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

Comments (156)

Comment RSS

Hi from Baton Rouge!

Was this helpful?
0

Classical Mythology and Creative Writing classes keep me busy with my middle school students. I teach both Traditional and Gifted classes here in Baton Rouge. Like Sandy, my girls are "gaga" about the Twilight books...and the boys enjoy Percy Jackson. In fact, we are planning an after school jaunt to see "The Lightning Theif"!
I have been teaching for 37 years, mostly in the middle school. My favorite grade level is 7th...typical "middle-child syndrome" and weird. Even though I'm not a middle child, I seem to fit right in!
I'm looking forward to learning many innovative ideas from this group.

6th Grade Earth Science Teacher in New Mexico

Hey folks, I'm new to the

Was this helpful?
0

Hey folks, I'm new to the edutopia groups, and am looking forward to bouncing ideas around with you all. I am a 2nd year teacher, and a 1st year earth Science Teacher. I am focusing my time into figuring out how a standard public school teacher (not a magnet or a charter school teacher) who sees 150 students a day an integrate Project Based Learning. This in my inquiry-based project!

Seventh and Eighth grade science and math teacher in Juneau, Alaska

Hello, I too am new to the

Was this helpful?
0

Hello,
I too am new to the edutopia scene, and hope to benefit from some excitingly new and fresh ideas through this online forum. I am a Master's in Teaching student teacher here in Alaska, and just want to open the door to communication with other teachers here on the web. I am curious as to whether any one out there has used a curriculum mapping program called Atlas Curriculum Mapping? Our district is piloting it this school year, and am looking for any suggestions or ideas on how to use it creatively?

Middle School teacher by day, Tweenteacher by night

Welcome Michael...

Was this helpful?
0

..and welcome the great faculty lounge that is Edutopia. I have an online colleague that is a teacher in Alaska, and I will pose your question to him in the hopes that we can help you with your curriculum inquiry. Once again, welcome, please feel free to comment and participate. We all learn from each other here...

-Heather WG

7th and 8th grade math teacher

Was this helpful?
0

I ended up here at edutopia because I am looking for fresh ideas how to get students that are not involved interested in getting involved in their own learning. I'm in my 3rd year of teaching and I just have to say this has been the most challenging year. I have not a few students that are unmotivated but a huge number of students that just don't like math and therefore are not going to try it. Therefore, I've decided that it is time for me to get innovative and try something different. The pressure to finish teaching all of the ideas they are supposed to learn in the 7th grade is overwhelming when the majority have come to me with no basic skills. In short, they were not ready to learn 7th grade math and I am guessing by their reactions to the material I am putting in front of them they have given up. I have gotten some wonderful ideas hear and am anxious to get back to school Monday to start incorporating the ideas into my classroom. Honestly, I started out looking for some good projects that would go with what I am teaching because I do believe that if you give your students something to get their hands and minds involved in that they will appreciate it more than worksheet after worksheet! How boring is that! I did find some great ideas on creating groups to work on math challenges. But if anyone here knows where I can get some projects that would help me make ratios and percents real to these guys I would really appreciate it. Oh just let me add, when I finished school I started work with the attitude that I am going to be a great teacher because I believe that is what our students deserve :) well thanks to this sight. I have refreshed myself with, I can be a great teacher and I will be a great teacher. Our school is rural and is a very small district but I do believe that the students who leave our walls should leave prepared to live life regardless of what challenges face them.

Book Recommendations for Katie

Was this helpful?
0

Kudos to you for looking at ways to make math motivating and engaging for your middle schoolers!
I have three books to recommend:
1 - Hands-On Math Projects with Real-Life Applications, Grades 6 - 12,
by Muschla and Muschla, published by Jossey-Bass in 2009.
2 - Another book by Muschla and Muschla is Math Games: 180 Reproducible Activities to Motivate, Excite, and Challenge Students, Grades 6-12, by Jossey-Bass.
3 - Mega-Fun Math Games and Puzzles by Michael S. Schiro, also published by Jossey-Bass in 2009. It says that the activities are for elementary grades, but some of them can definitely be ramped up and/or used for review with your struggling students.

I think that games and projects are excellent ways to capture your students' attention, and the real-life activities really help them to experience math as something that actually is useful and applicable to them.
Good luck!!

hello

Was this helpful?
0

Hello all. I am a 7th grade writing teacher that dabbles on the reading side as well. I have been teaching for 5 years now and struggle everyday to become better. I believe in differentiation, different forms of expression, creating thinkers, and life-long learners. I believe we have to open up places for our students that they wouldn't otherwise ever see. I attempt to create an environment which is nurturing and humorous. I feel everyday that I am not good enough, but I have my moments. I loom forward to talking about ideas and I know I will learn much more than I can offer.

Middle School teacher by day, Tweenteacher by night

Welcome Nelson

Was this helpful?
0

Hey Nelson,
I'm loving what I'm reading up there in your comment. It's like a list of everything you need to be a great middle school teacher. Keep 'um laughing, thinking, and learning. We all look forward to learning from you as well. Welcome to Edutopia and to our middle school forum!
-Heather WG

7th/8th Math Teacher Parker, CO

7th/8th Grade Math

Was this helpful?
0

I teach 7th and 8th grade math at a high-academic charter school in Parker, CO. I began my career as a mechanical engineer (CAD/CAM), spent time in customer support and as a technical writer. All of the skills I learned in my career (plus being a mom of 3 kids) has helped me become a better teacher. I love math and love teaching it! This is the hardest job I've ever held and it pays the least, but I am grateful to be a part of student's lives and share the joy of math with them. I wouldn't trade it for any of those other high-status, high-paying jobs.

Middle School teacher by day, Tweenteacher by night

Second Career Teachers

Was this helpful?
0

Welcome Laurie. You know, I think it's vitally important that we develop alternative means for people to leap into teaching from different careers, for just the reasons you're listing here. I too am a second career teacher in that I was on a different track and not happy there. I made lists of things about myself to help figure out my true calling and all arrows pointed to teaching. Imagine my surprise!

I think that what we bring from "the outside" it vital to what we teach within the walls of our school. Congrats for making the leap with me. Congrats on finding what you love. And congrats on finding a community in Edutopia.

Welcome, and we look forward to hearing from you more!

-Heather WG

see more see less