Middle Schoolin'
Middle Schoolin'
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Middle Schooliní
The following questions are intended to be used in teacher-preparatory courses.

Chapter 1: Alarmed
1. What are some issues that this story brings up using a theory from either Jean Piaget or Sigmund Freud?
2. If youíre currently teaching, how have you recovered a lost item?
3. Analyze how can you prevent this from happening.
4. Evaluate how you would have handled this situation as the teacher.
5. Predict what would have happened if the watch hadnít beeped.

Chapter 2: A Sharp Threat
1. Describe how the Behaviorist Learning theory can be discussed in this story.
2. What is the school policy regarding students bringing weapons to school in your district?
3. Identify possible reasons why a student would knowingly bring a knife to school.
4. Hypothesize what would have happened if the knife had not been confiscated?
5. Predict what you would like to do if no one picked up the phone if this happened to you as a teacher.

Chapter 3: Are These Yours?
1. Which educational theory best describes the teacherís handling of the situation in this story, humanistic or behaviorist? Explain the reason for your answer.
2. Describe the embarrassing situation that happened in this story and tell your reaction.
3. On a scale of 1-5 how embarrassing is this situation to a middle school student?
4. Analyze how embarrassing this would be to the average adult.
5. Is this just a prank or a serious invasion of privacy? Discuss.

Chapter 4: Can I Go?
1. How could Jean Piagetís theory of education be used to describe or discipline this student?
2. Identify possible reasons why a student would ask to go to the restroom after recess.
3. What is your policy for students to use the restroom during class?
4. Compare and contrast how a new teacher would handle this situation versus a veteran teacher.
5. Analyze how the administrator handled the situation.

Chapter 5: Carwash
1. Which theory of education could explain some of the reasons for students to spit on the hood of a teacherís car?
2. Compare a similar incident that has happened to you as a teacher.
3. Describe your reaction to having mucus-tinged spit on the hood of your car.
4. Contrast the behavior of those students to when you were a student yourself.
5. Evaluate the teacherís reaction to this situation.

Chapter 6: Dance Justine
1. Which educational theory promotes a sense of belonging and self-esteem? (Affective Environment)
2. Describe some activities that you do as a teacher to build classroom spirit.
3. Are you comfortable with talent shows in your classroom? Why? Why not?
4. Analyze how you wouldíve supported Justine if there had been no student cheering her on.
5. Evaluate the teacherís reaction to the actions of the class clown.

Chapter 7: Girl Power
1. What would Sigmund Freud or Jean Piaget say about the conflict in this story?
2. Describe the friction that occurs between the sexes at the middle school level.
3. To what extent did the student contribute to his torture?
4. How can you apply any of the lessons learned in this story to your own teaching practice?
5. Analyze the interaction of boys and girls with each other in your own classroom

Chapter 8: Mischievous Mary
1. Which stage of development does Maryís behavior (rolling her eyes) demonstrate? Explain why.
2. Can you compare a similar incident that occurred in your classroom or in a anotherís experience on the first day of classes?
3. Describe your agenda for the first day of school.
4. Analyze the ways you can utilize mischievous studentsí energy to get things accomplished in your classroom.
5. Hypothesize what would have happened if  teacher had not turned Mary into an ally.

Chapter 9: An Unexpected Visitor
1. What do you think the humanistic theory of education says about the evaluation process of a teacher, as portrayed in this story?
2. Describe a teacherís anxiety before an evaluation visit by his principal.
3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of such an evaluation?
4. Analyze something that is part of your teaching repertoire that is important, but might not show up on the teacher evaluation.
5. Share a piece of advice youíve received from someone, that youíve used as a teacher.

Chapter 10: Parent Conferences
1. How would Paulo Freire explain the behavior of these students? (Each of us generates our own ďrulesĒ and ďmental models,Ē which we use to make sense of our experiences).
2. Describe how parent conferences are conducted at your school.
3. What do you think of parent conferences?
4. Analyze how you would handle this situation as the teacher.
5. How do you deal with the language barrier at your school (if any)?

Chapter 11: Whose Fault Is It?
1. What would Lev Vygotsky think about the parent blaming the teacher for her son not doing his homework?
2. How would you describe the parent and student in the story?
3. How would you describe the teacher in the story?
4. Describe how you would have handled this situation as the teacher.
5. Analyze the reasons for the teacherís feelings of frustration towards this parent.

Chapter 12: Surprise Visit
1. Tell us about a surprise visit youíve had or that youíve heard of.
2. Describe your own warm-up activity.
3. Analyze what the teacher couldíve done better in this story.
4. Analyze how you would have handled this situation as the surprised teacher.
5. What are some lessons can you take away from this story? Why?

Chapter 13: A Fist in the Air
1. Has this (or something similar) ever happened to you or someone you know?
2. How could this situation have gotten out of hand if the teacher had ignored the studentís threatening demeanor?
3. Evaluate the way the teacher handled the way he felt threatened.
4. Predict what would have happened if the principal had not played a role in this story.
5. Analyze how you would have handled this situation.

Chapter 14: Any More Choices
1. Describe the feelings of the teacher in this story.
2. Identify the studentís motives for showing such disrespect towards the teacher.
3. Analyze the importance of setting up a parent conference as a follow up.
4. Hypothesize what could have happened if the teacher had lost his cool.
5. How would you have handled this situation as a teacher?

Chapter 15: Habitually Late
1. How do you feel about students that are chronically late to your class?
2. How do you motivate your students to get to class on time?
3. Identify some reasons why students come to class late.
4. Contrast the way the teacher did with your own way of dealing with the problem.
5. How can you apply what you learned in this story if youíre faced with a similar situation?

Chapter 16: Itís Okay
1. Describe why the teacher adopted this philosophy to say ďItís Okay.Ē
2. Compare and contrast the benefits of using: ďItís Okay.Ē
3. What effects does this have in the students to say: ďItís Okay.Ē
4. What saying of yours do your students like and imitate?
5. Analyze the impact that this teacher has, or thinks he has on his students.

Chapter 17: Teaching Mr. Remington
1. What are some warning signs that a new teacher might overlook when it comes to new students in the middle of the semester?
2. Compare and contrast the behavior of new students.
3. Analyze the importance of reviewing the class rules with newcomers.
4. What was misleading about this new student?
5. How can you apply what youíve learned in this story into your teaching practice?

Chapter 18: Targeting the Teacher
1. Describe the underlying problem in this story.
2. How did the teacher handle the problem?
3. Compare a similar situation that you had to deal with.
4. Do you agree or disagree with the teacherís way of dealing with it? Why?
5. Analyze the impact that the behavior of this student had on the teacher.

Chapter 19: Teacher Assistantís Disturbing Request
1. Describe the role of teaching assistants from your standpoint.
2. Whatís the best way to share power in the classroom with a teacherís assistant?
3. Did the teacherís assistant actions impact student learning?
4. Do you agree or disagree with the teacher letter. Why or why not?
5. Hypothesize how this teacherís assistant might conduct himself in his next job assignment.

Chapter 20: Valentine Candy
1. Have you had any experiences with students taking somebody elseís property?
2. How compassionately did the teacher handle this situation?
3. How effectively did the teacher handle this situation?
4. Compare a similar situation that you or a teacher you know might have had in the past.
5. Analyze the feeling of betrayal that a teacher would experience if his property was taken by a student.

Chapter 21: Gunshots
1. Whatís your policy for accepting invitations extended to you by your students?
2. Describe the reasons that led the teacher to accept the invitation.
3. Analyze the reasons why the invitation was extended to the teacher.
4. How would you apply the lessons learned from this story to yourself if you are given an invitation?
5. Have you ever received an invitation from a student, and what was your reaction?

Chapter 22: Jimmyís Journal
1. Whatís the most important piece of information a student has ever shared with you?
2. Do you use student journals in your classes? If so, what for? If no, why not?
3. Analyze how the teacher maintained control of the group environment during share-outs.
4. Hypothesize, what would you do if a child reported to you that he or she was being abused?
5. As mandated reporters, teachers must follow up with a child protective agency. What is the process of child abuse reporting at your school?

Chapter 23: Better Late than Never?
1. Identify some things you can do when a student has a chronic tardy problem.
2. How tolerant are you of tardy students?
3. Describe your school tardy policy.
4. Compare and contrast some of the things you might have done differently as the teacher?
5. Evaluate what lessons can be learned from this story.

Chapter 24: Mon Ami, Goodbye
1. Have you or a teacher that you know ever lost a student? Describe.
2. Describe the rapport that the teacher had with Jonathan the student.
3. Has a student had a similar impact on you? Compare and contrast.
4. Did you lose a classmate when you were a student yourself. How can you support students as they go through something like this?
5. Evaluate the reaction of the students to this tragedy!

Chapter 25: Student Down
1. Describe your schoolís setting and culture. Could this incident occur at your school?
2. In your opinion, to what extent could this scenario have been avoided?
3. Who was more traumatized, the injured student, the teacher or the classmates of the victim?
4. Evaluate the way the other students helped, including with the blood clean up.
5. How could you apply the lessons learned from this story if something similar happened to one of your students?

Chapter 26: Missing Student
1. Describe how you deal with students who scream for attention in challenging ways.
2. What do you think of Jamesí home environment?
3. Why do you suppose James was so popular with his classmates?
4. Identify the things the teacher did to try to correct Jamesís behavior.
5. How important do you think it is to incorporate in your lessons the things students like?

Chapter 27: The Phone Call
1. How often do you call parents when you are having problems with a student?
2. How effective is this as a means of curbing disciplinary problems? Discuss.
3. What has been your experience with transfer students who arrive in the middle of the school year or semester?
4. Analyze the feelings that the teacher experienced throughout this story and explain your reason for your answers.
5. How can you provide support for students when one of their classmates dies unexpectedly?

Chapter 28: The Strongest Student Iíve Known
1. Does this story fit its title? Discus.
2. Describe your reactions to the events of this story.
3. Have you had any difficulties that you have had to overcome as a student at that age?
4. What do you think of the strength displayed by Angel?
5. Predict where the student is now as far as reaching his goals.

Chapter 29: The Best Instruction Iíve Seen
1. Describe some of the best instructional strategies youíve observed.
2. Tell one of your best instructional strategies that you use in your classroom.
3. Identify how you can apply this strategy to your own teaching.
4. Analyze your own teaching. Do you share your best practices with other teachers? Why or why not?
5. Evaluate why the administrator objected to this teaching method.

Chapter 30: Building PR with Students
1. Why is building PR with students important?
2. How did the teacher arrive at this conclusion from question 1?
3. Describe the steps that you have taken to build PR with students.
4. Predict what could have happened if Mr. Palacio had not allowed Jonathan to leave his backpack in the room.
5. Evaluate,  what prompted Jonathan to become a better student.

Chapter 31: My Neighbor, Mr. O.
1. Describe Mr. O, according to the speaker in the story.
2. Do you use a buddy system with any teacher on staff as a means of sending students for time out?  Why or why not?
3. How do you deal with your students that cause you the most problems? Discuss.
4. Analyze what impact this buddy system has on student behavior.
5. How can you apply any of the lessons learned from this story to your own teaching practice?

Chapter 32: The Teacher
1. Describe what makes an excellent teacher.
2. Why do you think the writer chose this title? Discuss.
3. Describe the things that this teacher does that are exemplary.
4. Receiving compliments is a human need. Analyze how it is used to the teacherís (and studentsí) advantage.  
5. Evaluate, who have been the teachers that you have learned the most from? Why is this?

Chapter 33: Water Bottle Rockets
1. Describe an learning experience you still remember from middle school.
2. Identify how the theory by John Dewey is applied to this story.
3. If you are an English teacher or language teacher how can you incorporate hands on activities in your subject for your students?
4. Analyze the level of concept retention/enjoyment by the students had it not been for this experiment.
5. What has been one of your proudest moment as a teacher?

Chapter 34: WE-ARE-BORED
1. According to the Control Theory of Motivation, by William Glasser, which states that students are not motivated to do their schoolwork because they view schoolwork as irrelevant to their basic human needs. Do you agree or disagree? Explain your reasons.
2. What are some activities or strategies that you use in your classroom to prevent or alleviate boredom?
3. How sympathetic are you towards students who are bored in your classroom?
4. Analyze how the teacher handled the crisis brought about by the boredom and the ensuing disruptive behavior of some of the students.
5. Hypothesize how would you have handled this situation as the teacher?

Chapter 35: Can You Please Say Please?
1. Describe your personal philosophy of education and what part does good manners play in your philosophy?
2. Do you teach manners to your students? Why or why not?
3. Describe the behavior of some public school students to that of their private school counterparts.
4. Has a student ever been rude to you, or someone you know? Describe.
5. Evaluate the effects (if any) of teaching manners to students in schools?

Chapter 36: Double Trouble
1. How does your school address the problem of enrolling twins in the same classroom?  What are the pros and cons if any?
2. What mistake or mistakes does this teacher make that a veteran teacher would have avoided within the first week or earlier?
3. What is some mischief that twins do that you have heard of?
4. Analyze some of the advantages of having the student present during a parent conference.
5. Suggest and elaborate on alternatives to dealing with trouble-maker twins.

Chapter 37:  Graffiti Kid
1. What do you think of the name of this story? Why?
2. Describe the student in this story.
3. Is there a graffiti problem at your school? If so, how does your school deal with it? If not, how would it deal with it?
4. Would it have been easier to ignore a suspicious student? Evaluate the courage of the teacher to apprehending this student.
5. Evaluate the culture and climate of the school in this story that might contribute to this environment.  

Chapter 38: Nine Prep Periods
1. Describe the prep periods of the teacher in the story.
2. What do you think of your prep periods?
3. To what extent can a school help a teacher limit their prep periods?
4. What do you do when faced with difficult work situations, who do you ask for help?
5. Compare and contrast the prep periods described here as opposed to those in elementary school. What are the advantages and disadvantages of teaching one subject versus teaching all the subjects as in elementary school.

Chapter 39: Rhondaís Words
1. Why do you suppose the teacher was offended by Rhondaís Words?
2. What do you think your own reaction might have been if this had happened to you? Why?
3. Has anything similar happened to you as a teacher or to someone you know? Describe.
4. Analyze what you would have done to find out who did this. Would you have ignored it? Why or why not?
5. Compare and contrast how a new teacher would have reacted to Rhondaís words versus a veteran teacher.

Chapter 40: The Mom
1. Describe the conflict in this story.
2. Have you ever had a run-in with a parent? Describe what happened.
3. What is your schoolís policy in keeping students after the dismissal bell?
4. Compare and contrast a run-in that you have had or a teacher that you know has had to the run-in in this story.
5. What are the advantages or disadvantages go keeping students back after school for punishment?

Chapter 41:  The Out-of-Control Kid
1. Suggest an alternative name for this story and explain your reasons.P
2. Describe a student in your classroom that is similar to Isidoro in this story.
3. List a few ways you can channel studentís energy in your classroom when they have too much of it?
4. What was the turning point in this story that brought about a positive change in this student? Explain your reasons.
5. Evaluate one of the effective strategies that the teacher demonstrated in this story and explain why it works.

Chapter 42: Valentine Drama
1. What added stress does a day like Valentine add to a teacherís day in your opinion?
2. Compare and contrast the behavior of  the students to the ones in this story on Valentineís Day.
3. Evaluate something that the teacher does right in this story.
4. Compare the supervisor in this story to one that you have had dealings with at your school.
5. What are some lessons that you have learned from this story? Explain.

Chapter 43:  Fun Science
1. How do you incorporate ďfunĒ into your teaching?
2. Describe a lesson that you taught in which you took some risks? Tell what happened and what the outcome was.
3. To what extent do you believe that this teacher was innovative?
4. Apply the theory of John Dewey to this story.
5. Analyze the benefits of bringing a full size skeleton (or hands-on materials) to class.

Chapter 44: Good Gretchen
1. Do you have a student that is similar to Gretchen? In what ways?
2. What makes a student like Gretchen rewarding to have in the classroom?
3. Describe the attributes that Gretchen possess that allows her to fit in with the other students.
4. Why is it important for students to take responsibility for their actions when they are caught being mischievous? Explain your answer.
5. Analyze the juxtaposition in this studentís behavior and academic performance.

Chapter 45: Absent Audrey
1. What are some issues that this story brings up in your opinion? Please Explain.
2. Whatís the attendance policy at your school?
3. How sympathetic are you towards Audrey in this story? Explain your reasons.
4. Do you think Audrey deserved an ďAĒ despite her absenteeism?
5. Predict an ending for Audreyís academic career as an adult.  Explain your reasons.

Chapter 46:  Peer Pressure on Your Side
1. What does peer pressure mean to you? Can you give an example.
2. Describe your progressive discipline plan.
3. Which educational theorist would use positive peer pressure heavily as a part of his or her educational practice?  Explain the reasons for your choices.
4. How do you get your students involved in handling classroom discipline?
5. Do you use a point system for discipline? It not, describe your system to keep students in line.

Chapter 47: The Graduation
1. Do you agree with the authors description of graduation? Please explain the reasons for your answer.
2. Describe a student that you have seen become transformed in your classroom from failing to excelling.  Explain the possible reasons for this change in the student.
3. How do you feel about the graduation of your students? How rewarding is it to you?
4. Analyze the accomplishment of Mary to have gone from English learner to Valedictorian.
5. Even though nothing is guaranteed, predict the success Mary will have in her profession. Explain the reasons for your answer.

Chapter 48:  The Polite Teacher
1. What are the characteristics of the nicest teacher at your school?
2. What effect does this have on student behavior and student learning?
3. Describe the behavior of one of the rudest teachers you know of. What effects does his/her behavior have on the students?
4. How do the lessons learned from this story tie in with your own personal philosophy of teaching?
5. Analyze the effect Ms. Felix had on the student who went out of his way to help her.

Chapter 49: Valentineís Day Breakup
1. Should students be dating in middle school? Explain the reasons for your answer.
2. Compare this story with ďValentine Drama!Ē The Story in Chapter 42.
3. Would you have handled this situation differently? How so?
4. Evaluate the effects that the teacher talking  to Carolina outside the classroom had on her?
5. How can you apply the lessons learned from this story if you are ever faced with a similar situation?

Chapter 50: Vincent, the Invincible
1. Describe Vincent in this story.
2. What were his weak points or weaknesses? Describe.
3. What were his strengths? Elaborate.
4. Compare and contrast Vincent with other students that may have left your class.
5. Predict Vincentís performance in his next school. Explain the reasons for your answer.



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