Science in the City

Nov 3, 2012

Great resources for ELL Students and Many others!!!

I am lucky enough to be able to participate in a SIOP Training right now, which stands for Sheltered Instruction and Observation Protocol.  I am finding it to be a great refresher for instruction of all students and best teaching practices. 

A great set of cliff notes/summary is located here.  These are great practices for all students, particularly ELL's, and also particularly for students who may struggle with academic language, even if they are not ELL's.  Where I work there are many students who are ELL's (about 30%), as well as many who just have very low reading/writing/language skills, although they are native speakers.  These strategies are helpful to all of them!!!

The one I found the most interesting is the need to have a specific content objective and language objective for each lesson.

Image from

Nov 2, 2012


I am participating in my first blog giveaway!  As I am very new to blogging, this is brand new to me.  A colleague and fellow teacher/blogger is  hosting a giveaway for reaching 200 followers. I participated and am raffling off a product of your choice from my store to a winner.  There are MANY other teachers who are also raffling off materials of various topics, grade levels, and subjects.

If you are interested in entering, click on the link:

Oct 30, 2012

Unbelievably Simple Classroom Management Tips That Will Make Your Life Easier

Classroom Management Tricks for Middle School

Middle school students are great.  They are fun, enthusiastic, and curious. However, when I first started teaching middle school (from high school), some of the comments that I heard include "middleschoolers are like squirrels" and "teaching middle school is a lot like teaching pre-school.  You never know what will happen if you blink." It's true!  You blink, or give them too much freedom and you don't know what might happen!  There are a few very simple strategies that will help control the chaos and keep things calm in your classroom.

Simple Classroom Management Tips that Will Make Your Life Easier

I teach 7th and 8th grade in an urban district in Upstate NY. It is a school that has only recently expanded from preK-6 to preK-8. That means there is lots of room to grow, and bugs to work out as we prepare our school for middle school students.

Middle school kids need a lot of structure, and a different structure than elementary students. I am working on ways to instill that in my classroom, and to uphold high behavioral expectations and create the kind of classroom culture that I want, within the walls of my classroom. I wanted to share some of the free resources that I have been using to do that:

Timers for Classroom Management 

These can be used for bellwork, during activities, or any time to want to add structure. These timers can be accessed online, or downloaded and added directly to the smartboard files. They include a candle burning, a bomb about to explode, a runner, and many others that students find very engaging.

Students are much more focused when they are encouraged to complete a task before the time is up.  You will see a dramatic decrease in off-task behaviors.


Another tool that I have used in the website classdojo. It allows for public or private tallying of 'dojo points' for any behaviors that you set. You can track positive and negative, and can have students track behaviors on the smartboard, or track them yourself through an ipad, smartphone, or computer and then check in between/after activities.  Students get to pick a cute monster icon (my middle school kids were very excited about that) and then it can change as they get more points.

The list of rewards that I use in my classroom is also available on my TpT store for only $1, or in a different version here as a blog exclusive freebie. These can obviously be modified to anything that you want, that is motivating to your students, but they may be a good place to start.  All my incentives are free to the teacher.  I have included individual and classroom rewards, written in both a set for classdojo, and a set for use without classdojo.   Finally, classdojo can be a great behavioral tracking tool to use with behavioral RTI and collect/track data.


Through the use of classdojo and timers you will see an increase in focus, engagement, and on task behaviors, and you will have less chaos in your classoom (more time to teach and learn)!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Tips and tricks for middle school classroom management. Help keep your classroom calm

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