Hands on learning with 'da fishes... why I love teaching Middle School!

I've been teaching in a middle school for over 13 years... I know.. I know... some of you think I'm crazy, and some of you are thinking 'right on sista!
I wasn't sure if middles were for me at first.  I had taught many different grades in elementary buildings before venturing into AIS Reading and eventually a sixth grade classroom.  Some days are LONG... but most days fly by.

One of things I love most about middle school doesn't even happen in MY classroom.  It's the special area class they get to take and learn about.  In our school my smarties take 10 weeks each of art, music, technology and FACS (family and consumer sciences).  As seventh graders, two more classes, one in tech (computers) and FACS (careers) are added.  I must tell you, ALL of our special area classes are amazing.  My smarties leave FACS sewing buttons, pillows, and even create walker bags for a nursing home as a community project.  But what I am really impressed with is technology.  These teachers are so creative.  One of them is really into hydroponics.

He chooses several students throughout the year to help with the plant care.  The students grow lettuce which they sell for $1.00 a bundle.  It is DELISH!  The picture below shows the 'lettuce wheel."  unfortunatley, the last crop was taken last week before I could get to the lab to take a picture.. <boo hoo>

This year the tech department at our school received a grant to add fish to the hydroponic system.  Thus the Tilapia tank was born.

SO COOL!  We are looking forward to having a little kale and peppers at our staff luncheon in a few weeks.  Our building will be getting a major renovation over the summer too.  So that means we get to eat 'da fishes too!  Filets anyone?

Because it was new and didn't arrive until 3/4 of the year was gone, the science and math departments couldn't really get involved with 'da fishes.'  But as a math teacher I have big plans for next year when we complete our statistics unit.  We can't get much more real world hands on than integrating subject areas RIGHT IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD!

Do you have any cool activities or specials at your school?  Leave me a comment below and share them!  I'd love to hear what makes your school unique!


  1. Wow! That is fantastic! What a great space for learning. And I've been at middle school for 24 years now, and yes, we are crazy:)

    Middle School OCD

  2. That is so amazingly cool! I want to go to your school!

    Crystal Shepherd
    The lamppost in 1st grade math

  3. Nothing special at our tiny school. K-12 with 420 students. We.are.small. :)

    Love all the neat things y'all get to do!


  4. That is the coolest lab ever!!! We have vegetable gardens and a butterfly garden. It's fun to bring the kids there for outdoor science. We can pick fresh herbs and veges, too. There are so many neat things going on in schools!
    Beach Sand and Lesson Plans


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