If you Google middle school, you might come up with some pretty weird results. Thank goodness for TpT, I say! We’ve got an amazingly talented team of middle school teachers who know that teaching middle school is the best thing ever. Here’s what they have to say about the kids, the challenges, and the types of lessons that work best for this unique group of students.

TpT Middle School Means:

1. Lessons That Keep Them Motivated

Runde’s Room suggests, “For me, the key to keeping the students motivated is to keep them having fun. Learning IS fun… and the more excited and engaged you are as a teacher, the more excited and engaged the students are. Keep them busy — all day long. When they aren’t busy, problems can definitely arise.  Tell them WHY they are learning something — when they see the worth, they will try harder. Praise them when they deserve it… and hold them to your consistent expectations.”

2. Differentiated Resources for All Students

“Middle school students present a more challenging need for differentiation. A poor reader might be a great thinker; an otherwise top math student might have difficulty with word problems, for instance. Designing lessons that work with their strengths while allowing time and space to work on the weaknesses (all in ONE hour) is a major challenge, and other middle school teachers are the best to design those lessons. Group lessons and interactive notebooks allow for differentiating this way and put a lot of individuality and fun into the lessons simultaneously.” Says Arlene Manemann.

3. Unique Lessons for Unique Learners

Utah Roots says, “Middle school kids are unique. In many ways they cling to childhood while simultaneously craving independence and yearning for adulthood. They need structure and they also need choices. They need fun but also challenges. They are nearly obsessed with belonging to a group. They need and love their parents but wish they were invisible. The challenges of teaching in a middle school require a different kind of teacher. No matter what you teach in middle school, it has to be taught in a high-energy, creative, fun way. Creating materials that are appropriate for the unique needs of middle school students is very time consuming, and it’s hard to find that time. That’s the beauty of TpT for middle school teachers.”

4. A Collaborative Space for Unique Teachers

Literary Sherri’s experience: “TpT offers the spirit of collaboration that middle school teachers need, because no one truly understands the joys and the challenges of being a middle school teacher quite like other middle school teachers! Whether it’s kvetching with other Teacher-Authors or finding products created by real-world teachers to integrate with our lessons, there’s nothing more valuable than gleaning from the experiences, insights, and wisdom of other teachers who truly understand the unique needs of middle school students and classrooms.”

5. Specialized, Rigorous, Thought Provoking Lessons

Michelle from Mixed-Up Files explains: “I can’t find the rigorous, stimulating materials that I need to keep my students challenged and engaged at the local teacher supply store. The beauty of Teachers Pay Teachers is that those of us with very specific needs can connect with others in similar teaching situations, even if we’re halfway around the world. I follow three or four teachers who consistently provide exciting and thought-provoking lessons on the classic texts that I teach. I love to purchase their products and to be inspired by their ideas.”

6. Teachers Who Care and Give 100%

  • Take for example, Adventures in Science. She says, “My students are thoughtful, eager to learn, and funny. I love working with this age! One thing that has helped me a lot is to start each year with clear procedures and expectations. Setting the right tone from day one is instrumental to a successful year. What most people don’t seem to understand about middle school students is that they’re still KIDS! They love to play games and get stickers on their papers just like younger students do. TpT is an amazing resource because, for the first time EVER, you can find games that are age appropriate and related to your curriculum!”
  • And Darlene Anne seconds, “I’ve enjoyed teaching many different grade levels, but without a doubt, middle school is the best! Middle school students walk the slippery slope between child and adult. Although they often seem cocky and nonchalant, they are actually insecure. Middle school students thrive on praise, but only if it is deserved. The most effective classroom management tools for middle school teachers? Engaging lessons that are challenging, fun, and interactive. Such lessons are available by the boatload on TpT. An added benefit that makes TpT products special is that they are always ‘alive.’ Teacher-authors can add to and improve upon existing products at will.”

7. Lessons That Are Relevant

  • Brandon Bowyer suggests, “one of the biggest aspects of teaching middle school is making the content relevant to the students’ lives. Anything that the students can relate to, especially relate-able examples!”
  • Science in the City concurs, “Successful middle school lessons require a high level of relevancy, engagement, and creativity. This can be difficult to come up with on a regular basis, on a variety of topics. TpT allows you to tap into other experienced teachers’ creativity, to build up a collection of creative lessons.”
  • And Lindsay Perro too: “I’ve always found that for math, it HAS to be relevant! This is the age when they are curious and can even get a little snarky and ask that question ‘When am I EVER going to use this?’ Tying concepts into things they’re interested in really helps keep them engaged and retain what they’re learning. TpT is full of projects, performance tasks and activities to keep students excited about learning!”

8. Improved Teaching Strategies

  • Ellen Weber says, “As we work together to build a stronger community among those of us who design curriculum with teens in mind, we’ll all enjoy dividends!”
  • Christoper Mitchell’s class benefits tremendously. Here’s how, “As a middle school social studies teacher, I look for TpT products that fuel this development. I look for materials that will complement my rain forest deforestation debate, which is my culminating project in the unit. I seek out resources that reinforce discussions about the wrongness of racial segregation in America and apartheid in South Africa. I look for materials that encourage my 7th graders to think about the world around them, how they would change it or improve it, and above all to question some of the aspects of history and culture in this world they live in: a world that I remind them, they will be running in just a few short years.”

 9. Special Needs Resources With Heart

  • One size does not fit all and middle school is no different! 4mulaFun understands, “It’s a daunting task to know that every day you have over 100 students who all have different learning styles and needs that are also affected by their ever-raging hormones. Being able to balance all of this without losing your mind is definitely where TpT can help. We can provide a wide variety of materials to teachers to show that there isn’t just one way to teach all of the students that we have in our classrooms, but rather multiple ways that can then be broken down into small groups to effectively engage all of our students from day to day.”
  • Mrs Martin Learns says, “I totally agree! We have a huge spectrum of abilities in middle school because here there is only one option for each content per grade level, no matter the skill level. Differentiation, scaffolding, and modifying all happen constantly. It’s amazing. TpT helps because there are so many great products designed with not only the skill levels in mind, but that interactive, hands-on, or otherwise engaging piece that is essential.”

10. Putting the Resources Teachers Need at Their Fingertips

Jill Powers says it well, “I’ll just add that finding activities and materials on TpT is a HUGE timesaver for teachers! The products offered here have taken sellers many hours to create. TpT is a place for teachers to find interesting, challenging, engaging, high quality activities and resources that are classroom ready. This gives teachers more time to focus on individual students and their learning.” But don’t just take our word for it, definitely check out the amazing resources these Teacher-Authors, and others, have to offer.
Sara Hardin: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle SchoolScaffolded Math and Science: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle SchoolChristopher Mitchell: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle SchoolMixed-Up Files: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle SchoolScience in the City: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle SchoolRunde's Room: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle SchoolBrandon Bowyer: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle SchoolMrs Martin Learns: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle SchoolIgniting Inquiry: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle SchoolJill Powers: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle SchoolArlene Manemann: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle SchoolNight-light Lessons: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle SchoolLindsay Perro: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle SchoolJulie Faulkner: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle SchoolDarlene Anne: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle SchoolUtah Roots: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle SchoolMr Educator - A Social Studies Professional: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle SchoolScience Stuff: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle SchoolAdventures in Science: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle SchoolEllen Weber: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle SchoolOCBeachTeacher: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle School4mulaFun: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle SchoolLiterary Sherri: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle SchoolTandra Griffiths: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle SchoolGetting Nerdy with Mel and Gerdy: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle SchoolSLPrunner: Teachers Pay Teachers: TpT Middle School