Author Archives: Matt

Math Speed Dating: A Cooperative Learning Activity

I first tried Math Speed Dating in my class this year.  I had a double period to fill, and I had just read about it, and it seemed like it would be fun.  I had no idea it would be … Continue reading

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Class Cheers: Build Strong Community in Middle School

Class cheers in middle school? Before you write this idea off, think of a college basketball game. For two hours straight you see young adults who think they are cool screaming in unison at the top of their lungs. Consider … Continue reading

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Race to Nowhere Review

Race to Nowhere Review Our kids are stressed out, sleep deprived, and have their identities firmly tied to the grades they receive in school. School is no longer a place for children to eagerly explore their world and feed their … Continue reading

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Math Scavenger Hunt: Cooperative Learning Activity

There is something about scavenger hunts that is captivating to a child. Something thrilling about searching for particular objects and checking items off a list in hopes of completing it before anyone else. The Math Scavenger Hunt takes these aspects … Continue reading

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Using the Seating Chart to Differentiate

The seating chart.  Possibly a teacher’s most important decision with dramatic consequences and benefits.  What better to use your seating chart for than differentiation? I figured out early on in my teaching career that effective differentiation is the key to … Continue reading

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Creating a Rock-Solid Middle School Community

How important is building middle school community?  Here’s a story of two radically different school years. First is my first year teaching eighth grade. My. Students. Hated. Me. Everything I tried to teach them was met with brash defiance. Kids … Continue reading

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Who Are My Students?

Teaching in the inner city in a low-income neighborhood, you get used to the same problems year after year. Unfilled positions.   Lack of subs. Inordinately large class sizes. Ornery kids taking advantage of the chaos. If there’s one thing a … Continue reading

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Teacher Tip: Peppermint Oil in the Classroom

There is nothing worse than a full day of testing: the yawns, slobbering mouths on the desk, kids breaking down under stress and pressure. And then testing finishes for the day…and you still have two more periods to get through … Continue reading

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Meet the Teacher!

  Meet the Teacher day is coming up soon for many schools nationwide!!  This is our opportunity to set first impressions and begin positive relationships with students and their families.  Here is a great hands on activity that will dust … Continue reading

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How I Failed at Middle School and What Changed

Let me start by saying that teaching middle school did not come naturally to me. In fact, I felt like a complete failure at it. I taught 6th grade my first year of teaching, and not a weekday went by when … Continue reading

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