Welcome, Brave Middle School teachers! Introduce yourself... | Edutopia
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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

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

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

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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

This post was created by a member of Edutopia's community. If you have your own #eduawesome tips, strategies, and ideas for improving education, share them with us.

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Comments (155)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Liz Morris's picture

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.

Laurie Hartnett's picture

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!

Molly Rapp's picture

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.

Heather Wolpert-Gawron's picture

[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![/quote]

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

Laurie Hartnett's picture

Hi Heather
Glogster.com is a great site that educators can access to help their students create interactive posters or "glogs" in which they incorporate images, links, videos, music etc. They love it! My students researched and created glogs on topics related to early 19 C. U.S. History. They presented their glogs to their classmates using effective speaking/ presentation skills. It allowed them to be creative and to individualize their work. I highly recommend glogging for students of all ages!!
-Laurie Hartnett

JaNell Collins's picture

This will be my third year of teaching middle school. I work at a private Islamic school in Oklahoma and have unique challenges related to the various cultures. Student backgrounds range from Pakistan, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, etc.
When Egypt won its way into the World Cup, some parents wanted to shut the school down to celebrate. I guess I can't blame them, if Oklahoma State University ever beats Oklahoma University in a bedlam game I would want to do the same.
My biggest challenges relate to having 45 minute class periods and coming up with more creative ways to present curriculum.
I really enjoy where I am! I am learning from them as much as they from me.

Heather Wolpert-Gawron's picture

I am absolutely fascinated with your path. You do have some unique challenges, absolutely, and let us know here in the group how we can help you face them as they arise. Celebrating one culture over another is a toughy. I tell you what we do have in common, however, is the challenge to teach so much in so little time. Those 45 minutes are brutal. My 7th grade has a block of 90 minutes, but by 8th grade, they are only given 45 and it's a huge difference in what I can accomplish. Nevertheless, we work to make each minute worthwhile and applicable.

Glad to have you on the middle school discussion boards, and welcome to Edutopia!

Take care,

Heather Wolpert-Gawron

Nancy's picture
9/10th grade US history teacher, CT

Hi everyone, I am a 10 year veteran (13 with subing) of the inner city. I have always taught 7-8 social studies. This year coming up I have the latest challange of switching from 45 min periods same daily to a modified block with rotating days. It is only one of the several changes that have been given to us to pull our district into "safe harbor". I began teaching in an alternative school( 25 students temperary assigned total for 4 teachers) under one superintendent who was replaced the following year and we were split up. I was put into a regular school and assignened 2 7th and 2 8th grade classes. Geography and US history. When they down sized the building 6 years later, I was lucky to land in a school I had substituted in before I was hired permenatly. I have been teaching 7th grade now for 3 years and I agree with those who say the two grades could not be more different! I also had the pleasure of being part of a change in curriculum last year from Geography to US history 1600-1870. I look forward to learning more about technology integration, blogging, PLN's and other ways to make it more interesting for my students. I am also looking for ways to increase communication with parents - the blog- and if anyone has ideas for the switch from 45/5 to 88/2 schedules from a teachers perspective...PLEASE let me know.

Mary Ann Stillerman's picture
Mary Ann Stillerman
Eighth grade language arts teacher from Kennesaw, Georgia

Greetings from Georgia!
I'm excited to see a discussion forum for middle grades. I'm interested in incorporating more blended learning (through Blackboard, wikis, blogs, etc.) in my classroom this year. After school, I work with kids in a GeoTech Club using geo-spatial technologies on community service projects. I am also an active teacher consultant with my local Writing Project site at Kennesaw State University interested in creative approaches to professional learning communities around best practices in writing.

Jeremy Jorgensen's picture
Jeremy Jorgensen
8th Grade Science Teacher

My name is Jeremy and I have been teaching 8th grade science for 11 years. I have recently become very interested in student directed learning and PBL.

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