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Fires in the Middle School Bathroom: Advice for Teachers from Middle Schoolers

3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  145 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Following on the heels of the bestselling Fires in the Bathroom, which brought the insights of high school students to teachers and parents, Kathleen Cushman now turns her attention to the crucial and challenging middle grades, joining forces with adolescent psychologist Laura Rogers.

As teachers, counselors, and parents cope with the roller coaster of early adolescence, to
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 4th 2009 by New Press, The (first published April 1st 2008)
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Julie Suzanne
The author interviewed some middle school students. Their responses throughout the book are supported by Cushman's commentary aiming to help teachers understand the developmental needs of middle school kids. Everything in this book was obvious if you've ever taught youths in this age group. I mean, how could I not know that middle-schoolers change their opinions every other minute? Was it really an amazing find that tweens are pressured by their peers, want class to be more fun, and experiment w ...more
While I did appreciate the overall message of this text, I can't help but feel it was incomplete. Allowing authentic voices to be expressed is one thing, but after so many complaints, the messages became diluted. They beat you over the head with just how complex and contradictory middle school students are. That alone makes the reading process uneasy, but after a certain point I became disgruntled when problems would be brought up and discussed ad nauseam with one or two wrap up sentences used t ...more
Mar 22, 2009 Anna rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: middle school teachers
Interesting and relevant but not necessarily anything new. I felt like I already knew a lot of this stuff just from working with middle school kids. They love to talk and I have heard most of this stuff from my own sixth graders. Plus, I've participated in a lot of discussions about middle grade psychology with teachers at my school and in my grad classes. So, really, I didn't find anything in this book to be more honest or insightful than what I already knew from personal experience.

I think it
This book wasn't as enlightening as the first. I can attribute that to two things off the top of my head: when I read the first one I was just about to start student teaching (as opposed to the years of experience I have under my belt when reading this one) and middle school children don't seem to give nearly as good advice. I accredit the later to their ever changing thoughts and opinions and their inability to really understand what their teachers' goals are, both for the teacher and the pupil ...more
There are better books out there and I actually had two students who were featured in this book. By legitimizing their comments without really knowing them as students and how they were in the classroom was disheartening. There were other students who were just as needy, behaviorally and academically, but those students made better choices and rose to the occasion.
Kathleen Cushman spends her time asking tweens and teens questions the rest of us SHOULD make time for. In this book, the voices of middle schoolers unselfconsciously recall us to the impact we have on their day-to-day lives, self-concepts, and levels of engagement. A great book for teachers and preservice teachers about what students need and want in their school lives.
Anthony Purcell
This is an excellent book. I feel every middle school teacher should read this! Understanding the thoughts and feelings of students is very important at this age. I remember being confused and scared but ready to take on the world. I encourage everyone to read this!

"Teachers don't know what the kids are thinking, they only make a guess." - Jessica, 7th grader
Another great resource for teachers....I didn't plan on teaching middle school, but the school I was hired at has grades 6-12. This book reminds teachers to really remember what it was like to be in middle school, which is important. I love the title, and the first month of school, there actually was a fire in the boys' bathroom at my school!
This book is intended for Middle School teachers, but is great for anyone who works with urban middle school-aged teens. It explains, often with quotes directly from urban youth, exactly what these teens are thinking and going through. They describe what they feel they need in an educator, from their parents, and from authority figures in general.
I read this as part of work professional development. The beginning chapter was promising. It is really an overlong article. While many ideas are good reminders for teachers, a lot is repetitive. Still, it allows some insight into the confusing contradiction of the tween mind.
A good book for those that teach or want to teach middle school. I felt like the last chapter for the most part didn't apply. It was more about after they transition to high school. It was a relatively short book, if it wasn't for the last chapter I would have given it 5 stars.
Advice for teachers from middle schoolers had some interesting points and some text like informative surveys but overall many points were common sense. Good for a new teacher or veteran to remind them of what life is like "in the trenches."
I had to read this one for a class, and as a new teacher, I found it very helpful to get middle schoolers' perspectives on their teachers, which is basically all this book is. Everything they had to say seemed pretty authenitc.
Mr. Bangs
For middle school teachers
By middle school students

This is a wonderful collection of stories and advice to help teachers respond to student needs and interests.
It was good, and I'm not saying it wasn't valuable, but I wish these books did a slightly better job of going from what teachers "should" do to options for how.
Some interesting advice and insight, but most of it was pretty self-explanatory. I would still recommend it to anyone that teaches middle school though!
I was hoping this book would help me get inside the head of a middle schooler as I prepare to make the transition this fall, but it was all common-sense stuff.
quick read, good account of the priorities and needs of urban middle schoolers in their own words.
This book offered an interesting perspective into what middle schoolers really think about school.
Pretty good for a book I had to read. ;)
Jill Adams
Didn't seem as powerful as the high school text.
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