Looking for a fun way to engage students?  There lots of fun games to play with your class, but this year, you might want to try hosting a Scrabble Tournament.  Great for pre-Christmas craziness and year-end excitement. First steps Your students may or may not know how to play Scrabble.  Those who have played “Words with Friends,” “Bananagrams” or similar games will catch on quickly. Students who do know how to play may not know how to play by the rules…. Read more »

6 Reasons your students should write their own works cited page (rather than use an online app)

I teach my students how to create a works cited page from scratch — or the old, fashioned way as they like to tell me.  I know there are online tools that will do that for them, and I’m thrilled that they can use those tools … in other classes, not mine. Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not living in the dark ages — I love technology!  So why do I “torture” my students like this? 1.  Why is a… Read more »

5 classic novels that middle school students will actually want to read!

What’s a “classic” piece of literature?  Mark Twain defined it as “something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.” Those words might ring true when you sit down to read War and Peace  or Moby Dick, but what about middle school classics? Modern Classics in Middle School A classic includes enduring themes, relatable characters, and a compelling plot.  It’s a book that feels fresh when we read it multiple times (don’t make me confess how many times I’ve read Pride… Read more »

5 terrific historical fiction books for middle schoolers -- and how to get them to read 'em!

Welcome to our Summer Stash blog hop where this week we’re sharing historical fiction titles! How do you use historical fiction? If you’re in a self-contained classroom, using historical fiction is a natural connection with your social studies content.  It is an awesome way to build background knowledge and help students make strong connections. But what about me? I don’t teach social studies.  I do know what our social studies teacher is teaching, and I try to share historical fiction titles… Read more »

Here are 5 book series that are sure to be a hit with your middle schoolers

Hey!  Happy to see you at this week’s Summer Reading Stash!  Today we’re sharing books in a series that have memorable characters.  But the real challenge is to pick just five series!  A difficult task since there are so many wonderful series written for middle schoolers. Teachers know series are serious Series are important business when it comes to keeping middle school students reading.  Reluctant readers love them because they are easy to slip into.  Students don’t have to invest a… Read more »

How to get middle school students interested in nonfiction.

I’m excited to join in the Summer Reading Stash blog hop this week  — especially since we are talking about  using nonfiction in the intermediate and middle school classroom. We all know the issues with middle school and reading.  Weaknesses in reading skills can take a toll on student achievement as we ask and expect them to read more — both in volume and depth.  But nonfiction is so tempting, so tantalizing, so dramatic…just dare your reluctant readers not to… Read more »

What are some of the best ways to create an awesome teaching team? Here are seven tips to help you and your team collaborate and thrive. Don't forget number 4!

Teaching teams are wonderful.  They offer an opportunity for teachers to collaborate, share, problem-solve, and create friendships that extend beyond the school building. That’s the theory, anyway.  They can also be dysfunctional, negative, ineffective, and destructive.  The truth is that great teaching teams just don’t happen — they must be intentionally created and nurtured. Whether you are returning to your old team, joining a new one, or welcoming a new member, keep in mind the following tips that will help… Read more »

Get your students excited about research with these seven steps.

              Research should be fun!  Yet it often involves restricted topics, rules, and requirements that can limit a student’s natural curiosity and enthusiasm.  Encourage students to follow their questions by implementing simple, small research activities about topics they are curious about. Go Old School:  Use Research Notebooks I loved making these upcycled notebooks from my last post, and I decided to use one of them to create what Cal Newport describes as the “Feynman Notebook.”… Read more »

Upcycle school supplies to create a fun notebook or journal.

    The end of the school year is wonderful and exciting …except for the waste. Rather than having students chunk their partially used notebooks into the recycling bin, have them upcycle them by creating new notebooks.  Students can create their own reading journals for the summer! Earth Day was just a few weeks ago, so students just need a gentle reminder that one of the 3Rs is “reuse.”  This project can reuse a cardboard box (like a cereal or… Read more »

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for supporting the Middle School Mob! We are celebrating reaching over 500 followers on Facebook and our blog!  I hope you’ve had a chance to pop over to either of those spots to read about teaching tools, trends, and tips to use in the middle school classroom. To celebrate, we’re hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway — the prize is a $100 TpT gift card! You can enter the giveaway below, and be sure to check out the… Read more »