Teaching middle school is not for the faint of heart. But if you're called to do it, you know there's nothing else quite like it. Join us in discussing what works - and what doesn't.

New Year's Resolution, Anyone?

Heather Wolpert-Gawron Middle School teacher by day, Tweenteacher by night

OK, I know it's a typical discussion thread, but setting goals and reflecting on our accomplishments are big parts of what we do, is it not?

OK, I'll share first. My educational New Year's goals are as follows:

1. Give more efficient feedback. That doesn't mean more, it means better, and in such a way that I'm not cutting into my family time, my me time, and my teaching time.

2. Find Time During the Day To Move - I need to get outside more during my day. I need to stretch more during passing periods, walk after school or during lunchtime, and find a way to move my body besides following the worn-out path my table wanderings have created around my room. I'm not a desk-sitter as a teacher, but I'm also not moving in other ways during the day. If I preach about moving our bodies to help our brains, I should be doing it more myself during the day.

OK, fess up. What are your goals?

-Heather WG

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Goals 2010

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Our principal made our 2009-2010 school theme "Finding Balance" if that says anything.

1) Come home no later than 4:30 on non tutoring days
2) Reach out to like-minded members of the educational community that are outside my district (here I am!)
3) Spend home time as down time and not always grading
4) Have more fun

Middle School teacher by day, Tweenteacher by night

LOVE THOSE!

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I'm so glad you reached out to us. Here we are, at your service. But the thing is with a vibrant discussion group, we learn from each other. It's very, I don't know...horizontal in nature, not top down, you know?

I actually just attempted to address #3 as of today. I designed a template for students to take notes based on my oral feedback. I'm having such a hard time this year keeping up with feedback on all the 252 essays I carry home, that I'm looking to design something that I can do within the classtime that might be more meaningful for them. After all, none of them actually read the inked comments on their papers from the teacher, so I figured I'd do it a little differently this week.

Anyway, it includes some targeted notes, a place to mark what's great, what should be reworked, etc...But the coolest aspect of the template is that it asks the question: am I satisfied with my current essay? (the point being they could turn it in right now after hearing feedback if they really wanted to. The other cool question is: What's your Due Date? I'm giving them the spam of a week to choose their due date. It gives them some choice and staggers my deadlines, so maybe I've actually got a shot at getting them back and graded in a timely manner.

I'm figuring 2-3 minutes with each student taking notes. The rest of the class will be doing their reflections on their recent reading exam at first. We'll see where it goes. But I was just finding that written feedback wasn't getting the attention is deserved so I'm ditching it for feedback that they have to take notes on.

We'll see. I'll report back.

Thanks for posting!
Happy New Year!
-Heather WG

6th-8th Special Ed, LS & Mentally Gifted teacher

Not so much Resolutions

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OK, I try not to do "Resolutions" as they never seem to come to fruition! But I do like to think of ways to improve and/or goals I hope to accomplish.

1. See the good in everything - I know things can get bad, but there's always something positive in life.
2. Stay positive about co-teaching in my school - OK, it can suck sometimes but it's a process.
3. Use my leadership position (build rep for the union) to implement real change - OK, it may be tough but so worth it!
4. Keep learning more and more about teaching and how I can better help my students- yes, I'm THAT much of a nerd!

Erika

Middle School teacher by day, Tweenteacher by night

Raise your hand if you're also a teaching nerd!

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My hand is up.

Love your comments,
Heather WG

I'm a teaching nerd, too!

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Sometimes I think that I'm the only person who reads teaching strategy books for fun! So, yes, I wear my nerd title proudly!
Question for Heather - is there a way to attach the writing template that you're developing so that the rest of us could get a peek at it? The format sounds awesome!!

6th-8th Special Ed, LS & Mentally Gifted teacher

Teaching Nerds of the World Unite!

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Quote:

Sometimes I think that I'm the only person who reads teaching strategy books for fun! So, yes, I wear my nerd title proudly!

Question for Heather - is there a way to attach the writing template that you're developing so that the rest of us could get a peek at it? The format sounds awesome!!

I'm so glad there's more of us! I take my teaching books on vacation with me, during breaks, and over the summer!

Glad to have you aboard, Kim!

Erika

Middle School teacher by day, Tweenteacher by night

Writing Template

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I'll ask Edutopia, but if it can't be done easily, I'll post in on my www.tweenteacher.com site. Hope it helps!

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