Category Archives: Inside the Middle School

These are posts on interesting things that are happening in our school

About middle level teaching: Nobody wants to be the Junior Varsity*

Actions follow our beliefs.  If there is one piece of advice that all middle school teachers must follow it is this,  “Middle school kids are different,  don’t expect to succeed with the same strategies that might work with elementary or high school kids.” Continue reading

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About envy: Using mentor texts

We guide students to use “mentor texts” in their development as writers. Ralph Fletcher explains that mentor texts are, “…any texts that you can learn from, and every writer, no matter how skilled you are or how beginning you are, encounters and reads something that can lift and inform and infuse their own writing. I’d say anything that you can learn from – not by talking about but just looking at the actual writing itself, being used in really skillful, powerful way.” Continue reading

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About a teacher: Not just a “Regular Guy”

Last spring I had the opportunity to attend the world premiere of a film by a young and astounding filmmaker. Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion is a documentary about the history of the 1964 World’s Fair and especially the New York Pavilion. The filmmaker is a teacher from our school, Matt Silva. Continue reading

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About a song: What does it “mean”?

This was only a brief snapshot of a terrific learning moment but I promised myself I would share what I observed because, at our school, we are all LEARNERS! Thanks Bess! Continue reading

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About…The Wheels on the Bus?

I have been a middle school principal for 15 years. It doesn’t seem like a long time to me.  The thing about working in a school, there are certain rituals and procedures that are repeated in the same way every single … Continue reading

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About June: The madness!

The month of June is a fraught time for a school leader.  There are countless tasks to be completed and deadlines to be met before the end of the school year which is fast approaching.  More than once, in the midst of … Continue reading

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About Reading: Don’t take it for granted!

I have been following with great interest a recent series of blog posts by Grant Wiggins about the nature of reading.    Wiggins explores the essential question:  What exactly is going on in our minds when we read?  It’s mysterious really, … Continue reading

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About Bullying: What makes an easy target?

We recently held the third annual Bully Prevention Kickoff at our School. For the second year in a row students, staff and family members walked thousands of miles to demonstrate their commitment to stand up to bullying. It was an incredible … Continue reading

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About the first week of school: Some highlights and reflections

Okay, it’s Friday. We are off to a great start to the school year. Just three days in and everyone seems like they never left. I love all the smiles around our school. Some highlights and observations: First of all, … Continue reading

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About a field trip

This entire week I have been away from school on the eighth grade trip to Québec and Montréal as part of our students experience studying French at the middle school. An administrator attends this trip along with the teachers every … Continue reading

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