The Middle School Tips and Suggestions module offers informational and research-based suggestions designed for middle school educators. It is to offer educators suggestions for meeting the needs of students in hybrid learning approaches and as we begin the upcoming year. Teachers in the module discuss building relationships, suggestions to help students manage multiple classes, creating quality instruction, teaching organizational strategies including note taking, ideas for providing quality feedback, tips for assessment, and embedding social-emotional learning supports in virtual and in-person learning environments. The module follows a panel podcast approach. 


  1. Incorporate strategies in person and online to build relationships with students.
  2. Recall a variety of strategies to create lessons based on essential skills for students
  3. Access State and National resources to learn more about expectations and examples of virtual learning. 
  4. Understand the awareness of social-emotional needs of students and how to support them.

Middle School Tips from MO DESE on Vimeo.

To view individual chapters, select the chapter from the choices on the right.

Reflective Questions:

  1. Why is it important to make time to build relationships, knowing it takes additional time, and my students might need even extra academic support this year?
  2. How can I adapt my teaching strategies to an online platform?
  3. From the strategies I heard, which ones are most likely to fit naturally with my classroom instruction, and where could I incorporate them?
  4. How can I use feedback as a tool for building relationships?

PowerPoint Presentation:

Module Presentation

Resource Document:

Module Resource Document


Dan Garrison
8th Grade History
Raymore-Peculiar School District
Kirsten Maronde
MS Mathematics
Stanberry R-II
Darren Morgan
8th Grade American History
Joplin R-8
Rhett Oldham
MS/HS Social Studies
Ste. Genevieve R-II

Professional Biographies

Danny Garrison

Dan Garrison is a middle school American History teacher in Raymore-Peculiar School District. He works to create a love of history as well as a love of learning among his students, recognizing the importance of building relationships as a vital part of the learning process. Dan uses cooperative learning extensively in his classroom and has presented and published various articles on its effectiveness. He also adjuncts at both Avila University and UCM teaching future educators methods as well as philosophy of education classes. He is the 2017-18 Missouri Central Regional Teacher of the Year and currently serves on DESE’s Teacher Advisory and Teacher Table committees as well as assorted work in his own district. .


Kirsten Maronde

Kirsten Maronde is a middle school math and computers teacher at Stanberry R-II School District. She is starting her seventh year in education. Kirsten Maronde received her Bachelor of Education and Masters of Curriculum and Instruction from Northwest Missouri State University. She enjoys teaching others by presenting at staff professional development days in her own district and for the 275 Professional Learning Conference. Not only does Kirsten love to teach others about her passions, but she enjoys learning from other educators. She has started and led numerous initiatives in her school to recognize and build relationships among staff members in her district, a previous member of Missouri State High School Activities Associations Spirit Advisory Representative, and was selected into Washington, D.C.’s Teacher Innovator Institute. Kirsten was named Northwest’s Regional Teacher of the Year in 2018.


Darren Morgan

Darren Morgan is currently an 8th-grade American history teacher at South Middle School in Joplin, Missouri. His prior professional experience includes teaching 7th-grade world history at South Middle School, teaching junior and senior-level contemporary world affairs at Joplin High School, and two years as a 21st-Century Learning Coach at Joplin High School. He wants his students to enter high school with the enthusiasm of the colonists and the empathy of the abolitionists. More than reciting the American creed, he hopes they honor that creed with how they treat their fellow human beings. He is the husband to an amazing woman and his best friend, proud father of three beautiful little girls, and enjoys camping, coffee, and singer-songwriting in his spare time. He was Joplin Schools’ Teacher of the Year for 2017 as well as the Southwest Missouri Regional Teacher of the Year for 2017.


Rhett Oldham

Dr. Rhett Oldham is President-Elect for the Missouri Council for the Social Studies and teaches American and World History at Ste. Genevieve High School and Middle School. Rhett is a 2019 Missouri Teacher of the Year Finalist, a Fulbright-Teacher for Global Classroom Fellow, a PBS Digital Innovator, an eMints Certified Educator, and currently is on the Missouri Commissioner’s Teacher Advisory Panel. In his classroom, you will find students using technology extensively and connecting with students in 11 different countries throughout the school year while sitting in recliners, love seats, office chairs, and high top tables. Rhett is married to his wife, Shelley, the best educator in the family, and spends time traveling the world and having fun with their children and grandchildren. He is a massive Manchester United supporter, St. Louis Cardinal fan, golfer, and jazz aficionado.