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“Negativity Jammers”,Book Haul Videos, & IDOE Teacher’s Toolbox

“Negativity Jammers” from by Todd Finley– Take a look at a few of these ideas for squashing negativity in your classroom. The article is definitely worth reading for all 10 strategies shared, but here are a few snippets:

  • Good New and Gratitude (G.N.G.)– At the start of each class, I have students stand in a circle and briefly report on any life events that make them feel grateful: birthdays, trips to the beach, pizza for lunch, a new Beyoncé album, etc. In three minutes, everyone feels elevated and ready to learn.
  • Bliss Break– Before a team activity, ask students to silently group up with peers who have the same eye color. This will necessitate kids actually looking into each other’s eyes. Keeping the activity silent means nobody can shout, “Blue eyes over here.” They’ll giggle nervously and produce oxytocin, the love hormone, which leads to feelings of well-being.

These seemed like great bellringers or brain breaks to get everyone on the same positivity level. My thought is to use these before or after some particularly challenging content to bring everyone back to center.

Epic Reads Book Haul Videos– I feel as though you can never recommend too many books to middle school students. Though, there are a few inherent problems with this. Problem #1: What books do I recommend? I don’t have time to read every new YA release on the market. Problem #2: I don’t want to read every new YA release on the market. Problem #3: I often can’t bring myself to “geek out” about a mushy, corny, adolescent-y love story on cue. The solution– Epic Reads Book Haul. These short (15 min. or less) videos with a quirky host give your teens the skinny on all the new YA reads out there. Eeeeek! I recommend it!

IDOE Teachers Toolbox– Have I told you about this resource before? If you have not yet signed up to receive this resource, and you teach in Indiana, you might want to put it on your to-do list. I follow the IDOE on Twitter and receive updates when new newsletters are posted. There are often resources, strategies, and ideas posted for all content areas. Here are a few ideas from this month’s newsletter:

  • Check out — this site allows you to store YouTube videos, Pinterest images, Favorites, links and more in the cloud. Share saved content with students easily.
  • Turn math problems into sentences or stories. Give students mathematical pictures and symbols and ask them to create meaning from what they know. Have students take an equation or expression and turn them into sentences. For example, 5( x + 2 ) = 25 could be “Everyday (Monday through Friday) on my way to school I stop by the convenience store and buy a breakfast item and a $2.00 cup of coffee and the total cost for the week is $25.00”. Think about using this for your Q4 students that already know the math?
  • “Sweet” Engineering Lessons and Activities for Valentine’s Day:
    • Build a Better Candy Bag— In pairs, students design a prototype for a sturdy candy bag that can hold a lot of weight and that is useful and appealing.
    • Build a Candy Dispenser— Students apply their understanding of simple machines to design and build a prototype candy dispenser out of everyday materials.
    • The Heart Beats On— Students test their heart rate by monitoring their pulse after a range of activities and then think of how to track the health of their heart by using their heart rate.
  • Dove Self Esteem Project– Cairn Guidance is working with the Dove (Unilever) Self Esteem Program to spread implementation of a free middle school curriculum program developed to help young people develop a positive relationship with the way they look (body confidence).

This is a great resource for professional development opportunities, as well. Take a look and pass along anything you find worth sharing!



Instructional coach and former art teacher on the hunt for tips, tricks, strategies, and knowledge to pass along.

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