Embrace the Weird

Middle School Classroom

It’s sometimes hard to not equate teachers with that Charlie Brown monotone one. You know who I mean! The one who, at least from Charlie’s point of view, definitely didn’t seem to enjoy her job very much.

A goal of mine in blogging is to help teachers enjoy their careers. Catering to middle school teachers in this goal makes it quite easy because teaching middle school can be described best by using one word: weird. Who doesn’t enjoy a little weird?!

If you teach middle school, I know that I’m not telling you anything new about the endearing quirk that comes with the territory. And, you know what I’ve found helps middle school teachers thrive most in their careers? They embrace the weird and they have fun with it!

I love my job because I have fun with my kids!

Many teachers think that whenever they allow their students to “have fun” by getting up and moving, creating loose-expectationed projects (yes, that’s a thing!), and even throwing parties during class, that their head will explode from the kids being so wild and so SUPER weird.

Don’t be afraid of it. I’ve found the complete opposite happens. I’ve found that the more fun activities I plan for my kids, the most fun I have in the classroom, and thus, the most I enjoy my job. And, it’s really a big circle of awesomeness because when I’m enjoying my job and my students look forward to coming to my class, they learn a lot more from me in turn. I’d hope (crossing my fingers!) that none of my students equate me with Charlie Brown’s teacher!

I love to embrace the weird in my classroom. This morning was certainly no exception. Whenever my chain competition ended (you should check out the blog for my chain competition at this link: https://mrsmiddleschool.com/2019/03/18/my-very-best-whole-class-behavior-management-strategy/) my 1st period won by 2 points! Usually I guide my students in letting them pick their own reward. I find that whenever you let the students choose, the reward ends up being way more fun and it builds up your class culture so much instead of the teacher planning it.

In order to help your middle school students plan their own reward party, first help them compile a list of themes. Themes are key for ultimate weird-good-ness for a middle school class party. In my 1st period, we came up with a bunch of ideas, and the following ideas were our top three voted for:

  • Sloth party, where we would walk and talk really s—l—o—w
  • Beach themed party where we would all dress up like we were spending the day at the beach
  • Breakfast buffet where we would bring in breakfast goodies to eat
Yes, this is a sloth print out taped on my shirt. Yes, that is a beach towel around my neck. And yes, I did actually wear this during class. The whole class, actually. 🙂

Instead of voting for the best idea, we decided to combine them. Again, I let my students decide, and I would highly suggest you do the same! Talk about ultimate weirdness–in the best way possible!

For the party, my students and I brought in juice, donuts, cookies, muffins, scones, poptarts, strawberries, nutella, waffles, a toaster, and syrup! We wore beach themed clothes, we listened to steel drums and Hawaiian music, and we walked and talked slow, like a sloth. Kids brought in beach towels to lay on, and another student printed out a bunch of sloth faces that we pinned to our outfits. Some students even danced to the beach-themed music!

You know the best part? The kids also worked on finishing their essays while we “partied!” That’s great multitasking! If you check out that Chain Competition blog I linked above, you’ll see a little explanation as to why I wasn’t worried about losing some class time with this class, anyway.

So, next time you’re looking for a fun way to bond with your students or reward them, try to embrace the weird and plan a themed party. Comment below if you have ways that you embrace the weird and have fun with your students in your very own middle school classroom. I’d love to hear them!

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