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Building Empathy

We all know that late-in-the-day feeling—we’ve taught the same lesson in each of four class periods, and there’s still one more to go. In this 5th period, we’re on automatic pilot, relying on...
Author: Rick Wormeli
Number of views (15439)/Comments (0)/
Topics: Teaching
Building Teacher Collaboration School-wide

Building Teacher Collaboration School-wide

Models for teacher collaboration are ineffective without true participation.

Teacher collaboration has been a common element of middle grades initiatives for years, typically one or more of these three organizational models: common planning time, professional learning communities, and critical...
Author: Micki M. Caskey, Jan Carpenter
Number of views (47806)/Comments (1)/
Welcome to the Genius Hour

Welcome to the Genius Hour

Dedicated time and passion bring out the best in students.

As I drove home one evening after hosting a showcase of student work, attended by the community, all I could think about was how a new project called Genius Hour had transformed my seventh graders over the course of...
Author: Cryslynn Billingsley
Number of views (41128)/Comments (0)/
Topics: Teaching
(Re)Discovering Social Emotional Learning

(Re)Discovering Social Emotional Learning

Others are discovering what middle grades educators knew all along.

At a recent national conference, I happened upon several sessions dedicated to Social Emotional Learning (SEL)—a framework that supports self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills,...
Author: Sandy Cameli
Number of views (13516)/Comments (0)/
Looking Back to Move Forward

Looking Back to Move Forward

As I reflect on my 25-year career as a middle level administrator, one of the high points was the creation of an alternative learning environment for a group of seventh grade students. Realizing a growth bubble was...
Author: Robert Ruder
Number of views (17454)/Comments (0)/
Topics: Leadership
The Importance of Classroom Structure

The Importance of Classroom Structure

Don't let anyone fool you. Don't let anyone tell you differently. To create an "inviting, safe, inclusive, and supportive" environment for students, desks matter. I know this fact firsthand, because one day at school...
Author: Dru Tomlin
Number of views (104488)/Comments (1)/

Coaching Teacher Dispositions

Research Summary

We know that educators who "value young adolescents and are prepared to teach them" are a key component to middle level students' success (AMLE, 2010, p. 15). Middle level teachers must have the appropriate knowledge,...
Author: Alicia Wenzel, Jennifer Roberts
Number of views (33134)/Comments (0)/

Creating the Cougar Watch: Learning to be Proactive Against Bullying in Schools

Despite reticence from the central office, strong middle level teacher leaders worked together to develop an effective anti-bullying program that addresses a significant need for safety and inclusion for all middle school students.

This we believe: The school environment is inviting, safe, inclusive, and supportive of all. According to a nationally representative survey conducted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development...
Author: Robert W. Smith, Kayce Smith
Number of views (18155)/Comments (0)/
Tags: Safety

The Power of Thinking Across Disciplines

On a Wednesday in early February, a group of sixth grade students at Saddle River Day School in New Jersey sat around a small collection of desks arranged like a table. This makeshift table came complete with a...
Author: Joshua Deitch
Number of views (12094)/Comments (0)/
Topics: Teaching
The School Is a Teacher—But What Are the Lessons?

The School Is a Teacher—But What Are the Lessons?

We want students to remember the positive lessons we teach.

Middle grades educators spend almost all their time and energy dealing with what is taught, the content that is presented in classrooms and courses. This is understandable, given the great attention placed on...
Author: John H. Lounsbury
Number of views (13696)/Comments (6)/
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