Let me tell the single biggest, most useful, piece of advice I have about giving notes to Middle School students after over a decade of teaching them… lather, rinse, repeat.
I love using PowerPoint and fill-in the blank notes to introduce new topics. It allows me to give an overview. It hits those A-type students who like order. It gets to those auditory learners. I can tell stories, build associations between ideas, etc. Awesome.
YOU NEED SOME FOLLOW UP. And I DON’T mean activities and labs (YES, those are absolutely necessary. But I’m talking about something else here.) For the love of everything learning and those little developing brains that are like sponges. They NEEEED repetition. (Well, most of them anyway).
Here is an example…
New Unit:
Day 1: Give notes, tell stories, build foundation, etc.
Day 2: Take first 5-8 minutes of class. Go through PPT again (without notes, just student brains). Ask questions that review basic knowledge level information and revisit associations you made yesterday. (Do activities, extension, lab, or something…)
Day 3: (Lab or activity) Take first (or last) 3-5 minutes of class. Go through PPT again. Re-ask same questions (different students will have picked up on answers). Add some higher level thinking questions, asking students to relate knowledge level information to activity you did today, or yesterday.
Day 4: Sometimes I skip a day, particularly if I have a longer lab activity I want to do.
Day 5: Before introducing new section of the chapter, make one more run through.
(A week or two later, once you’ve been through all 2-4 sections of the chapter).
Review Days: Go through yet AGAIN, before you begin reviewing. Maybe have a student “teach” the PPT.
This is GOOD TEACHING. It also gives extended uses of that PPT you spent an hour making. Students LOVE to be able to demonstrate what they’ve learned. They LOVE knowing the answer. Be a good teacher. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Enjoy teaching again.

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