Monday, April 29, 2013

Middle School Matters

This week, I taught the entire week, including two days at the middle school: 6th and 8th grade Health. In 6th gradeon the first day, Citizens Against Domestic Abuse (CADA) volunteers came and gave a presentation about healthy relationships. They played a really cool youtube video called "Perspectacles." The entire message is that you can't always judge someone on outward appearances, ans small kind messages can change someone's attitude.

The next day, I did a follow up with this. I had the students write positive messages on stars and hearts that I die-cut before school. Then, I had them post these in the hallway towards the end of the period. It was interesting to see the ripples that happened from this action. My 8th grade students came in with these messages taped to themselves. I talked to them about believing these words, and reposting them in the school. "You're beautiful. You're smart. You can do it."

The 8th graders were quite a bit more unruly than the 6th graders. I thought they would be able to work independently on their assignments: to answer some questions in a book and to work on a poster about different systems of the body. I ended up calling on students to read the questions and parts of the text aloud. One student I called on said he didn't know how to read. So, I had him echo me. I read the sentence, then he read it. Later, I allowed them some time to work independently. I made sure to check in on the student who said he couldn't read. I sat by him, and had another student sit by me who seemed to be struggling with the assignment. They were able to work well when I gave them specific guidelines. Another 8th grader seemed like he was being disruptive, but he ended up being one of the earliest finishers, although his work was pretty sloppy.

In the final class of the day, one of the students came in late. When I gave him clear specific directions, he tried to walk away. I followed him, told him to sit down, open his book to a specific page number. He sat, but he said he wanted me to leave him alone. I said, "I will not leave you alone until I see you doing your work." He asked if he could do his work somewhere else, and I sent him to the office with his assignment. I called to let them know he was on his way with work to do. I want my students to know I care about them and their education. I have high expectations for them because I know they are capable. I want them to know they can't hide from me. I see them and I believe in them.


In one of the 8th grade classes, a parent was escorting her child to class and sitting in the back of the room while her child studied. I commended her for caring about her child. If I were to teach middle school full-time, I realize there would be a lot of phone calls home, to establish rapport with the families. I would encourage other parents to escort their child if it will help them.

Another thing I would do as a full-time middle school teacher is "flip the classroom" by recording my lessons on video. Homework would be for the students to watch these videos. Then, they could do the practice work in class, with me there to mentor them. This would require some advanced preparation on my part, but it would be well worth it. This may free up enough class time for students to do more self-guided projects, like writing grants and stories in Language Arts, or students could design their own experiments in Science.


Some full-time positions have finally been posted for my district. I'll be applying to most of them. I have a good feeling that I may get hired full-time for next year. I may take the tests to get highly qualified in Middle School Math and Science.

No comments:

Post a Comment