“You teach MIDDLE SCHOOL?!?!”

I love this reaction from people. When I meet someone new and we get to the, “What do you do?” part of the conversation, my answer seems to incite yelps and cringes from people. They say, with horrified expressions, “MIDDLE SCHOOL? Really?” and they often follow it up with a blessing or a prayer.

The joke is on them. Middle school is the BEST. I feel like it’s the best-kept secret in education. Middle schoolers are quirky and funny and sassy. They are creative and interesting and in search of themselves. Every single day something hilarious happens…you just have to be paying attention.

I was out sick for a couple of days last week. My sixth graders had to find something from their notebook to publish. Here’s what I came back to…

Come on…that’s funny! When I take the status of the class, one student varies her response method. A few weeks ago she answered every day using a British accent and now she says, “Yo!” every other word. In that same class, I can’t say anything that resembles a song lyric or else the entire class will spontaneously break into song. (I fall into the trap with “Don’t Stop Believing” more often than you’d think!)

Middle school students are kind and goofy and inquisitive and they are figuring out who they are. I get the opportunity to witness that. They allow me to be part of their journey. There’s nothing better than that. So when you ask me, “You teach MIDDLE SCHOOL?!?!” I will smile and say, “Of course I do.”

The Gift of Teamwork #12

Today is my 12th  slice for the March Slice of Life Challenge on Two Writing Teachers.

This week I spent the day with a group of amazing teachers. We work all over our county in different schools. Together we make up the team that leads our professional development for middle schools. We don’t meet as often as we used to, but these days are so precious to me. Days like this are filled with plans and problem solving. We create “perfect worlds” and we reside there for as long as we can!

Leaving my students for the day is never my first choice. It’s hard to leave them with a substitute…but days like today are necessary. They feed me. They give me ideas and energy and confidence and faith. I return to the classroom invigorated.


Do your best today!

Being a teacher is so much more than just the time spent with students. There’s planning and grading and meetings! Working collaboratively with teachers in the school and in other schools, reading, researching and finding the best ways to work in the classroom. I could go on and on. With all of these responsibilities, it’s so easy for me to pick out my favorite part of teaching…the very best part of the day…it’s the time spent with my students!

Leo's getting excited to start writing!

Leo’s guarding my writing notebooks.

Today is the first day when I can’t be there with you (my morning classes). I am spending the morning at Stone Hill Middle School with their sixth grade teachers. Stone Hill is a terrific school with amazing teachers, so I am excited to spend some time there, but I’ll miss you (my students) this morning! What choices will you make in class today while I’m away? Miss Banks is very excited to teach English this morning. Please show her what amazing students you are. I’ll be back in school this afternoon, so I may see you. If not, I’ll see you tomorrow. Have a great day!


P.S. I know the picture doesn’t really have anything to do with today’s post, but I couldn’t resist!

Classroom is READY!

Yippee! I’m done. Ok, well almost done…as done as I’m going to be until the students arrive. Books are organized into labeled bins. Pillows are organized. Bulletin boards are up. This always gets be excited for my new students to arrive. Here are some pictures of the finished bulletin boards…


Bulletin board of quotes

Bulletin board of quotes


We love books!

We love books!


Be yourself! A beautiful bulletin board completed by Tori! Thanks Tori!

Be yourself! A beautiful bulletin board completed by Tori! Thanks Tori!



Getting closer

More time and more organizing my classroom and I feel like I’m almost there. Books are sorted and arranged on the shelves.




My desk and work area is organized.



There’s a new space in the classroom for student partner work in the back of the classroom.



These steps get me excited for the upcoming year. This week bulletin boards will be completed and the final touches will be put on the classroom. Soon students will be filling the seats and then the fun really begins!

Getting ready…

I can’t believe I haven’t posted on here for a month. Wow! Summer’s been wonderful and I’ve been enjoying my time off. I spent the last week at the beach with my family. I spent the week with my mom, sister, two aunts and my niece and nephew.







My nephew and niece have never been to the beach before! They certainly enjoyed themselves. 




Now that I’m back from the beach, I’ve been spending time in the classroom getting it ready. Here’s what it looked like when I walked in…






I spent a day unpacking and moving furniture. I have sorted the books. There are so many books (and this doesn’t include the books I got this summer)! Here’s what it looks like now…





And my desk will be right up front this year. I’m trying something new. What do you think?



I can’t wait til the year begins. I’ll keep you updated on classroom progress. Also, I’ve been reading A LOT, so I’ll be blogging about the books I’ve read this summer. Enjoy the rest of your summer. 

Slice #23 One quarter to go

As I begin spring break, I reflect on this year. Three quarters…finished and one more to go before these students move on to seventh grade. This year has been a year unlike any other. I’ve never seen my students read and write so much. Proud…doesn’t even begin to describe what I’m feeling.

Writing! I’ve loved reading what you write. It’s like having a microscope to see inside you. Your writer’s notebooks are treasures! This month of slice of life has made such a difference! I’ve seen improvement in the writing technique of many students. Additionally, this has been an opportunity for me to get to know my students as people, not just students. What a privilege!

Reading! This year, we’ve welcomed authors into our world. We’ve skyped and tweeted authors. We’ve read and talked about ARCs. And we’ve read and read and read. Proud! This spring break has been earned by each of us with hard work. After I finish this blog post, I’m off to finish my first book of the break.

To my students: Enjoy your break! Blog, read, write! Have fun! Come back to school in April ready to take on the world.

My plan is to complete five books over break. Anyone care to take that challenge? Can you beat me? Happy Reading!