Teacher Ideas from Fusion – Middle Grades – For the Teachers

joplin class computer wall

I did a presentation at the NWEA Fusion conference on “Creativity and Collaboration in Data-Driven Instruction” – basically my attempt to fit some of my favorite educational ideas all into a one-hour session. I really wanted to give those attending a chance to share ideas with each other. As I seem to say often, I think teachers are the best copyright violators in the world; we do a fantastic job of taking ideas we hear and see and making them our own.

We didn’t end up having enough time to share as I would have like, but I collected the ideas they wrote on sticky notes so that I could share them here.


Question: What are your favorite activities for involving creativity or getting kids working together in class?

Responses from Middle Grade Teachers:

– Twitter Bulletin Board

– Each child creates own Twitter name

– Teacher takes picture of student and puts on bulletin board with Twitter name

– For rest of year, students can tweet about what they are learning, reading, etc.

– Rather than re-writing sentences and using easier vocabulary:

– Identify skills inherent within the paragraphs and prepare study guides, leading/guiding students to connect cause and effect, to conclusions, etc.

– Provide pre-lesson vocab to front load – vocab before reading

– Make a phone call during class on speaker phone

– Demonstrate on video

– Students act out vocabulary words

– Create captions for cartoons

– Vocabulary word with famous person – Who would be this word and why?

– Brought in favorite rap songs to show poem skills

– Students get to be “mini teachers” for math skill

– Allowing kids to self-report and identify their confidence in a topic – partly cloudy, sunny, cloudy, etc. – sit in groups accordingly

– Poker chips

– 2 per kid

– Share until gone

– All share/talkers have to listen

– Students made a rap about different poem skills

– Did a mock trial from old cases (moral issues)

– Flocabulary.com

– RAP videos on a math topic to introduce a new skill

– Share the text

– Jeopardy – Create own assessment

– Krypto: Students are given 5 #’s and have to use operations to reach a target number.

– Create rap for memorizing math facts

– Activity: Math – Using manipulatives, (ie. green triangles, blue squares, yellow hexagon, etc.), assign a cents/dollar value to each shape. Give students a large triangle. Students have to create a “triangular” cake.  Create the most expensive cake using the cake. Create the least expensive cake.


Teacher Ideas from Fusion – Middle Grades
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