Round Table: Topics

Register today for our Round Table session featuring two amazing Idaho educators: Randy Jensen and Jeffrey Read.

They’ll be hosting a discussion on a  number of topics central to the teaching and administration at the middle level, including:

  • IMG_0009randy jensenBuilding Relationships
  • Middle School Philosophy
  • Time Management
  • Urgent vs Important
  • Staying Balanced
  • Leadership 101-601
  • Covey Principles

If you don’t already know Randy and Jeff, get to know them a little better by clicking here.

TESTIMONIAL: “COMMUNICATION, RELATIONSHIPS, AND ENERGY”

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 Kim Tiersma, 6th grade Social Studies Teacher at Nampa Christian

As a first time attendee to IMLA last February, I was encouraged by the energetic desire to teach and impact students at the middle school level. It is easy to fall into the repetition of everyday tasks while teaching, but the IMLA conference gave practical and realistic ideas that could be used the next week in my classroom. The ideas from the seminars tied in nicely to the general speakers who were not only entertaining, but challenged those in attendance to communicate better with students by forming respectful relationships and instill the same energetic desire to be life long learners.

Many thanks to Kim 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.  Don’t forget to register!

ALL THE OPPORTUNITIES!

IMLA circle Round TableWe’ve updated our registration info page with a link to attend the Round Table session with Randy Jensen and Jeffrey Reed.

One cool thing about the Round Table Session is that you don’t need to attend the full conference to participate — it’s its own mini-conference, wherein you’ll get the opportunity to hear from two wonderful Idaho educators who will discuss leadership trends and topics in middle level education in Idaho.

Registration for this seminar includes dinner. This event is open to non-IMLA members as well as people not attending the annual conference Feb 27-28th.

Round Table: Randy Jensen and Jeffrey Read

Every year, we host a Round Table Discussion with Educational Experts.  This year’s Discussion features two amazing educators you will definitely not want to miss — Randy Jensen and Jeff Read.

Photo via independentman on flickr.

randy jensenRandy Jensen

Randy Jensen has been the Principal of William Thomas Middle School in American Falls, for the past 26 years.  He was awarded the Bev Bradford Distinguished Service Award at the 2014 IMLA conference.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Secondary School Principals and has also been West Region Trustee on the executive board of the National Middle School Association. He was the 2005 National Principal of the Year.  He has served as President for the Idaho Middle Level Association.  His school was recognized as one of the top 30 Secondary Schools in the Nation by the Center for Secondary School Redesign three of the last six years  He has been a featured speaker at many national and state conferences.. He has a Masters Degree in Educational Administration from Idaho State University.  Randy is very active in his community where he has helped start and still directs many youth programs. He and his wife Kristen have four children.

Jeffrey ReedJeffrey Read

I retired at the end of the end of the 2012-2013 school year after serving 14 years as a middle school teacher and 14 years as a middle school and high school administrator. I spent 21 years in the American Falls School District and seven years in the Nampa School District. The last two years I have spent working with the Preston and Blackfoot School Districts as a Capacity Builder and RTI coach.

My ability to communicate both verbally and in writing has always been one of my biggest strengths. I was raised in a home full of books and even now have a personal library that numbers in the hundreds. I have always felt very comfortable presenting at educational conferences and have done so on numerous occasions and on varied and important educational subjects and content

Working with a team has always been a mainstay of my educational philosophy both as a teacher and perhaps even more so as an administrator. The collective knowledge and energy of a group will always surpass the efforts of an individual. During my 14 years as an administrator I always had a Leadership Team of teachers, students, ancillary staff, and administrators, whose responsibility it was to make decisions based on data and best practices research. I generally selected a couple of key players to be a part of these teams, but for the most part they were chosen by their peers.

During my seven years as principal at American Falls High School I was able to lead a team of teachers to help move a school that was perpetually failing to meet the accountability thresholds set by the state (AYP Jail), to one that was a four star school in 2011-2012 and a five star school in 2012-2013. This was accomplished as school budgets were basically gutted, morale had a tendency to waiver, and education as a whole was in a state of flux and disarray in this state. I believe strongly in my ability to motivate and engage people in a shared vision and common cause. Having led a school from the dregs of AYP jail to the highest rating a school can have, is an accomplishment of which I am very proud. I would be excited and honored to be in a position to help other struggling schools achieve this same kind of success. I would be honored to meet with you and talk about the possibilities and opportunities.

IMLA circle Round TableJoin IMLA at Eagle Middle School from 6pm-8pm on February 26, 2015 with Randy Jensen and Jeffrey Read as we discuss leadership trends and topics in middle level education in Idaho. Registration for this seminar includes dinner. This event is open to non-IMLA members as well as people not attending the annual conference Feb 27-28th.

Just click the ROUND TABLE button on the left.

TESTIMONIAL: “TAUGHT BY TEACHERS”

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 Kim Williams, Teacher at William Thomas Middle School

Many years ago I attended an IMLA conference and a presentation was given on “Learn Ball”. “Learn Ball” is a classroom management technique that I have used ever since.  I have tweaked it to fit my needs and I have passed it on to many other teachers.  It is very effective and it is fun for the students.

IMLA has been the source of many teaching ideas for me throughout the years.  I think we are fortunate in Idaho to be able to attend a conference of such quality geared especially to the middle years age group with which we deal.  I have also been to many National middle school conferences around the country and, although they offer some amazing opportunities and ideas, the consistent quality of our own state conference is superior.

Presenters for IMLA realize what Idaho teachers need and it is because they ARE Idaho teachers themselves!  It is easy, and has always been easy, to stay connected with the presenters at IMLA conferences and continue getting advice and having a dialogue.  Those types of dialogues are invaluable.  And the relationships I have developed with other Idaho educators over time are invaluable as well. IMLA has been one of the very best professional development opportunities I have had access to in my 27 years of teaching in Idaho.
Many thanks to Kim 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.  Don’t forget to register!

 

10 Ways to Sabotage Your Classroom Management

Classroom management is one aspect of teaching in which even veteran teachers can struggle — there are many recipes to keeping a class focused, structured, and motivated, but there are very simple mistakes we make than can allow that structure to fall apart.   Check out this list from Jennifer Rodriguez of the 10 things you can avoid, and how to avoid them.

1. Smiling at the Wrong Times

This was a big problem for me. I thought my students were pretty funny people, so when a kid took those first steps to get us off-track, I couldn’t help but smile. And that just encouraged him to continue. The irony was that five minutes later, I would be yelling at the whole class for getting too wild. Duh.

Alternative: Make a conscious effort to hold a neutral, “on-task” facial expression when you need your class to be focused. I still think it’s important to show students you have a sense of humor and appreciate theirs, but everyone needs to learn that there’s a time and place for it. Have a private conversation with your class clowns, letting them know that there will be times when you won’t react to their jokes – that will be your signal that it’s a “serious” time.

2. Handling Problems Publicly

Get-back-to-WorkAddressing student misbehavior in a public way risks embarrassing the student, and if she is prone to being oppositional, she’s likely to talk back and dig herself into a deeper hole. You retaliate, and before you know it, a full-scale war has erupted.

Alternative: Whenever possible, address off-task behavior in private. Some teachers silently place a post-it note on the student’s desk to signal that a problem has occurred, then add a check mark for every subsequent infraction.

Others just speak in a quiet voice by the student’s desk or call the student up to their own. The method isn’t terribly important; just aim for a bare minimum of spectacle.

3. All Sound, No Sight

So many behavior problems start with students simply not understanding what they are supposed to do. This is especially true when teachers only give verbal directions instead of making them visual.

Alternative: Provide visual cues for what students are expected to do. If you want them to do steps 1-4 of today’s lab, then clean up their materials, then read silently for the rest of the period, go to the board and make a quick list: step 1-4, clean up, read. Simply writing those steps on the board will save you from having to remind students or reprimand them for not following the plan.

4. Not Waiting for Quiet

When I observe teachers, I see this mistake more often than any other: They start talking to the class before everyone has completely stopped talking. To be fair, they often wait until almosteveryone is quiet, but allowing that last bit of chatter to linger causes problems: Students who don’t hear what you say will either (a) turn to a neighbor to ask, or (b) follow instructions incorrectly. It’s easy to blame kids for being poor listeners, but the problem could actually be the teacher’s timing.

Alternative: Before addressing your class, force yourself to wait a few extra seconds (about five) until everyone – everyone – is completely quiet.

5. Making Students Choose Between Listening and Reading

BlahBlah-1024x781When you distribute a handout to students, do you give them quiet time toactually read it? Or do you keep talking, “going over it” and constantly interrupting them to the point where they can’t process any of it? When you do this, you guarantee that students will either skip over something important on the document, or miss a vital bit of information you gave verbally. The brain can’t do both at once.

Alternative: If you have preliminary remarks to make before giving students written material, do your talking first, then pass out the papers. Once students have the document in hand, tell them you’re going to give them a few minutes to read it. Then…BE QUIET. If you must interrupt, have students turn their papers face-down and look at you, then give the announcement.

Read the remaining 5 over at MiddleWeb

Testimonial: “Blessings and Excitement”

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 Dani Wilson, 6th grade Reading teacher at Lone Star Middle School.

IMLA is such a great experience! My first year teaching I was blessed with the opportunity of attending the conference and I have been a few times since then. The keynote speakers always share interesting messages and leave me excited to get back to my classroom! It’s also nice getting to meet with other middle school teachers from across the state and hear what strategies they use to engage and build relationships with students. I would recommend IMLA for anyone who works in a middle school!

Many thanks to Dani 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.  Don’t forget to register!

Top 10 Things Middle-School Students Wish You Knew

Remember our previous post “10 things middle school students experience every day“?  It’s time for another take on our students from their perspective.

via wikipedia

1. I was not trying to get attention by falling off the chair. I am approximately infinity inches bigger than I was yesterday and I just lost track of how to balance. I felt like an idiot so I made falling into a joke. Crying was the other choice. And I’d rather cut off my arm than cry in school.

2. I did that homework. I am almost positive I did it.Getting it from done to folder to backpack to school to you is like seven extra homeworks. That is too many. It’s also possible I forgot to do the homework. I honestly have no idea where my planner is. Or maybe the homework was completely confusing and if I asked for help people might think I am stupid now when that used to be my best subject.

3. That time I called you Mom was the most humiliating moment of my life. It’s one thing in second grade but middle school? Ugh. How does this stuff still happen to me?

4. When you force us to get up—do stuff, act it out, test our ideas—it wakes us up and makes the lesson so much more fun and easy to remember.

5. Sometimes I just can’t focus. I’m buzzy, jumpy, pumped with electricity. Somebody suddenly looks distractingly attractive, across the room, which is fully that other person’s fault, not mine. Or I don’t get what we’re discussing and the pain of not understanding is so excruciating I just have to take a break from paying attention.

For items 6 – 10 (and a bonus), please check the original source over at We Are Teachers.

And then check the author, Rachel Vail’s, longer version of the list at Huffington Post.

(“Rachel Vail)