Browsing Tag

Middle School

To the teacher feeling unsupported & struggling with bad student behavior

no-support-from-school-administration

My third year of teaching was like watching an episode of The Bachelor. It was more often than not so terrible that you just couldn’t look away because you had to keep watching and see what happened next.

In my hypothetical classroom Bachelor episode, you might see a scene where two students are giggling across the room to each other. When the camera zooms in, you see that one of them is trying to breaking markers, trying to get the ink stick out. In the chaos, the teacher finally sees the teal puddle on the floor, starts yelling, and sends the student to the office. Right before the commercial, the preview shows the student laughing with the principal in his office and skipping back to class. All you say is, “No way! There is no support from school administration!”

Spoiler alert: that was me and my classroom. I felt completely unsupported by my administration.

Every other teacher on my team was excellent, out-teaching me by at least 10 years. By their own admission, this group of students was one of the most challenging behaviorally that they had ever taught. So picture with me a third year teacher in a class of already unruly 7th graders. Throw in a new student mid-year who has blue hair, talks to everyone in a high, nasally voice (yes, on purpose to annoy everyone), yells, “I’m a blueberry!” at random times, and quickly befriends the two students whose behavior is already not being addressed the way I’d like it to be by my administration. 

What does a teacher do in this situation? I felt like I had no support from school administration when it came to behavior issues. Overwhelmed and ready to leave teaching, I knew something needed to change. However, after living through that year, I realized I had learned how to implement five practical steps to help me curb classroom behavior issues while feeling unsupported by my school administration. 

Before I really dive in, I think most school administrators are great people.

I also think a lot of administrators have the best intentions but have their hands tied in areas where teachers want them to step in, including classroom discipline. Ready for the honest truth? It’s your job as a teacher to teach, correct, and train student behavior in your classroom. It is not your campus administrator’s job. You have to do the leg work so when you do need an administrator to step in, they can see you’ve tried all your tools and need help. 

I think it is wise to have some type of positive classroom management system. For the purpose of this blog, I’m going to be focusing on what you can do to help shape student behavior into what you want instead or just rewarding good behavior. So, how do you manage your classroom when you feel like you don’t have support from school administration? 

1. Stop sending students to the office. 

Stop sending students to the office when you feel unsupported by school administration. It undermines your authority.
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If you feel like you have no support from school administration, the best thing I can tell you is to learn how to handle everything possible in your classroom. You should address and work to solve any behavior you possibly can, excluding major incidences of course. 

I remember sending kids to the office when they were “unmanageable” and feeling like they got sent back with a hug and a Starburst! Like it was a REWARD! Or I’d send a student up with their phone and get a sticky note from the office assistant back saying, “I let them keep their phone. Come see me when you have a minute and I’ll explain.” I felt so helpless and angry. Do you know the feeling? 

Enough is enough. Sending students to the office is a temporary solution. The truth is the office can only do so much. Oftentimes, you undermine your own authority when you send students out. They know you can’t, or maybe won’t, do anything about their behavior and continue to act out.

Dig in. Find your grit. Handle your classroom. Stop sending kids to the office! How can I do that? Keep reading, teacher friend! 

2. Set expectations all day everyday.

When you feel like you have no support from school administration, set expectations as often as you can.

I could talk about expectations all day long. It’s the bread and butter of my classroom management style. NEVER stop setting expectations! When you feel like you have no support from school administration, telling kids what you expect from them gives them the opportunity to act appropriately. 

During transitions, I used to say something like, “Get into your groups. Are we good? Go.” When I realized I was setting expectations rather than giving directions, my monolog sounded something like this. “Hold up your pencil. Hold up your notebook. You need to bring both of those with you to your lab table. When you move to your groups, push in your chair and make sure your stuff is off of the floor so we have clear walkways. I expect you are walking to your groups, keeping your hands, feet, and pencils to yourself.” 

Do you see how I set expectations for the entire transition? This is what my students nee to hear in September, January, and May. I never stop. Take it a step further if you know you have a student who you know struggles with walking and briefly say, “Jordan, you’re gonna walk right?” To keep them from feeling targeted, you can ask a few more questions to other students. 

3. Follow Through and Grace

If you don’t feel like you have support from your school administration, it’s probably because your administrators don’t follow through with what you expect them to do! When you’re learning how to handle your classroom, follow through is your most important tool! You can set expectations with students all you want but if you don’t follow through when those expectations are not met, they’re worthless! 

Hear me out. Follow through does not equal discipline. Every little thing students do wrong should not be met with an iron fist. Your students will do things incorrectly. If you try to control everything, you will lose your mind. When students do something wrong, give them a little bit of grace – resist the urge to yell and scream! Build natural consequences into your expectations. 

Phones are hard to manage right now. Like really hard. In fact, the most angry I’ve ever been with a student was over a phone. Like, steam coming out of my ears angry. Anyway, I digress. When you set expectations with phones, build the “consequence” into your expectation and follow through! 

In my classroom, students listening to headphones should have their volume set so no one else can hear their music, and they should be able to hear me talking in a normal voice. This is what I might say to build my consequence into my expectation. “If I or anyone else can hear your music through your headphones, you will have to put your phone and headphones away for the rest of class.” Then, my students know what I want and what happens if they decide not to follow the expectation. 

If one of your students runs to their lab table, ask them to come back and walk. Maybe you have to ask them to push in their chair.

What happens when students don’t want to follow expectations I gave them?

But Kelly, what happens when they don’t put away their headphones? Or they don’t come back and walk to their group? Or what if…? I hear you. It’s never that easy, is it?

This takes some practice, but I promise it is gold. Screenshot the next couple paragraphs. Print it out. Tape it to your desk, because students will always push your boundaries. 

FOLLOW THROUGH is your biggest and best tool when you feel like you have no support from your school administration.

Do not send students to the office when they begin to push boundaries.Your job of correcting and managing behavior is not done the moment they push back. You are strong and capable! 

Let’s keep going with the phone example.  

If you can hear a student’s headphones across the room, get their attention without disrupting the rest of your class. Ask them if they remember the expectation. If they say no, remind them what it was. Yes, even if you know they know, and you want to roll your eyes – your goal here is to build trust and not get them in trouble. 

Next, ask them to put their headphones in their backpack because they didn’t meet the expectation. If they say no, take a deep breath. Collect your thoughts. Stay calm. Get on their level – squat next to them, pull up a chair, or maybe even ask them to come see you in a corner or to step outside, if you haven’t already. 

Then you should say something like, “I told you what would happen if I could hear your music. At this point, you have two choices. Let this be your second chance, put away your headphones in your backpack, and get back to work. Making a good decision lets us continue with both of our jobs. If you choose not to put them in your backpack, I’ll have to call home after school to talk about how we can be sure expectations are followed.” 97% of the time, kids don’t want to be in trouble at home. Giving them the option prompts them to make a good decision. 

Talking to students and following thorough with consequences helps students know what their behavior should look like.

In those cases where a quick conversation doesn’t work, I take it a step farther.

If they still say they’re not giving up their headphones, keep in mind what your school discipline plan is. I’d respond with something like, “Okay, if you’re choosing to not put your headphones in your backpack. I can’t make you. After school and before I call your parents, I’m going to go talk with the vice principal to make a plan so you can manage your phone appropriately. If you want to use your phone, you have to follow the expectations. If you decide you don’t like that, you can go back to your seat and take about a minute to decide.” 

Students want to make a good choice.

Honestly, if you can give them an out without involving their parents or admin, they will likely take it. You’ve spoken to them respectfully and they feel you’re not out to get them in trouble. 

Finally, I’d bet money that students who still don’t make a good choice after all that is a student you struggle with a lot. With that said, I can only suggest what you might do from there. Each student and situation is different. You can ignore it until the end of the day where you’ll follow through with parents and admin, or invoke your campus discipline policy to remove them from your classroom. If you’ve talked to them, give them several options, and they still refuse, you can go to your admin the steps you took (and they need you to take) before they can take action on their end. 

4. Always have a plan.

I know you’ve heard the saying that says something like if you don’t have a plan, your students will have one for you. It’s true. 

When you are pulling out lab equipment or trying to find the other half stack of copies you set down somewhere last hour, students have a lot more time to get into trouble. If you are planned and organized for the day, your students are much less likely to have time to goof off. Furthermore, if you know what your transitions are, write out expectations for each one – because let’s be real… it’s hard to remember everything you want to say – and communicate those to your students, it will shift the whole dynamic of your classroom. Hello structure, goodbye chaotic mess. 

5. Loop parents in

When you feel like you have no support from your school administration, keeping in contact with parents is a must. Requirement. Non-negotiable. In my experience, most parents I talk to assume that if they are not hearing from their student’s teacher, their student’s behavior is fine. We as teachers know we don’t always reach out because we have a lot on our plates, but we need to recognize and do something about the fact that parents still believe if they haven’t heard from us, everything is peachy. But administration needs us to take the small steps of communicating with parents before

no-support-from-school-administration
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Little problems like talking too much or going to the bathroom for seven minutes every class period turn into big problems later. If you’ve tried to work it out with the student by chatting with them or having natural classroom consequences and you’re still not seeing a change, it’s time to call or email parents. Get them involved. Almost every single parent I’ve talked to (and trust me, it’s a lot) have been supportive and helpful. At least they try their best to be, and that’s really all you can ask.

I might have a hard truth for you right now. Not a single administrator I’ve taught for would try to help me solve a problem with a student if I haven’t at minimum attempted to reach their parents. After you’ve tried to solve your behavior problems in your classroom and communicated with parents, your administrator is much more likely to help. Quite honestly, they have more ability to help. Doing your part unties their hands when you need them to act. 

BONUS: Start a countdown and take a deep breath.

This might be the worst advice ever because it sucks. You will not have this group of students forever. Tell yourself whatever you need to get through the day. I have taught some bad classes and through some tough years. When I have a class with students that gives me grief, I look at the clock and think 17 more minutes today, or there are only 7 more Mondays. Seven Mondays sounds easier than 36 days, am I right?

The hard truth is that even when you’ve done all the things, sometimes your principal still can’t or won’t be able to help. 

This too shall pass. Like I told you in the beginning of this post – my third year teaching was atrocious. I was looking to leave the profession. With no way out and my 17th student coming back from the office with a Starburst, I decided that I was not going to let these kids get the better of me, and I was not going to rely on the office. That year royally sucked.  

Want to know what still blows my mind? The next year was my best year. I didn’t realize at the time, but I was growing so much in learning how to handle behavior in my classroom the year before. By the time I was in my 4th year of teaching, I knew how to squash behaviors before they started and how to manage them when they showed up. Mostly. There are still days. There always will be. 

Have a plan. Set expectations. Follow through when they’re not met. Talk to parents. Control what you can. You’d be surprised at how much these small changes together can really transform your classroom and help you feel like you can do it, even without support from your administration. 

Classroom Management, Middle School

Six Of The Most Common Questions About Google Classroom

iPhone with Google Classroom sections on screen

I was alone at a friends house a few months ago when one of their breakers got tripped and shut off my very important TV show. I proceeded to flip it back but when I did, the soundbar wasn’t working! It took me FOREVER to figure out how to reconnect it correctly, and I was so frustrated! Of course when I told them about it, they were like, “Oh yea… you click this and that and push this and you’re good to go!” 

Sometimes I feel like Google Classroom is this way – frustrating to figure out until we finally get it. 

Not a day goes by where I don’t read a frustrated post by a teacher in a Facebook group about something they can’t figure out in Google Classroom. Now don’t get me wrong… Google Classroom is a fabulous tool for what it does. But a few things consistently trip us up and frustrate us. 

If you had the answers, wouldn’t life be easier? Good news, my friend! These are the top six questions I see online, and the answers to all of them. You’re welcome. 

1. Why can I sometimes “make a copy for all students” and sometimes I can’t?

Great question! The very first time you create an assignment  and push it out, you can make a copy for all students. However, if you post the assignment and then try to edit it, you cannot make copy for all students.  You would have to create a whole new post for the assignment if you’ve already posted it and are trying to edit the settings.

2. Why do I not have the option to include a due date?

 This is the difference between an assignment post and a material post.  creating an assignment allows you to set a due date and points. You can also  make a copy of documents for all students when you create an assignment. Creating materials are for student reference only.  This might be something like an announcement,  a link to your website, or something else students consistently use that they will not turn in. 

3. I get so many alerts in my email… how do I manage them all?

First, turn them off! On your main menu with all of your classes, click the three horizontal lines to open up the side menu. At the very bottom, click the settings gear and scroll to see the notifications section. You can select or deselect all or any notifications on the list to get emails for! You can even select specific classrooms. (Also, check out my digital missing work form. It’s a LIFESAVER!)

4. I want to make posts or parts of my directions stand out. Can I bold or italicize my fonts? 

You would think, right?! Unfortunately this is a feature Google Classroom does not have! I use emojis to emphasize my posts. Read about it here

5. My stream is so disorganized. How do I clean it up? 

Turn that bad boy off! I rely solely on the Classwork tab unless I’m posting an announcement (usually that I’m not there for the day and there will be no Google Meet). By keeping the Classwork tab organized, students can only go one place to look for assignments. Inside of each Classroom, you can click the settings gear in the top right corner and scroll down to General Settings. Under Classwork on the Stream, select Hide Notifications

6. I assign work to all students and they swear they completed it. But when I look at the post, there’s no assignment. What is happening? 

There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that your students are deleting the work and telling you it went missing. The good news is, once you assign it to them (whether they delete it or not), it’s shared with you and in the Classroom folder in your Drive. Simply open the Classroom folder, find the class, find the assignment and their name should be on it! When you open the file, you can see their edit history – showing whether they did it or not. 

It took me a while to figure out some of these tricks and tips. Now you can feel a little more confident navigating Google Classroom properly so that you can troubleshoot quickly and keep teaching!

Classroom Management, Digital Learning

Three Ways to Use Gmail Templates

iPad Screen showing Gmail

I am not a fan of writing emails. It takes so much time, and even copying and pasting is tough because I usually have to copy and paste the email. Then I lose my message. What if I told you there was a shortcut to sending emails with a few clicks? Introducing Gmail templates!

Google allows you to save email templates so at the click of a couple buttons, you can fill in an entire email and send it off! 

Scroll down to watch how to set them up! 

1. Checking on student work

Let me show you the three ways I use them most! When students are virtual, I can’t always tell they’re working by looking at them on the virtual meet screen (most likely because their camera is off). But if I can see their progress on Formative, EdPuzzle, or I open their Google Doc and they haven’t completed work, I’ll send them a generic email from my template bank saying: 

Hi, 

We’ve been working on our assignment on Formative for almost the whole class period so far and I don’t see that you’ve made any progress. 

Do you need help? 

Sometimes I send it to the kids, sometimes I send it to parents. Either way, it gives me a tool to document work and hold kids accountable. 

2. A generic response

I use a missing work form to keep track of digital late work. When kids send me emails saying they’ve turned in late work, I send them the following email using about two clicks: 

Hey there, 

If you’ve turned in a late assignment, please be sure to fill out a missing work form on the classwork page of the website! That way, I have a record and know go back to look at it. If you only email me, your missing assignment will get lost in other emails. 

Here’s the link: (link to form here)

I love it! It saves me so much time in typing out the exact same email! 

3. Periodic communication

When conferences came around, I created a Gmail template to send to parents of students who I needed a conference with. All I had to do was copy and paste the email, click a few buttons, and change the students name and I had a clear, almost personalized email to parents inviting them to conferences. This is something I also do for students who are missing projects, are failing, or anything else where I need to email more than two parents or students for something. 

Gmail templates are the easiest tool I wish I’d known about for years! Watch the video below to learn how to make them!

Digital Learning, Middle School, Professionalism, Uncategorized

Create Interactive Content for your Digital Classroom with Genially

Genially templates on computer screen

Every year, I teach my students the difference between observations and inferences using a “soil sample” from another planet I happened to visit over summer break. I started to wonder how the heck I was going to pull that off in a digital classroom. Taking such a tactile experience and making it digital is not the same.

That’s when I found Genially!

Genially is a super cool, interactive content creation tool used by teachers to create digital content for their lessons and activities. I knew Genially’s interactive image feature was exactly what I needed as soon as I saw it. Before I go further, let me show you! 

As you can see, I uploaded a photo of my soil sample and added interactive icons on top of each part of the soil I wanted to highlight. Could I have posted just a photo of the soil? Absolutely. But I used this simple tool to engage students in creating observations and inferences about a planet that happened to be Earth! 

Do you sell on TPT? Keep reading – there’s something in here for you!

How could you use an interactive image in your classroom? 

The box I chose to add one simple image to can be so much more complex. I can add so much interactivity to one image. Look below at the options you can select from:  

Genially types of interactivity are tooltip, window, go to page, and link.

I used the window option. Don’t let my simplicity of one small photo fool you – look at all the features in the window menu bar! Font size, color, and type. Videos, photos, HTML code – if you want to add it to that box, there’s a way. 

Genially Window interactive menu bar in Genially Window interactive

In a social studies classroom, create an interactive map of historical battlefields. Inside of a window, add images, descriptions, and links to websites with more information. Or, use that interactive icon to send students straight to a clip from Youtube. 

I used this image to create a simple tour of Google Classroom for parents who visit my class website. How many parents would love to see what you’ve got going on in that password protected Classroom? I’ll tell you – a lot! 

Students can use Genially too

 If students are working on an ELA project descriptive writing assignment, ask them to find an image and create a Genially interactive image using icons to describe their image according to a rubric. They can even invite other students to collaborate on their assignment via email. This is not your standard assignment in a digital classroom!

Genially animation options

Add some animation

Did you notice how those little icons on my images moved and the font kind of pulses? I added some simple animation to my image to make certain elements stand out. You can animate how elements enter and exit, which direction they come from, and what they do when they stay on your page. 

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m constantly looking to find ways to make what I’m teaching online engaging for students. I love Genially’s interactive image feature because it gives control and exploration back to students! 

Step it up! 

Now that you’ve successfully created an interactive image, use your tools to create a little more! Genially has a ton of free templates including games, presentations, and escape rooms to use if you’re stuck or maybe, designing things is not your strong suit. 

Add an audio clip or change the timing of certain elements. Check out this snippet of the variables lesson I made using one of the guide templates. Really pay attention to the animation features. 

It’s as easy as… 

  1. Signing up for a totally free Genially account
  2. Get inspired by their super awesome plug-and-play templates
  3. Make unlimited creations! 

I’m serious – Genially is something you should add to your digital classroom toolbox. Here’s an extra cool bonus – if you sell on TPT, you can add your creations to your store! 

Don’t wait, sign up for Genially today! 

Computer screen with Genially game templates
Digital Learning, Middle School, Projects, Uncategorized

Navigating Conflict on Your Campus

Picture this with me. You’re at the park on a field trip and you see a student on top of the 25-foot-tall, blue, shade tarp above the playground, and he’s jumping on it like a trampoline! The headline flashing through your head reads, “Student breaks all bones on playground while teacher is nowhere to be found!” Not to mention, this is the kid you JUST told sternly, for the second time, they couldn’t be on top of the playground equipment.

You’re walking him over to sit out and he’s arguing that, “he wasn’t on top of the playground equipment!” (As if it even occurred to you that you’d have to tell him to stay off of the shade structure.)

Now you get mad… 

During this conversation, a teacher on your team comes over and forcefully tells you that you are being mean to a poor kid and abusing your power. Kids should be kids and have less rules. In front of the student. You are a professional and explain that you will discuss this when you get back to campus and are not in the presence of children. You walk away and he’s now raising his voice so students nearby start paying attention.

TRUE STORY.

I worked with this teacher for five years, and we never really saw eye to eye on student management. I thrive on structure, and he is go with the flow. Until this point, it was just a difference we recognized and respected. This confrontation completely caught me off guard, and I was absolutely livid.

There’s a huge misconception that teachers work alone. Sure, we work alone in our classrooms with our students, but we don’t actually work alone. We work with our administration, the office staff, our SPED team, paraprofessionals, and even the teachers on our team or our campus. Inevitably, disagreements happen.

It’s tempting to go back into your classroom, close the door, and hope the disagreement blows over. But that’s not how we handle it. Because we are adults. And we are professionals! (I’m hearing you all cheer for me and my motivational speech right there!)

So, what should you do when you land yourself in the middle of conflict?

First, decide if this it a pet peeve or a true conflict? I will be the first to tell you that I have things that bother me about my coworkers. Little pet peeves that annoy me. On the other hand, conflict is usually brought on by a disagreement between two people. The distinction is important to realize because the approach is somewhat different.

Pet Peeves

If it’s a big deal, and it directly affects your job, mention something to them. Even try mentioning it in passing. One student started showing up to my first hour everyday, loudly announcing that another teacher sent him to give me something. He came in with the most random things – tape dispensers, books, puzzles, candy….

When I asked this teacher why the student kept showing up in my room, she explained the situation to me. I just said, “I get it, but you can’t send him to my room. He’s a daily distraction and it’s hard to reign my class back in. I’m so sorry.” I wasn’t rude and didn’t make a big deal out of it, but the student did stop showing up.

If it’s not a big deal or doesn’t directly affect your job, you might want to consider letting it go. A teacher might complain to about how bad their class is, but won’t take direction from administration or practical steps to resolve it… there’s not a whole lot you can do. Tell them what you think when they ask. Be brief without being rude. When you walk away, you don’t have to deal with their classroom.

Find someone to talk to. Find someone safe to vent to who won’t go blabbing your frustrations or secrets to everyone else. It doesn’t solve the problem, but I feel better safely getting it off my chest by talking to someone who understands.

We can’t fix everyone and everything. If you can just talk it through with someone, do it. If you can bring it up casually, do that too. But, I’ve found that a lot of my little pet peeves with coworkers can be solved by going back into my classroom. However, pet peeves can quickly turn into conflicts.

Conflict

1. First (and biggest) – Is it your boss telling you to do something you don’t want to? Excuse an assignment? Morning duty? Go to an IEP the Friday before fall break at 4 PM (It happened to me!)? Have a sit down meeting with them and a parent? Do it. This is not a hill you want to die on. If your boss is telling you to do something (reasonable), they have a reason. You might see their reason as wrong, self-serving, or self-promoting, but they’re the boss (and eventually, you’re going to have to ask them for a letter of recommendation).  

2. Is it your fault? Ouch. No one likes to be wrong, but we all are at some point. It might be your fault. My biggest advice – apologize. Approach the issue with humility. Being “right” is not worth creating lasting tension.

3. Who else is involved or needs to be? And who does NOT need to be? In my story about the student park, my administrator needed to know. They may have parents call or students say something. If my team wasn’t there watching, I’d probably tell them. We work as a team and when something is wrong, it throws us off. Does every teacher on campus need to know? Absolutely not. Tell the people that need to be involved in solving the problem and that’s it. Otherwise it’s nothing but gossip.

4. How will you take steps to resolve it?  I highly recommend having a vulnerable (and unfortunately, uncomfortable) conversation seeking a resolution instead of pushing it aside. It’s likely that emotions will run high. I always have to sit on what I am thinking for a few days to let it all process out in my head before I can approach the person.

You may need to write it out before you can talk. You may need a third party there to listen and help come to a solution. Your administrator may be able to help you determine what the best steps are. It’s possible that after talking to your admin, they can handle it for you.  

5. If the conflict is not resolved, can you put your feelings aside and remain a professional? This is so hard. Feelings might be hurt and lines might be crossed in your conflict. I implore you – be a professional. You may disagree. You may hate the way that person refused to engage in any resolution. The ultimate resolution to your conflict may be leaving the site and finding a new job.

Be Professional Anyway

Until then, know you are strong and capable. When you must engage with this person, be brief. Create boundaries as necessary. You are a professional and while the resolution you attempted didn’t turn out your way, you have an audience – your administration, your fellow teachers, your students.

I will be completely honest and tell you that after that teacher yelled at me in front of students, I tried to work it out several days later when I could think with a clear head. Instead of getting into a debate about managing students (like I said, we never agreed on this to begin with), I focused on the fact that brought this up in front of the student because it undermined my authority.

He held his ground that he was right. The conflict did not get resolved, and I still work with him. I set this boundary in place: I will not engage in a conversation with him unless it concerns something professional.

Conflict is hard and uncomfortable. When it comes to working with people, conflict is inevitable. It’s my hope that these questions help you think through how to navigate conflict on your campus. There is something freeing about being able to work together, navigate a problem, and come out the other side a stronger teammate, teacher, and person than you were before.

(Please note – this post is simply about disagreements between your coworkers. If you are dealing with consistent unresolved conflict or harassment, please look into your district’s protocol.)

Middle School, Professionalism

Teaching Observations and Inference in Science

I love middle school. But they think so quickly that they don’t necessarily think about what they are thinking! In science specifically, they have to know the difference between an observation and an inference. Their observations lead to their inferences and generally serve as evidence for their inferences.

To introduce this idea, I give them that “angry teacher” stance and eyes and ask them how I am feeling. Without fail, they tell me that I’m mad, angry, upset, that they want to run away and hide (HAHA!!)… and a few will say my arms are crossed or I’m not smiling, but usually not without some prompting asking them how they know I’m angry.

They can tell you clearly that I’m upset, but I need them to break it down and use their observations as evidence for their inferences.  Read More »

Hands On, Middle School, Notebooks