Fourth Quarter Never Ends!

Why does the last portion of the year feel like it’ll never end? The rest of the year flies by, but the last few weeks and days drag on FOR…EV…ER.

While school demands fell never ending it doesn’t help that students are getting antsy. Needless to, the struggle bus is real.

A few things that have been working very well for me in the last few weeks is that I’m having my students work on a research paper. I get what you’re probably thinking, Omg, why!? But it’s actually been very successful.

I was toggling back and forth between ending the year with a novel, and I couldn’t decide. As simple as it sounds I just asked the students for their input, and…(drum roll, please) they picked to work on a paper, which I was SUPER excited about because they had just mastered the art of writing a five-paragraph essay. Whoop! Whoop!

I started teaching my brain even more, and finally it came to me, CONSPIRACY THEORIES! So, for the past few weeks my students have been working on their papers in my “coffee shop”, and it’s been a dream!

We’ve slowly been working through the research portion, and I was surprised at their lack of skill in this department. (I’m not blaming them or my colleagues at all, I mean they are 7th graders and I’m used to working with seniors.)

THE PLAN

So after evaluating their skills before our researching began I scheduled my weeks like this.

WEEK 1: Intro assignment, discuss credible sources, begin researching PROS

WEEK 2: Review sources, begin researching CONS

WEEK 3: Review sources and pick out the good stuff from the extra. Begin writing if haven’t already.

WEEK 4: Write and work on citing sources, but in-text and works cited page.

– – – – – –

What has been very helpful is that the students are coming up with great topics. We are currently coming into week four and the whole process has been surprisingly easy.

TOPICS

Some of the topics that have come up are:

  • Tupac
  • JFK
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Amelia Earhart
  • 9/11
  • Area 51

TOOLS

What had also been a HUGE help is Google Classroom. Because of how the access is set up, or can be set, it makes my students’ lives, and mine, easier. I’m able to sit with students on five them individual attention on thrir assignment. Whether a student has questions of how to create a thesis, transitions, organization, etc., I’m able to jump on to their assignment and show them an example. It’s so great! I can’t imagine what I was doing before Google Doc and Google Classroom.

I’ve had a lot of fun with this assignment, because not only have the students truly had a say in their education, but I’ve enjoyed learning about their conspiracies and finding out what intrigues them.

** If you would like more posts about lesson plans, or anything else, drop a comment below!

Best,

– Kelsey

Work Week Wrap Up

This week has been chaotic! Seriously. It always feels like the spring semester always goes by the fastest.

One thing I really enjoy about my middle school team is that we, as a teaching unit (there are four of us), feel like it’s a huge part of our jobs as educators to instill a philanthropic mindset into our students. As part of our mission to do this, we are gathering our students up and having them, and some parents, help assemble food packages for developing countries around the world.

While we have been focusing on this all week long we have also been dealing with an abundance of student absences due to activities, which is bittersweet. It’s great that our students are involved, but it can be a challenge to plan around it sometimes.

Everything at the MS Teacher Lady house has been equally as crazy. Sometimes it can be hard to deal with all the constant go, go, go! I have a 3.5 year old who is proving that terrible twos was a breeze, and a 2 year old who just lives life to the fullest, dirt and worms included.

Only a few things are helping me make it through this week: caffeine, the fact that we have around 3 weeks left of school, and that it is my weekend to sleep in. 😉