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.

Welcome, Brave Middle School teachers! Introduce yourself...

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

Hey, all you brave tween teachers out there!
Welcome to the Edutopia discussion forum. Please introduce yourself a little before exploring our other discussions.

I am your moderator, Heather Wolpert-Gawron, middle school teacher by day and author/blogger at night. I was a California Regional Teacher of the Year in 2004, a Writing Project Fellow at the University of California at Irvine, and am a member of the Teacher Leaders Network. I'm a frequent contributor to Teacher Magazine and a staff blogger here at Edutopia. I also blog at www.tweenteacher.com. I currently teach 7th and 8th Grade Language Arts as well as 7th/8th Speech & Debate/Podcasting. Multiple-intelligences, differentiated instruction, Writer’s Workshop, student collaboration, student choice, and fluid grouping define much of my classroom instruction.

I look forward to talking about all of these topics and more here in the middle school forum. So please comment a little about who you are, what you're about as a teacher, and what brought you to Edutopia and our middle school forum.

For me, it's all about learning from each of you.

So challenge yourself to participate in the forum: comment, advise, criticize. Allow the Middle School forum here at Edutopia to be your brain spa of sorts. I look forward to meeting you all.

-Heather Wolpert-Gawron

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Middle School Social Studies Teacher

Greetings from Maryland!

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Hello everyone! I am currently in my third year of teaching 6th grade World Studies in a Middle School. I also teach extended year and summer school Reading to 6th & 7th graders. I try to infuse critical thinking into each of my lessons. After joining a "Critical Inquiry" project last year though our county, I have made it my mission to expand the curriculum as much as I can. I have learned that something as simple as re-wording a question, can really get the students thinking at a higher and deeper level. My techniques are not perfect by any means, but I will continue get the students thinking "outside the box."

I am currently enrolled in a Master's program. One of our tasks this week is to join and participate in in a blog for the purpose of communicating and reaching out to other educators and professionals. After researching and reading other ones, Edutopia seemed to have topics I can relate to the most! I am looking forward to being here and cannot wait to get involved in a discussion!

Seventh grade teacher from Snellville, GA

Hello,

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I am currently working on my Master's, and my assignment was to find an educational blog. I am so glad I found this site. I have been teaching seventh graders for the past 16 years, and I needed to continue my journey of learning. I have learned so much about my experiences by just viewing the blogs. It feels good knowing that I am not alone. Thanks.

6th grade language arts teacher, Wheaton, Illinois

Hi All! The kids call me

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Hi All!
The kids call me “Dr.B.” because I earned my doctorate 10 years ago, when I thought I wanted to teach at the college level. I did teach graduate courses in teaching methods as an adjunct, while I kept my day job as a special education teacher in the public school system. Then, I decided, if I were to “talk the talk,” I needed to “walk the walk,” that is, to actually teach general education. How could I tell general education teachers to accommodate a class of diverse learners if I never did it myself. …to experience 80+ students in one day, rather than my caseload of 20? I made the change, and love it! I teach 6th grade language arts, and cannot imagine doing anything else! However, I marvel at those of you have time to experience anything outside of the classroom. My day is full, teaching, planning, and providing corrective feedback for the 85 students I teach in my 3 language arts block classes. I am also an avid cyclist and have recently taken up yoga…and I do try to squeeze in 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep. So, how do you all do it?
I am so happy to join a group of like-minded professional who will help me navigate the unpredictable waters of “education in the middle!”

I look forward to learning

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I look forward to learning much from this group. I became a middle level educator in CA in 1987 with the publication of Caught in the Middle. I served as a middle school assistant principal and principal until I moved to OH to work in teacher preparation in 1995. Ohio has a separate middle school license (though we constantly have to fight to keep it.). I present annually at NMSA and hope to meet you all in Louisville. Heather, I started using your Tween book as a text this year. My candidates love it.

1st year Middle School Teacher

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Hello all!! I have been searching for a teaching job for the past year and two days ago I was offered my first job....1900 miles away from home. So in a month I am relocating to Arizona from Chicago and starting my first year teaching 6th/7th grade Language Arts. I am very overwhelmed and I am looking for any ideas/tips/suggestions as to what I should focus on. I am reading several books at the moment and my to do list is now several pages long, I am unsure what is needed and what can be done in time. Any help would be amazing!!

I'm a new teacher. Currently a substitute until I get a classroom of my own

Hello everyone, I am a new

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Hello everyone,
I am a new teacher, but am currently a substitute until I find a home of my own. I am a 4-9 certified (ohio) language arts and social studies teacher. I am also able to teach k-12 reading. I absolutely LOVE middle school, and I cannot wait to chat with all of you.

6th grade language arts teacher, Wheaton, Illinois

Congratulations on your

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Congratulations on your pending move to Arizona and a new job! Where in Arizona will you be teaching? I teach in the Chicago area but travel frequently to Az.I'd love to hear about the schools there.

You are not alone.

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Hi Kendra!
I did exactly as you are doing twelve years ago. I came to Arizona from Illinois thinking I'd only stay a year or two....the sunny blue skies never get old. In my past district many teachers were from the midwest, which is helpful for teachers like yourself. What school district will you be working with?

I have the privilege of

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I have the privilege of teaching 7th and 8th graders Language Arts. In our school, we teach Grammar and Literature in separate classes with a separate teacher, so I have some unique challenges. Next year, our district elected to combine the 8th grade Grammar class (which I teach) with the Technology class. We will team teach the class. The objectives in the English/Grammar class revolve around grammar and vocabulary with a strong emphasis on the development of effective writing skills. The Technology side focuses on learning the basic operations of Office venues, as well as evaluation the Internet sources, using resources, etc. This is a first for a school in this area, so I would like some suggestions that will integrate the two to meet all objectives. I have several ideas that will integrate more of the student curriculum with some collaboration. These include developing a Video game with required narrative writing to describe it, persuasive writing to sell it, and techinical writing to explain it. Another suggestion given to me was developing a magazine that incorporates multiple skills. Someone also suggested a virtual city the students develop...... I am open and eager for any suggestions out there. Also, if you have any ideas on ways to integrate technology with the understanding and practice of grammar, feel free to share. Thanks.

The job is in Kingman

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The job is in Kingman Arizona. It is the northwest corner and truly is the middle of nowhere. I visited this past weekend and i am nervous about taking the position. The people there did not have good things to say about the town and they hired 12 new teachers this year and my team is all brand new teachers. When I asked them about the kids they did not say much and nobody could give me a novel list or a map of their program. I am starting to become scared and I don't know if it is a good choice for me, but I have had no interviews or job offers where I am from (chicago).

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