Testimonial: “Rejuvenation”

Testimonial is a regular feature of the new IMLA website.  This is where we’ll share reflections from IMLA members about what they’ve taken from our conference and implemented in their schools.

The following Testimonial comes from Amber Hickman, teacher at Rocky Mountain Middle School

IMLA was a great experience for me. All the classes that I attended had information that I have used in my classroom this year. One of the things I was looking for was some classroom management ideas for middle school students since I had previously only taught at the high school level. I found just what I was looking for at the conference.  It was also nice to get excited about teaching again in March.

Thank You,


Many thanks to Amber for sharing this with us.  We hope you’ll come see us in February and pick up many new ideas and strategies you can implement, as well.


Team SYNERGY at Kuna Middle School recently hosted a murder scene.  Read a bit more about it in the facebook post from the Ada County Shreiff’s Office.


Team SYNERGY hosts a Problem-Based Learning (PBL) environment for 7th and 8th grade students.  In this environment, students have direct access to their History, Language Arts, Math, and Science instructors at all times as they work to solve the problems laid out before them — and those problems require students to show off the skills they’ve practiced in all four core areas.

Team SYNERGY is scheduled to present at the 2015 IMLA conference, and they are excited to share more about how they designed and implemented their program that integrates PBL, as well as Blended Learning, and Standards-Based Grading.

In the meantime, feel free to check out their SYNERGY*VOICES blog, where they keep a log of successes, failures, problems, questions, and everything else they encounter as they move through their journey in redefining what middle school looks like.

10 Things Students Experience Every day

Here are 10 things our students experience every day that I believe many of us educators

tend to forget about…

1). Limited amounts of time and constantly in a rush to go from one place to the next and having to eat at a pace that isn’t normal or ideal for most.

2). Trying to keep straight a different set of classroom expectations, procedures, and beliefs about learning for several different teachers.

3). Dressing out for gym class can be quite an intimidating and frightful experience for many.

4). Having to go to the restroom and either being rushed or having to ask for permission to go to the restroom during a time in class when it’s convenient for the teacher.

5). The amount of food our students get at breakfast and lunch may not be enough to completely quench their hunger due to recent changes in food and nutrition regulations.

6). Lots of sitting only to be followed up by more sitting. A majority of a student’s day is comprised of sitting in an uncomfortable chair.

7). Students are asked to travel all throughout the building over the course of the day, and it seems like each classroom and each space in the building has a different temperature. One room may be too warm while the next room is too cold.

8). Lots of being talked ‘at’ rather than being talked ‘with.’

9). Other kids in class who purposefully derail and consume large amounts of attention and time from the teacher which leaves other kids feeling like they aren’t important or don’t deserve any of the teacher’s time.

10). Lastly, and probably most frustrating, the tiny little desks and work spaces students are provided that make it difficult for everything to fit. Pencils and pens falling off desks, and books, devices, paper, and writing utensils all fitting on the desk at the same time are real problems.

(Jusitn Tarte 2014)