Lauren’s TN Store!



Pre-Teen School Friends Clip Art Set by The 3AM Teacher




$25 Shopping Spree to Innovative Connections’ TpT Store!



Lessons From The Middle


$25 Shopping Spree to Lessons from the Middle’s TpT Store!



Thanks to all of the awesome teacher-bloggers who are a part of this event. We couldn’t have done this without all of you!
A special thank you to Ann Marie – it’s been great to collaborate with you – you rock!


Enter Giveaway Below

a Rafflecopter giveaway
  Let’s start this blog hop now!


On Liz’s Lessons, written by Liz Bucrek, you will find secondary French and Spanish teaching resources, and teaching tips. She also does monthly instructional resource updates that include links to great websites for teaching with technology in any subject area!  She posts freebies on her blog on a regular basis as well. If you are looking for activities that use Web 2.0 tools, or holiday activities you will find them there as well.  


Young Teacher Love is a 5th Grade blog that offers ideas, tips, strategies and best teaching practices to its readers.  The author, Kristine Nannini, has a deep passion for educating and spending time with children as well as sharing ideas with other amazing teachers. She loves creating lessons that make learning new concepts fun for all of her students, and she loves to create room decor that makes their learning environment a cozy place to go everyday.


That should give you a great start on the blog hop!  




Enter the Blog Hop Challenge HERE

My Poem for Teachers…Plus a special announcement

~To all of the teachers beginning a new school year ~


For all of the lessons that you plan,

All of the prep that you do,

Always doing whatever you can,

Willing to try something new.


Doing your very best each day,

To reach your students – every last one,

Not wanting to end the year asking,

Is there something else I could have done?


Teachers are a special breed,

This is nothing new,

Desiring success for your students,

It’s who you are – not just what you do.

lessons from the middle , giveaway

Rose Clipart:

But, when you’re frustrated and you’re tired,

Not sure if you’ll make it to the end,

Remember the students you’ve inspired,

Those you helped when they needed a friend.


With the beginning of another school year,

You’re busy and will feel some stress,

So hold on to the passion you feel right now,

Take a deep breath and just do your best.




From my classroom to yours, thank you for all that you do and will do this year. Don’t ever let there be a doubt in your mind – your hard work IS appreciated, and so are you. I hope you all have an awesome year with all of your “little lovelies”.


back to school, giveaway, lessons from the middleAs a special thank you for all that you do, I also have an announcement. Tomorrow, Ann Marie Smith (Innovative Connections) and I will be launching an event that we’ve been planning for the last month! It’s called “The Ultimate Middle Years Giveaway and Blog Hop”. We have $300 worth of prizes up for grabs, and a fun blog hop that will earn you LOADS of freebies, if you choose to take part. Make sure you come back tomorrow to enter the giveaway, discover LOTS of middle school blogs to follow and maybe even grab some freebies (if you’re up for our blog hop challenge). We have planned all of this just for you guys – so I hope you take part and enjoy!

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





The Student Agenda – If you have one, why don’t you use it?

Do your students use the agendas that they’re so excited to buy that first week back to school? I’m lucky – many of my students do buy an agenda. Using it, however? That’s another story.

I’ve actually realized that I’ve been part of the problem.

I teach grade 7. I have been using the fact that I teach junior high, as an excuse of sorts. “They’re old enough to know what they need to do. If they don’t do it – that’s really their problem. I’m trying to teach them to be self-sufficient and independent here!”

Well, I’m thirty. I KNOW that I need to exercise. Do I always do it? Sometimes, I get lazy – plain and simple. Wouldn’t it be nice if I had a cheerleader helping me along? Wouldn’t I be more apt to go for a run? Well, I’m going to be more of a cheerleader to my students this year (probably in more ways than one). They know what they need to do (just like I do) but they’re going to need my help to get and stay on track.


Here are some things that I plan to share with my students to help them get on the right track with using their agendas.

agenda tips, lessons from the middle


Need-Do-Due Poster: Help your students use their agendas

Need-Do-Due Poster: Help your students use their agendas


Here are a few things that I’m also going to try this year, in regards to agendas.

1) Give students more time and REQUIRE that they use their agendas. I wasn’t forceful enough in the last few years with getting students to use their agendas – the result? They didn’t use them. I don’t plan on using my brute force or anything, but I do plan on setting my expectations MUCH higher!

2) Spend MORE time talking about the agendas at Meet the Teacher night – how I plan to use them, what parents can do to help etc. I plan to really talk them up!

3) We always send home monthly reports about student behaviors, homework etc. I’m thinking about switching to weekly reports and then having students staple the reports in to their agendas. Then, parents will know to ask to see the agenda each week to check out their child’s report.


I’m excited about the changes I plan to make with the use of agendas in my class this year. If you would like a copy of the tips and poster above, head over to my TeachersPayTeachers Store to grab a free copy. I hope that my raising of expectations and putting more responsibility on the students will increase their overall success!


What are your thoughts on student agendas?


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




Most Fascinating Blog – Voting runs August 18th-25th

UPDATE: Thank you so much everyone for voting! I won:)

click here

I’ve seen this little badge of honor on so many blogs that I look up to and admire. Who knew? Now it’s my turn!

I’m very excited to share with you that Lessons From The Middle has been nominated for Most Fascinating Blog 2012, in the Middle School Teacher category. It sounds so cheesy but, “It’s an honor just to be nominated”.

I started this blog to share ideas that I have and that I find from other teachers, to collaborate with educators from all over, to save teachers time, to inspire, to learn, and to engage teachers in conversations about education. I started just 6 months ago, but I have learned so much from so many and I hope that I’ve reciprocated that knowledge as well.

I would very much appreciate your vote for this blog award. I’d love to display the “Winner” badge, rather than just the “Nominated” badge! (Although it’s pretty cool to have that nominated badge there. ) It’s just the glory I’m looking for with this one. There is a great prize for the winner too, but since I’m Canadian, I can’t claim it anyway. Oh well! I’ll take the glory over a monetary prize any day – and not just because I have to Wink

Thanks for taking the time out of your jam-packed days to read my blog. I put a lot of effort into it and I still have a lot more to say.

Click here to vote for Lessons From The Middle

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TeachersPayTeachers’ Annual Back to School Sale

Back to school Sale, TPT


Teachers Pay Teachers is having their annual Back to School sale August 12th-13th. They’ll be offering their usual 10% off, with many store owners offering up to an additional 20% off.

Every item in my own store will be on sale. Be sure to head over to TeachersPayTeachers to take full advantage of this awesome sale and to get yourself prepared for a new school year.


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

Incorporating Physical Activity into Your Classroom: My First Guest Blogger!

This is so exciting! I’m thrilled to welcome Neil, Lessons From The Middle’s first guest blogger. Neil is from the UK. He’s been teaching for two years, at the primary level. He has a passion for physical activity and recently started a blog focussing on physical activity and outdoor education. He practises what he preaches – he’s worked as a camp councillor and is a canoeing instructor. Although Neil teaches in the primary grades, his message is one for all teachers of all grades and subject levels.


We all know the stats: Approximately a third of children in the US, Canada and the UK are obese.  Children are getting fatter and may not live as long as their parents. I don’t want to dwell on the problem, but what is our role as educators to find a solution? Children spend around 6 hours a day at school and a lot of that time can be spent being pretty inactive. So I think as the olympics loom on the horizon, it’s a good time to start to talk to our classes about their lifestyle. What if every teacher spent an extra 5 minutes a week of our class time being active? Wouldn’t that make our children’s lives a bit less sedentary? I think that over time, it could start to make a nation fitter and healthier.

Lessons From The Middle, physical activity in the classroom


Healthy living should be like English – a subject that spans the curriculum and an area that every teacher has an obligation to teach well, no matter what their subject specialty. I’m not going to suggest that children should be constantly active in the classroom. There are lots of times when a calm quiet approach is the best way to get our learning across. But there are also those moments in a classroom, when we have a few minutes to spare or when the class appears restless, that using an active approach would enhance our teaching and the children’s enjoyment. So I wanted to share a few ideas to make your lessons full of beans.


An active few minutes:
I apologise if I’m preaching to the converted, but I find in the busy world of teaching – it’s always good to have the occasional reminder. So here are a few ideas for those quick breaks in the middle of your lessons to refocus children’s concentration. Action games are the best place to start. Games like Simon Says, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes can be adapted and put to good use in the younger grades. Music can work well depending on the dynamic of your class. You can simply play some music for 1 minute and just get your class to dance. Displaying songs with actions like the Cha, Cha Slide on your whiteboard is another option. Another idea is to lead some actions yourself and get the children to copy. I like to play the game where I repeat an action four times and then switch to a different action. But whatever action I am doing, the children have to repeat the action that I did previously.

Lessons From The Middle, physical activity in the classroomRelay Race:
If your lesson includes any kind of matching activity, then why not turn it into a relay race? Place all of the items at one end of a hall or outdoor space and the children have to run and collect each item one at a time. While this is happening the other children in the group can be matching. This is a good way to involve everyone in group work and helps to stop one child from taking over.

Dictation Race:
I have a lot of children in my class who have English as a second language and this next idea is a way of teaching language structure, as well as getting your class more active. Pick a short paragraph of information from your lesson. It could be a science definition or a poetic verse that you would like them to learn, about 6 lines or so should be enough. Then, photocopy it for each group. You’ll need a bit of room, so you’ll either have to take your class outside or clear some tables. Place the photocopied text at one end of the room and split the children into groups at the other end with some blank paper and pens. This is basically another form of a relay race – the children have to run to the other end of the classroom and memorize one line of text, then they run back and write it down. It doesn’t sound too tricky, right? Well, the catch is that the copied text must be perfect. So, no spelling mistakes and no incorrect punctuation. You can award points for the first team to finish and for the most accurate copy.

Fruit Salad:
Name everyone in your class as a type of fruit: Bananas, strawberries, pineapples and mangos. Then, when your class need to stretch their legs you say the name of the fruit. If you said “Strawberry” everyone who was named that fruit would swap places with the other children who were strawberries. If you feel brave shout “Fruit salad” and everyone has to swap seats.

This classic game is a good way to summarise a topic or to get children to explain different concepts. Get each table to think of a key word or concept from your lesson. Then, they have to act it out while the rest of the class have to guess what the word or idea is. This is a good way to get children thinking and moving.

So next week, try to include 5 minutes of activity in your lessons. Here are a few more exercise ideas, if you need them.

Neil @


Again, I’d like to thank Neil for his guest blog post. Please visit his new blog: Outdoor and Adventurous.

I totally agree with adding more physical and/or outdoor activities to our classrooms when we can. Although it can be a challenge – especially in Canada in the winter;) It’s important! Just the other day, we were doing a writing activity in class and it was such a nice afternoon that I took my class outside to write. We took a five-minute walk from class to a sunny spot outside, and also enjoyed some fresh air!

As you get up in the older grades, you have to be a little more creative, I think, to get the kids active. There are issues with self-consciousness, and space as the kids get physically bigger. That being said, I think we’ve all looked at our classes and thought – you just need to get up and move around! So, take Neil’s advice and try to add just five minutes of movement into your class. Trust me, your students will appreciate it – especially at this time of the year! And, I know what you’re thinking…but there are lots of simple ways to get them back into their seats when the activity is over. It’s like anything else – a routine to be taught. Well done Neil!

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




Want to be a Guest Blogger?

If you would like to write a guest post for Lessons From The Middle, I’d love to have you! Please, send me an email with your post attached. It should be about education, either for all grades OR the middle grades. Please be sure to include where you’re currently teaching, 3 interesting things about yourself and how long you’ve been teaching, so that I can introduce you to my readers. You can also email me with any questions. I look forward to hearing from you!

I’ve got a BIG announcement!

Okay, so I am like a bad child. I’ve got a BIG secret to tell you! Big! Huge! But I’m not supposed to say anything…yet….Oh but it’s so sweet! I really want to tell you! But I can’t…

Lessons From The Middle, canadian teacher blog,

Deep breath….

I’m super excited because of this gigantic announcement, although I really can’t let you in on the secret until tomorrow. I just had to give you a heads-up!

You’ve GOT to come back tomorrow so that I can fill you in on the big news. Unless you guess what the big news is! Hmm… what could it be?

So…Predictions??? Guesses?

Make sure that you check back tomorrow so that I can fill you in on this HUGE announcement that’s sure to make all of you wonderful teachers happy. You really don’t want to miss out! I promise!

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

Middle School Math Freebies! I’m having a linky party!

Well, I’ve been a part of linky parties before, but this is the first one I’ve hosted! FUN! I hope to create a great collection of middle school math freebies for all of you (and for me too, of course).

One of my popular math freebies is a Divisibility Game, Poster, and Printable Pack. It’s easy to play and a great way to review divisibility rules that students sometimes neglect due to over-use of calculators! It includes divisibility rules for 2,3,4,5,6,8,9 and 10. There are two levels of “difficulty” so that even students on IEPs should be able to play the game with the class. All you need to play, is dice for each group. You can easily increase the level of difficulty by adding more dice to the game.

Click on the link to download my Free Divisibility Game, Poster and Printable.

free divisibility game , grades 5 -8, divisibility rules, divisibility printable, divisibility poster, Lessons From The Middle, free middle school math games

Free Divisibility Game

If you have a free middle school math resource to share, please add the link and keep the party going!!! FREEBIES ONLY this time around please! I’m starting things off by adding a few of my own:)

For anyone who would like to grab the code for their blog…

Lessons From The Middle
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Lessons From The Middle"><img src="" alt="Lessons From The Middle" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

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My linky party is part of The Ultimate Linky Party on Teaching Blog Addict. If you’re in the mood to party – head over to TBA to check out some great links!