Helping students succeed...

As a middle school teacher, my goal is to help students become independent, successful, and ready to begin high school.

Monday, August 15, 2011

First Day of School

We had our first day of school today and except for some confusion about schedules, it was a successful start.   On the 7th and 8th grade teams, students received blue information cards to be completed and signed by parents, a new student handbook, insurance forms, and locker assignments.  Everyone was able to get their lockers open with the combinations by the end of the day.  All the new 7th grade students said they were happy to have their own lockers. The 8th grade team had an assembly this afternoon and received even more information about school rules, after school clubs, and sports.  The 7th grade team will have their assembly tomorrow.  The Drug Free Dance will be on Thursday.  I will be calling families to see if their students will be able to attend on Thursday.  If there are any questions, please don't hesitate to post them in the comments section. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Welcome to the 2011-2012 School Year...

Dear Families and Students,
     I wanted to take a few minutes to welcome you to the 2011-2012 school year.  Some of you will be returning for 8th grade and some of you will be brand new to Mission Middle School.  I will be your special education teacher for this year.  I have been teaching in the Bellevue Schools for 17 years, the last 8 years here at Mission Middle School.  I have three children, one daughter and two sons.  They all attend colleges here in Omaha.  I cannot wait until they graduate and go to work!  I have several pets.  My two poodles are named Champ and Scruffy.  They are brothers.  I also have two cockatiels named Tweety and Jasper.  Jasper is a boy cockatiel so he is very loud and likes to throw his birdseed at the poodles.  Tweety is a girl and she is much quieter.  She likes to fly around and land on my head.  Sometimes it is very noisy at home with all the pets and kids.
     Are you ready for an exciting year?  There are some changes to our classes, especially Math and English.  We have new math books and materials.  Our English class has been divided into two classes: Language Arts and Reading.  I will be here to help you with your classes and your homework when needed.  During the first weeks of school, I will help you with your schedule and also with finding your way around the building.  I will show you where to buy lunch and eat lunch.  All the teachers will help you with your lockers.  Sometimes it takes a few tries to get your locker open, but don’t give up!  Remember that all of us are here to help you.  We want you to like coming to school every day and we want you to be successful.
    Some students ask about supplies.  When you start going to your classes, your teachers will tell you what supplies they want you to have for your classes.  Bring something to write with and maybe some paper for the first few days.
     Finally, I want to let you know that is our class blog site.  If you have a computer, check it out at home.  I will be posting news about our class.  l look forward to Monday, August 15th when I will get to see familiar faces and some new faces.  See you then!                                                                                           


Mrs. Mills

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What I have learned from Blogging 101...

I accomplished my goal of starting a blog. I have learned how to navigate the blog site and have tweaked a few things to make it more to my liking.  I have learned that blogging can be used as a classroom tool to engage more students in the daily class work and help students improve written language skills, develop critical thinking skills, and display creativity.  Students can use blogging to communicate with other students outside of their local school district.  Blogging can also be used to communicate to parents what is happening in the classroom via daily updates. I also have learned that blogging is not restricted to a certain time and place.  Students can work on assignments on a blog at any time or any place.
I am planning to use my blog for student and parental information as well as providing enrichment activities aimed at helping students improve their reading and writing.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Think positive thoughts...

     Let me ask you a question. When in school, what are your thoughts when you are given a new task to learn? Are you the kind of student who thinks, "I can do this," or are you the kind of student who thinks "Oh no! I don't know how to do this. This is too hard!" And then, maybe, look for ways to get out of working? In middle school, I see many students who are not sure about trying new things. Sometimes they are afraid they will get a bad grade. Sometimes they think other kids will not like them if they can't do the work.
     I want to make a suggestion. What if you practiced thinking positive messages? Last year, some students were having trouble with their negative thoughts. Here is what we did. The students made a list of positive messages to use when they had a difficult task. We wrote them down on poster board and hung the list up in the work area. When the students began to feel stress, they looked at the list to remind themselves of positive messages. The students also helped each other to remember.
     The following statements are the ones we wrote down. Which positive messages do you like best? The next time you begin to think "This is too hard" or "I can't do this," tell yourself: "STOP". Choose a positive message to replace the negative one. Can you think of some new positive messages to add to the list? Type your ideas in the comment section. I will read your ideas and share them with the class. Good Luck and I will see you on August 15th!

Z.H., P.W., and J.J.'s List:
When I have to learn something new, I will tell myself:
1. I'm gong to try.
2. I have the ability to learn.
3. I will tell myself (in my head) that I will try to do it because it is a new thing.
4. New things are hard to learn sometimes.
5. I can learn new things.
6. I am confident.
7. Maybe if I try, I can be good at it.
8. I CAN do it!
9. I can ask for help.
10. We can help each other on the parts we don't understand.
11. My teacher is here to help me.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Classroom Guidelines and Expectations

Welcome new 7th graders and returning 8th graders!  The following guidelines and expectations are to help you have a successful start to the school year.  As you go to your classes, your teachers will tell you their own classroom guidelines.  We all have the same goal: to help you be successful!  We will go into more detail the first day of classes.  If you have any questions, please don't hesistate to ask.



  • Be on time, in your seat, and ready to learn when the bell rings.
  • Come to class with the materials you need: notebook, folder, textbook, writing utensil, student planner, free reading book, and most importantly, your completed homework.
  • Use the restroom, get drinks of water, go to your locker, and sharpen your pencil during passing periods or before class begins.
  • Once class has started, do not leave your seat without permission.
  • If you are absent, ask the teacher for your make-up work.

  • Listen, do not talk, when other students are participating in class discussions.
  • If you have questions, raise your hand, and wait (without talking) to be called on.
  • Keep your hands and feet to yourself at all times.

  • Treat other people the way you want to be treated.
  • No namecalling
  • No teasing
  • Use a polite, low voice at all times.

  • Learn all you can.
  • Stay on task in class.
  • Ignore distractions
  • Keep a positive attitude.
  • Learn and use the Boystown Skills.

As a class, we will go over the guidelines again and I will answer your questions.  We will also spend time reviewing the Boystown Skills. Enjoy the rest of your summer!