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What was the Best Project/Lesson you Remember from Middle School?

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

I think that it's sometimes important to remember the lessons or projects that spoke to us as tweens as a means to help us in our own lesson planning. I think back on my "Twelfth Night" project, and I have since tried to mimic its influence in my own teaching. After all, if it stuck with me this long, maybe my 8th grade teacher was onto something?

It went something like this:

- Design an LP (remember those?)based on a book we've read this year.
- Write poems to represent different plot points, characters, conflicts, etc...
- Create a visual on the cover and include the poems on the back a la song lyrics.
- You may include liner notes, dedications, etc...as well.

I seem to remember choosing a symbol, an ale mug, and drawing each of the characters chasing each other up and over and around it.

I also recall "Olivia's Ode," a ballad of sorts which included the lyric, "I'd rather eat an anchovy then to marry you."

It stuck with me. Why?

Well, for one thing, it was based on some level of student choice. Also, it included both linguistic and non-linguistic ways for me to show my comprehension.

So, what lesson or project stuck with you when you were a Middle Schooler? Why? Do you find ways to use that feeling now?

-Heather WG

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Instructional Leader

Critical thinking Project

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When I was in 8th grade, a teacher had us do a Major problems solving project. Throughout the class, we had learned all these critical thinking skills and so now we were supposed to apply them to solve a big problem in the world. I have to say that as a kid I didn't do to well on it, mostly because I was way to ambitious. But, I still remember it because of our learning of Bloom's and Kohlberg's theories. It really stuck with me because for once the teacher was trying to explain the "magic behind the curtain." So, while I certainly did NOT solve the problem of "Endangered Species." I did decide to be a teacher because I finally saw it was more than reading lessons out of a book.

-Andrea Pless

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

Dress Up Anyone?

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In 8th grade, we had a project after reading a book - I think it was a book of choice because I don't remember anyone else doing it the some book that I chose. I read "Flowers In The Attic". We had to dress up like a character from the story and tell the story as that character.

I really liked it! I remember trying to decide which character I wanted to be. I opted for the grandmother. I had so much fun picking the outfit. I found a black dress, pulled my hair back into a bun, and put powder in it to get a "graying" effect. It was really neat because my grandmother worked as a teacher in the same school and several people, including teachers, took a double-take when they saw me!

I have always remembered that project and how much fun it was. When I had my own classroom, I gave that assignment to my students - but had them take it a step further. They had to dress up like a character from a book I did as a read-aloud and tell the story for that character's perspective. They had to think about how that character saw things, what advice they would give the main character (a teen father), and how they felt about the situation.

The students really loved doing it! It was one of their best assignments!

Middle School teacher by day, Tweenteacher by night

Flowers in the Attic!

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I remember that book. It ran through the girls in my middle school like wild fire! I think it had something to do with the truly forbidden love that blossomed between two of the characters in the attic! That book, as trashy as it is, is still one I have recommended to those girls who have finally discovered reading through Twilight and are looking to keep up the passion of having a book in their hands.

I tell you, those of us who read it became obsessive a la our Twihards out there!

Thanks for reminding me.

-Heather WG

Poetry Notebook

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My 8th grade English teacher at Cobb Middle School in Anniston,AL. Mrs. Stinson, had us to create a poetry notebook with examples of all the different poetry terms. For Haiku we had to write a few Haiku poems, for alliteration we had to use alliteration in a poem, etc. It had to be colorful, with free hand art on each page. It wasn't very high tech, but I still remember those terms, and I still have that poetry notebook!!

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