Spring Fresh Ideas!

Can you smell it?  Summer is so close, my students (and I) can smell it!

So if you're like me, you're looking for some fresh ideas this spring to get you through the homestretch.

Here in Florida, we have about 6 weeks left.  We're testing right now and I just know that my students are going to have 
"I'm done-itis" once the testing is completed.  

To try and avoid that trap, I am on the hunt for anything new that will keep my students' attention.

One thing that has worked for me in the past was to have students make a book of their best work (or sometimes some new work like the narrative below) using a publisher like Blurb.  

Even though you can make each book for under $10, sometimes students' money is tight due to end of year field trips, yearbooks and the like.  In those cases, I have just used our school's book binding machine.  Students and Parents just love seeing their work bound!

Other times, I have ended the year with an engaging novel like The Giver and then really worked the Socratic Seminar.

Talk about some great discussions!

This year, I am feeling like I may need some more help with fresh ideas so I was really happy to be a part of this:

Click here or on the image above to see the Catalog!

Inside, there are TONS of great ideas and resources for every grade level just in time for the Spring "What do I do now" feeling I always get!

AND the Middle School Mob is celebrating over 500 followers on their Facebook page with a $100 Teachers Pay Teachers gift card Giveaway!  

So you can peruse the catalog and then hopefully win a gift card to spend on your new finds!

But Hurry!  The Giveaway ends Sunday 4.24.16!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks for stopping by!

Getting Crafty After Testing!

It's "testing season" in Florida where I teach and while it's tempting to allow students to "take a break" after testing, we all know the saying about idle hands!

So what I have done is channel my inner crafty lady and am happy to share the ideas that have helped to keep my students engaged!

After state testing is done for the day, my middle school students need a break!  These ideas give them that break and still keep them learning! #teaching #ideas

Thee #1 thing that my students are into right now is PAINTING!
We were doing some test prep review using a menu designed for the picture book Miss Rumphius and asked the students to draw the main idea.  One boy asked "Could we paint?" and I said "Sure!"  The next thing you know, everyone was totally engrossed, calm and quiet!   Then I added in some classical music and it was bliss!   I so wish an administrator had walked in then!

After state testing is done for the day, keep your middle school students engaged with educational arts and crafts!  #teaching #ideas

Wanting to capitalize on this "artsy mood" we were in, I thought we could add in some writing.  So I gathered some of those paint cards from Walmart, and we wrote some poems about color.  

My middle school students loved writing paint chip poetry as an after testing activity!  #teaching #ideas

We also made some collages and cut out pictures from magazines to depict the 5 main text structures for nonfiction review.

Here's a creative way to review text structures in middle school!  #teaching #languagearts

Too many times, our students do not have the opportunity in Middle School to participate in art classes.  It's truly a shame when you consider this:

" A 2012 study published by the National Endowment of the Arts linked arts education in low socio-economic communities to greater academic achievement, higher career goals, and more civic engagement." - from http://www.takepart.com/photos/art-projects-for-kids-best 

Not only that, but art is soothing and a way to allow students to express themselves along with their learning in a more "out of the box" way.  That's why I've begun collecting ideas that you can see below.

Follow Mrs. Spangler in the Middle's board Arts and Crafts for Middle School on Pinterest.

Thanks for stopping by!  

Poetry Pick 3!

April showers may bring May flowers but April also brings National Poetry Month!  So it's probably no surprise that I'm excited to join Pawsitively Teaching, Just Reed, and Inspired Owl's Corner to being you my top 3 Pinterest picks for poetry!


This picture alone made me want to click through to find out the 24 must-share poems recommended by teachers and students!

I loved the list because each poem had a one line summary with a link to the text of the poem.  Perfect!


This pin led to a treasure trove of ways to use poetry to teach TEN different things like:
activate prior knowledge
establish theme
explore language
focus on facts
set a scene
inspire writing
see new perspectives
ignite curiousity
provide pleasure 
capture character
And each of these 10 items is explained with recommended texts and summaries of those texts.

I think of this a great big 'ol springboard for poetry to be used anywhere, anytime!

My last pin is actually two pins - for two books that I want to use with my own class.


I previewed this book and it shows how a tough "guy" (er, dog) has a softer side and can actually write pretty awesome poetry. I think this is perfect for my middle school boys who are always worried about their reputation.


And then there's this.  I love this book that is also a poem itself.  A very powerful poem that is even more powerful if you read it aloud.

I don't want to spoil it so just suffice it to say that not only does it start off with a boy who does not want anything to do with poetry for all the reasons kids cite today, but it ends with a wonderful message that shows how valuable poetry really is to anyone (and everyone) who has ever had emotional turmoil to deal with in their lives.

Follow Mrs. Spangler in the Middle's board Poetry for Middle School on Pinterest.

So there you have it!  My top 3 Poetry Picks!  Check out some other Pinterest picks below.  Thanks for stopping by!