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Volume 3 Number 3

Harry & Rosemary Wong ask, "Is it possible that a school district would have no openings at a time of worldwide teacher shortages? But more importantly, why were there no openings in the Medford School District?"...
Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
Online Classrooms by Leslie Bowman
The Eclectic Teacher by Ginny Hoover
The Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators) by Marjan Glavac
Around the Block by Cheryl Ristow
Ask the Literacy Teacher by Leigh Hall
Instant Ideas for Busy Teachers by Barbara Gruber and Sue Gruber
Every Day is Read Across America Day!
Music is...
Ten Pennies and Ten Dimes
Swinging on the Education Pendulum
Literature Circles
Internet Based Interaction in the Classroom
How to Create A Bad Acceptable Use Policy Document (And Have It Survive)!
Safety on College Campuses
The Montessori Mystery
Playing Baseball in the Classroom - A Flexible, Adaptable Game to Motivate Your Students
Whither Not Social Studies!
When Bright Kids Say, "I'm Bored!"
Book Review: Comprehension Instruction
Teacher Social Groups
Retaining Principals
Today I Learned
Things You NEVER Thought You'd Have to Say…or Hear
What Was Your Most Unforgettable Show and Tell?
How Do You Deal With Middle School Students' Apathy?
Why Reading Scores Across the Nation Have Declined
Apple Seeds
Special Days This Month
Poem - Searching for the Gold
The Lighter Side of Teaching
  • YENDOR'S Top Ten
  • A Challenging Foot Feat
  • Schoolies
  • Woodhead
  • Handy Teacher Recipes
    Classroom Crafts
    Help Wanted - Teaching Jobs
    Featured Lesson from the Lesson Bank
  • Here Comes the Train
  • Upcoming Ed Conferences
    Letters to the Editor
    Chatboard Poll, What changes has your district made in an effort to raise test scores?
    Action Against Hunger Project
    Explore Costa Rica's Monteverde Cloud Forest
    Third Annual Music Education Survey Gets Underway
    Gazette Home Delivery:

    A Candle of Inspiration...

    Today I Learned

    by Juvie

    I recently saw the movie, "I Am Sam," and was struck by a line that Michelle Pieffer said that was to the effect that she worried that she got more out of the relationship than Sam did (that she had learned more from him than he from her). I feel that way many a day. I have learned to let the kids do the leading. If I truly listen I will find out just what they need me to teach them instead of sticking to my own inflexible agenda. Working in a juvenile hall has taught me that kids know where they need to go and are just waiting for someone to clue into this and provide the tools.

    Today I learned:

    • hat forgiveness is a healing bridge to a future relationship. I mistakenly thought a child had done something wrong. He quietly left class with no argument. Within 10 min. I had sorted out what happened. As I walked to his door (he did not know I had sorted it out) he smiled and said, "Teacher, I still love you."
    • That sometimes the kids with the least IQ are the most profound because they see what the rest of us miss. While the rest of the class was all caught up in arguing a point a boy who can barely function academically looked up and said, "I just love to hear everyone's happy learning voices".
    • That kindness is one of the most important things we can give one another. Long after I had run out of patience trying to teach division to a student, one of the other kids said to him. "You will probably get it soon, Carl. You try harder than anyone I have ever known and still are nice and patient with those of us trying to teach it to you. Your niceness is more important than knowing how to do the numbers".

    I just wish I could give them half as much as they give me. My priorities in life are so different since these kids became part of my life.


    On-Site Insights...

    How Do You Deal With Middle School Students' Apathy?

    from The Middle School Chatboard

    How do you, as teachers, deal with the apathy from middle school students? In particular, the 8th grade class at my school is extremely apathetic this year. They don't care about their grades, incentives do not work, taking away field trips does not phase them, etc. Our team hates taking away things from the minority that do care, but we are stretching to find something to jump start the majority of these kids.

    Response posted by Middle School Teacher:

    8th graders live with one foot out the door and the other on a roller skate all year long. Around January, all they can think of is how much they don't feel a part of their school anymore. They generally tower over the others and the difference between a 6th grader and an 8th grader is almost exponential.

    To 'cure' their apathy you would need to cure their feelings of discomfort about their place in Middle School. Since we can't really do that, we try to rearrange the curriculum to give their discomfort some room. In April/May we have sometimes suspended most non-essential homework in Science, Specials, Soc., L.A. (never math) and each 8th grader chooses a project of their own. Ours are pretty wide-ranging. One 8th grader of mine choose to learn to play the banjo and 6 weeks later he came back playing the banjo. Another one learned to cook and cooked a lasagna lunch for the class. Another studied the history of rock music and presented it complete with audio clips. A few make their own films every year. One wrote a play and 'produced' it for the whole class to watch.

    Some years we have suspended non-essential classes (never math) and each teacher teaches a topical oriented class of their interest. I like to teach History of Film. So instead of going to L.A., Soc., Science, they go to their same teachers but find each one of teaching something we LOVE to teach that lies to the side of routine curriculum.

    Response posted by JAB:

    How about an Academic Celebration for the kids to look forward to? A day (Preferably a Friday) where the kids go to their classes---with their friends who may be in different periods---and there are activities to do in each classroom. Activities in the a.m. could vary from puzzles, whole group, small group games to a simple lesson in home ec. or art with making something creative.

    I can't remember from your post if your school does teaming or not. Our schedule ran in the morning with 4 different activities in place of their classes. Lunch (ALL of our kids ate the same lunch period), and then a movie in the afternoon---preferably one that has just been released & would cover the time in the afternoon. The team of teachers provided chips & pop as a snack for during the movie.

    A horrible snow storm cancelled school for us 2 years ago, the day before X-mas break and the kids were DEVASTATED! I saw some at the mall & all they could say was they were sad & afraid because they thought we wouldn't have our celebration---they really worked hard too!

    For the few kids who did not do their work, they did not participate. They had a desk to work at with worksheets & assignments they were missing.

    Eighth grade students often have 'nothing' to look forward to at school. Maybe this could be an incentive for you. All you need is cooperation from staff, admin. & a master schedule for the day. IT CAN BE DONE!