Middle Schoolin'
Middle Schoolin'
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For School Teachers  For University Education Professors 
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Dear Fellow Teachers,

Our book Middle Schoolin' tells 50 stories. We're sure you've lived some version of them at some point. We invite you to read about the challenges, humor and rewards of teaching, based on our interactions with students, parents, administrators, and other teachers. Some of our stories are about: a) being evaluated, b) observing a good teacher, c) controlling an unruly class, d) dealing with an angry parent, e) and coping with the death of a student, to mention a few. Some salient features of our book are: a) 50 short stories/chapters, b) each with a moral, c) illustrations, and f) twenty-five of our favorite teaching strategies that have been tested and proven to work in most situations.

Here are 12 strategies from our book's 25:
1. The first day of school sets the tone for the semester. Be firm, establish your rules, but make your students feel welcome. In addition, be more on the serious side with the students; don’t try to be their “buddy.”
2. Send a letter home to your students’ parents. Include a syllabus with your expectations, and invite them to communicate with you. Offer them an easy way to get in touch with you, such as your district-issued e-mail address.
3. At the beginning of the semester, ask the students to tell you about their favorite hobbies, their goals in life, what they want to become when they grow up, etc. You can motivate your students by helping them make a connection between their hobbies and goals and your class.
4. Student Interest: In all your lessons, as much as possible, try to include student interest. This could be your # 1 discipline-problem reducer! If you can intertwine your lesson to what students are interested in, you’ll have a win-win situation.
5. Have something for your students to work on during the first five to ten minutes of the period. This is usually referred to as Dispatch. This will allow you to take attendance and decrease classroom disruptions, since students know what to do as soon as the bell rings.
6. Attention: Whenever you talk to your students, do not shout over their voices—most of the time that is a waste of energy. Instead, find a way to get their attention (turning off the lights and then turning them back on, ringing a bell, etc.) and wait for them to listen attentively.
7. Assign homework per your department’s guidelines. Grade it and return it to your students in a timely manner. That near-instant feedback is more effective than delayed returns. Besides, students appreciate it and it is good for their morale.
8. If a student is a constant behavior problem, is too sociable, talks too much, or is otherwise restless, do not seat him beside other talkers. Seat the worst off enders at the end of rows, so they have only one neighbor, rather than two. This usually takes care of the problem.
9. In dealing with chronic problems in the classroom (constant talking, constant tardiness, etc.), keep a log of the things you have used in an attempt to remediate the misbehavior. That log will be your back-up during parent and teacher conferences.
10. Follow up on your promises—including the ones to send your students to the office. Do not overuse it, though, or it will lose strength.
11. Call parents if there are students who are causing problems. Ninety percent of the time, parents appreciate the call and there is immediate improvement. Parents like to be informed before a small problem becomes a big one.
12. Consider using a point system: Award points when students follow directions and take away points when they do not, and then use those points for their Cooperation mark.

 -- Please purchase this book now for 13 more strategies! --

This book is currently available at barnesandnoble.com and amazon.com (Free shipping on orders over $25). The Kindle version is available at amazon.com, and the NOOKbook version at barnesandnoble.com. Please "Like" us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/middleschoolin.

Please feel free to contact us by email if you would like more information about our book. Please forward this web information to anyone you think might benefit from our stories.

Thanks very much!

Sincerely,

Paul Rallion and Frank Palacio
 

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