Does chewing gum help students focus?

Does Chewing Gum Help Students Focus?

Several studies have emerged that propose the idea that chewing gum helps students focus.  And while there are certainly tons of benefits to chewing gum, there can also be some drawbacks, especially in a classroom setting. So, does chewing gum help students focus?  Yes!  Studies have shown that when you chew gum, brain activity is activated that actually affects the …

how many questions should be on a test

How Many Questions Should be on a Test?

Creating tests for students is a frequent aspect of teacher life.  And studies have shown that more  teachers create their own tests as compared to using tests that have been previously created.  But sometimes it’s hard to know exactly how to formulate the perfect test.  One important factor is how many questions should be on a test. I did some …

what is digital literacy

What is Digital Literacy and Why Your Students Absolutely Need It

I found it incredibly interesting that when I started researching digital literacy I found many different definitions of it from many different reputable sources. It seems we all know what digital literacy is.  But we also have different perceptions of exactly what it includes in practice. So what is digital literacy and why is it such a critical skill for …

social emotional skills

Writing Prompts that Reinforce Social Emotional Learning

Most teachers agree that social emotional skills are extremely important to teach on a regular basis in the classroom.  But sometimes, with the pressures of everything else that needs to be taught, these “extras” fall by the wayside. So how can you find more ways to implement social emotional learning in and get all the other required work done?  One …

social emotional skills

Why Social Emotional Skills are so Important in Middle School

We are hearing a lot these days about social emotional skills or social emotional learning.  Parents, teachers, administrators, and organizations are all adding programs to their agenda for the sake of promoting social emotional learning. So why are social emotional skills so important in middle school?  The short answer is because we need them as adults to be successful in …

middle school writers workshop

How to Create a Middle School Writer’s Workshop Your Students Will Love

Every teacher has experienced introducing a writing assignment to the class and being met with eyerolls groans.  Except for maybe the 3 or 4 students that are actually excited to hear about a writing assignment. So then, how do you create a middle school writer’s workshop that your students will actually love?  Students will learn to love writing when they …

articles regarding technology in the classroom

Relevant Articles Regarding Technology in the Classroom

There are all kinds of opinions on technology in the classroom.  And regardless of what our opinions are, technology in the classroom is here to stay. Not only is it here to stay, it is also going to be completely changing life in our classrooms.  And in spite of any drawbacks of problems that causes, it is actually a really …

self-care books for middle schoolers

Self-Care Books for Middle Schoolers

Just about all of us remember what a difficult time middle school was.  Very few of us would ever want to repeat it.  And things have not gotten easier or better for our children.  While some aspects of life are easier and better, so much more is complicated far beyond what we experienced. So what are some ways to help …

classroom scavenger hunt

Creating a Scavenger Hunt for Your Classroom

Everybody loves a good scavenger hunt!  The minute I told my students that we were doing a scavenger hunt to review their material, they were visibly excited.  When you create a scavenger hunt for your classroom, your students will be over the moon excited.  They will love that this is the form of review you are using instead of just …

virtual field trip

Perfect Virtual Field Trips

Right now pretty much the whole country is shut down because of Coronavirus.  So finding the perfect virtual field trips from around the world is a great idea right now for lots of reasons.  But when all of life gets somewhat back to normal, this list is just as effective. We cannot take field trips around the world with our …

5e lesson plan

The 5e Lesson Plan: Everything You Need to Know About It

The 5e lesson plan is a very student-centric learning program. that was developed by the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study in 1987.  The philosophy behind it maintains that students learn much better when adding experience to their knowledge. For those of you that have read my blog, you know that I am all about experiential learning and using the senses to …

middle school block schedule

Middle School Block Scheduling: the Pros and Cons

Middle school block scheduling has become a popular alternative to traditional school schedules in many schools across America. Block scheduling is a method that schools use, generally in middle and high school.  The purpose is to have fewer large blocks of time to concentrate more on their subjects so that learning can progress better. Block scheduling was first implemented into …

literature to combat bullying

Using Literature to Combat Bullying

I bet just about all of us can think back to a time in school when we were bullied in some way by someone.  As it turns out I was very fortunate in this regard.  I was bullied by one particular person two or three times (while she did behave in bullying ways, I would not consider her to be …

strategies of highly effective readers

7 Strategies of Highly Effective Readers

According to the Institute of Reading Development, “When skilled readers open up a new book, they jump into reading with confidence and a sense of curiosity. They move through the text easily and at a good pace. They get absorbed in the story, connect it to their own lives, and look at reading as a source of pleasure.  Strong readers …

Why technology in the classroom is necessary

Why Technology in the Classroom is Necessary

For many years, technology in the classroom was taboo.  Teachers, parents, and administrators didn’t want technology to interfere with students’ learning.  They felt that integrating technology into the classroom would be too distracting for the students to learn effectively. But times have changed.  Teachers, parents, and administrators now know that technology in the classroom is necessary.  Not only is it …

encourage introverted students

How Teachers Can Encourage Introverted Students

We all know introverted people.  They come from all walks of life and all ages.  And we know that some people are extremely introverted while others are only mildly introverted. So what makes people, and students in particular, introverted, and how can teachers encourage introverted students?  Research has shown that people are born introverted or extroverted, but that their experiences …

students with eating disorders

How to Identify and Help Students With Eating Disorders: A Guest Post

My friend Chloe (known as Nyxie online) writes an excellent blog that addresses issues with mental health and eating disorders.  The reason why her blog is so good is because she has struggled with Anorexia Nervosa, depression, and anxiety and found ongoing recovery and support in those areas over a very long period of time. I am eager to share …

conflict resolution in middle school

Conflict Resolution in the Middle School Classroom

Middle schoolers like to fight.  They like to argue.  And they especially like to prove themselves right.  Conflict resolution is certainly not on their mind, although conflict surely is.  But as much as they seem to like to argue, they do not love conflict or feeling like people do not like their thoughts or behavior. It is such a tricky …

classroom culture

Classroom Culture: How Do Your Students Feel?

Every teacher starts out their new career hoping and praying that on their first day they will have the perfectly planned class, the students will arrive, connections will be instantly made, and the classroom culture will be one of peace, productive learning, and emotional and social growth. Then reality sets in.  The absolute best plans can’t compete against life’s interruptions.  …

middle school art projects

How to Choose Perfect Middle School Art Projects

Most students in middle school love art projects.  They love discovering artistic techniques and trying their hand at it.  Sometimes it’s great.  Other times it is pretty bad.   But they all have fun. They also love art projects because it doesn’t usually involve sitting at their desk listening to a teacher.  An instant win in the world of academics. So …

read aloud to middle school students

Why We Should Read Aloud to Middle School Students

Sometimes we don’t think we should read aloud to middle school students.  We tend to think that middle schoolers are too old to be read to.  We think that because they are capable of reading on their own, they won’t enjoy being read to anymore. In my experience and based on research, that just doesn’t bear out.  Middle schoolers actually …

Significant ways to improve student writing

12 Significant Ways to Improve Student Writing

Writing is a critical skill, no matter what field of work you are in.  Even if your job description doesn’t specifically require writing, you still had to write a resume and communicate with HR in order to get the job.  And with just about any job that has more than one person working, you will have to communicate with others …

teachers hate lesson planning

Why Teachers Hate Lesson Planning and How to Grow to Love It

Why do teachers hate lesson planning so much?  And is it possible to grow to love it? Let’s start with why teachers hate lesson planning so much.  Many teachers hate lesson planning because it is so time consuming for something that they generally already know the direction they are going in.  This is especially true of teachers that have been …

New Year party classroom

New Year Party in the Middle School Classroom: Unique Classroom Ideas

   What if you started the New Year off with a New Year party in the classroom?  In the first period of the first day back in your middle school classroom? What if your students walked into a classroom that was ready to celebrate instead of getting down to business?  At least by appearances. Is it possible that you may …

productive between Thanksgiving and Christmas

How to Teach Productively Between Thanksgiving and Christmas

Teachers know it.  Parents know it.  Even the kids know it. The few weeks of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the toughest time of the school year.  Except for maybe the last week of school. Everybody is restless.  It is so hard to focus.  And nothing seems to get done in a timely manner.  So what can we do …

students educational technology

How Students Feel About Educational Technology

When you look online to see how students feel about educational technology, you will find all kinds of articles and information about whether or not it is effective, ways to implement it, and what the newest trends are. What seems to be missing is what the students are feeling and saying about this thing that has literally changed the face …

unique classroom ideas

Unique Classroom Ideas: Candy Cane Hunt

I am always trying to think outside of the box for my classes.  I am determined not to give my students a chance to get bored.  And for the most part it has been a successful endeavor.  And that is the reason for this post featuring a Candy Cane Hunt. So what makes having a candy cane hunt a great …

shorter class periods better for students

Are Shorter Class Periods Better for Students?

For some time now there has been a debate between block scheduling and shorter class periods.  And there are excellent teachers and administrators on both sides.  We all realize that there is no perfect decision to make.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both concepts. So then, in light of the conflicting views, are shorter class periods better for students? …

prevent boredom in the classroom

Eleven Proven Ways to Prevent Boredom in the Classroom, Part 1

As teachers, we’ve all seen it.  The glazed over, “I-couldn’t-care-less,” checked-out, bored look in the eyes of your middle schoolers.  It would seem they are a pretty tough crowd to please sometimes.  But how do we prevent boredom in the classroom? What if pleasing our middle school students and helping them to actually enjoy those middle school years was easier …

help struggling readers

10 Excellent Techniques to Help Struggling Readers

Every middle school teacher realizes this within the first few days of their very first classroom. They have lots of great readers, and a few expert readers.  And then they have a few struggling readers. There could be several reasons for this, but at the end of the day,  the teacher needs to figure out the best, most meaningful ways …

creative reading activities

Creative Reading Activities: The Classroom Reinvented

Ok, so I realize you could think I have no idea what I’m talking about when the title talks about reading activities and the featured picture shows boys playing ball.  Let me explain to you what I learned about the benefits of a variety of activities in relation to what your students are reading. What have I learned through research …

avoid experiencing teacher burnout

How to Avoid Experiencing Teacher Burnout

How to avoid experiencing teacher burnout. How to avoid experiencing teacher burnout is not an easy question to answer.  Teachers work super hard.  Constantly.  And because of that, burnout is practically a guarantee at some point, many times sooner than later. We have all been there.  It doesn’t matter what kind of teacher you are, how long you have been …

create an amazingly fun classroom

How Complete Literature Can Help You Create an Amazingly Fun Classroom Part 2

In the first article of this two-part series, I went over about half of a week’s reading program.  If you haven’t read that one yet, you can find it here.  In this article, I will finish up the components of a well-rounded elementary or middle school reading program. This program can help you to create an amazingly fun classroom for …

create fun classroom

How Complete Literature Can Help You to Create an Amazingly Fun Classroom Part 1

School is necessary.  Just about every child worldwide participates in school to prepare them for what they need to know and do as responsible citizens in society when they grow up.  But sometimes in the daily grind, school can become monotonous, boring, too routine. But yet as teachers, we all want our students (and their parents) to perceive our work …

emerging technologies in the classroom

What are Emerging Technologies in Education?

There are tons of emerging technologies in education and every other area of all of our lives.  And some of it is absolutely incredible.  But some of it is just “extra.” As teachers, we need to be very discerning about what emerging technologies go into education.  It is a wonderful time to be introducing our students to technology. They will …

Smartest Technology Finds You’ll Love for Your Classroom

In this resource article, I would like to share with you why technology is largely an advantage in the classroom. Then I will show you several of the smartest technology finds you can implement to make classroom life richer, fuller, and more efficient. Technology abounds all around us.  While technology carries some clear disadvantages, it also comes with some amazing …

15 Unusual Needs You’ll Love for Your Classroom

With these 15 unusual needs you’ll love for your classroom, life will be just a little more pleasant for you AND your students all year long.   Most of these involve making your classroom a little bit more comfortable.  This will encourage more attention and learning from your students. Some of them involve organization.  This helps the teacher to make her …

why does curriculum need to change

Why Does Curriculum Need to Change?

Why does curriculum need to change?  The short answer is because our world is constantly changing.  Our students need to be able to change with it.  What better example than for them to see change in action while they are learning? In this short article, I would like to explore 5 reasons that answer the question, “Why does curriculum need …

key components of a lesson plan

What are Key Components of a Lesson Plan

Most of us don’t really think too much about what the specific key components of a lesson plan are in our daily planning.  But for newer teachers, it can be a daunting process.  And for those of us that have done this countless times before, it is always good to have a bit of a refresher. So I looked online …

effective lesson planning

How to Accomplish More Effective Lesson Planning

Every year, I get so excited about lesson planning and what I am going to do differently and better this time around.  I contemplate how this new year will be full of more effective lesson planning than the year before. And every year, by the time I am a month in, I am just trying to make everything work. I’ve …

impact of technology on literature

The Impact of Technology on Literature

The Impact of Technology on Literature After spending some time researching technology in the classroom and writing a couple of other posts on the subject, I started thinking specifically about the impact of technology on literature. Certainly, technology has affected just about every aspect of our lives.  That especially rings true in educational circles. But we can think of technology …

improve reading skills

12 Ways to Improve Reading Skills

I  always try to look for ways to improve reading skills for my students.  What I found early on was that most of those ways needed to involve less work.   Most of the students are already feeling daunted by the thought of learning to read or improving their reading skills.  And it equates to less work for the teacher, who …

Take advantage of tech in the classroom

How to Take Advantage of Tech in the Classroom II

In this second article addressing how to take advantage of tech in the classroom, I would like to focus on what I have learned about technology that assists teachers in working in the classroom more efficiently. The first article addressed eight specific items that teachers could use with students.  All of those devices were directed towards enriching the students’ experience …

How to Take Advantage of Tech in the Classroom

Because I am historically a homeschool mom, our classroom usually had tons of technology in it, because it had whatever tech we were using at home.  It definitely had its advantages.  But it also came with some drawbacks.  We learned very quickly how to take advantage of tech in the classroom.  We also learned very quickly what things we would …

Great ways to save money on classroom crafts.

5 Great Ways to Save Money on Classroom Crafts

I am always trying to think of great ways to save money on classroom crafts.  Most kids–especially in the middle school range–love crafts. But quality crafting  gets very expensive.  This becomes especially true if you are shopping at the local craft store for each craft you plan.  That doesn’t even take into account that a large class size means way …

the styles of learning

Seven Styles of Learning & How They Apply to Your Students

What are the seven styles of learning?  How do they apply to your students, regardless of the style of school you are teaching in?  I would like to talk about what those styles are, how you work with them as a teacher, capitalizing on your own style strengths, and how you bring along all of your students on their journey …

How to be Encouraging in the Classroom

I consider myself to be a pretty encouraging person in the classroom most of the time. I also know this is an area that even the most positive and encouraging teacher can improve in. At least all the human ones! Sometimes everybody is just tired or hungry, or tired AND hungry! And then other times, kids are having a such …

How to Choose the Best Books for Your Class This Year

How to Choose the Best Books for Your Class This Year

  I have a short list of about 10 of my all-time favorite books, from my youth until now.  I loved several more books over the years.  But I bet my list is quite different from most everybody else’s list. So now take that scenario and apply it to 20+ elementary/middle/junior high students and see how varied that list becomes.  …

How to save time lesson planning

How Long Should Lesson Planning Take?

Even though it is still the within the first month of summer vacation, my mind has already started drifting toward planning for the next year, and with it thoughts about how long lesson planning should take.  Of course, we all know that how much things SHOULD take versus how long they actually WILL take are usually quite different. In actuality, …

8 Lesson Planning Hacks for Amazing Literature

8 Lesson Planning Hacks for Amazing Literature

We all remember that one teacher that we had that was able to keep the whole class mesmerized. Somehow, she/he was able to keep the whole class on the edge of their seat. They all wanted to hear what she was going to say or do next. And somehow, she could probably ask the class to do anything, and the …

The Best Lesson Planning

The Best Lesson Planning

I was thinking the other day about what makes the best lesson planning.  One of my favorite things is lesson planning. I love looking online and thinking through the process. And I enjoy planning how I will make the chapter I just read come alive for my students. But I also hate lesson planning. Often in my search for the …

How to get your students' attention after Christmas break

How to Get Your Students’ Attention After Christmas Break

The scenario looks the same in every classroom in America, regardless of whether it is public school, private school, or home school. The teachers are ready to start fresh. The lesson plans are complete. Projects are prepared. The classroom is ready. They arrive with extra time to get everything for the day set up and ready. Then the students arrive. …

Keeping Kids Engaged

How are We Keeping Kids Engaged?

Keeping kids engaged can be a difficult thing to do.  This is especially true when you have a bunch of different personalities to cater to. So what are some of the best ways to keep them engaged?  Getting to know your kids on a deeper level and learning what makes them tick is the key to keeping them engaged on their …