Jen, I am not speaking from middle school experience (I teach elementary,
and taught one year of high school back in the late 90s), but I'd like to
suggest you make a point of teaching linear perspective to them. Many boys
that I have taught REALLY appreciate learning how to make things look 3-D
and it is so objective...it's either done right, or it's not, and you can
explain why it's not right. It takes focus and concentration, and is not
messy. I had one h.s. boy who didn't apply himself all semester tell me a
the end of the semester when I taught linear perspective: "I wish you'd
taught us this the first day! This is the coolest thing I've ever learned
Perhaps tessellations would also be a good one for motivating them.
Of course, I love Bunki's monster ideas, too. That might be all you need!
Wish I had suggestions for classroom management, but all I can think of is
some form of reward bucks...there is a Mona Lisa buck (hundred dollar
bill?...million dollar bill?) that might be somewhere on the IAD, I think.
Years ago I Xeroxed it (not from IAD, but something I find in a classroom I
had inherited...how I wish I could find the original!) onto to lime green
cardstock to make "big bucks." I laminated them and gave them to classrooms
for good behavior, and they could redeem them for treats at the end of the
year. I am thinking of revisiting that idea, only Xeroxing it onto just lime
green copy paper (I like the lime green for some reason! It's more fun, and
less likely to get lost!), no lamination, and giving them to students who
come up with excellent ideas, questions, observations, suggestions, effort,