Engaging Middle Schoolers During the Holiday Season

With interrupted classroom schedules, school vacations, and increased disruptive student behaviors, managing the classroom can feel like a daunting task during the winter holiday season. With a little strategizing, you can help students stay engaged and focused on learning during this busy time of year.
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Time for a Brain Break!

Middle schoolers are at an age when they need frequent opportunities to pause, move, and interact with each other to recharge themselves and refocus their energies for more productive learning. Teachers can…
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Reinforcing Language: Giving Middle Schoolers Supportive Feedback

Teacher language—the words, tone, and pace we use when we talk to students—may be the most powerful of all our teaching tools. After all, language permeates nearly every interaction we have with…
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Middle School Motivators

As middle schoolers begin the transition into young adulthood, they have a strong developmental need for learning that’s both active (hands-on, experiential) and interactive (social, collaborative). When we meet that need, students…
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The Fervent Fourteens

Fourteen-year-olds seem to have mostly gotten used to the idea of being teenagers. Their moods are not as mercurial as at thirteen. They are somewhat more comfortable in their own skin and…
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The Thriving Thirteens

The thirteen-year-old has lots of positive attributes to help navigate the first of these teen years. At the forefront are a keen sense of humor and a sense of silliness that makes…
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The Building Blocks of Collaboration: Partner and Small-Group Chats (Grades 5–6)

Children learn a great deal, academically and socially, by collaborating—working together toward common goals. A good way to help students begin developing collaboration skills is by teaching them how to exchange ideas,…
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Morning Meeting and Older Students

If you teach older students—those between 10 and 14—you may have wondered if Morning Meeting is appropriate for them. Can you spare the time from the intensifying academic focus in the upper…
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The Twixt Twelve-Year-Old

Closer to teenagers than to middle childhood, twelves are tweens. They have enormous positive energy for independent and group endeavors, whether at school, in sports, or in after-school activities.
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The Electric Eleven-Year-Old

Powerful advocates and strong believers, elevens are passionate about their ideas and opinions, allegiances and sense of justice. They’re devoted to classmates and peer groups, and the social negotiations surrounding cliques (which…
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