Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013


Teamwork is the secret that makes common people achieve uncommon results.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

SMART goals

Love this idea for goal setting  .  .   .

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Friday, November 1, 2013

Face to Face Advisorie Face to Face Advisories-Bridging Cultural Gaps in Grades 5–9 by Linda Crawford

Face to Face Advisories cover 

Address the most important cultural challenges of our day

  • Develop appreciation for cultural diversity
  • Cultivate connections across differences
  • Examine the price we pay for intolerance
  • Realize that each of us can be a change agent
Guide students through 125+ conversations
Includes more than a year's worth of daily messages, greetings, share topics, robust and varied activites, and reflection questions to prompt development of social skils, critical thinking, and open discussion. Students learn to use multiple perspectives to examine culture in lively, fun, and friendly ways.

Contribute to positive social changes both in and out of the classroom
Close cultural gaps and prepare the way for academic success for all. Help students realize the value of a diverse community and the importance of creating a more collaborative, tolerant world.
Take action for equity!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


A great article . . . http://www.amle.org/BrowsebyTopic/Health,Wellness,Guidance/HeaDet/TabId/189/ArtMID/803/ArticleID/279/Culture-of-Connectedness-through-Advisory.aspx

Advisor/Advisory characteristics that foster connectedness
  • Strong advisory programs address issues of community.
  • Strong advisories promote open communication.
  • Strong advisors know and care about their advisees.
  • Strong advisors closely supervise their advisees’ academic progress.
  • Strong advisors are problem solvers and advice givers.
  • Students and advisors perceive that advisory directly improves academic performance.
  • Students and advisors perceive that advisory functions as a community of learners.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

School Spirit!

We spent the last Advisory session talking about what makes us proud to be part of our school. Everyone received a "paw" for their thoughts!
P positive
A attitudes
W worth
S sharing

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Goal Setting for Success

Goal Setting – Introduce students to goal setting for individual purposes and for develop group goals. Please revisit students and group goals quarterly.  Have students brainstorm some of their personal goals so they can have them ready for the following advisory session.

A good video for families - http://goalsettingforstudents.com/

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Goal Setting . . .

Coach John Wooten’s Motivational TalkWe have been working on goal setting with our learners.  Here are some sites and resources . . .

Here is a video on goal setting with a focus on  athletics.  Powerful and inspirational! Check it out . . .

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Social Media

Never knew there were so many!  Now this will spark conversation!

More ideas at middleschooladvisory101.blogspot.com

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

First Advisory of the new school year . . .

I love welcoming the new kids to our group.  We keep our kids for their 3 years of Middle School.  While the 8th graders move to 9th grade, we welcome the 6th graders.  Today we did our usual :good morning" ball toss and decided what animal most represents our personalities.  We ranged from dogs to koalas to bunnies.  They wanted to know what I thought about me . . . If I were an animal I would be a ................. because ..................  not sure, they thought a cat?  I think a fox!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ideas to check out before school starts . . .

I have become a follower on Pinterest. Here is a board to check out . . . http://pinterest.com/bernern1/middle-school-advisory/

Monday, July 8, 2013

Developmental Designs

If you have not heard of this group, it is a "must check it out" if you are a Middle School person. There are great resources, trainings, articles, etc.
Here are some resources specifically for Advisory . . .

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer reading ideas for Middle Schoolers . . .


Sunday, June 16, 2013

You are . . .

Love these posters . . . great sayings to spark conservation!

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Get to know your advisees with this fun and unique activity - Fingerprints! All you’ll need for this is an ink pad, white paper, something to write with (maybe fun colored pencils or markers) and a photocopier. First, let every student make a fingerprint onto white paper. Next, blow up their fingerprints using the photocopier (8×10 or larger). Then, Have your kids write words and phrases about themselves along the lines and whorls of their fingerprints, and sign

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Fun "end of the year" activities for Middle Schoolers from Scholastic.com

It is the end of the year. The last ten weeks go by fast and furious, so how do you keep your students learning when they have spring fever? What do you do with the many half days resulting from testing, picnics, and award ceremonies? Read on to view activities that keep students engaged in learning and celebrate their successes. Included are free student award certificates to print off and use in your classroom. Outside Reading Now that our three-year construction project has come to an end, I am going to take my students outside to read. I want them to get the feeling of being on a college campus to motivate them to pursue a higher education and set career aspirations. Moving class outside motivates them to read at a time when most students would rather be outside enjoying the weather. It also develops an appreciation for reading outdoors, at the beach, on a porch. It is also a great kickoff for summer reading programs. Autograph Signing Signing yearbooks is a popular event in middle school. However, the price of yearbooks makes it difficult for many students to purchase one. I allow my students to make an autograph book or scrapbook and bring it to class, so they can capture the memories of middle school. This kind of personal reading and writing has an authentic purpose. On the days we have final exams in the morning, for instance, I allow students in afternoon classes to sign yearbooks or scrapbooks. I spend a lot of time writing, too. Character Traits T-Shirts This is a great activity for reviewing character traits and symbolism before finals. Students design a T-shirt depicting their own character traits, celebrating the many ways each of them is gifted. Some will put soccer balls, music notes, or a paintbrush to symbolize their love for sports, music, and art respectively. They decorate the front, and friends sign the back. All you need is a white T-shirt and fabric paint and pens. Students can pick up basic white T-shirts for $2.00 at our local drugstore. Make sure to put heavy paper or cardboard inside the T-shirts so that the paint or ink doesn’t bleed through to the other side. Some students use Sharpies; however, they do fade with repeated washing and drying. Some students use the T-shirt instead of a yearbook or scrapbook. Visit Teachnet for other T-shirt designing tips and ideas. Scholastic has a character T-shirt lesson, which can be modified to target other kinds of traits instead of character traits. Walk for Health The elementary and middle school students, parents, and staff at our school participate in Walk for Health to inspire healthy living habits. The local sports reporter from WWNY TV 7, Mel Bustler, comes to kick off the event. He records us for the evening news, so the students get excited. To organize an event of this caliber, the students are bused to the local plaza, which is about one mile away from the school, before school starts. We organize by homerooms and walk from the plaza back to school. Teachers and staff members are stationed at the crosswalks to ensure that all students are safe. After returning to school, we each get a bottle of water and settle down for a day of work. You would be surprised how many community members turn out to participate or watch the walk. Field Trips At the end of the year, we head to Cooperstown, New York, to the National Baseball Hall of Fame Museum. This annual 6th grade field trip enriches our integrated baseball unit. Each teacher signs up for a module connected to his or her curriculum: English, reading, math, science, social studies, and the arts. I sign up for the communications module, "Going, Going, Gone!" Using a script, we reenact the famous radio broadcast of Hank Aaron’s 715th home run that broke Babe Ruth’s record. Our group enthusiastically assumes roles. Those who don't have specific roles create the roaring crowd sound effects. The museum records it for us, so we can take it home on CD. The picture to the right is a wall of baseball idioms that we use in everyday language, which is part of a lesson we do. The second photo is of Jackie Robinson's plaque. During the unit, we will have read a nonfiction article about how the plaque was recently amended, so naturally, we look for it to see if it's been amended as stated in the article. Photo credits Mary Moskal Blow. We also go on a field trip to celebrate Conservation Day. At the local Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) we learn how to take care of our environment. We learn how to fish responsibly, pack hiking food safely, plant trees, make bluebird houses for our state bird, and monitor species populations in a habitat. The DEC gives each student a sapling to plant at home. It is tradition in our school to take the entire middle school student body to Enchanted Forest, a water park in Old Forge, NY, about one hour from our school. Teachers, staff, and students spend the day splashing in the park. It is a great bonding experience. This field trip is part of our reward system sponsored by our PTO. Throughout the year, students earn point for grades, volunteering, fund-raising, attending school events, etc. After accumulating so many points, the tickets are free. If they do not collect enough points, they have to contribute to the price of the ticket. This is not done on a school day, but on the first day of summer vacation. Class Picnic On the last day of school, the 6th grade teachers host a cookout for the entire 6th grade class, about 115 students. We buy hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta salad, chips, and cookies. While we are cooking we set up our classrooms with different activities, games, and movies. One year, I hooked my Wii up to the SMART Board. The tournaments are so much fun. We have board games like Scrabble, Apples to Apples, Boggle, chess, and checkers. Two teachers donate their gas grills for the day, and we cook outside. We put tables down through the 6th grade hallway, creating a buffet style luncheon. The students invite staff members to join us, and we eat lunch together for the last time. One teacher puts together a photo story capturing the highlights of the year, which the students watch throughout the event. When we finish, we go outside and play games. It is a great bonding day, a day to help students feel like members of the school community, so they want to return. Awards Ceremony Each year, we host an awards ceremony for our 6th graders. Usually we buy our certificates to celebrate student achievement, effort, and citizenship. This year, with the economy the way it is, I created my own certificates using Microsoft PowerPoint. Please feel free to download my awards certificates in PowerPoint to customize them to meet your classroom needs. If you just want to print them off, download the PDF version of the student award certificates. You can also view my awards at Issuu or choose from other awards. 5th Grade Visitation Day One half-day at the end of each year is spent helping incoming 5th graders acclimate to middle school. While 6th graders go to 5th grade to visit their previous teachers, 5th graders come to middle school to meet their new teachers and see their new classrooms. This helps to alleviate the anxiety of starting at a new school. They learn how to transition between classes in three minutes using a schedule. We only get about 12 minutes with them; however, I take advantage of this time to get a three-minute writing sample from them, so that I go into summer vacation with some data to help me identify instructional needs.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mean Stinks

Love this site for great, quick, sayings and posters . . .

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Power of Our Words Book Teacher Language That Helps Children Learn P. Denton,

This is a GREAT Resource Language may be a teacher's most powerful tool, for words do more than deliver content. They also play a huge part in whether children develop self-control, build a sense of belonging, and gain academic and social skills and knowledge. K–8. This warm and thought-provoking book shows how you can use words, tone, and pacing to build a classroom where students feel safe, respected, appreciated, and excited about learning. Denton, an educator with over twenty years of experience teaching children and adults, offers practical tips (including language to avoid and language to adopt), real-life anecdotes, and concrete examples. Topics include: using language to help children envision success open-ended questions that stretch children's thinking listening and using silence skillfully the 3 Rs of teacher language: reinforcing, reminding, and redirecting saying what you mean and meaning what you say giving brief, concrete instructions offering meaningful, specific encouragement The sensible approach this book advocates is backed by research and proven through decades of successful practice in elementary classrooms nationwide. It offers ideas beginners can try immediately and a wealth of guidance and support for those farther along in the process of changing their language.
Generous in its practical examples, The Power of Our Words also clarifies the principles behind using constructive language in the classroom. The book calls on us to remember that teaching is not a monologue, but a dialogue. —Carol Ann Tomlinson, EdD, professor of Leadership, Foundations & Policy, The University of Virginia

Friday, March 1, 2013

How to Teach Test-Taking Strategies to Middle School Students

1 Guide students to read and think actively. Middle school students are active and energetic. Have students take turns to read out loud the instructions, question and answer choices of selected assignments. Pause after students finish reading the question, and ask them what they anticipate the answer will be. After some practice of reading out loud, have them practice reading quietly on their own. Ask students to paraphrase or summarize their reading. 2Teach them to make educated guesses and eliminate obvious incorrect answer choices. Instead of asking students what the right answers are, practice crossing out the obvious wrong answers. Students will get the right answer by the process of elimination. When students need to choose between two or more possible answers, encourage them to make an educated guess by deciding which answer makes more sense. 3 Teach your students time management. The clock is ticking. When students get stuck on one or two problems, encourage them to move on to the rest of the test. Teach them how to make a note to themselves and go back to those problems afterward. They also must learn to keep a positive attitude during a test. 4 Practice test-taking strategies by doing mock exams. Simulate testing environments, and have students take mock exams before the actual exams. Start by having them take a section or two of a mock exam. As time goes by, simulate a full-length exam. Time each mock exam. Encourage students to use testing strategies. After students complete each mock exam, go over each problem and answer their questions. http://www.ehow.com/how_12034423_teach-testtaking-strategies-middle-school-students

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Make the story come alive, add read aloud to advisory

Make reading aloud part of your advisories using the Activity Plus format. Improve public speaking and active listening skills Expand the ways students respond to literature Draw out more reluctant speakers Check out this great resource - Advisory Book, The REVISED EDITION Building a Community of Learners Grades 5-9 by Linda Crawford

Monday, January 21, 2013

Team-building Activities

We have done this from time-to-time. Works great if you have a big ugly plastic insect to put in the middle of the web when you are done!
Pass a ball of string from student-to-student to help middle schoolers understand team-building. Advisory time also is appropriate for team-building activities. Advisory time allows teachers to develop a personal relationship with each student in the group, and team-building activities provide students with a change to learn more about each other as well. Effective team-building activities for middle school students include the shoe game and tie a string. In the shoe game, each student takes off one shoe and places it in a pile. The teacher divides the class into two teams, and the first team to find all its members' shoes and sit down on the floor wins the game. In the string game, the teacher starts by passing a ball of string to a student, who then passes the ball on, leaving a trail of string behind it. The only person who can talk is the person holding the ball of string. Once that person is done sharing her feelings, she passes the ball on until everyone has had a chance to speak. The web formed by the string represents how we are all interconnected and how a group works.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Motivational Messages from Lehigh University

Recently the Lehigh University Men's and Women's Basketball Teams visited our school to speak to our 7th and 8th graders. The messages focused on goal setting, determination and not being afraid to fail at something as opposed to regretting not even trying. Our kids asked great questions and had opportunities to visit with the players. http://www.lehighsports.com/videos/lehigh_basketball_teams_visit_local_middle_schools_.aspx
The 5th and 6th graders had the opportunity to actually travel to the Lehigh University Campus to see a game. What inspirational young men and women! Thanks Lehigh!