The Middle School Child One teacher’s perspective The teenage brain… http://www.teachersdomain.org/resource/tdc02.sci.life.reg.teenbrain/ Video http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/teenbrain/interviews/giedd.html Article
Bachelors of Elementary Education from Calvin College, minors in math and science
Masters of Science Education from Aquinas College
Completed 3 year training as a Partner for Sustainable Education with the VanAndel Education Institute (1 st generation)
Mother of two amazing daughters, Matilyn, 6 and Ellery, 3
15 th year for Crestwood Middle School at Kentwood Public Schools
Last year, Regional Finalist for MTOY and PAEMST nominee.
The Nature of the Beast*…
They are social by nature
They are unorganized (the binder, the locker…)
Drama becomes a big part of their lives (home and school)
Friends are more important than you and what you are teaching
They need to have procedures taught to them and that requires consistency
They are sensitive
They read adults very well (all kids do)!
They are NOT elementary or high school kids. They are their own group of students that you need to adapt to.
*There are exceptions to every generalization
What you can do…
Have a sense of humor!
Build a relationship with each student. It makes a difference.
Call home, the parents DO care!
Use your colleagues, they are an invaluable resource.
Go to extra-curricular events for support.
Don’t think you know everything; you don’t. It is okay!
Classroom management is the single most important skill and takes the longest to master, but HAVE A PLAN.
Teach the procedures in your class
Make them the SAME as other teachers in same grade
Good Things! Monday and Friday only
3 bathroom passes per marking period
10/10 minute pass rule
Sharpen pencils before class
Raise your hands
Bell ringer/Bell work all week on one color paper to be handed in on Friday
Exit card on the way out (or something required)
Keep make-up work available for absent students
Have a “Go to” pile in room (brain teasers, story to read, learning logs, quiet ball, Simon says) if your lesson is too short
6 th grade
Babies with a lot of energy
Always have things to share
Need to be nurtured
Can only handle one or two things in one hour per day
Simplify, simplify, simplify! (Example of the lighting of the match)
They are good teachers themselves
They will be willing to be goofy and sing or dance or say chants, CLASS CLAP (bring in your guitar, etc.)
Vary what is done in an hour or take a break as needed ( quiet bathroom break, Simon Says, Quiet ball, Circle counting by 3s or 4s - multiples)
7 th grade
The middle child
Loss of fear from 6 th grade
Begin pushing for more independence
The teenage brain begins
Girl/Boy thing really takes off
Extra-curricular activities more available
8 th grade
Seniors of the middle school
Mello, seem apathetic
Many students really get it together in 8 th grade
Definite difference in maturity between male and female
Better sense of self than the other grades
Good sense of humor
Demand respect, want to be treated equally
Science in Middle School
Inquiry, very powerful
Content Area Reading
Directly teach vocabulary as it shows up
Model scientific process
No child is labeled special education or English Language Learner in science. They all come to you.
Takes a lot of planning
Takes a lot longer
Must include prior knowledge of students
Must allow for some choice, student questions
Answer questions with questions
Must structure the inquiry for best success (journals, lab groups, etc.)
Find unique ways to collect data and share it (cameras, video, websites)
Examples: Question on traits, question on snow and sun, question on plants with parts, carbon cycle
Use the school district policy
Varies district to district, and school to school
Homework needs to be able to be done INDEPENDENTLY!
Create a set of grades that the students depend on (patterns)
Keep these grades consistent and constant (within reason)
Try to use your textbook (if you have one) as a secondary resource in your classroom
Beg, borrow and steal from other places and teacher (in building, on-line community, etc.)
Be on good terms with the office staff, custodial staff, and KITCHEN!
Keep anything that works. You may be using it a different way in a different grade 5 years down the road (on-line files work well.)
Be creative! Often times, labs will call for chemicals that can be purchased locally but by a different name or a different substance. (20% hydrogen peroxide at hair product place, yeast instead of Manganese dioxide – today only, glue to make slime, Drano for sodium hydroxide, stearic acid)