About this blog Subscribe to this blog
« Prev: Welcome to our new blog Tour Sandra's Middle School Classroom: Next»

Ready or Not, It's Time!

The new school year is here for many of us. Where did the summer go? The store's shelves are filled with new school supplies. If you are like me, you have been taking advantage of the sales so you can stock your cabinets. It's time to put up new posters, bulletin boards, and new air fresheners.  I just try to make sure my room looks clean, neat, and smells good. I do like to hang motivational posters, etc. that might make a difference to at least one of my students.

I just finished reading the book Fires in the Middle School Bathroom:Advice to Teachers from Middle Schoolers by Kathleen Cushman and Laura Rogers. The book provides an insight into how middle school students think, feel and learn. Most of the material was gathered from 40 students in five cities. I found it very interesting.

I try to remember that my students (especially my 7th graders) are nervous about coming to middle school. They are not use to changing classes, having 6 different teachers and NO RECESS. These are some of the issues I try to cover the first week:
      1. discuss the class and school rules
      2. make sure the rules are posted in the room
      3. get correct phone number and address for each student
      4. discuss homework expectations
      5. discuss what they will be doing in my class each day

As you go back to your school and to the mandatory district workshops and meetings and the hundred other things that are thrown at us, try to relax and make it your goal that this will be your best teaching year you have ever had! Here are some suggestions:
      1.  treat all students equally and fairly
      2.  make a difference in someone's life
      3.  mentor a new teacher
      4.  encourage an experienced teacher
      5.  concentrate on the positive aspects of your school
      6.  learn something new (a new language, computer skills, the tango)
      7.  become a better listener 

I hope everyone has a successful and exciting year!


Ralph Carnesi

Mrs. Blair, I found your video to be informative. I believe your classroom is such the right environment for students to succeed.
I do want to read the book Fires in the Bathroom and your review did wet my appetite even more to read it.
Thank you for giving your time to helping all who seek.

Kelli Bradley

Mrs. Blair, Your video and classroom were really well done. I was encouraged to see someone who believes in their students as much as you seem to. We need more teachers like you in our public classrooms!

Barbara Richards

Mrs. Blair, I too never thought I would teach middle school. I am a special ed. teacher in Rome, NY. Our district is going to start Read 180 for the special class students in the elementary, middle and possibly the high school this school year. I go for training in a couple of weeks. Do you have any immediate suggestions for starting the program and do you have any heads up for any possible problems I might encounter? Thanks!

Rachael Rodriguez

Mrs. Blair,
I have taught Language Arts/ Writing literacy block for the past 6 years, but this year I will be the Title 1 teacher who will be using some of the Read 180 resources. My students have already been identified for Title 1 and therefore, I will not have to test students in every LA classroom. I do not have computers in my classroom, just my own labtop, but I have all of the Read 180 software, headphones etc... so I am sure that the students have used the computers in the past. I am going to be teaching in a new district so that is why I am a bit more overwhelmed and confused in regards to planning etc....
My concern is where do I begin preparing my lessons since I am not sure what level my students will be in the Read 180 program? Also, how do you determine who is in what group each day? Do you meet with all 3 groups everyday?

Thank you for your help. I really appreciate it! :)


Comments are closed. Please see Classroom Solutions, our new blog for the 2009-2010 school year. And stay tuned for Teaching Matters with Angela Bunyi and Beth Newingham.

Recent Posts


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Inside Sandra's Middle School Classroom are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.