They Really Are Just Big Kids

Each Friday, we have game club in my room before school.  The kids can pick from games like chess, Othello, Battleship, etc.  This past week, what did the group of boys decide to play?  Candyland.  They laughed and laughed as they played.  It reminded me that they really are just big kids even though they are in middle school.IMG_6857.jpg


Sentence Wars

On Fridays, we have started having Sentence Wars where students work together to create the most correctly written sentences using the focus skill of the week.  In order for a sentence to “count,” it must be written correctly including punctuation.  Winning students get to put their names on the door as recognition.

Once the students turn their sentences in, they continue using the focus skill in their writing journals.  First, they find examples of the focus skill in previous journal entries or they edit a previous entry to include the focus skill.  Then, they have time to write a new new entry or to continue the previous entry making sure to include examples of the focus skill.  While they are writing, I have time to check their sentences to find the winning group.  This last time, we had a group in one class that had 12 out of 15 correct sentences, but we had one group that had 11 sentences in total and all were correct.  To celebrate the care that the second group took, members of both groups were able to put their names on the door.

To increase the challenge, I am going to start giving my advanced classes subjects and verbs that are more random.  This will force them to write better sentences as they have to provide more context to their sentences.




Directions given to the kids each Friday.


Picture of the door–can’t figure out why it gets rotated when uploaded to the blog. Sorry.

Using a Rick Bragg’s Writing in the Middle School Writing Classroom

Do you enjoy humorous stories about the south?  If so, you must check out Rick Bragg’s writing.  Rick Bragg is a southern writer who is published in each edition of Southern Living.  I have found ways to use his humorous stories in my classroom.

Interviews by Rick Bragg

Links to Stories by Rick Bragg

southern-journal-the-quill-and-the-mule  I have my students write a story that contains a dead mule…you must read the article to understand.

the-porch-article (1)  I have my students write about a place in their lives…a church pew, the cafeteria, a park, their grandparents’ table.