Student Planned Assembly

Fuel Up to Play 60Our school is part of the Fuel Up to Play 60 program (if you haven’t checked it out, you should – here’s the link: ).  As a kickoff to the new year’s activities, we held an assembly Friday afternoon.

Last spring, our school was selected to send a group of students and staff to Ford Field to learn about healthy eating and active living.  The students were thrilled to be part of this day.

As part of the trip to Ford Field, we needed to hold a kick off event.  Our students decided to have an assembly and show the student body some of the drills they learned.  The group of six students met several times to discuss how they wanted the assembly to proceed.

They finally settled on:

Fuel Up to Play 60 Pep Assembly

Students run in from both sides and toss squeezable stress cows into the bleachers

Fall Sports Introductions:

  • 7th grade volleyball
  • 8th grade volleyball
  • Cross country
  • 7th grade football
  • 8th grade football

Fuel Up to Play 60 Speech:

  • Reason we went to Ford Field
  • Who we met
  • What Fuel Up to Play 60 is
  • Pledge banner information


  • Running –16 students (4 per grade)
  • Passing –8 students (2 per grade)
  • Tackling –8 students (2 per grade)


  • Footballs 1 to student body, 1 to FUTP60 students
  • Backpack
  • t-shirts

As they began the assembly, I was so proud of all of them.  They worked as a team out there and helped each other.  It can be terrifying to speak in front of your peers, but they handled it like pros, even when the microphone quit working at one point.

This group will be planning other activities for the school as we continue through the year and I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with!

MEAP pep assembly

marching band

In preparation for our state standardized testing, we held a number of activities.  Our students built floats (on wagons or carts), created banners and attended a pep assembly for the M.E.A.P.

Each class was responsible for creating a float or banner to display at the assembly, similar to Homecoming.  Floats and banners were paraded to the cafeteria to be judged.  A winner was decided for each grade.

Then the fun began:

The student body was dismissed to the gym, where the float parade would take place.  First, the MEAP King was crowned: a teacher had been selected to act as MEAP King.  Each float or banner was then paraded past the bleachers, with an announcer calling out their teacher’s name, grade, students who were escorting the float and the name of the float.  After the floats and banners were all in the gym, the big surprise: the high school marching band marched in and played several songs.  They even played “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” in honor of our MEAP King.

After they marched out, the principal spoke about the importance of getting a good night’s sleep and trying your best on each day of testing.  Then, the MEAP King announced the float winners.  Each winning class would enjoy root beer floats (get it?  Float winners – root beer floats?  We’re too funny!) the next week during class.

The great thing about this activity, besides giving the kids a bit of fun during school, is that they were talking at home about the MEAP.  If you ask middle school students to go home and tell their parents that they have a big test coming up and they need to get to bed early, don’t miss school, etc, it won’t happen.  However, as they went home and asked parents to bring a wagon to school, or proudly talked about their class’s ideas for the float, the message got out that we have a big test coming up and students need to be in school.

What does your school do to prepare for those standardized tests?  I’m always happy to steal other’s ideas!

Great Pencil Challenge (Thank you Ladybug Teacher Files!)

This is the sign we hang on the wall.  We laminated it so we can write the next date in dry erase marker.

This is the sign we hang on the wall. We laminated it so we can write the next date in dry erase marker.

pencil challenge sign

Last year, my students went through pencils like water.  It was crazy!  I started the year with boxes and boxes of extra pencils that my husband had brought home (his office was getting rid of them).  The kids took them, lost them, broke them, sharpened them into oblivion, at times, I thought maybe they were eating them!

Last summer, I was clicking around on pinterest and came across an idea for the Great Pencil Challenge from Ladybug Teacher Files.  This was the best idea I have found, bar none!  You can see the post at

The idea is, you number their pencil, then check after about 2 weeks to see if they still have it.

My teaching partner and I started it at the beginning of the year.  Of course, kids being kids, after we announced it, they had tons of questions:

Can we keep it in our locker for the two weeks, then just go get it when the time comes?  (No)

What if we replace it with a different pencil? (We’ll know because it won’t be our writing and it won’t be the same brand)

What if we sharpen the number off? (We’ll write the number at the eraser end)

What do we get if we have it? (Something you’ll like)

Of course, there were other questions, but those were the highlights.  We started in with it and I have only had two occasions now, when students haven’t had a pencil.  The best part: when that student doesn’t have a pencil, the others remind him or her that you’re supposed to bring your Great Pencil Challenge pencil to class every day.

Not everyone has held onto the pencil, but it seems to have made them more aware of bringing a pencil.  I did an impromptu check once halfway through and that really ignited the excitement.

What prize do we give?  A Jolly Rancher.  I know, you’re not supposed to use candy as a reward, but I figure, once every two weeks, a small piece of hard candy won’t be the end of civilization as we know it.  And if a Jolly Rancher will remove the stress of supplying hundreds of pencils in class, I’m all for it!

A Calming Presence

I noticed the other day that my intern was very animated as my class was coming in, which made them a little more wound up than usual.  This led to them being a bit more unruly when she was trying to teach them at the start of class.

It made me realize how important our behavior and attitude are in the classroom.  The students feed off of what we do and how we act.  With some classes, it’s necessary to be energetic, in order to get them going.  The sleepy morning class usually needs to have a little energy injected into it.  However, the class coming in after lunch usually needs a calm presence to settle them down and get them ready for learning.

I suggested that she experiment with that idea in the next few days (since she is going to be observed by her field instructor and wants to do well).  She is going to try being more calm when the second class enters.

We also have a class that definitely needs some pep in their step.  In fact, a couple of the students in that class tend to want to fall asleep (a whole other issue to be addressed!)  With that class, if the teacher is energetic and acts excited about learning, they will feed off that energy and wake up a bit.

We have a second class that already is filled with energy.  That’s a group that needs to be calmed down and reminded that they are not on the playground.

It’s a delicate balance that teachers face: keeping classes energetic enough to not fall asleep, but not so out of control the students aren’t learning.

What do you do to help your students maintain the best learning environment?