I am at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School in Lawrence in a seventh grade math class with Jennifer Clarkson. I was only observing my first day, but noticed a few interesting things.
First, the classroom was very brightly decorated with charts on decimal places, relative sizes of various fractions, and too many digits of pi, to name just a few. I am not sure if I have forgotten the atmosphere of middle school or not, but it reminded me more of an elementary school classroom (which is certainly not a bad thing).
The behavior of the students was both better than I expected and worse. The students had no problem with talking (quite loudly) while Mrs. Clarkson was trying to explain a concept, and had to be told several times (seemingly per minute) to quiet down. On the other hand, there were no free range students, nor throwing of objects, nor was there any verbal abuse, all of which I remember vividly from my middle school experience. Overall, I was very impressed with the behavior of the students.
Central has block scheduling, so by going in on Thursdays I will only be seeing half of the students each week. We have not decided if I am going to do the same activities two weeks in a row, or come up with different activities for each of the groups. Each system has its merits and disadvantages.