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)

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I am in my 5th year teaching

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I am in my 5th year teaching 8th grade. I started out teaching science, then science and math, and now only, math. I am a 20+ year retired naval officer and a former VP of a Fortune 100 company. I have post-grad degrees in physics, finance and education.

But teaching children, math and science, just called with a clarity that could not be ignored. With two daughters, I have a very thinly veiled "Women in math and science" agenda.

I really love the teaching part, and ignore a lot of the rest--something the younger teachers can't/won't do. And I feel sorry for them.

Our team is headed for one to one, project based environment next year as a pilot program for the district. I am really interested in what has worked and what has not. A great teacher told me that a key to really successful teaching (actually to life) is trying and failing...but you better fail fast. And then get on with it. I certainly do not want to fail on our endeavor next year, but I don't want to miss opportunities or waste time learning what does not work, either.

Having stated all that, I am glad to be here.

Middle School teacher by day, Tweenteacher by night

Quite a second career teacher in our midst!

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Jim,
Welcome to middle school and to Edutopia. I'm not sure how teaching middle schoolers compares to working in the military, but both are vitally important, and you have the perspective of having been in both!

We as teachers have always believed that what we teach ought to apply to life beyond school. There shouldn't be school life and "real life." Even now, the ESEA Blueprint from Arne Duncan calls for "career readiness." And what better way to prepare kids for their path one day then to use project based learning? Yes, there will be challenges and successes. Yes, you may stumble. But remember, that as important as it is to teach using PBL, it is equally important to teach flexibility and model the ability to move on, problem solve, and collaborate towards solutions.

Good luck, and we're happy to have you here on the Edutopia boards. I hope to see your voice on the boards again real soon.

-Heather Wolpert-Gawron

High School English Teacher

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I am a high school English teacher in Madison County, Florida. I have been teaching for five years, and I love my job. I am always looking for new and interesting ways to teach and reach my students. I can't wait to get involved with this project and to share ideas with all of the professionals in this group.

K-8 Teacher, one room school

middle school mania

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hey hey - i'm teaching middle school physics, literature and writing next year... woot!

Almost a TweenTeacher

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I am ten months from graduation. I will graduate from Lubbock Christian University in Lubbock, Texas next May, with a Bachelors degree to teach middle school English. I am looking for relevant articles to help me on my journey into great teacherhood (tips on teaching writing and/or reading).

5-8 Language Arts and History Teacher

Back to middle school teaching

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I am teaching a combined 7/8 grade class at a christian school starting in August. I will be teaching all subjects Language arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Bible, Health/PE, Art. Basicly everything but computers and music. I did my student teaching in 6th grade, and substitute taught in several middle school classrooms so middle school is not new to me. I have been working with primary grade autism and severe disabilities special education for a while, so taking on this classroom will be different, but I'm looking forward to the adventure.

I was introduced to Edutopia

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I was introduced to Edutopia sometime ago by my colleagues but never took the time to see what it's all about. I'm happy to be on the site for the first time to see discussions around middle school. I've been teaching 7th grade math, pre-algebra, advanced language arts, and math intervention for 7 years (11 years total). I absolutely love this age! I teach a very diverse group of students in a small community in Arizona. I've seen a lot over my years of teaching this grade and have held every emotion. It's never a dull moment and look forward to another great year. To see the difference you make in students lives is priceless.

I'm a life long learner. I'm always reading professional books and attending conferences. Speaking of, I was just reading about a keynote speaker that will be at the NSDC conference in Seattle in a few days, Milton Chen. The site describes Milton as the executive director of GLEF, a non-profit foundation that utilizes media, especialy it's multimedia web-site edutopia. I'm excited to hear what Milton has to bring to the conference. I love networking with other educators (although I've never done it on the web) their is nothing more invigorating then having conversations with people who share the same passion as you. I'm always looking for a better way to help my learners as well as help myself grow professionally.

I've enjoyed reading the

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I've enjoyed reading the comments from other middle school teachers! It's apparent that each of us has a passion for teaching this unique and "never a dull moment" age group;)
I currently teach 7th grade social studies but have taught 7th and 8th language arts and social studies for the last 16 years. I am incorporating more and more technology in the class but am always interested in new ideas. My students especially enjoyed glogging last year- great interactive poster project!
Thanks for the opportunity for sharing ideas with other MS teachers! I think that hearing from other teachers is the best way to get new ideas!

8th Grade Social Studies

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8th Grade Social Studies Teacher

I am going on my 5th year at Pontiac Junior High School in Pontiac, Illinois. I taught 7th grade language arts the first 4 years and I will be teaching 8th grade social studies this next school year. I enjoy working with all the students. I do enjoy the junior high students. I work with a great group of teachers that makes my job more enjoyable. I attended Illinois State University and majored in elementary education. I also have my masters in Teaching and Learning from Nova Southeastern University. I look forward to finding ways to better my teaching in my classroom to benefit my students and their learning.

Middle School teacher by day, Tweenteacher by night

Quote:I am incorporating more

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Quote:

I am incorporating more and more technology in the class but am always interested in new ideas. My students especially enjoyed glogging last year- great interactive poster project!

OK, I'll bite. What's glogging? Is that some new technology I can learn about through you? I may have to google this term, but I'd love more details! If it works for middle school, it works for me!

Thanks so much for joining the discussion group, and I look forward to hearing from you again!

-Heather Wolpert-Gawron

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