HELP! Moving from High School to Middle School

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by AFI221, May 19, 2008.

  1. AFI221

    AFI221 Rookie

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    May 19, 2008

    I'm seeking any advice from Middle School LA teachers regarding teaching strategies and current practices in LA classrooms. I have one year teaching experience that was in a 10th grade classroom. After several years away from teaching I've decided to return. I subbed in a Middle School for awhile and discovered that I really enjoyed it. I really surprised myself! I've always been deadset against it and convinced I wanted to be in a High School. Hm. I'm trying to get back into the education world and do some research on Middle School issues, but I'm having a hard time. Any information would be appreciated! Thank you!
     
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  3. jsfowler

    jsfowler Companion

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    May 19, 2008

    Right now I teach 7th/8th grade science, but I have taught LA in the past and am thinking about it again for next year. Two things that I have been researching for next year are Reader's Workshop and Writer's Workshop. If I go back to LA next year my classroom with be designed around those strategies. Good luck...middle school is the best!!
     
  4. jsfowler

    jsfowler Companion

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    May 19, 2008

    Also, there are a lot of different posts on this site about possible novel to read in MS.

    Another website that always helped me with novels is
    http://www.glencoe.com/sec/literature/litlibrary/

    We have 75 minute classes. Next year I will do...

    15 minutes - mini-lesson (reading/writing strategies, grammar, etc.)
    45 minutes - Reader's/Writer's Workshop
    15 minutes - share/review/assess
     
  5. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    May 20, 2008

    I'm trained as a secondary Social Studies and PE teacher, and I have never taught EITHER at the high school level. I found a great book called "Managing Your Middle Years Classroom" which I found could be very useful. I don't know the author (its at work) but I will let you know tomorrow.

    Also, keep in mind that these kids do not have long attention spans. Essentially, for "normal" children the attention span is their age in minutes. So most 13 year olds can stay on task for 13 minutes. So I break down my classes into very small chunks and I often have kids working on different assignments at the same time.

    When you teach Language Arts, DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) is a great way to start the class - I use it as bell work. I also have designated grammar "days" when kids expect to correct and be assigned grammar. Its somewhat slightly chaotic in my classroom, but the kids learn and their parents love me. For the most part of course.
     
  6. Calliope

    Calliope Companion

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    May 20, 2008

    Cool things about MS over HS:
    The kids are more into fun & more willing to be silly, so planning is more fun for MS in a lot of ways.
    Lessons can have fun artistic projects -- seems like there is more pressure for "serious" assignments in high school.
    As a whole they are "sweeter," still somewhat childlike, especially the boys.

    Some drawbacks (to me):
    A lot more of the "Stay in your seat," "keep your hands to yourself."
    They literally have not developed cognitively to comprehend abstract thought for the most part (abstract though processing happens around 14). That means still a lot of concrete concepts & little room for expanding into areas that I found more interesting.
     
  7. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    May 20, 2008

    Welcome to the Middle School Club. It's the best club out there, in MHO. I teach math, so I don't have any subject specific advise, but I can give you tips about the kids themselves. This is an interesting age group. In some ways, they're still kids, and in other ways, they're young adults. They love the silly stuff, but don't dare call them kids...you might offend them. As other posters have pointed out, they tend to have shorter attention spans and more trouble staying in their seats and staying on task. Like Canadian Gal, my classroom is loud and chaotic, but the kids love it and learn and that's really all I care about. The best piece of advice I got when I began teaching in middle school (I moved from community collge to middle school) was to treat lesson plans as "rough draft" and be willing to alter plans on the spot if needed. Being flexible in my plans has been a lifesaver many times during this year.

    Good luck with the middle schoolers. You'll love them.
     
  8. AFI221

    AFI221 Rookie

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    May 21, 2008

    thanks

    I really appreciate all the comments everyone! Thanks! Keep them coming! :) It sounds like what I was hoping for. I really enjoy doing creative assignments in my class and I think my high schoolers at times were a bit bored with it or just didn't want to put in the effort to do something kind of fun and cool. They were "too cool for school" if you will. I just felt this energy in the middle school where I subbed that I never felt in the high school. They still have enthusiasm. High schoolers seems so jaded and over EVERYTHING. I can handle the chaos - been there! Now if I can just convince an administrator and a team somewhere that they would love me I'll be good to go! haha
     
  9. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    May 21, 2008

    AFI...every teacher has a "place" in education. The best kindergarten teacher in the world probably couldn't hack it in high school and so on and so forth. It sounds like you finally found your "place". If you told me a year ago that I'd be teaching middle school and loving it, I would have asked you what drugs you were on. I took this job as a favor to a friend and wound up falling in love. Good luck.
     
  10. ~~Pam~~

    ~~Pam~~ Companion

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    May 21, 2008

    I am a MS math teacher and making the move to high school next year - not because I don't love MS math, but because I have the opportunity to teach some business / computer programming courses that I have longed to teach! I don't have any content area advice to offer, but be ready to be a counselor, parent, role model, mentor and referee all in the span of 5 minutes! The ebb and flow of MS is constant and you have to go with the flow or be swallowed up by it! It'll be the best ride ever!

    Best of luck to you!!
     
  11. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Jun 13, 2008

    I have to echo everyone here. Lesson plans have definitely been drafts many days - what works in one class doesn't always work the same in the next. I start each class with a bell ringer review that and then proceed to the main activity/lesson.

    MS kids generally love to move/talk. It is a great age group - challenging but rewarding too.
     

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