Middle School (Grades: 6-8)

An empty classroom

In order for students to be successful in school, they first have to be in school. Seems logical, right? But for millions of students in the U.S., attendance is a barrier to success with lifelong consequences. Here’s a look at how chronic absenteeism impacts learning, and how schools can begin to turn the tide. Measuring… Read More

How Teens Can Benefit From Recess

By Kara Wyman, MEd October 8, 2018

When we think of recess and playtime, most of us think of cute little kids on the playground. But couldn’t our middle and high school students benefit from a break too? Adolescents often face a variety of challenges and, while I’m not suggesting we get teens on monkey bars or force a game of tag,… Read More

Why We Really Need SEL (Social-Emotional Learning) Now

By The SHARE Team May 14, 2018

We live in a stressful world, and our nation’s children and young adults are coping with new and prevalent emotional realities we can’t ignore. Research indicates that when educators work to teach learners how to alleviate and manage stress, students become more likely to learn deeply, avoid negative behaviors and achieve successful outcomes with long-term… Read More

1989 was a big year for me: I moved to the big city and started middle school. Thus began the tumultuous years of early adolescence and every cliché we associate with them: friend problems, boy problems, body problems. At the same time, despite or because of those events, this was when my love for reading… Read More

“Not all who wander are lost” — J.R.R. Tolkien Childhood and adolescence are not idyllic times for all of our students. Some just seem to be wandering through the transition from child to teen to adult. Wandering students aren’t steady and consistent in the classroom. Instead, they push back on their academic growth, behave erratically and… Read More

“Politics is boring, until it’s not” — Anonymous The author of that quote seems to have anticipated the challenging, complex nature of today’s political environment. Truth is stranger than fiction in this election cycle, so you should not be surprised to find your students trying to make sense of all that is happening in the… Read More

Is your high school preparing students for the long-term projects they’ll have to do in college? I found out that my own school has room for improvement after we convened a panel of six high school alumni returning home after their first semester of college. When we asked them if they felt they’d been well… Read More

“Why should I be a teacher?” A lot of young people and older, second-career adults ask that question when the time comes to make life and career decisions. For those who who wisely choose to teach, the answer usually comes down to being able to influence the life of a child, contribute to the common… Read More

In one of my earlier (and most popular) posts, I explored the ongoing importance of good manners in the classroom. Today I’ll explain why it’s a good idea to take a step beyond manners and develop a sense of civility in your students. Teaching children to treat each other properly is not merely a way… Read More

Schools nationwide are moving to a technology-centered, one-to-one (or 1:1) learning environment for their students, thanks to the advent of low-cost and durable laptop computers, low or no-cost student learning-management systems, and a general embrace of technology throughout our larger culture. If your school is making the one-to-one transition and placing a laptop in the hands of… Read More

Tips for Teachers in the Middle of Testing Season

By Brian Gatens March 2, 2015

Standardized testing has been a mainstay of the educational landscape for decades. Every spring teachers, students and administrators would set aside time to administer state-required tests on a variety of subjects, and then use the results the following year to assist students, measure school success and update the school’s overall approach to learning. This year… Read More

Give Your Students a Fresh Start with the New Year

By Brian Gatens January 8, 2015

“The first day back to work after New Year’s is the most Mondayest of all Mondays that ever were and will ever be.” — Text message received upon arrival at work the Monday after holiday break ended. My colleague may have had his tongue planted firmly in his cheek when he sent that text, but… Read More

Tips for Teachers Working With Medically Fragile Students

By Brian Gatens November 20, 2014

When I tell people that one of my earliest post-college jobs was volunteer director at a camp for children with cancer, I usually get what I call the “sad head shake.” This is, of course, the natural reaction of someone who thinks that such a camp is a dark and difficult place. Instead, it was… Read More

Yes, Kids Still Need to be Taught Proper Manners

By Brian Gatens October 23, 2014

If you hang around the Internet long enough, you’re certain to happen upon the urban legend that the famous philosopher Socrates issued this complaint about the youth of his day: “Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise;… Read More

I had a former colleague who would quip, “if every month was like September, I wouldn’t look forward to July.” With the cooling weather, fresh-faced students and the promise of a new year of learning, September seems to fly by as teachers get to know their students, dive into content and start building some momentum… Read More