MSM 284: Note(Take) this: Trading Cards, Mentally Strong, Failure in 3D.

MSM, Podcast, Web Spotlight No Comments »

Jokes You Can Use:

Q: How do trees access the internet?

A: They log in.


Chuck Norris will never have a heart attack. His heart isn’t so foolish to attack him.


– Who is there?

– Police?

– What do you want?

– We want to talk.

– How many of you are there?

– Two.

– So talk with each other.


I hate it when you offer someone a sincere compliment about their mustache, and suddenly she is not your friend anymore…



A: Why are you late?

B: There was a man who lost a hundred dollar bill.

A: That’s nice. Were you helping him look for it?

B: No, I was standing on it.



On a beach a man shouts at another man:

– Tell your son not to imitate me.

A man to his son:

– Son, stop playing the fool.


The best way to make somebody remember you is to borrow money from them.



Eileen Award:

  • Twitter: Daniel Edwards, Peter Rattien, Kim Allen
  • Facebook: Coco Gibson Burks




18 Things Mentally Strong People Do



15 People Who Failed on Their Way to Success

Before their success, some of the world’s most successful people experienced epic failure. We celebrate their success but often overlook the path that got them there. A path that is often marked with failure.


Middle School Science Minute

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or




I was recently reading the September, 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 the Editor’s Roundtable, entitled “Align Your Assessments With Three Dimensional Learning.”  It was written by the editor of “Science Scope,” Inez Liftig.  The purpose of the column was to emphasize that effective assessment is integral to the three-dimensional learning and teaching needed to realize the vision of the NGSS and the Framework for K-12 Science Education.



Have a great vacation!


From the Twitterverse:

Think with Google ‏@ThinkwithGoogle  Sep 173 steps to turn your data into actionable insights
Exam Elf ‏@ExamElf  17m#ExamElf is listed as a top new app for teachers to try in the new school year! Check it out:  #edapps
MichaelSmithSupt@principalspage  1hChange Your Words…. Change Your Mindset….


Change Your Words- Change Your Mindset

Change Your Words- Change Your Mindset

Sue Gorman ‏@sjgorman  1hGoogle for Education Blog: Pope Francis launches Scholas to connect students online … via @googleforedu
MiddleWeb ‏@middleweb  1hRT @SchwartzGMS: Ideas for growth within co-teaching relationship – qualities of effective partnerships  @amle @naesp
Amanda Dykes ‏@amandacdykes  1hTop 15 Things Your Middle School Kid Wishes You Knew  via @HuffPostParents
Karen Miller ‏@Kdmiller4  1hiPad Educators’ Guide to Apps for Film Making!film-making/c224x … #doink #ipaded
Sue Waters ‏@suewaters  1hRT @tasteach: I am looking for 18 more mentors for age 12/13 year old students blogging … #14stubc
Beth Still ‏@BethStill  2h25 Signs You’re Teaching In 2015  via @TeachThought
Cara Whitehead ‏@WhiteheadsClass  33mJoin the Attendance Awareness Campaign today and end chronic absence in our schools:  #SchoolEveryDay
Monte Tatom @drmmtatom · Sep 16The Hattie Effect: What’s Essential for Effective PBL?  ~ #fhuedu642 #fhuedu613 #tn_teta #edwebchat => @MSMatters
Monte Tatom @drmmtatom · Sep 16Deeper Learning Student Profile: Portfolio Defense  via @All4Ed ~ #fhuedu613 #tn_teta #ISTEAPLN => @MSMatters
Tweechme@TweechmeApp  2h10 Reasons Why Teachers Use Twitter as a PD Tool  #nt2t #satchat #edtechchat
#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.  And as Troy says, “The Twitter never stops!”



Trading Cards

Nice find by Richard Byrne. He has also provided a screencast exemplifying how to use it.

You can create trading cards for a wide variety of topics. Real people, fictional people, places, objects, vocabulary words and more.

ReadWriteThink includes some nice lesson plans lower on the page as well.


Note Taking Skills

Note taking skills aren’t just automatic. We tell students “take notes” but they have no idea what that means. What makes “good notes.” What do they write down? What should notes look like?

If they don’t have basic notetaking skills down in an analog way adding a new technology AND teaching how to take notes at the same time is too much.

So, now, I’m taking the approach of helping students master analog notetaking. This is for several reasons the first is just to teach the analog notetaking skills they need but secondly, I’m full out an IN-FLIP classroom. When I’m teaching concepts on the computer or anything point and click, I always do it with videos embedded in our LMS.

We want them DRAWING. Why? So they can use all parts of their brain. Using symbols and notes and such can help connect ideas in powerful ways. So, at this point, I take my students on a visual notetaking journey.


Socratic Smackdown

A versatile discussion-based humanities game to practice argumentation around any text or topic for grades 6 through 12.

The game is designed for 4-40 students. Includes a video tutorial, and a PDF of the instructions. Students earn points. All instructions, support material and score cards are included. Links to Common Core standards are also available.

The beauty of Socratic Smackdown is its flexibility. Here are some ways Rebecca Grodner has used the game:

“Playing it in small groups, it can encourage shy students. In large groups, it can help you focus on specific learning needs.”

“Using it as a form of assessment, or as a practice space for finding supporting evidence for one’s ideas.“

“Framing it as a game to help students learn to negotiate conflict. As a facilitator, some days I found myself helping students mediate arguments in their small groups.”



Web Spotlight:

Is character education the answer?

Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D.

September 17, 2014

Over the last few years, there has been a growing awareness of the need to incorporate character development into school curricula, and various efforts to do so have received wide attention. Perhaps the best-known effort is the Knowledge Is Power Program, or KIPP, which has been implemented in close to 150 charter schools across the country.

KIPP has a long record of impressive accomplishments that have garnered much media attention, including Paul Tough’s bestseller, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character. Students attending KIPP schools have higher rates of high-school graduation, college enrollment, and college completion than students from similarly disadvantaged backgrounds who attend other types of schools. Numerous evaluations of KIPP schools have found that students show larger-than-expected gains on various measures of achievement.

With this parental predisposition in mind, a recent evaluation of KIPP middle schools by an independent evaluator is particularly intriguing. This evaluation drew its comparison group from a sample of children whose families had entered, but didn’t win, a lottery to gain admission to the local KIPP school.

Consistent with the prior studies, in this objective evaluation, KIPP students outperformed the comparison children on numerous measures of achievement, across a range of subject areas. KIPP students also spent more time on homework. The differences were not only statistically significant, but substantial. This is the stuff of headlines, and rightly so.

However, some of this study’s findings were not so widely broadcast. The KIPP children showed no advantage on any of the measures of character strengths. They weren’t more effortful or persistent. They didn’t have more favorable academic self-conceptions or stronger school engagement. They didn’t score higher than the comparison group in self-control. In fact, they were more likely to engage in “undesirable behavior,” including losing their temper, lying to and arguing with their parents, and giving teachers a hard time. They were more likely to get into trouble at school. Despite the program’s emphasis on character development, the KIPP students were no less likely to smoke, drink, get high, or break the law. Nor were their hopes for their educational futures any higher or their plans any more ambitious. A different study found that rates of college graduation among KIPP graduates, while three times as high as those of students from comparable disadvantaged backgrounds, were still disappointing: Nearly 90 percent of the KIPP students enrolled in college, but only a third graduated—less than half the proportion the program’s developers have hoped for. College-graduation rates have since improved a bit in several KIPP schools, according to KIPP’s founders, but they are still far behind KIPP’s expectations.


Random Thoughts . . .


Personal Web SiteMoodle & Google Classroom




MSM 283:  A Love Letter. Dipsticks. Images. and Memory.

advisory, MSM, Podcast, Strategy Comments Off

 Jokes You Can Use:


Eileen Award:

  • Twitter: Marc Clark, Deborah Kenny, Crystal Davids, Jeff Emerson



Cryptic Writing


Middle School Science Minute

by Dave 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 “Scope on Safety: Question of the Month” written by Ken Roy, director of environmental health and safety for Glastonbury Public Schools in Glastonbury, Connecticut.  The question of the month, that he responds to, is “Do special education paraprofessionals in my science lab need to have formal training in handling hazardous chemicals?”



From the Twitterverse:

Kyle Calderwood ‏@kcalderw  28mAll That Teachers Need to Know about Remind (101) #ptchat #njed #edtech
juandoming ‏@juandoming  10mClassJump – Free web sites for #teachers via @McfeetersM
principalaim@principalaim  6hPay Attention to Attendance this New School Year:
Jenna Dixon ‏@JennaVDixon  Aug 21For those of us overwhelmed by the idea of Genius Hour w/ little ones- “Why I Abandoned Genius Hour” … via @mrswideen
Kyle Pace ‏@kylepace  49mEducator’s Guide to LiveBinders …
Derek McCoy ‏@mccoyderek  53mThree Ways Blended Learning Makes Teachers More Efficient
Emily Vickery ‏@ehvickery  1hSchools use Apple’s Swift and other coding langs 2 create several apps  Intense PD preps teachers #edchat #edtech
William Jenkins ‏@EdTech_Stories  5h@E_Sheninger Check out @ChrisTienken study on the lack of relationship between PISA/TIMSS & creativity, innov, entrap
Eric H. Roth ‏@compellingtalks  8hThe Best Sites For Learning About The #Constitution Of The United States … via @Larryferlazzo #UShistory #USIH #civics
Susan Connelly ‏@ConnellySue  1h@BevLadd: Dipsticks: Efficient Ways to Check for Understanding | @edutopia ” great resource! #NT2t  #leadership #tlap
Andrew Miller@betamiller  2hTop 5 Tips For A Blended Classrooms  #edchat #edtech
Sarah Ressler Wright@vocabgal  Sep 4RT @SadlierSchool: Free Teacher Organization Printables:   What a handy download! #Edchat #Engchat #K12 #Freebie
McGraw-Hill School@McGrawHillK12  Sep 4$20,000 Back-To-School sweepstakes – prizes for parents AND teachers. Enter free by 9/9 at
Rui Guimarães Lima@rguimaslima Protected Tweets  46m15 Lesson Plans For Making Students Better Online Researchers via @PinkSalmonG2P
David Truss@datruss  47m@mathrabbit1: The declining economic value of routine cognitive work #edchat #edreform #cpchat @mcleod
#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.  And as Troy says, “The Twitter never stops!”



13 Tricks to Help You Remember What You’ve Learned

Memory is fallible. If you forget everything in this article, remember this fact: Researchers estimate that we lose 90% of everything we learn immediately after learning it. Ninety percent. Have I got your attention now?


21 Cool Anchor Charts To Teach Close-Reading Skills

Close reading is a hot topic that’s just getting hotter! Here are 21 anchor charts, bulletin board ideas and other resources that you can bring into your classroom to turn your readers into even closer readers.


Image Resources


Free PowToon Account

We believe in the importance of education so to celebrate 5 million PowToons created we have over 50,000 FREE Classroom Accounts to give away! Each account gives one teacher + 60 students access (normally $96/yr per account). Offer Expires October 31st, 2014. Accounts are valid for one year.

Web Spotlight:



Random Thoughts . . .

Google Classroom

Personal Web Site




MSM 282: Own your own stuff, just don’t call a plumber.

advisory, MSM, Podcast, Tech, Web Spotlight Comments Off

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.   


Jokes You Can Use:

A pipe burst in a doctor’s house. He called a plumber. The plumber arrived, unpacked his tools, did mysterious plumber-type things for a while, and handed the doctor a bill for $600.

The doctor exclaimed, “This is ridiculous! I don’t even make that much as a doctor!.”

The plumber quietly answered, “Neither did I when I was a doctor.”


Ham and eggs: a day’s work for a chicken, a lifetime commitment for a pig.


Three men were sitting on a park bench. The one in the middle was reading a newspaper; the others were pretending to fish. They baited imaginary hooks, cast lines, and reeled in their catch.

A passing policeman stopped to watch the spectacle and asked the man in the middle if he knew the other two.

“Oh yes” he said. “They‘re my friends.”

“In that case,” warned the officer, “you’d better get them out of here!”

“Yes, sir” the man replied, and he began rowing furiously

New student in my classroom

Got a new student this week.  Mr. Invisible married Mrs. Invisible and had children.  They’re not much to look at either.

Eileen Award:


  • Twitter: André Sprang, Joseph Kenney, KJ Wari, Jochen Horst


Humans Need Not Apply

The video below is long (15 minutes), but thoughtful and riveting. It make the case that just as horses have been replaced by technology, humans are next. If that sounds like silly logic, invest one minute, just to see what you think.

Getting Over Procrastination

Middle School Science Minute

byDave Bydlowski (k12science or


Middle School Science Minute — Think Apps


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 “Think Instruments, Think Apps: Using App-Based Technology in the Science Classroom” written by Nancy H. Heilbronner.  In the article, Nancy describes 10 apps that would be helpful to use in the science classroom.  All 10 of the apps could take the place of costly scientific instruments.

From the Twitterverse:

George Couros ‏@gcouros 35s

Seems to be a trend all over – Tablets fall out of favour in NSW classrooms …

Tom Grissom ‏@tomgrissom now

Digital textbooks in OneNote stay updated, save money …#onenote#off365#crossplatform

Derek McCoy@mccoyderek 12m

ClassDojo’s Messenger App Now Supports Voice Messages

Scott McLeod ‏@mcleod 33m

When is the last time you saw a “Using Office 365 in Your Classroom” session at an#edtech conference?

Gary G. Abud, Jr. ‏@MR_ABUD 50m

Looking for recommendations of apps and websites to use in your classroom this year? Look no further than@Graphite!

Lisa Dabbs ‏@teachingwthsoul 1h

Excited! New Teacher Chat class#ntchat@RemindHQ is launching! Sign up to connect! 12 subscribers so far! #satchat

Brian Aspinall ‏@mraspinall 1h

Just blogged…Seven Back to School Week Activities to Get to Know Your Students via@mraspinall @dougpete#lkdsb

Derek McCoy ‏@mccoyderek 1h

Why middle-schoolers need to take risks -

MichaelSmithSupt ‏@principalspage 2h

A map of every device in the world that’s connected to the internet.

Brian Aspinall ‏@mraspinall 2h

“Four Things I’ll Do Differently This School Year”

Brian Aspinall@mraspinall 2h

25 Ways To Ask Your Kids ‘So How Was School Today?’ Without Asking Them ‘So How Was School Today?’

Richard Byrne@rmbyrne 3h

Three Android Apps for Creating Flipped Video Lessons

Ryan Bretag@ryanbretag 3h

RT”@ChromebookInst: Get Your Preso Proposal Submitted Quickly for CBI Great Lakes in Ohio. Deadline is nearing!

Diane Ravitch@DianeRavitch 3h

Register your vote for or against Common Core:

Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · Aug 28

Google Slides for#iPad is Finally Out ~#fhuedu320#fhucid#tn_teta#edwebchat =>@MSMatters

Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · Aug 28

LibrAdventures – A Map of Writers & Their Stories ~#fhueng102#engchat#fhuedu320 =>@MSMatters

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

Podcast 282 - This Week - Google Docs 2014-08-30 12-45-37 2014-08-30 12-45-43


Who’s a Math Nerd? *raising hand*

Ok so I didn’t come up with this idea out of nowhere.  I was reading this awesome book–>Number Sense Routines by Jessice Shumway and I had this awesome class of students who were lacking in number sense.

I came up with this idea.  You can read about ithere (THE BLAME GAME) and read through my #TMC13 presentationhere.  In a nutshell, I am unable to live with myself if I allow students to graduate high school (pass my class) without having  mental math strategies.

So I start this idea with my high school class of 12 students who’s only relationship with mathematics was very negative.  To be completely honest, these students’ relationship with school was very negative and they were kind of ready to give up on school all together.

4 Big Things Transformational Teachers Do

Transformational teachers don’t react. They anticipate and prepare. Lee Shulman, asreported by Marge Scherer, suggests that expert teachers demonstrate the following, despite enormous challenges:

Cognitive understanding of how students learn; emotional preparation to relate to many students whose varied needs are not always evident; content knowledge from which to draw different ways to present a concept; and, finally, the ability to make teaching decisions quickly and act on them.

So how do they do that? Let’s break it down.



27 Ways To Promote Intrinsic Motivation In The Classroom

by TeachThought Staff

We’ve talked about thedefinition of intrinsic motivation in the past. We’ve also talked about some basicways to improve student motivation.

This time, it’s Mia MacMeekin‘s turn to speak to you about the same, but through gridded, blocked, and easy to read infographics. The graphic starts with a definition for both intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation, then offers 27 verbs that can help promote that magic stuff that is characterized by curiosity, effort, engagement, and academic success.

Some were a little iffy–”praise” and “milestones” seemed a little closer to extrinsic motivation. But the vast majority are useful to consider as you design units, lessons, and activities this school year.

Our favorites?

5. Create a grade free lesson

7. Challenge students to come up with new solutions to old problems

8. Encourage creative ways to accomplish the same task

22. Create a trusting atmosphere

23. Create a class vision

24. Engage in community service


Web Spotlight:


4 Steps Towards A More Personal Classroom

by Linda Pruett

Personalized learning is a key to transforming education. What is personalized learning? It is meeting the kids where they are – and then helping them grow in their strengths, and better see themselves. It’s finding out where each student’s interests lie, challenging them to grow in their individual interests, and then celebrating their growth! It is student-centered, student-driven, and student-celebrated.

4 Steps Towards A More Personal Classroom

1. Really, truly get to know your students

2. Tailor student learning

3. Help them to set their own goals

4. Use technology to help students interact


5 Ways to Assess Learning without Giving a Test

I ran into a little push-back about assessment.  The chief complaint was that increasing the number of assessments requires teachers to give up more instructional time to test kids.  I couldn’t agree more with. We don’t need more tests. We need more instruction.


But here’s the deal. Assessment is not testing.  Assessment is determining if learning is actually taking place.  In fact, assessment is a vital component on excellent instruction, and without assessment, you’re not delivering instruction.  You’re disseminating information and opportunities to learn.

Why All Students Should Write: A Neurological Explanation

by Judy Willis M.D., M.Ed.,

In terms of writing and the brain, there are multiple reasons for embedding writing throughout STEM courses. Writing promotes the brain’s attentive focus to class work and homework, promotes long-term memory, illuminates patterns (possibly even “aha” moment insight!), includes all students as participants, gives the brain time for reflection, and when well-guided, is a source of conceptual development and stimulus of the brain’s highest cognition.


A strange definition of a ‘bad’ teacher

Whatever you think of job protections for teachers, Wright inadvertently raised a separate issue during an interview he did with Campbell on NY1′s “Inside City Hall with Errol Louis”: What exactly is a “bad” teacher? Some answers are obvious, others less so.

…the suggestion being that a teacher who assigns kindergartners homework routinely is better than one who doesn’t.

But in this interview Wright rested his claims about the value of his children’s teachers on the fact that one was spending personal money for supplies and that the same teacher assigned homework routinely.

But it is troubling when the lead plaintiff in an important lawsuit describes a “good” teacher as one who spends personal money to buy school supplies for kids and who gives young kids homework. In this definitional exercise, that means a”bad” teacher is someone who doesn’t do either thing. That’s beyond wrong. It’s scary.

Ideas Of The Mind (Wandering, Divergent And Flipped)

In many organizations, we are so intent on the problems and walls that stand before us, that we never allow ourselves the time necessary to think past, around or beyond them.  We spend our waking time and mental capacity being now-focused.  Completely immersed in plodding forward…and pushing those walls and obstacles with us.  Never realizing that taking a step back will not only improve our perspective, but unveil a variety of routes forward that may have not been noticeable, previously.

Random Thoughts . . .

Own your information.

Personal Web Site

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

advisory, MSM Comments Off

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


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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 . . .


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Personal Web Site



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