ABOUT THE AUTHOR
If you’ve found your way to this page then I’m honored to know that you’d like to find out a little more about the person behind the resources. Hi! I’m Laney. I’m a middle school science teacher with 9 years experience in the classroom. I still wake up and go to work every day, grade tests on the weekends, and count down the days until spring break.
I graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Middle Grades Education and then taught for the first four years of my career in a public school in Tennessee. There, classroom management, teacher evaluations, standardized testing, lack of plan time, and dwindling respect for this profession eventually overwhelmed me and I made what felt like a bold move at the time, but now feels like fate. I took a job teaching at an American International School in the Middle East. In the 5 years since I’ve been working here I’ve been able to get my feet back under me and find ways to act on my calling to help teachers who feel the way I felt. I’ve also learned new ways to provide for students from diverse backgrounds and ability levels, especially when it comes to ELL.
I hope you’ll find this website helpful in planning your next lesson or even just feeling a little less isolated. Please feel free to reach out and contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns.
Middle School Science Teacher
My mission and passion
I’m a career teacher and by that I mean that I love my job and I am driven primarily by the desire to be the best that I can be every day for the students who come to my classroom (or Zoom call) every day. Believe me, though, I know how difficult that can be. I come from a family of teachers and most of my best friends are teachers too. I’ve seen people cry and I’ve seen people quit. Matter of fact, I quit once myself. Work life balance is probably one of the most difficult things to master in this profession, and one of the most important.
Since I can’t be there with you in your actual classroom, I’m focused on the two biggest areas that I see giving people grief:
• Lesson Planning
• Classroom management
In the spirit of using what I’ve been given in the service of others, I’ve found that creating resources that take the load off a busy teacher for an afternoon or in the blur of a hectic morning is a place where my passion and people’s needs overlap. For that reason, I’m leaning in. I enjoy designing lessons, worksheets, and graphics to support students and teachers in understanding science concepts. I’m constantly trying to improve, and in my own practice I’m working on moving from a content-based approach to an inquiry-based approach. You’ll likely see that shift reflected in my resources.
Additionally, as teachers, we know it’s almost impossible to truly be prepared. As COVID-19 taught us in 2020, no amount of back-up plans will every protect you from the chaos of a changing classroom environment. Whether or not one of your students (or you) has a breakdown today, I hope to equip you with the materials you need to plan an engaging, rigorous lesson from home, school, or wherever you may be.
Nothing will extinguish the flame of a happy-go-lucky, well-intentioned soul quicker than the realization that teaching is a lot more than what you saw in Freedom Writers and Dead Poets Society. I’ve seen the light drain from people’s eyes as their experiences in a classroom change their view on humanity one anxiety-filled day at a time. No amount of loopy fonts, color coordinated bins, or (I’m sorry to say it) kindness is going to save you from a classroom management nightmare. Maybe you’re solemnly nodding as you read this, because you’ve been there. Maybe your bottom lip is quivering a bit because you’re there right now.
If you think I haven’t seen kids like yours, I can assure you that I have. Lots of us have, but not many of us are talking about it. Most of us are too busy trying to get promoted to “better” classes or to even find a way out of the classroom. Once we make it out, we block it out and try to forget the things we’ve been through and seen.
For years, I woke up sick to my stomach every day in fear of what I would encounter that day in my classroom. Teaching was less teaching and more survival. I was so ashamed to be failing at the only thing I had ever seen myself as called to do. I had no backup plan, and a lot of debt trapping me in my situation. By the grace of God, though, still go I. I made some changes and got myself to where I needed to be. Without tooting my own horn too much, I’ll just leave it at this: I enjoy my job now.
I’m committed now to remembering and finding ways to help. Classroom management can be learned, because I did eventually learn it. It can’t be learned by avoidance, though, and it might get worse before it gets better. Regardless, we’re going to get through it together. The experiences I’ve had have made it impossible for me to ignore this aspect of teaching as a huge area of need.
My resources have found their way to the hands of no less than half a million students. This fact is both humbling and inspiring, and I’m proud to guarantee that the resources I’m providing have been tested, improved, and tested again. I design these lessons primarily for my own classroom, so if it isn’t working I’ll be the first to know.
Not convinced? Take a look at some of these reviews.
what others have said
Brilliant lesson. Freaking brilliant. you have absolutely built a love a chemistry into these girls’ hearts. There is a buzz in the room.
I understand that any of the most important teaching moments can be completely invisible to busy parents, but I also believe in giving credit where credit is due. Hopefully your ears have been burning a lot lately, considering I have been telling everyone how excited we are about the ways [redacted] is being engaged at school this year. Thank you for being worthy of a simple note of thanks.
Thanks for handling those observations with class and professionalism. Great things going on in your room: • Engaged boys (not easy) • Intellectual curiosity • Focused reading goals • Multiple modes of teaching kids the content
I just wanted to tell you that I really appreciate the work you put into your science classes. The slides are so well put together, visual, and interesting. I’m not the best at science, but it makes it so much easier to help my ELL kids when I have your material to work with.
This lab is great! It was perfect for introducing our Density discussion and allowed students to discovery density at their own pace prior to a class discussion. Highly recommend!
Thank you so much for this fun activity! My 8th graders embraced the challenge of creating carnival games, and then my awesome colleagues also embraced it, and my team had a carnival day! We were outside the whole day playing the kids’ games – complete with a ticket booth! The kids loved it, and I have gotten nothing but compliments from our entire community! I can’t thank you enough! This will now be a yearly activity for our team!
The students loved this virtual lab. I even caught them on the site playing with the skateboarders during their free time!
I really liked this as an independent seatwork assignment at the end of the year while I worked on a quick unit before state tests.
A very funny, but thought provoking assignment that required students to work together to figure out.
Thank you so much for creating these!! The Waves pack is a fantastic resource. Very thorough and practical for my MS kids!
This resource ended up being a hit with my 7th graders. Energy was fading in many of the students by the end of the distance learning this spring. Researching and presenting this project was fun for my students, and it allowed me to present it in a clear and concise way.
This was a great resource for distance learning and helped me assess students’ understanding of basic genetics. The differentiation that could be applied through the assigning of topics was great.
This is a well thought out plan to guide students through the invention process!
The pretest for Science and Engineering practices is very well written. I certainly appreciate the rubric and reflection piece.
I really like the close reading. We need more of this. This is great for upper grade students.
This project is very thorough and well organized. It is authentic and pushes the students’ critical thinking. Great wrap up for Ecology units!
What a great way to end the year! Beautifully constructed, well-designed, and aligns great with my standards! Can’t wait to try!
This is a very comprehensive unit that did not take extra time on my end. It was nice to be able to have everything included and just be able to pick up and use it. I did use this in class but did some of the activities on Google classroom to prepare my class for if/when we have to return to distance learning.
WOW! Awesome resource. I really appreciate the time and effort put into these resources. This has everything in it that I was looking for.
I want to spoil you!
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