MSM 281:  We’re Rusty. Shut off the Internet to test.

advisory, MSM No Comments »

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.


Jokes You Can Use:


During a dinner party, the hosts’ two little children entered the dining room totally nude and walked slowly around the table. The parents were so embarrassed that they pretended nothing was happening and kept the conversation going. The guests cooperated and also continued as if nothing extraordinary was happening.

After going all the way around the room, the children left, and there was a moment of silence at the table, during which one child was heard to say, “You see, it is vanishing cream!”


Two explorers, camped in the heart of the African jungle, were discussing their expedition. “I came here,” said one, “because the urge to travel was in my blood. City life bored me, and the smell of exhaust fumes on the highways made me sick. I wanted to see the sunrise over new horizons and hear the flutter of birds that never had been seen by man. I wanted to leave my footprints on sand unmarked before I came. In short, I wanted to see nature in the raw. What about you?” “I came,” the second man replied, “because my son was taking saxophone lessons.”


A dentist and a doctor fell in love with the same girl. The dentist had to go out of town for a week. He gave the girl 7 apples and asked her to eat one a day. Why?


Two gold fish are in a tank one says to the other “Do you know how to drive this thing?”


Eileen Award:

  • iTunes:
  • Twitter:  Holly Berchet-Hall, Brian Marks, Andre Spang, Torsten Larbig, MEEMIC, Kyle Stalzer, @sarahdateechur, Kit Hard, Yong Park, Dr. Phil Metzger, Secondary Principals (MASSP),
  • Google+: Ryan Easton, Sandra Wozniak
  • Facebook:
  • Email:



Too Obvious to share

Middle School Science Minute

byDave Bydlowski (k12science or




I was recently reading the Summer, 2014 issue of “Science Scope,” a magazine written for middle school science teachers, published by the National Science Teachers Association.

In this issue, I read an article entitled “Letters! We Get Letters” written by Joanna Shubin.  In the article, Joanna describes how she has her students write letters to scientists.  It is a great way to integrate science and English Language Arts and to generate enthusiasm in all of the students.  She suggests that you try having your own students write to scientists, because you will get letters!

From the Twitterverse:

Cheryl Murphy Savage ‏@CherylMSavage 57s

“I strongly believe that you can read without writing, but you cannot write without reading.”@LindaMRief#HeinemannTour

Arne Duncan ‏@arneduncan 7m

Imagine yourself going back to school abroad next fall!@PeaceCorps is looking for educators #ApplyPC#teaching

Karen McMillan@McTeach 10m

Sending Students on Learning Missions

Dan McCabe ‏@danieldmccabe 21m

This is what education should be for students and teachers.
Jobs Quote

Jessica Johnson ‏@PrincipalJ 17m

“6 Basketball Tips For School Leadership” great post by@williamdp#cpchat#educoach#principalpln

ClassThink ‏@ClassThink 40m

Google Classroom release date announced — and it’s sooner than we were expecting! #gafe#edchat#edtech#googleapps

Suzanne Perlis ‏@SuzannePerlis 53m

The 6 Levels Of Bloom’s Taxonomy, Explained With Active Verbs … via@edudemic

The Atlantic ‏@TheAtlantic Aug 5

To stop cheating in a national standardized test, Uzbekistan shut down the entire country’s Internet

Kyle Calderwood ‏@kcalderw 1h

You can start off with analog Twitter wall to teach students appropriate ways to tweet and#digicit practices #nt2t

Charles Fishman ‏@cfishman 1h

In 2013, in US, we spent:
• $25 billion buying bottled water
• $29 billion maintaining the entire water system

Todd Bloch@blocht574 2h

#MSchat and@AMLE Twitter event 8-14-14 8 pm ET Join the discussion on Ss motivation!#satchat#edchat

juandoming@juandoming 3h

Inventing Infographics: Visual Literacy Meets Written Content

Sue Gorman @sjgorman 3h

Use Class Dojo and Remind to communicate with parents. #edtech#edchat#wiedu#wischat

Holly Berchet-Hall@msmathcms Aug 6

Shout out to@MSMatters for introducing me to Edmodo and to@mthman for introducing me to MSMatters. Just finished#EdmodoCon so psyched!

Monte Tatom@drmmtatom Jul 30

4 Ideas To Have A Successful First Year as Principal ~#ISTEAPLN#fhuedu610#tn_teta#edchat =>@MSMatters

#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.  And as Troy says, “The Twitter never stops!”


Stick Pick Twitter Giveaway:  So recently I won a copy of Stick Pick.  I already have a copy of Stick Pick from back when I reviewed it for the Podcast.  If you’d like my copy of Stick Pick, send us an email at with a short statement on how you use differentiation in your classroom and we’ll throw your name in a random name selector (called Stick Pick) and announce a winner two weeks from the recording of this show.  Stick Pick will be making an important product announcement soon and we’ll bring you the news when it happens.


Random Name Generators

Need a way to select students to “volunteer”?


* Note that these can also be used for vocabulary words, important terms, etc.


Classroom Games

What works in teaching Math


Fluency Tutor

Fluency Tutor™ for Google is designed to increase the fluency and comprehension skills of emerging readers. It can be used with individual students or whole classrooms. It helps to identify students needing additional support, and is often used with students in older grade levels who have specific reading difficulties.

The teacher dashboard and student interaction area are all free.

Premium features such as useful analytics and progress tracking are also available for $99 per teacher, per year.


Web Spotlight:

Making Connections with Advisory

Relationships are among the most important elements of student success.

By: Ellen D’Amore


…research has shown that the more teachers foster relationships with their students and focus on their social and emotional needs, the more academic performance, motivation, and attendance improve.

Our advisory program includes activities that take approximately one to two hours a week for the first semester, gradually moving the focus from social/emotional awareness to academics. The advisory program involves a series of seamless steps.

The results of our advisory program include higher overall GPAs, increased attendance rates, and fewer behavior referrals.

In the two years since we implemented the program, my students have commented that they feel like our advisory class is a little family, and they wish we could do more activities together. I feel the same way.

Random Thoughts . . .


Personal Web Site





MSM 280:  I’d argue that, Ugly Fruit, SPLAT!

Podcast, Strategy, Web Spotlight Comments Off

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.


Jokes You Can Use:

A chicken walks into a ice cream store.

The clerk says, “We don’t serve poultry!”

The chicken says, “That’s OK, I just want a cone.”

Eileen Award:

  • Twitter: Jason Hovey



Many Kids Who Are Obese Or Overweight Don’t Know It

Kids can be cruel, especially about weight. So you might think overweight or obese children know all too well that they’re heavy — thanks to playground politics. But that’s not necessarily so, according to government data covering about 6,100 kids and teens ages 8-15.

About 30 percent “misperceived” their weight status (underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese), according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

Among children and teens who were actually designated by the CDC as overweight — or between the 85th and 95th percentiles on the CDC’s growth chart — 76 percent thought they were “about right”; about 23 percent said they were overweight.

The report notes that research has linked knowing your weight status to trying to change behaviors.


The End of ‘Genius’

WHERE does creativity come from? For centuries, we’ve had a clear answer: the lone genius. The idea of the solitary creator is such a common feature of our cultural landscape (as with Newton and the falling apple) that we easily forget it’s an idea in the first place.

But the lone genius is a myth that has outlived its usefulness. Fortunately, a more truthful model is emerging: the creative network, as with the crowd-sourced Wikipedia or the writer’s room at “The Daily Show” or — the real heart of creativity — the intimate exchange of the creative pair, such as John Lennon and Paul McCartney and myriad other examples with which we’ve yet to fully reckon.


Mishapen Fruit

300 million tons thrown away each year.

Happy in Your State


Middle School Science Minute

byDave Bydlowski (k12science or



I was recently reading the Summer, 2014 issue of “Science Scope,” a magazine written for middle school science teachers, published by the National Science Teachers Association.


In this issue, I read an article entitled “Scientific Explanations and Arguments: Building New Science Content Knowledge Through Argumentation” written by Lauren Brodsky and Andrew Falk.  In the article, they describe a process by which to develop science lessons that support students in engaging in and learning through argumentation.  They also provide a few suggestions for smaller things you can do to incorporate elements of argumentation, if you don’t have time for the entire process.


From the Twitterverse:

Monte Tatom ‏@drmmtatom Jul 23

U.S. schools rank low in innovation ~#tn_teta#ISTEAPLN#fhuedu642#fhucid =>@MSMatters

Tim Lauer ‏@timlauer 19m

Chronicle, a tool for graphing the usage of words and phrases in New York Times reporting.

Monte Tatom@drmmtatom Jul 25

ClassDojo School-Wide ~#tn_teta#edwebchat#fhuedu642#fhuedu320 =>@MSMatters

Rich Kiker ‏@rkiker 21m

Imoji For iPhone Lets You Turn Any Image Into A Custom Emoji@TechCrunch

Meemic ‏@Meemic

Grants for Educators & Staff in MI, IL, WI | Funding Opportunities | The Meemic Foundation | Follow Us!

Erin Klein ‏@KleinErin 2m

Check out the NEW site: ClassroomCribs AND see How-To Set Up Brain-Friendly, Beautiful Learni…

Lisa Dabbs ‏@teachingwthsoul 37m

In Defense of Boredom via@pernilleripp

Erin Klein ‏@KleinErin 2h

9 Roles For The Teacher That Leads via@TeachThought

Alice Keeler ‏@alicekeeler 3h

Bing in the Classroom free lesson plans: …@TeacherCast#miechat

Jason Eifling ‏@jeifling 4h

US History Resources for Common Core#ccss#sschat#history

Will Richardson@willrich45 1h

“Tsundoku,” the Japanese Word for the New Books That Pile Up on Our Shelves, Should Enter the English Language

Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · 17h

How to run a Google+ Hangouts series  ~#edwebchat#tn_teta#ISTEAPLN#fhuedu642#fhucid =>@MSMatters

Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · 16h

20 Can’t Miss Edu Conferences ~#ISTEAPLN#tn_teta#fhuedu642

#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.  And as Troy says, “The Twitter never stops!”



5 Essential Ingredients For Learning (SPLAT)

Kelly created the acronym, SPLAT, to define the five most ingredients in helping others learn.

  • S = Safety–creating an environment that allows for learning
  • P = Problem solving–helping others find solutions
  • L = Lectures–avoiding them and focusing on teaching instead
  • A = All–all audiences are visual learners
  • T = Talking–teaching others is one of the best ways to learn


Metacognition is, put simply, thinking about one’s thinking.  More precisely, it refers to the processes used to plan, monitor, and assess one’s understanding and performance. Metacognition includes a critical awareness of a) one’s thinking and learning and b) oneself as a thinker and learner.



Principals in U.S. Are More Likely to Consider Their Students Poor

A new international study, set to be released Tuesday, argues that the United States has an expectation problem.

Based on the views of principals, a larger share of children in the United States are “socioeconomically disadvantaged” compared with those in Brazil, Malaysia, Mexico, Romania and various other countries.

One possibility is that principals in the United States indeed have lower expectations of lower-income students than principals in other countries – and that these expectations, in turn, affect student learning. Mr. Schleicher leans toward that view.

This much is clear: American students from low-income backgrounds are more likely to struggle in school than low-income students in many other countries (as Table II.A in this report makes clear).

Class Timers

Use multiple timers. Set timers to music. Pause all timers at once.

Open Curriculum

Teacher-curated and Common Core standards-aligned sets of high-quality lessons, activities and assessments.

Web Spotlight:


Random Thoughts . . .


Personal Web Site


MSM 279:  A test of random facts and Weird Al makes the show this week on Middle School Matters!  

advisory, MSM, Podcast, Web Spotlight Comments Off

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.


Jokes You Can Use:

Test Questions:

Johnny’s mother had three children. The first child was named April. The second child was named May. What was the third child’s name?


There is a clerk at the butcher shop, he is five feet ten inches tall and he wears size 13 sneakers. What does he weigh?



Random Facts

  1. An octopus has three hearts.
  2. There’s enough water in Lake Superior to cover all of North and South America in 1 foot of water.
  3. You can spell the word “upside down” upside down by using other letters of the alphabet: umop apisdn.
  4. The name Jessica was created by Shakespeare in the play Merchant of Venice.
  5. The YKK on your zipper stands for “Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikigaisha.”
  6. Every two minutes, we take more pictures than all of humanity did in the 19th century.


Eileen Award:

  • Twitter: Aaron Duff,  Adnan Iftekhar, Kelly Lippard


Chat out of context




Middle School Science Minute

byDave Bydlowski (k12science or




I was recently reading the Summer, 2014 issue of “Science Scope,” a magazine written for middle school science teachers, published by the National Science Teachers Association.

In this issue, I read an article entitled “Modeling What We Can’t Sense – Using Evidence We Can” written by Juliana Texley.  In her article she challenges the thinking that as we look at the history of science, we often imply that ideas were chronologically wrong, then less wrong, culminating with modern scientific theory.


From the Twitterverse:

Derek McCoy ‏@mccoyderek 21m

5 Apps Every Teacher Should Have

Richard Byrne ‏@rmbyrne 23m

How to Use B-Roll Footage In Videos

Miguel Guhlin@mguhlin 24m

“28 Tips to Turbo Charge Your Leadership with@Evernote #NT2T

Mike Paul ‏@mikepaul 29m

Public Domain Photos For You To Use – British Library Publishes 1 Million+ Photos To Flickr

Kathy Ishizuka ‏@kishizuka 31m

Pleased to Meet You: Web apps for getting to know your students before fall | Cool Tools By@rmbyrne

Dru Tomlin ‏@DruTomlin_AMLE 35m

Ten Ideas for Managing Blended Learning in Middle School #mschat@AMLE @middleweb

WalkMe ‏@WalkMeInc May 28

Check out how to make@Moodle easy to use for free -

Karen McMillan ‏@McTeach 39m

Why The Future Of Education Involves Badges

Melany Stowe ‏@MelanyStowe 1h

EdCamps & UnConferences: The person doing the work is the person doing the learning.#satchat ‏@RWTnow 55m

Children’s publisher John Newbery was born on this day in 1713. Create your own book awards in the classroom:

Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · 17h

Use Video Camera Like a Pencil – A Blog Like a Textbook  via@wfryer#fhuedu642#tn_teta#edwebchat =>@MSMatters

Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · 22h

Useful Tools & Apps to Help You Assemble Your Classroom Curriculum  ~#fhuedu642#tn_teta#edwebchat =>@MSMatters

Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · Jul 17

6 ways to leverage social media in school  ~#fhuedu642#tn_teta#edwebchat =>@MSMatters

#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.  And as Troy says, “The Twitter never stops!”



Why Reading Matters

Why Reading Matters is an hour-long BBC program did a couple of years ago on how reading — and writing — impact the brain.

I wouldn’t show the entire show to students, but there are several very good segments.

The entire show is available on Vimeo, which I’ve embedded below, and it’s also available on YouTube, though it’s in six separate ten minute segments. I’ve also embedded the first segment below.

The Seven A’s of Successful High Schools

Defining what it means to have a “successful” high school is quite the challenge, with stakeholders often disagreeing on the approach to take.

Following, I’ve outlined each of the seven attributes I consider essential in a successful H.S., as well as my rationale for selecting each.

Weird Al


“Word Crimes”


Leonard Cohen on Creativity, Hard Work, and Why You Should Never Quit Before You Know What It Is You’re Quitting

before we quit, we have to have invested all of ourselves in order for the full picture to reveal itself and justify the quitting, which applies equally to everything from work to love


Summer Learning Loss

So, if all the research says most of the achievement gap is due to summer learning loss, it boggles my mind even more that we are spending huge amounts of resources on countless school reform boondoggles like Race To The Top, Value Added Measurements (VAM), the “next generation” of standardized testing, etc…

Web Spotlight:


Presentation software that looks like a magazine layout, functions like HyperCard stacks and is more interactive than Slideshare.  It’s an app and until the first 10,000 downloads it’s $9.99.



Think Prezi.  With 3D effects.  And a translation tool.  Basic version is free, the Education version is $2.90/month.

Random Thoughts . . .

ISTE 2014

Personal Web Site


MSM 278:  Random Facts, Write about Maths.

advisory, MSM, Strategy, Web Spotlight Comments Off

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.


Jokes You Can Use:


Random Facts

  1. You can’t hum while pinching your nose.
  2. Russia has a larger surface area than Pluto.
  3. Anne Frank and Martin Luther King Jr. were born in the same year.
  4. People currently graduating college have never been alive while The Simpsons wasn’t on TV.
  5. Oxford University is older than the Aztec Empire.
  6. There are more fake flamingos in the world than real flamingos.
  7. The fax machine was invented the same year people were traveling the Oregon Trail.
  8. 1998 is as far away as 2030.
  9. France was still executing people with a guillotine when the first Star Wars film came out.
  10. There are more public libraries than McDonald’s in the U.S.

Eileen Award:

  • Twitter: Adnan Iftekhar, Kyle S., Mike Paul
  • Google+: Patrick Brule



Spread of Baby Names

Enter a gender (Male or Female) and a name and watch the prevalence of the name spread across the country (or not). Watch the statistics at the bottom for total number of babies with that name. Hold your mouse over a state to get the numbers for that state.


Jobs Charted by State and Salary

The chart below shows what people do and what they get paid. These vary depending on where you live. Select a state in the drop-down menu, and use the slider to adjust the median annual salary.


Middle School Science Minute

byDave Bydlowski (k12science or


Neuroscience-Career Opportunites


This is the fourth in a four part series on neuroscience with special guest Aneesha Badrinarayan, Outreach Programs Manager with the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, in Ann Arbor, MI. You can visit the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum online at:


In this podcast, we look at the question of “How do you prepare for a degree in neuroscience and what are the career opportunities?”

From the Twitterverse:

Lisa Dabbs ‏@teachingwthsoul 33mRT@connect2jamie: MT@ShellTerrell: Join NOW! Keynote:RemixED: The Power of Remix with@amyburvall   #RSCON5#TLChat
Todd Bloch ‏@blocht574 36mHow can we make middle school kids think Wow! School!?#mschat 5yo daughter brought awesome book home from
Kevin Cummins@edgalaxy_com 51mHundreds of creative writing ideas for teachers
Kevin Cummins ‏@edgalaxy_com 1hTop 5 iPad apps for busy educators
cbeyerle ‏@cbeyerle 2hEducators Are Ditching Traditional Conferences for Blogs and Twitter#satchat …
VoiceThread ‏@voicethread 4m#VoiceThread is getting a NEW look and feel. Join us for a demo on 7/23 to see for yourself: #edchat#edtech
Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · Jul 2Video compilation for#ISTE2014#ISTEAPLN &#OLI14
Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · Jul 10Teachers’ Ultimate Directory of Free Image Sources ~#edwebchat#tn_teta#fhuedu642#fhuedu320 =>@MSMatters
Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · Jul 107 PD tips for your instructional technology integration plan ~#ISTEAPLN#tn_teta#fhuedu642 =>@MSMatters
Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · Jul 915-Year-Old explains the key to developing a#PLN ~#fhuedu642#ISTEAPLN#tn_teta =>@MSMatters
#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.  And as Troy says, “The Twitter never stops!”



Using Writing in Mathematics to Deepen Student Learning

“Writing in mathematics gives me a window into my students’ thoughts that I don’t normally get when they just compute problems. It shows me their roadblocks, and it also gives me, as a teacher, a road map.”

Section One gives a brief background that answers the question you may be wondering: Why write in mathematics? Section Two describes the existing role of writing in the mathematics curriculum, and Section Three provides strategies and ideas to put into practice right away.

Anchor Charts

Useful or just pretty?

School-Wide Twitter Chats

Have you ever had a student say to you, “Wow, this is so much fun, do we have to stop?” This is the kind of excitement that children have shared with teachers after participating in the New Zealand school-wide Twitter chat called Kidsedchatnz.

Kidsedchatnz is a weekly Twitter chat between New Zealand classes and students, every Thursday at 2:00-3:00PM. It is organised by seven New Zealand teachers via Twitter, each taking a turn to run the chats.

These chats give students an authentic audience for sharing and reflecting on their learning. They connect with other classes and students throughout the country, sharing ideas and thoughts while developing their reading, writing, and thinking skills.




Tons of fonts. (Look just above the download button for licensing information. Some are free, some are not.)

The Stencil, Army one could be useful and is donationware.

There are several “School” fonts available as well. Many of these are Free for Personal Use.

The fonts presented on this website are their authors’ property, and are either freeware, shareware, demo versions or public domain. The licence mentioned above the download button is just an indication. Please look at the readme-files in the archives or check the indicated author’s website for details, and contact him if in doubt.

If no author/licence is indicated that’s because we don’t have information, that doesn’t mean it’s free.



Large repository of Common Core Math Word Problems.


Classroom Icebreakers

What was there

Ties historical photos to Google Maps.

Web Spotlight:

The Secret of Effective Motivation



THERE are two kinds of motive for engaging in any activity: internal and instrumental. If a scientist conducts research because she wants to discover important facts about the world, that’s an internal motive, since discovering facts is inherently related to the activity of research. If she conducts research because she wants to achieve scholarly renown, that’s an instrumental motive, since the relation between fame and research is not so inherent.


There is a temptation among educators and instructors to use whatever motivational tools are available to recruit participants or improve performance.

…for students uninterested in learning, financial incentives for good attendance or pizza parties for high performance may prompt them to participate, but it may result in less well-educated students.


The same goes for motivating teachers themselves. We wring our hands when they “teach to the test” because we fear that it detracts from actual educating. It is possible that teachers do this because of an over reliance on accountability that transforms the instrumental consequences of good teaching (things like salary bonuses) into instrumental motives. Accountability is important, but structured crudely, it can create the very behavior (such as poor teaching) that it is designed to prevent.

Death of expertise

Today, any assertion of expertise produces an explosion of anger from certain quarters of the American public, who immediately complain that such claims are nothing more than fallacious “appeals to authority,” sure signs of dreadful “elitism,” and an obvious effort to use credentials to stifle the dialogue required by a “real” democracy.


I fear we are witnessing the “death of expertise”: a Google-fueled, Wikipedia-based, blog-sodden collapse of any division between professionals and laymen, students and teachers, knowers and wonderers – in other words, between those of any achievement in an area and those with none at all.


To take but one horrifying example, we live today in an advanced post-industrial country that is now fighting a resurgence of whooping cough — a scourge nearly eliminated a century ago — merely because otherwise intelligent people have been second-guessing their doctors and refusing to vaccinate their kids after reading stuff written by people who know exactly zip about medicine.


There’s also that immutable problem known as “human nature.” It has a name now: it’s called the Dunning-Kruger effect, which says, in sum, that the dumber you are, the more confident you are that you’re not actually dumb.


Expertise is necessary, and it’s not going away. Unless we return it to a healthy role in public policy, we’re going to have stupider and less productive arguments every day.

Random Thoughts . . .


Personal Web Site


MSM 277:  eHe’s got eSkeletons in e’s Closet!  

advisory, MSM, Strategy, Web Spotlight Comments Off

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.


Jokes You Can Use:


How much does a pirate pay for corn?

A buccaneer


What do Eskimos get from sitting on the ice too long?



Why did the pirate go to the Caribbean?

He wanted some arr and arr.


What’s it called when you loan money to a bison?

A buffaloan.


Two atoms are walking down the street together. The first atom turns and says, “Hey, you just stole an electron from me!”

“Are you sure?” asks the second atom.

To which the first atom replies, “Yeah, I’m positive!”


What do you do with epileptic lettuce?

Seizure salad

What kind of guns do Bees use?

BeeBee Guns



A few minutes with … a kid who helps the homeless

Robby Eimers spends his Saturdays like a lot of 12-year-olds, heading to baseball games or handing out meals to 150 homeless people.

Whoa. Wait. Say what?


Middle School Science Minute

byDave Bydlowski (k12science or


Neuroscience for MS Teachers


This is the third in a four part series on neuroscience with special guest Aneesha Badrinarayan, Outreach Programs Manager with the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, in Ann Arbor, MI. You can visit the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum online at:


In this podcast, we look at the question of “Why is neuroscience important for middle school science teachers?”

From the Twitterverse:

Richard Byrne ‏@rmbyrne 26m

DayBoard is my new favorite Chrome extension. …

Conrad Hackett ‏@conradhackett 6h

Most commonly spoken language in U.S. after English & Spanish 1980: Italian
Today: Chinese

Picard Tips@PicardTips 2h

Picard management tip: Stirring up competition between crew members is the opposite of your job.

Joshua Starr ‏@mcpssuper 2h

D.C. Dumping Test Scores From Its Teacher Evaluations via@HuffPostEdu I have the same question as@rweingarten

Joy Kirr ‏@JoyKirr 3h

There are schools trying#geniushour for Teachers… :) … WIN!#satchat@cjracek

Scott McLeod ‏@mcleod 3h

DI: Countdown to ISTE 12: Drama / theater education blogs (aka THE PUSH 2014) #edtech

Shawn Storm ‏@sstorm01 3h

90% of engagement occurs when the Ss know you care, the other 10% are the Ss that want to know you care#satchat

Sue Gorman ‏@sjgorman 3h

Google Gesture App Translates Sign Language Into Spoken Language … via@mashable#udl

Shelley Rolston ‏@shelleyrolston1 14h

The Art of Teaching is the Art of Assisting Discovery …#GeniusHour#bced

Pilar Pamblanco ‏@englishteach8 4h

Top story: Google Is Putting $50 Million Toward Getting Girls to Code …, see more

Scott McLeod@mcleod 8m

Online Education Has Become a Joke |@rogerschank

Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · Jun 18

Watch Google Classroom in Action | EdTech Magazine ~#fhuedu642#tn_teta#ISTEAPLN#edwebchat =>@MSMatters

#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.  And as Troy says, “The Twitter never stops!”





Words change meaning over time in ways that might surprise you. We sometimes notice words changing meaning under our noses (e.g., unique coming to mean “very unusual” rather than “one of a kind”) — and it can be disconcerting. How in the world are we all going to communicate effectively if we allow words to shift in meaning like that?

The good news: History tells us that we’ll be fine. Words have been changing meaning — sometimes radically — as long as there have been words and speakers to speak them. Here is just a small sampling of words you may not have realized didn’t always mean what they mean today.


Visual Note Taking

Visual notetaking is a process of representing ideas non-linguistically. (That’s a fancy of way of saying, “drawing pictures.”) Visual notetaking can include concept mapping, but also more artistic ways of visually capturing and representing ideas. On the simpler side of the visual notetaking continuum, visual notes can be used to create narrated art. On the complex end of the spectrum, some visual notetaking applications support the creation of whiteboard animation videos which include audio narration synchronized to screencasts of drawings. Visual or graphic facilitation can be used at meetings to summarize presentations and guide discussions. Whether simple or complex, visual notes can be used to more deeply process information as well as communicate it to others with images.




This is a map of the wheel-ruts of modern English. Etymologies are not definitions; they’re explanations of what our words meant and how they sounded 600 or 2,000 years ago.

The dates beside a word indicate the earliest year for which there is a surviving written record of that word (in English, unless otherwise indicated). This should be taken as approximate, especially before about 1700, since a word may have been used in conversation for hundreds of years before it turns up in a manuscript that has had the good fortune to survive the centuries.

The basic sources of this work are Weekley’s “An Etymological Dictionary of Modern English,” Klein’s “A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the English Language,” “Oxford English Dictionary” (second edition), “Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology,” Holthausen’s “Etymologisches Wörterbuch der Englischen Sprache,” and Kipfer and Chapman’s “Dictionary of American Slang.” A full list of print sources used in this compilation can be found here.

Since this dictionary went up, it has benefited from the suggestions of dozens of people I have never met, from around the world. Tremendous thanks and appreciation to all of you.



eSkeletons provides an interactive environment in which to examine and learn about skeletal anatomy. The purpose of this site is to enable you to view the bones of both human and non-human primates and to gather information about them from our osteology database.


Tips for viewing the eSkeletons website:

  • Your screen resolution should be set to at least 800 x 600 pixels and color quality set at “highest.” For best results, set the screen resolution to 1024 x 768 or greater.
  • eSkeletons is compatible with the following internet browsers: Firefox 2.0 or higher, Internet Explorer 7.0 or higher, and Safari. For the best viewing experience, we recommend using web standards compliant browsers.
  • Make sure JavaScript is enabled. You can check this setting in the Preferences dialog box under the Edit menu.
  • Some functions of eSkeletons require QuickTime 3.0 or higher.


Invasion of America

Between 1776 and the present, the United States seized roughly one eighth of the habitable world by treaty and executive order. Explore how it acquired North America in this interactive map of every Native American land cession since the birth of the nation.


Library of Congress

The Library of Congress offers classroom materials and professional development to help teachers effectively use primary sources from the Library’s vast digital collections in their teaching.

Find Library of Congress lesson plans and more that meet Common Core standards, state content standards, and the standards of national organizations.

Web Spotlight:

No one can credibly argue that teachers are trained well enough to be effective and efficient in today’s classrooms

40 Before and After Shots That Demonstrate the Power of Visual Effects

11 facts about US teachers and schools that put the education reform debate in context

The debate over teacher compensation and job security and its relationship to student performance is incredibly bitter and divisive, featuring two competing sides with drastically competing narratives and visions of education. One good place to start with the issue, however, is with some basic facts. Here are eleven.


Blog? Wiki? Website?

One of the questions that I am asked on a fairly frequent basis is, “should I create a blog, a wiki, or a website for my classroom?” Each platform serves a slightly different purpose. Years ago I created a small set of slides to outline the features of each platform. Yesterday, I rediscovered those slides and found that they are still useful.

Random Thoughts . . .

eCommunity for Moodle


Personal Web Site


MSM 276:  Picture (almost) Perfect!

advisory, AMLE, MSM, Podcast Comments Off

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.


Jokes You Can Use:


An eight-year-old kid says to his dad, “When I grow up, I want to be a musician.”

The dad says, “I am sorry — can’t have it both ways.”


At a party of professionals, a Doctor was having difficulty socializing. Everyone wanted to describe their symptoms, and get an opinion about diagnosis. The Doctor turned to a Lawyer acquaintance, and asked, “How do you handle people who want advice outside of the office?”

“Simple,” answered the Lawyer, “I send them a bill. That stops it.”

The next day, the Doctor, still feeling a bit reserved about what he had just finished doing, opened his mailbox to send the bills; there sat a bill from the Lawyer.


Mum, what are you cooking??

It’s bean soup!

I don’t care what it has been; I just want to know what it is now!!

A history teacher and his wife were sitting at a table, the wife asked “Anything new at work”, and he replied”, no, I am teaching History”.

Eileen Award:

  • Twitter: Julie Brannon, Tanya Knight, Sharon Ricks




Podcast 276 - Google Docs 2014-06-14 12-43-15 2014-06-14 12-43-20




Do we really want to send the message to young adolescents that character is nonrecoverable, lost with a single mistake? Or do we want to send messages about learning from mistakes – even really bad ones – and personal growth? I think the latter…

Guide dog lands spot in yearbook next to girl he takes care of: ‘They’re such a great team’

Taxi can alert family and teachers when Rachel is about to experience a seizure. “He predicts she’s going to have a seizure up to an hour and half before it happens,” Teresa explains. “It seems to be a smell that the body emits, but until dogs can talk we can never know for sure.”

Artist brightens random people’s days with fake classifieds on bulletin boards

Ukranian artist Nastya Vinokurova has been leaving drawings around Kiev that appear to be classified ads. Upon further examination, it becomes apparent that they’re not real estate listings or job postings or anything for sale, but are actually unique little drawings with notes inviting passersby to take one home…

Middle School Science Minute

byDave Bydlowski (k12science or


This is the second in a four part series on neuroscience with special guest Aneesha Badrinarayan, Outreach Programs Manager with the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, in Ann Arbor, MI. You can visit the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum online at:

In this podcast, we look at the question of “What is the application of Neuroscience?”


From the Twitterverse:

For @mrrexine #ndedchat

— Craig Nansen (@cnansen) May 31, 2014


Leigh Zeitz (@zeitz) ‏@zeitz 12m

I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.

Deanna Mascle ‏@deannamascle 45m

Comparison of Blogging Services for Teachers |@scoopit via@knolinfos  Alternate:

Socrative@Socrative 27m

26 Free Tools for Your 1-to-1 Classroom | WeAreTeachers …

Diane Ravitch ‏@DianeRavitch 41m

Robert Balfanz: How to Cut Dropout Rates

David Bydlowski ‏@k12science 49m

Oakland County Parks is accepting applications for Part time employment for Seasonal Program Specialists – Nature…

Scott McLeod ‏@mcleod 1h

Technology Will Not Replace Teachers #edtech

Doug Peterson ‏@dougpete 1h

7 Ways Quiet Leaders Get the Most From Talkers | Leadership Freak – Mozilla Firefox

MiddleWeb ‏@middleweb 2h

MWSmartBrief:@tweenteacher on dancing w/math; student health; STEM gets Maker muscles; iRules; Kidding Around …@amle

Michele McWilliams ‏@M2McW 2h

This is great!@Don_Jacobs: Got to love that@Joe_Mazza guy! Always sharing ideas -home-school


Carol A. Josel ‏@schoolwise 2h

‘Cool’ kids in middle school struggle in their 20s, study finds

Carol A. Josel @schoolwise 2h

A troubled trial run for new Common Core tests | Hechinger Report: …

Alec Couros@courosa 14h

Awesome. RT@cnansen:

Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · Jun 13

10 Entry Points For Next-Gen Learning ~#fhuedu642#fhucid#tn_teta#ISTEAPLN was#sigadmin =>@MSMatters

#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.  And as Troy says, “The Twitter never stops!”




We provide all the animation tools you’ll ever need to immediately begin creating your own professional-looking animated explainer videos and animated presentations. From start to finish, you’ll be guided through a surprisingly simple process, resulting in eye-catching videos that will hook your audience without fail.

Maybe you made a PowToon video just to watch all by yourself and never show anyone else…but we sincerely doubt it. You want to get your amazing new animation out to as many people as possible! Fortunately, our easy export system gets your PowToon animated video on YouTube or downloaded to your computer to do with as you wish in just a couple clicks.

All subscription plans are automatically renewed, but can be cancelled at anytime.





Historypin is a way for millions of people to come together, from across different generations, cultures and places, to share small glimpses of the past and to build up the huge story of human history.

Everyone has history to share: whether its sitting in yellowed albums in the attic, collected in piles of crackly tapes, conserved in the 1000s of archives all over the world or passed down in memories and old stories.

Each of these pieces of history finds a home on Historypin, where everyone has the chance to see it, add to it, learn from it, debate it and use it to build up a more complete understanding of the world.


Web Spotlight:

Images from the Museum of New Zealand

Over 14,000 images are available under a Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-ND. If you aren’t familiar with Creative Commons it can look a little complicated, but what it means is you can use those images if attribute the image (we help you do that at each download page). You can’t make money from using the image, and you can’t change the image. Might sound a little restrictive but there is plenty you can still do, like use it in your homework, on your blog, print it and hang it on your wall…

But even better are the 17,000 images that downloadable for any use, any use at all. These images have no known copyright restrictions. Again it would be good if you attributed the original maker of the work, and link to the page on Collections Online so others can find it, but that isn’t mandatory.

How (Not) to Talk to Kids About High-Stakes Tests

By day, I’m a calm, mild-mannered middle school teacher who would do just about anything to motivate my students to do their best work and fall in love with learning. I praise their achievements and efforts, not just their high scores, and then watch those scores improve.

By night, I am the mom of two daughters, and much of my hard-won professional acumen goes out the window.

Defenders believe rigorous tests lead to better teaching and better learning only when the tests have sharp teeth: Students, educators, principals, and even whole schools face dire consequences if kids don’t do well. It’s a giant experiment, involving millions of children.

1. Going negative just does not work very well.

2. Praising hard work, not high scores, is more effective.

3. Stereotypes matter.


So the takeaway for parents and teachers swept into the vortex of testing mania? Inspire students by helping them to see that their hard work has a purpose that will improve their lives and the lives of those around them. Build up students’ confidence by teaching them to work hard to improve their skills. Praise their tenacity and curiosity, not just their high scores.

Random Thoughts . . .

ISTE 2014


eCommunity for Moodle


Personal Web Site


MSM 275:  Top Ten Baby!  We’re Baaaaaaak!  But what about the Common Core?

advisory, MSM, Web Spotlight Comments Off

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.


Jokes You Can Use:


TEACHER: Why are you late, Frank?

FRANK: Because of the sign.

TEACHER: What sign?

FRANK: The one that says, “School Ahead, Go Slow.”


A man in a bar is enjoying his soda when he hears a voice say, “You look great!” He looks around, but there is nobody near him. He hears the voice again: “No, really, you look just terrific!” Again he looks around. Nobody. A few minutes pass, and again he hears the voice: “Is that a new shirt or something? Because you look absolutely stunning!” At this point the man realizes that the voice is coming from a dish of nuts on the bar. “Hey,” the man calls to the Soda clerk, “What’s with these nuts?” “Oh,” the Soda clerk answers, “they’re complimentary.”

Q. What is it called when you dream in color?

A. A pigment of your imagination


How many ducks would there be, if you saw two ducks in front of two ducks, two ducks between two ducks, and two ducks behind two ducks?

How do you make a bandstand?

Eileen Award:

  • Twitter:  Lee Ann Jung


Drawing out things songs that don’t make sense


What Your Handwriting Says About You

Have your students write about a simple topic.

What do you need for one bedroom housing?

Have your students write out how much they think that they would need to make per hour to afford one bedroom housing in your area. This is based upon a 40 hour work week and working 52 weeks a year. This can be extended by having the work out the math to include a vacation. Students could also figure out if they moved how that could impact what they need to make.

Middle School Science Minute

byDave Bydlowski (k12science or


This is the first in a four part series on neuroscience with special guest Aneesha Badrinarayan, Outreach Programs Manager with the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, in Ann Arbor, MI. You can visit the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum online at:


In this podcast, we look at the question of “What is Neuroscience?”

From the Twitterverse:

Teach For America ‏@TeachForAmerica 5m

Does handwriting matter? via@nytimes

KEtheredge ‏@ketheredge 10h

.@coolcatteacher I#WorkWonders by using OneNote to create a collaborative textbook w/ my Ss …

Education Radio @BAMRadioNetwork 

The Two Hidden Social Qualities of Effective Educators   @besmonte@coolcatteacher #edchat

David Bydlowski ‏@k12science 16m

Guitar Building Teaches Oregon Students Math, Science, and History …

Lisa Fusco ‏@LisaFusco 1h

The 8 Skills Students Must Have For The Future: This year’s “The Learning Curve” report from Pearson takes a l…

Liz Davis ‏@lizdavis2 12h

Resilience is a process  not a trait:

SimonGoss ‏@TheSimonGoss 6h #inf530 innovations for the next ten

Diane Ravitch ‏@DianeRavitch 3h

Students in Ipswich, Mass., Request Payment for Taking Field Tests

Ewan McIntosh ‏@ewanmcintosh 4h

Reading D-Day Landing Sites Then And Now: 11 Striking Images That Bring The Past And Present Together:

sara wilkie ‏@sewilkie Jun 6

How are we learning from our Ss?“@ijukes: Students Explain Assgnmnts That Got Their Attention …

Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · 22h

A Simple Idea That Just Might Revolutionize Education ~#sigadmin#tn_teta#fhuedu642 =>@MSMatters

Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · 23h

A Simple Guide to Create Narrated Comic Books Using#iPad ~#fhuedu642#tn_teta#edwebchat =>@MSMatters

Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · 24h

Why iOS 8 will be a big deal to educators ~#fhuedu642#fhuedu320#tn_teta#edwebchat =>@MSMatters

#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.  And as Troy says, “The Twitter never stops!”


What We Can Learn from Oklahoma’s Repeal of Common Core

ExamTime Introduces New Options for Tracking Your Own Study Habits

ExamTime is a neat service that students can use to create flashcards, mind maps, and practice quizzes to help them study.

The most significant of the new ExamTime features is the new performance tracking option. Performance tracking allows students to keep track of how they scored on practice quizzes, monitor which flashcards they know and which they need to spend more time with, and track their comprehension of nodes of their mind maps.


Video: A New Version Of “I’m Just A Bill” That’s More Cynical & More Accurate

Web Spotlight:


SAMR Model

  • Substitution
  • Augmentation
  • Modification
  • Redefinition

The Problem with Outcome-Oriented Evaluations

“When we play poker, we control our decision-making process but not how the cards come down. If you correctly detect an opponent’s bluff, but he gets a lucky card and wins the hand anyway, you should be pleased rather than angry, because you played the hand as well as you could. The irony is that by being less focused on your results, you may achieve better ones.”


Smart decisions and strong performance do not always beget good results; the more factors in-between our actions and the desired outcome, the less predictive power the outcome can give us.


Better policy would focus on school and teacher inputs. For example, we should agree on a set of clear and specific best teaching practices (with the caveat that they’d have to be sufficiently flexible to allow for different teaching styles) on which to base teacher evaluations.

Random Thoughts . . .


eCommunity for Moodle


Personal Web Site



MSM 274:  The length of a paycheck correlated with the amount of time spent listening to podcasts . . .

advisory, MSM, Strategy, Web Spotlight Comments Off


Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.

Jokes You Can Use:

Notice to Employees (Includes Part Time Workers)



We will no longer accept your doctors’ statements as proof.

We believe if you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to work.



We are no longer allowing this practice. As long as you are employed here, you will need all of whatever you have and should not consider having anything removed. We hired you as you are, and to have anything removed would certainly make you less than we bargained for. Anyone having operations will be FIRED immediately.



In the event of extreme pregnancy, you will be allowed to go to the first aid room when the pains are FIVE MINUTES apart. If it is false labor, you will have to take an hour’s leave without pay.



This will be accepted as an excuse, BUT we would like two weeks notice, as we feel it is your duty to teach someone your job prior to . . . or after death.


This new benefit program started yesterday.

The Management


What did the spider email to the fly?

Visit my Web site!

An engineer dies and reports to the pearly gates. St. Peter checks his dossier and says, “Ah, you’re an engineer — you’re in the wrong place.” So the engineer reports to the gates of hell and is let in. Pretty soon, the engineer gets dissatisfied with the level of comfort in hell, and starts designing and building improvements. After a while, they’ve got air conditioning, flush toilets and escalators, and the engineer is becoming a pretty popular guy. One day God calls Satan up on the telephone and asks with a sneer, “So, how’s it going down there in hell?” Satan replies, “Hey, things are going great. We’ve got air conditioning, flush toilets and escalators, and there’s no telling what this engineer is going to come up with next.” God replies, “What??? You’ve got an engineer? That’s a mistake — he should never have gotten down there; send him up here.” Satan says, “No way! I like having an engineer on the staff, and I’m keeping him.” God says, “Send him back up here or I’ll sue.” Satan laughs uproariously and answers, “Yeah right. And just where are YOU going to get a lawyer?”

What is worse than a giraffe with a sore neck?

A centipede with athlete’s foot.


Where did the kittens go on their class trip?

To a mewseum.


A cowboy rides into town on Friday, stays three days and leaves on Friday how does he do it?

The horses name is Friday

Middle Schooler orders pizza. He gets a large. Just before it’s cut, he asks how many pieces.

Eileen Award:

  • Google+: Neil Sandham



How Far Your Paycheck Goes, In 356 U.S. Cities


It’s not just in coffee anymore. From drinks to jerky to gum, caffeine is everywhere. In our latest video, we take a look at the science behind the world’s most popular drug, including why that little molecule keeps you awake and reveal just how much caffeine is too much.

What is “Pretty”?

How the Blind see beauty

Citizenship Test

Middle School Science Minute

byDave Bydlowski (k12science or




I was recently reading the February, 2014 issue of Science Scope, a magazine written for Middle School Science Teachers, published by the National Science Teachers Association.  In this issue, I was reading the article, “Science Evolving,” written by Elizabeth Chick.

In this article, Chick explains how she developed a yearlong study of famous life scientists to bring together the Common Core for English Language Arts with the Nature of Science, found in the Next Generation Science Standards.


From the Twitterverse:

Jason Eifling ‏@jeifling

NPR Launches Database of Best Commencement Speeches Ever#graduation

Will Richardson ‏@willrich45

Posted yesterday: “The Real Stranger Danger” #edchat#education#parenting#edleadership

Heather Aston@Heather_Aston 

@lparren: Projects to Engage Middle School Readers via@edutopia#anesu#cisdlib#eastbroncos

Derek McCoy ‏@mccoyderek 1h

50+ Ways a Tablet Can Make You a More Effective Teacher

MiddleWeb ‏@middleweb

RT@CharlesMBlow: This Teen Has Published Two Books Before Graduating From Middle School #mschat@amle

Monte Tatom@drmmtatom ·

Apple’s Official Guide To Teaching With Apps ~#fhuedu642#fhucid#tn_teta#edwebchat#sigadmin =>@MSMatters

Rick Wormeli ‏@RickWormeli 

Unrecoverable zeroes and F’s give students excuse to drop the effort, avoid the learning. Why bother? The brain seeks self-preservation.

Richard Byrne ‏@rmbyrne

Create a Mobile Language Lesson With QR Voice

Kerry Walker ‏@kerrywalker55

@TopInventionss: Watermelons are square in Japan so they’re easier to”wow thinking outside the square

Craig Vroom ‏@Vroom6 10h

10 Ways to Measure A Successful Year, So Far. …#edchat@justintarte@casas_jimmy@TonySinanis@gcouros

Scott Newcomb@SNewco 11h

RT@mccoyderek: Wonderful Guide to The Use of Rubrics in Education #edchat

Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · May 22

Create Your Own Personalized Podcast Using@Voxer via@Joe_Mazza ~#fhuedu642#sigadmin#edwebchat#tn_teta

Monte Tatom@drmmtatom

Teaching Character: The Choices We Make ~#fhupsy306#fhuedu610

#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.  And as Troy says, “The Twitter never stops!”



Spurious Correlations


Open Rocket

OpenRocket is a free, fully featured model rocket simulator that allows you to design and simulate your rockets before actually building and flying them.

The main features include:

  • Six-degree-of-freedom flight simulation
  • Automatic design optimization
  • Realtime simulated altitude, velocity and acceleration display
  • Staging and clustering support
  • Cross-platform (Java-based)

Engaging 6th Graders With Coding

This week I am giving some guest bloggers the opportunity to share their ideas and experiences. This is a post from Alison Franz.



AMLE Book Clearance



Kaizena allows teachers to provide audio feedback on shared Google Docs. This must be added through the App Store.


Random Thoughts . . .

Kids will still go to physical schools, to socialize and be guided by teachers, but as much, if not more, learning will take place employing carefully designed educational tools in the spirit of today’s Khan Academy –modular learning tailored to a student’s needs.

– Google gurus Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen pp 21-22 of  THE NEW DIGITAL AGE: Transforming Nations, Businesses, and Our Lives (Vintage)


eCommunity for Moodle


Personal Web Site


MSM 273:  Maestro, my Kindergartener is now “College and Career Ready”.

advisory, Podcast, Strategy, Web Spotlight Comments Off

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.

Jokes You Can Use:

“They call him Maestro”

A guy walks into a pet store wanting a parrot. The store clerk shows him two beautiful ones out on the floor. “This one’s $5,000 and the other is $10,000.” the clerk said. “Wow! What does the $5,000 one do?” “This parrot can sing every aria Mozart ever wrote.” “And the other?” said the customer. “This one can sing Wagner’s entire Ring cycle. There’s another one in the back room for $30,000.” “Holy moly! What does that one do?” “Nothing that I can tell, but the other two parrots call him ‘Maestro’.”

A wife asks her husband, a software engineer…

“Could you please go shopping for me and buy one carton of milk, and if they have eggs, get 6!” A short time later the husband comes back with 6 cartons of milk. The wife asks him, “Why the hell did you buy 6 cartons of milk?” He replied, “They had eggs.”


To the optimist, the glass is half-full.

To the pessimist, the glass is half-empty.

To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

Eileen Award:

  • Twitter:  Jason Hovey, Tara Becker-Utess, Anna Asti, Andrea McKay, Kevin Sigaty, Jerri Wood,
  • Google+: Heather Valdespino



10 Jobs that will

Middle School Science Minute

byDave Bydlowski (k12science or



I was recently reading the January, 2014 issue of Science Scope, a magazine written for Middle School Science Teachers, published by the National Science Teachers Association.  One of my favorite sections in each Science Scope is the “Scope on Safety” section, written by Ken Roy, Director of Environmental Health and Safety for Glastonbury Public Schools.

Ken shares his advice on hand washing.

From the Twitterverse:

Monte Tatom ‏@drmmtatom 10h

Blended learning simplified & explained in video ~#sigadmin#tn_teta#fhuedu642 =>@MSMatters

Monte Tatom ‏@drmmtatom 15h

Some Notable Tools & Apps for Special Needs Students ~#fhuspe348#spedchat#edwebchat =>@MSMatters

Monte Tatom@drmmtatom 15h

End of School Year Tools for Creative Summative Assessment ~#fhuedu642#tn_teta#edwebchat =>@MSMatters

Monte Tatom ‏@drmmtatom May 15

New C-SPAN Bell Ringers – Good Lesson Ideas for Social Studies Teachers ~#histedchat#fhuedu320 =>@MSMatters

Monte Tatom ‏@drmmtatom May 15

New: 11 of the best iOS and Android apps ~#tn_teta#sigadmin#fhuedu320#edwebchat =>@MSMatters

Monte Tatom ‏@drmmtatom May 15

The Anatomy of Project Based Learning Process ~#tn_teta#fhuedu642#edwebchat =>@MSMatters

Monte Tatom ‏@drmmtatom May 9

7 Effective Ways to Engage on@Twitter ~#fhuedu642#tn_teta#sigadmin =>@MSMatters

Monte Tatom ‏@drmmtatom May 7

Edmodo Snapshot – Quickly Create Common Core-aligned Assessments ~#edwebchat#fhuedu320#tn_teta =>@MSMatters

Scott McLeod@mcleod · May 15

Activate Instruction | A free tool to personalize learning

Scott McLeod@mcleod · May 13

For Students, the Importance of Doing Work That Matters |@MindShiftKQED

Scott McLeod@mcleod · May 10

4 Powerful Formative Assessment Tools For The Chromebook Classroom |@edudemic

Robin Ashford@rashford 8m

The British Library has just launched a major new website for digital manuscripts, well worth exploring: via@wcronon

Bill Cronon@wcronon May 14

If you ever wonder about how long your old CD’s will last, here’s what the Library of Congress thinks. Be worried.

#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.  And as Troy says, “The Twitter never stops!”



Google Lesson Plans

We’ve created a series of lessons to help you guide your students to use search meaningfully in their schoolwork and beyond.

On this page, you’ll find Search Literacy lessons and A Google A Day classroom challenges. Our search literacy lessons help you meet the new Common Core State Standards and are broken down based on level of expertise in search: Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced.

A Google A Day challenges help your students put their search skills to the test, and to get your classroom engaged and excited about using technology to discover the world around them.



Create/Use classroom texts that include mark ups, notes, and quizzes. Uses Google sign in.


Twine is an open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories.


Google Classroom

Welcome to a preview of Classroom, a new tool coming to Google Apps for Education. Classroom weaves together Google Docs, Drive and Gmail to help teachers create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently, and communicate with their classes with ease. And it lets students organize their work, complete and turn it in, and communicate directly with their teachers and peers.

Classroom was designed hand-in-hand with teachers to help them save time, keep classes organized, and improve communication with students.

Web Spotlight:

Digital Reading Poses Learning Challenges for Students

By Benjamin Herold

Comprehension may suffer when students read on the digital devices now flooding into classrooms, an emerging body of research suggests.

When reading on screens, for example, people seem to reflexively skim the surface of texts in search of specific information, rather than dive in deeply in order to draw inferences, construct complex arguments, or make connections to their own experiences. Research has also found that students, when reading digitally, tend to discard familiar print-based strategies for boosting comprehension.

And many of the multimedia elements, animations, and interactive features found in e-books appear to function primarily as amusing distractions.

…also quick to acknowledge a big problem: “I understand better when [text] is on paper, because it’s all right there, and it’s not skipping ahead and back all the time.”

A study last year by Heather R. and Jordan T. Schugar, a wife-and-husband research team at Westchester University of Pennsylvania, found that a small sample of students comprehended traditional books at “a much higher level” than they comprehended the same material when read on an iPad.


“We live in two worlds now,” she said. “We have to adapt.”

Kindergarten show canceled so kids can keep studying to become ‘college and career ready.’ Really.

An annual year-end kindergarten show has been canceled at a New York school because the kids have to keep working so they will be “college and career” ready. Really.


This didn’t come out of the blue. Kindergarten (and even preschool) has increasingly become academic — at the expense of things such as recess and the arts — in this era of standardized test-based school reform.

Random Thoughts . . .

eCommunity for Moodle

Personal Web Site

MSM 272:  POST! You gotta fix that. Oh, and get me engaged (not that way).

MSM, Podcast, Web Spotlight Comments Off

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.

Jokes You Can Use:

During training exercises, the Lieutenant driving down a

muddy back road encountered another car stuck in the mud

with a red-faced colonel at the wheel.


“Your jeep stuck, sir?” asked the Lieutenant as he pulled


“Nope,” replied the Colonel, coming over and handing him

the keys, “Yours is.”


Little Johnny was not paying attention in class so the math teacher called on him and said, “Johnny! What are 5, 2, 28 and 40?” Little Johnny quickly replied, “NBC, CBS, HBO, and Cartoon Network!”


Okay, so a Texan rancher comes upon a farmer from Maine. The Texan looks at the Mainer and asks, “Say, how much land you think you got here?” Mainer: ‘Bout 10 acres I’d say.” Texan (boasting): Well, on my lot, it takes me all day to drive completely around my property!” Mainer: “Yep, I got one of them trucks too.”


A man put in 10 puns for a pun contest, hoping that at least one of them would win. But sadly, no pun in ten did.


Wife: “How’d your doctor appointment go?

Husband: “Well, there’s good news and bad news. My blood pressure’s high and

I’m overweight. But, at the doctor’s suggestion, I’m going to take up golf!”

Wife: “And the good news?”




Birthday Celebrations Around the World

Warning, could give students some ideas.


Positive Messages


Middle School Science Minute

byDave Bydlowski (k12science or

Place-Based Inquiry

I was recently reading the January, 2014 issue of Science Scope, a magazine written for Middle School Science Teachers, published by the National Science Teachers Association.  In this issue, I was reading the article, “Using Place-Based Inquiry to Inspire and Motivate Future Scientists,” written by Callin Switzer.

In this article, Callin explains the meaning of scientific inquiry and compares and contrasts place-based education and field-based education.

From the Twitterverse:

Karen McMillan ‏@McTeachA Visual Guide to The Use of Google Books for Research  (Very helpful visuals)
iColorType ‏@iColorTypeWhy Should I Attend An EdTech Conference?  #Edtech
Angela Maiers ‏@AngelaMaiersWhy Are There So Many Edcamp First Timers?  via@kristenswanson
KevinHodgson ‏@dogtraxDigital Poets! Web Tools, Apps, & Lesson Ideas
Scott McLeod ‏@mcleod“Prepare for compliance.” Gotta love the heavy hand of government…
Caroline Lucas ‏@CarolineLucasRT@SirKenRobinson: You can’t improve education by alienating teachers < wishing#NUT14 a great#Brighton
Todd Bloch ‏@blocht574Twitter can be the teachers help desk to everything when used correctly!#NT2t#mschat
Chad Lehman ‏@imcguyClass Tech Tips: 23 Virtual Tools for Tablets (all free!)
Dan Callahan ‏@dancallahanHow Should Learning Teams Choose Essential Outcomes? (Via@plugusin)#bpschat …
British Pathé ‏@BritishPatheWe’re pleased to announce the uploading of 85,000 films to YouTube. View and share here: …
Teacher ‏@Primary_EdRT@willrich45: The irony of “personalized” learning is that it gets every child to meet “standardized” outcomes.#edtech#edchat#satchat
Kevin Cummins ‏@edgalaxy_comHundreds of creative writing ideas for teachers
#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.  And as Troy says, “The Twitter never stops!”




BookTrack Classroom

Create texts for your students. The texts can include sounds. This could be a reading of the book or background music.!/


Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School

This practice guide provides four recommendations that address what works for English learners during reading and content area instruction. Each recommendation includes extensive examples of activities that can be used to support students as they build the language and literacy skills needed to be successful in school. The recommendations also summarize and rate supporting evidence. This guide is geared toward teachers, administrators, and other educators who want to improve instruction in academic content and literacy for English learners in elementary and middle school.


Why Doesn’t America Read Anymore?

NPR had a terrific April fool’s joke.

Web Spotlight:

More Than Half of Students ‘Engaged’ in School, Says Poll

Students who strongly agree that they have at least one teacher who makes them “feel excited about the future” and that their school is “committed to building the strengths of each student” are 30 times more likely than students who strongly disagree with those statements to show other signs of engagement in the classroom—a key predictor of academic success, according to a report released Wednesday by Gallup Education.

Random Thoughts . . .

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