Adventure Specialists' Advice

August 26, 2016

"Just Joking"— Helping Students Understand When Teasing Hurtsarathon nor a Sprint!

No matter what you teach, if you are a middle school teacher you want to set up some norms and guidelines for your classroom. Even better, you want to be on the same page with the other teachers. But this is middle school and things can get a squirrely, especially about how students "joke" around with each other. It's a hallmark of middle school that "just joking" is used to really hurt and humiliate another student. And the targeted student doesn't want to admit how upset he or she is for fear of being teased even more. The social norm that is set in those moments makes it much harder, if not impossible, to create a safe learning environment. Students don't want to do anything that may invite the ridicule of others.

But if we define the different types of teasing and then debrief with our students about how teasing impacts them, we can effectively create a positive and supportive social norm. What follows is an excerpt from the new Owning Up: Empowering Adolescents to Confront Social Cruelty, Bullying, and Injustice that explains the different types of teasing and a then gives a debrief activity you can do with your students.

Activity Ideas for your classroom

From AMLE.com

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Prayer Point

Please be in prayer for the strategic planning retreat happening this Friday and Saturday. A number of teachers, administrators, board members, parents, and students will meet together to develop a plan for the next five years at Dalat. Please pray that we would have wisdom from God in setting goals as we move forward. Please also pray for unity among this very diverse group as, even though we all want the best for Dalat, we may have different ideas of what the means. Michele, Deana, and I will be representing the middle school division in this endeavor.

SEW Schedule

Wednesday, September 7: Follow a Friday Schedule; go to Bible class during the MS Activities slot

Thursday, September 8: Follow a Friday Schedule; go to Bible class during the MS Activities slot

Friday, September 9: Follow a Friday Schedule; hopefully we will be able to have MS activities on that day.


Evening sessions at 7 PM all three day.

No Homework assigned during SEW so more students can participate in the evening services.

Important Dates

August 30: Jr. Class Servathon (Jesi and Shawna will be out)

August 31: No School (Merdeka Day)

Sept. 5: Lockdown Drill (see Crisis Manual for details)

September 6: Combined Staff, 4 PM, Chapel

September 7-9: SEW

September 9: No uniform day

September 10: MS Community BBQ (hosted by Larry)

September 16: No School (Malaysia Day)

Sept. 29: Divisional Meeting, 4:00

Making a World of Difference

Last week I discussed one of the ways we can check to see that we are on the right course in our classes. Checking in with students and asking for their honest feedback about what’s going well and what can be improved is a powerful way to ensure that you are providing an excellent learning environment. Just a few little changes can have a huge impact on student learning. In my years of working with other teachers and seeking my own improvement, I’ve found that being unaware of the problem is the biggest obstacle to overcome. Once awareness comes, it is not difficult to bring change.


The second way to gauge our classroom’s directon is also very simple but powerful. By now you have mapped out enough objectives to be able to go back and look at the objectives for what you’ve just been teaching. Take some time to go into Curriculum Trak and look at the big picture of what you wrote into your objectives for your first few units. Have you stayed true to this standards-based plan for your students’ learning? How are evaluating what your students are able to do, and how are your students doing at meeting these objectives? A curriculum map is the condensed version of your whole course, so it’s a great tool for checking in with yourself to make sure you are meeting the standard of what needs to be taught. As I’ve done this myself, I’ve always found it to be a good reminder of the big picture, and it has helped to bring my clarity and focus. Try it out this week, I think you will also find it a useful exercise!

Susan Allen

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