Category Archives: Inside the Middle School

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

My COVID-19 Diary: Were you ready for this?

I appreciate the opportunity to applaud my amazing teachers for all that they’ve done to give us a huge head start and I encourage all of us to see our present reality as part of a dynamic approach to learning that can continue even when we go back to a face-to-face environment (please tell me this will be soon!)  Continue reading

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Middle-leaders Collaborative: How do you handle “lame-duck” days?

The holidays are approaching.  Working with middle school kids on the days preceding a vacation can be particularly challenging.  How do you make it work? This post is a collaboration between a group of middle school leaders from across the … Continue reading

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Middle School Principals’ Collaborative: Beginning of the Year Essentials

This post is a collaboration between a group of middle school leaders from across the country.  Periodically, these passionate and dedicated middle school principals share their thoughts on issues of relevance for those “in the middle”. Topic: The 2019-20 school … Continue reading

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About our legacy: What details will be remembered

Whenever you ask young adolescents about the adults in their lives, their teachers, administrators, their bus driver, the lunch ladies, they always focus on some quirky detail that is the part that becomes the whole. Continue reading

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Stories: About a boy

Amazing educators, when you ask them, “What do you teach?”, they reply, “I teach kids!”  Great teachers love kids. They love the students in front of them and they understand the sacred nature of their professional responsibility to nurture the academic and personal development of kids.  Great teachers know that relationships are the most important thing; not homework, not tests, not awesome lesson plans, but relationships. Continue reading

Posted in adolescence, Best Practice, edcamp, Educational Focus, Inside the Middle School, Personal Best, Teaching/Learning

About school: We can make it special

rincipals and teachers can create singular moments for kids everyday.  Like the Brooklyn Nets, these are our schools, classrooms, hallways, gyms, and cafeterias. We are in charge of these settings.  We can do extraordinary things to create lifelong fans of learning and of our schools. Continue reading

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About reading: You’re not alone

For every adolescent who encounters fear or conflict or love, there is a person, real or fictional, whose life is described in words and whose experiences can help them realize they aren’t the only one.  When kids read books, they come to recognize that the world contains innumerable thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Continue reading

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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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