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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...

Related Tags: 6-8 Middle School
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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

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Liz Delmatoff's picture

Our Social Media in Middle School pilot project was just featured in the April edition of Today's OEA. We are so proud! The aricle is entitled "Thinking Differently" and can be read at OEA online or on the website www.edsome.com

Liz Delmatoff
George Middle School

DJ Duke's picture

I have taught middle school for 16 years. I absolutely love my job; yet hate it as well. Isn't that strange? I teach in an inner city school in Birmingham, Alabama. We are always taking criticism for not being as highly successful as some of the more affluent systems. Sometimes that gets old; but I've found that some of the most committed teachers that I know, like me, prefer to teach where others might not want to be. I think it's tragic, however, when politicians keep pushing incentives for successful teachers, when success is measured by testing results. At our school, we rarely see parents. Kids rarely do homework and we have to find our own motivation. For me, I believe my future is dependent on my students and I treat them as if they are my own.

David Lee Finkle's picture
David Lee Finkle
Language Arts Teacher, grades 6, 7, 8 in Florida; author; cartoonist

I've been teaching Language Arts in Florida for 18 years, and teaching middle school since 1996. Since 2000 I have been drawing a comic strip about teaching middle school for my local paper, the Daytona Beach News-Journal (and online at www.mrfitz.com). I think anyone in this group would relate to the strip. I also write books for Scholastic Professional books about teaching writing, and the books have Mr. Fitz comic strips in them as well. I'm glad my wife stumble across this site tonight! (She's a middle school teacher, too-- at the same school. And our daughter's in my class.)

Heather Wolpert-Gawron's picture
Blogger

Welcome to the Edutopia boards. I loved looking at your comics, and clearly your humor is exactly what teaching middle school is all about. I hope to hear your voice often on in the middle school forum, and perhaps a scanned picture every now and then for some levity?

Glad your wife found us too!

-Heather Wolpert-Gawron

Jim Cox's picture

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.

Heather Wolpert-Gawron's picture
Blogger

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

Jamie Hicks's picture

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.

caroline's picture
caroline
K-8 Teacher, one room school

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

Stacey Newton's picture

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).

Mrs. W's picture
Mrs. W
5-8 Language Arts and History Teacher

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.

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