MSM 271: Nerds, Saving Money, Put it on Paper

advisory, MSM, Podcast No Comments »

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.

Jokes You Can Use:

Job Interview Question

You are driving along in your car on a wild, stormy night. You pass by a bus stop, and you see three people waiting for the bus:


1. An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.

2. An old friend who once saved your life.

3. The perfect man (or) woman you have been dreaming about.


Which one would you choose to offer a ride to, knowing that there could only be one passenger in your car?


Think before you continue reading. This is a moral/ethical dilemma that was once actually used as part of a job application.


You could pick up the old lady, because she is going to die, and thus you should save her first; or you could take the old friend because he once saved your life, and this would be the perfect chance to pay him back. However, you may never be able to find your perfect dream lover again.

A woman with a headache went to her medicine cabinet to find a bottle of Advil. She did as the bottle said; take two and keep away from children. Soon her headache went away!

Q: Where do cows go on Fridays?

A: To the Moooovies


What do you call a big fish who makes you an offer you can’t refuse?

The Codfather.

Eileen Award:

  • Twitter:  Sandra Martin, Carina Soto, Kaley Katherine, Duncan Gunstone



Wil Wheaton’s Response to being called a nerd

Wil Wheaton explains to a girl how to handle being called a nerd.

Body Language

Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.



Middle School Science Minute

by Dave 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.  In this issue, I was reading the article, “Every Assessment Tells a Story,” written by Fred Ende.

In this article, Fred shares his design of Story Assessments as a form of evaluation design.  His purpose for designing Story Assessments was to reduce student anxiety.

From the Twitterverse:

* Marc Prensky ‏@marcprensky

Don’t just use technology to do old things in new ways—use technology to do new things!

* Tobie Taylor Jones ‏@tobiemichele

“It is my belief that as a part of my professional growth plan, I am perpetually in beta.” ~ @datruss Love this!!! #lifelonglearner

* Sue Gorman ‏@sjgorman

Common Core & Ed Tech: More iPad Creativity Tools! … #ccss #ipaded #wiedu

* Karen McMillan ‏@McTeach

The Science of Memory (and 4 Uncommon Ways to Enhance It)  (Fascinating stuff about the brain!)

* Scott Newcomb ‏@SNewco 29m

iPad Apps Separated by Subject Area  #edcampmetrodc #edcamppgh #edchat

* Android Central ‏@androidcentral 54m

Best Android Apps for March 2014  #android

* Youhadonejob ‏@_youhadonejob

I’m not sure Disney has got a grasp on the concept of pirates. image permalink

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



14-Year-Old Proves U.S. Can Save $370 Million by Changing Fonts

Changing the standard typeface used by federal and state governments could save the United States roughly $370 million a year in ink costs, according to a peer-reviewed study by Suvir Mirchandani. The best part of the story? Mirchandani is just 14 years old.

It all started when Mirchandani, a student at Dorseyville Middle School near Pittsburgh, Pa., noticed that he was getting a lot more printed handouts in class than he used to in elementary school. He wondered how wasteful it was, and then discovered just how expensive ink is. At up to $75 an ounce, he points out, it’s twice as expensive as Chanel No. 5 perfume.

Want to encourage your students?:



Create all types of graph paper to print or use as a background for Interactive Whiteboards, presentations, etc.


  1. Learn

  2. Practice

  3. Read

One free way to learn a new language. There is now a mobile app. Did I mention that it is free?

Comics in Education

Great resource that is all about using comics in education.



Web based whiteboard. No registration required. No app or plugin required. Teacher creates class accounts.

My Slide Rule

Upgrade your skills. Grow in your career.

Find MOOC’s that will help you grow.

Web Spotlight:


Random Thoughts . . .

Personal Web Site

MSM 270: We’re Baaaaacccckkkk….with Numbers, Yoga & Advisory! Yogurt optional . . .

Conferences, MSM, Podcast Comments Off

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.

Jokes You Can Use:

A guy walks up to the door of a bar, rolling a wheel along with him. The bouncer says, “Hey, what are you doing with that?”

“Last time I came here, they said we had to have proper IDs and a tire.”


The teacher wrote on the blackboard, “I ain’t had no fun all summer.”

“Now Paul,” she said. “What shall I do to correct this?”

“Get a boyfriend.” Paul replied.


Dad: “What happened to your eye?”

Tom: “I was staring at a ball from afar, and I was wondering why it was getting bigger and bigger. Then, it hit me.”


Stranger: Catch any fish?

Fisherman: Did I! I took 25 out of this stream this morning.

Stranger: Do you know who I am? I’m the game warden.

Fisherman: Do you know who I am? I’m the biggest liar in the country.

Q. What’s the difference between a cat and a comma?

A. A cat has its claws at the end of its paws; a comma is a pause at the end of a clause


Why did the owl make everyone laugh?

“Cause he was a hoot!


A kindergarten teacher handed out a coloring page to her class. On it was a picture of a duck holding an umbrella. The teacher told her class to color the duck in yellow and the umbrella green, however, Bobby, the class rebel, colored the duck in a bright fire truck red. After seeing this, the teacher asked him: “Bobby, how many times have you see a red duck?” Young Bobby replied with “The same number of times I’ve seen a duck holding an umbrella.”

Eileen Award:

  • Google+: Kris Ham,





58 Everyday Things You Never Knew Had Names

77 Facts That Sound Like Huge Lies But Are Actually Completely True

Middle School Science Minute

by Dave 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.  In this issue, I was reading the article, “Supporting Linguistically Diverse Students” written by Joseph Johnson, Randy Yerrick, and Erin Kearney.

In this article, they look six strategies to help provide success for English Language Learners.


From the Twitterverse:

* Larry Ferlazzo ‏@Larryferlazzo Mar 27

RT @ToddWhitaker: So true. image permalink

* Seymour Simon ‏@seymoursimon 49m

If you’re a teacher and you don’t know what a #hashtag is, you’re missing out on a community of helpful colleagues #teacher

* Ryan Bretag ‏@ryanbretag 19m

Interested in presenting at the Chromebook Institute? Visit here for more info: … #chromebookinst #chromebookedu #gafe

* Shawn Canady ‏@PMCOACH 12h

Trend Alert: 6 Messaging Apps That Let Teens Share (Iffy) Secrets

* Kevin Cummins ‏@edgalaxy_com 51m

Massive collection of maths ideas and lesson plans. Fractions, Algebra, Space, measurement, and more


Our sharing circle bringing back all we learned from @MI_MAMSE to our fellow Chipps! image permalink

* Monte Tatom ‏@drmmtatom Mar 28

4 Reasons Why You Need A Course Syllabus Dashboard  ~ #highered #fhucid #sigadmin

* Monte Tatom ‏@drmmtatom now

The Strength of Simple Videos  ~ #fhuedu642 #fhuedu320 #edwebchat #tn_teta

* Monte Tatom ‏@drmmtatom 4m

Two Great Web Tools to Create Visual Stories  ~ #edwebchat #fhucid #fhuedu320


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



How to Trick a Child Into Playing the Violin (or Other Boring Things)

the fact is, incentivizing a child’s behavior reduces intrinsic motivation (also HERE). This is even true to the point that offering incentives for an activity that a child likes detracts from his or her enjoyment and makes the child less likely to continue the activity in the future.

A hint comes from THIS article published in the March/April issue of the journal Child Development. Specifically, the authors from Northwestern University ask how they can “motivate children’s sustained engagement in an otherwise boring task.”

kids who were given causally rich information made it through an astounding 4 pegboards. Read that again: interesting information beat stickers! Stickers,for gosh sake!

because causally rich rewards inherently capitalize on children’s intrinsic desire to learn, we suggest that they may be less likely to have this detrimental effect on a child’s overall intrinsic motivation.”


Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy Wheel

Classic Books

Evolution of a Story from Idea to Publication: A Behind-the-Scenes Look

Explains the writing process from a writer.


Web Spotlight:

Two months in, Eli Broad’s new foundation president still learning the ropes

Reed began two months ago as president of the Broad Foundation, a newly created job. He’ll take over deciding who receives millions of dollars in education grants on behalf of the philanthropist who some say has an inflexible agenda to shape schools.

“It would look like a national system,” said Broad, describing what he would see as a perfect education infrastructure. “Rather than having 14,000 school boards across America, it would get governors involved, big city mayors involved, and it would have a longer school day and a longer school year.”


Virtual autopsy: explore a natural mummy from early Egypt

Free CopyRight Courses

Peer 2 Peer University is again offering some free courses on Copyright and Creative Commons for educators. Copyright for Educators and Creative Commons for Educators begin in March and run through early May. Copyright for Educators has an enrollment limit and requires an application. Creative Commons for Educators does not have an enrollment limit nor does it require an application.


Creative Commons for Educators:

The course will run for a period of 7 weeks, as split up to the left and below. Each week has a different task to complete, which is due the following Sunday. Tasks may take anywhere from half an hour to two hours or more, depending on how much effort you and your small group wants to put in that week. Like most things in life– the more time you put into it, the more you will get out of it.

Course break-down

  • 3 March – Week 1: Introduce yourself and your classroom need

  • 10 March – Week 2: Creative Commons in Context

  • 17 March – Week 3: Find the materials with the rights you need

  • 24 March – Week 4: Remix and attribute

  • 31 March – Week 5: Share your work

  • 7 April – Week 6: Collaborate and create

  • 14 April – Week 7: Share your resource about CC

Good Parenting Skills

Random Thoughts . . .

Personal Web Site

MSM 269: For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face . . .

advisory, Podcast, Web Spotlight Comments Off

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.

Jokes You Can Use:

When I had my surgery, the doctor gave me a local anesthetic. I could not afford the imported kind.


A monastery decided to start a fish and chips store. When the store opened, a client comes in, and asks one of the clerics: are you the fish fryer? Oh, no, the cleric answers, I’m the chip monk!


Q: Why did the farmer get a Nobel Prize?

A: He was outstanding in his field!


Name?,” was the first thing the manager asked. “John,” the new guy replied. The manager scowled. “Look, I don’t know what kind of a namby-pamby place you worked at before, but I don’t call anyone by their first name! It breeds familiarity and that leads to a breakdown in authority,” he said. “I refer to my employees by their last name only – Smith, Jones, Baker – that’s all. Now that we got that straight, what is your last name?” The new guy sighed and said, “Darling. My name is John Darling.” The manager said, “Okay, John, the next thing I want to tell you…”


Eileen Award:

  • Twitter:  William Gould, Val Jones, Mark Maudlin, Jessica Herring, Bren Martin



Skeptic 101

THE SKEPTICAL STUDIES CURRICULUM RESOURCE CENTER is a comprehensive, free repository of resources for teaching students how to think skeptically. This Center contains an ever-growing selection of books, reading lists, course syllabi, in-class exercises, PowerPoint presentations, student projects, papers, and videos that you may download and use in your own classes. Lessons in these resources include:

  • what science is, how it differs from pseudoscience, and why it matters

  • the scientific method and how to use it to investigate and conduct skeptical analyses of extraordinary claims

  • how to construct effective arguments and rhetorical strategies

  • how to effectively use presentations and papers to present an argument

  • reason, logic, and skeptical analysis

  • the psychology of belief

  • how ideas are presented within academia

  • how peer review works

  • and much more…

Hand gestures

Source: Pimsleur Approach Language Learning


Middle School Science Minute

by Dave 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.  In this issue, I was reading the article, “The Leonardo Strategy” written by Renee Clary and James Wandersee.

In this article, they look at scientific discourse and argumentation in an online environment.


From the Twitterverse:

* Audrey Watters ‏@audreywatters 11h

Hack Education Weekly News: Facebook’s MOOC plans, startup funding, ed-tech “privacy” guidelines and more …

* Wendy Darga ‏@wdarga 41m

40+ iPad Apps for Reading Disabilities #rcshms

* Wendy Darga ‏@wdarga 43m

Other Data: 20 Signs You’re Actually Making A Difference As A Teacher #rcshms

* SC Middle School Asn ‏@The_SCMSA 1h

What are your ” little bits of joy ” activities? @deesme #scmsa14

* Richard Byrne ‏@rmbyrne 1h

Teaching With Primary Sources on iPads

* Joy Kirr ‏@JoyKirr 2h

And THIS is why you shld to #20time / #geniushour in your classroom, too: … (An oldie, but goodie.) cc @thenerdyteacher

* NCMLE-formerly NCMSA ‏@NCMiddle 2h

The NC 2014 summer Read 5 Give 5 program just announced! Promoting summer reading….

* Bruce Baker ‏@SchlFinance101 2h

The Opportunity Costs of Teacher Evaluation: A Labor and Equity Analysis of the TEACHNJ Legis…  via @wordpressdotcom

* NCMLE-formerly NCMSA ‏@NCMiddle 3h

Not a part of our mailing list? It is FREE!!!!!!

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



Professional Development

Be glad this isn’t you.


Cultivate a Learning Mindset: Passion


What can be seen in an organization with a learning mindset characterized by passion?


Characteristics of Good Leadership



Create comics online.

Web Spotlight:

25 Literary Opening Lines Diagrammed on One Giant Poster


25 maps and charts that explain America today

Real Discipline in School

The new regulations came just three weeks after Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. warned school districts that a continuation of the large disparities in suspension and expulsion rates constituted a possible civil rights violation and could trigger a federal investigation.

But too many schools still use severe and ineffective practices to address student misbehavior. Large numbers of students are kicked out, typically for nonviolent offenses, and suspensions have become the go-to response for even minor misbehavior, like carrying a plastic water gun to elementary school or sometimes simply for talking back.

Nine-hour school day is the norm – and a national model – at Oakland middle school

Every student at Elmhurst, in the Oakland Unified school district, attends the expanded learning program, making it part of their normal school day. Classes begin at 8 a.m. and end at 5 p.m., at least two hours after most other Oakland students are done for the day.

What makes the expanded school day economically possible is the school’s reliance on AmeriCorps teaching fellows like Bratt.

“Direct instruction didn’t work with them,” Aames said, requiring her to develop more hands-on approaches to teach the concept.

Random Thoughts . . .

Special shout out to Ron King for his contributions.

MSM 268: Twitter never stops….One linkey dink.

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

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.

Jokes You Can Use:

Q. What do you call a ginger bread man with one leg?

A. Limp biscuit


Q. How do you know when a woman is going to say something smart?

A. It will start with “He said…”


What did the tired chess player do?

He took the knight off

Q: What do you get when you cross Bambi with a ghost?

A: Bamboo.


Q: What’s a haunted chicken?

A: Poultry-geist.


Q: Why did the monster eat a light bulb?

A: Because he was in need of a light snack.


Q: Why are most monsters covered in wrinkles?-

A: Have you ever tried to iron a monster?


Q: What kind of mistakes do ghosts make?

A: Boo boos.


Q: Why couldn’t Dracula’s wife get to sleep?

A: Because of his coffin.


Q: Why do mummies make excellent spies?

A: They’re good at keeping things under wraps.

Eileen Award:

  • Twitter:  Mark Maudlin, Kip

  • Email: Aaron Atwood



Cost of things:

Students are probably pretty aware of Facebook. Recently, Facebook purchased “WhatsApp” for $19 billion. What could they have purchased with that instead?


Visiting America

What would you tell visitors from other countries about America?


Would it be OK to have a dance restricted by grades?


How Real are Videos

Elie Wiesel’s Acceptance Speech

  • We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.

  • one person of integrity, can make a difference, a difference of life and death.

  • What all these victims need above all is to know that they are not alone; that we are not forgetting them, that when their voices are stifled we shall lend them ours, that while their freedom depends on ours, the quality of our freedom depends on theirs.

Middle School Science Minute

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or




I was recently reading the December, 2013 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 safety question of the month, written by Ken Roy, director of environmental health and safety for Glastonbury Public Schools in Glastonbury, CT.

The question is:

If I transfer a chemical from its original container to a secondary container, what information do I need on the label of the new container?

From the Twitterverse:

* Graphite ‏@Graphite

Teachers, we want to thank you this weekend! Review 1 edtech tool for a $10 gift card or 2 tools for a $25 gift card:

* LaMuth Middle School ‏@LaMuthMS

Highlights of #OMLA2014 including award winners and @RickWormeli handouts. Only missing Sound of Music demo …

* Scott Newcomb ‏@SNewco 1h

So, you have an iPad…now what? … #mlearning #edchat

* Digital Learning Day ‏@OfficialDLDay 2h

WOW great chart! @playgroundupris @MelanyStowe Personalization- Differentiation- Individualization #satchat

* Oakland Schools ‏@OaklandSchools 2h

MI Educators: Margaret Heritage WORKSHOP on “Formative Assessment: An Enabler of Learning” 2/28  #MichEd

* Jerry Blumengarten ‏@cybraryman1

My Exit Slips page  #satchat

* Maria Popova ‏@brainpicker

The science of how mind-wandering and “positive constructive daydreaming” boost our creativity and social skills

* Co.Exist ‏@FastCoExist 5h

This New Girl-Powered Engineering Toy Asks Kids To Design And Wire Their Own Dollhouse

* Charlie Love ‏@charlie_love

GameMaker Studio is free to download for a limited time

* Alfonso Gonzalez ‏@educatoral

The Flipped Classroom™ Is A Lie @TechedUpTeacher

* Alfonso Gonzalez ‏@educatoral 10h

Stoodle: Instant Free Virtual Classroom @ktenkely

Ron King ‏@mthman

MT@rggillespie: 10 Reasons to Greet Students at Door  #midleved #mschat @MSMatters

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



Inventing the Presidency

When the founders of the United States gathered to create the foundations of the country, they decided on three branches of government, with a president central to the executive branch. Kenneth C. Davis explains why this decision was not necessarily inevitable and what variables were up for debate.


How to Add 450+ Fonts to Your Google Documents & Slides

To access and add custom fonts to your Google Drive Documents and Slides select “add fonts” from the bottom of the font selection menu that you’ve always used in Google Drive. Selecting “add fonts” will open up a new menu in which you can mix and match fonts to your heart’s content.


Google Newspaper Archives

Newspapers from around the world. These vary greatly in time periods as well. Lots of applications.

  • Have students research a specific time period and compare how different newspapers reported the events.

  • Have students view a single newspaper over time to see the changes in attitudes, reporting, etc.

  • Have students compare the advertisements in a variety of newspapers.

  • Have students use the newspapers accounts to develop a setting for a story.

Video Conference Programs

This database, sponsored by Polycom, Inc., contains programs from content providers such as zoos and museums that offer ISDN or IP based videoconferencing. The Berrien County ISD has researched this information to the best of our knowledge. If you have any corrections or updates, please email them to

Web Spotlight:


Dating Rules


Connected Educator 2014 Conference

Random Thoughts . . .

Blended Learning. Class I’m taking as a student.


MSM 267: Make Shawn feel good, Dave Does the Climate Change …

advisory, MSM, Podcast Comments Off

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.

Jokes You Can Use:


Did you hear about the farmer who wanted to buy a thousand hens, but didn’t have the money…so…He put them on a layaway plan!


A guy was standing at the bottom of the stairs listening to the bells. He decided to go up and meet the ringer. So he raced up the many stairs until finally he was standing not three meters away from quazimodo.

In a soft voice he said “can I ring the bells” as the hunchback pushed his head against the bell

“No training is needed or you will be in danger”

The guy replied to this “C’mon please I’ll be careful”

“Be very careful”

Minutes went by and he pushed the bell with the might of his hands

“Can I ring the bell with my head? “The guy asked


“I can do it”

“Ok don’t say you haven’t been warned”

Alas on his first heave he lost balance and when the bell swung back it hit him out the window he fell down the tower to his death. Quazimodo raced down the stairs with all possible speed, when he was at the bottom a small crowd had gathered with a policeman examining the body

He yelled to the crowd

“Does anybody know this man?”

Quazimodo then answered

“No, but his face rings a bell”

Q: Why did the haunted house not like rain?

A: Because it dampened his spirits.


Two strands of DNA were walking down the street. One says to the other, “Do these genes make me look fat?


Q: What kind of dance does a butcher go to?

A: A meatball


Two hydrogen atoms walk into a bar. One says, “I’ve lost my electron.” The other says, “Are you sure?” The first replies, “Yes, I’m positive…”

Q. What did one strawberry say to the other?

A. “If you weren’t so fresh last night, we wouldn’t be in this jam together!”

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


Eileen Award:

  • iTunes:  Sghtblindr

  • Twitter:  Marie Booz

  • Google+: Michael Dettloff

  • Facebook:



Different Students

Rewritten Book titles

Middle School Science Minute

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or



I was recently reading the December, 2013 issue of Science Scope, a magazine written for Middle School Science Teachers, published by the National Science Teachers Association.  In this issue, I came upon an article entitled, “Special Education in the Science Classroom: A Co-Teaching Scenario” written by Lisa Dieker, Lisa Finnegan, Kelly Grillo, and Dennis Garland.

In the article they cite five areas that science teachers should consider regarding building a positive, inclusive classroom setting.

1. Both teachers must be involved

2. Reading and vocabulary instruction is critical

3. Teaching students how to write in the science curriculum

4. Using effective grouping and teaching social skills directly

5. Assess learning constantly

From the Twitterverse:

* leonie haimson ‏@leoniehaimson

Surprise! MOOC inventor Thrun figures out teaching/learning requires feedback fr/real person! #geniusaward? …

* leonie haimson ‏@leoniehaimson

B/c MOOCs don’t work! @anniemurphypaul: Udacity’s new business model: Give free content but charge $150/m tutoring:

* Smart Apple ‏@Smart_Apple_

10 Reasons Nonreaders Don’t Read and How to Change Their Minds. Excellent article! …

* BBC Education ‏@bbceducation

Gove wants tests for four-year-olds


What are your thoughts about writing out lesson plans? #NAMLE_MS #midleved #nebedu …

* U.S. News Education ‏@USNewsEducation

Indiana’s Senate will consider a bill to repeal Common Core and develop the state’s own standards, via @usnews.

* Bill Ferriter ‏@plugusin

A new NC law requires elem. students to take 36 mini-tests to prepare for end of grade tests:  #notkidding #edpolicy

* Dan@designthinking ‏@dandesignthink

@lynhilt the original design : )

* David Bydlowski ‏@k12science

MEECS #ClimateChange Workshop February 28, at the Detroit Zoo. @MIMathScience …

Much of North Dakota’s Natural Gas is Going Up in Flames …

Retweeted by Bill Ivey Scott MacClintic ‏@Smacclintic

in case you missed it….later start time leads to improved sleep and functioning in teens … #caisct #TABSchat

* Diane Ravitch ‏@DianeRavitch 4h

Data Mania: What Gets Measured?

#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.




Meryl Streep provides examples of Voice

From the Ellen Show




Getty Publications Virtual Library

Free digital backlist titles from the Getty Publications Archives



MetPublications is a portal to the Met’s comprehensive publishing program with 1,300 titles, including books, online publications, and Bulletins and Journals from the last five decades.

MetPublications includes a description and table of contents for most titles, as well as information about the authors, reviews, awards, and links to related Met titles by author and by theme. Current book titles that are in-print may be previewed and fully searched online, with a link to purchase the book. The full contents of almost all other book titles may be read online, searched, or downloaded as a PDF. Many of these out-of-print books will be available for purchase, when rights permit, through print-on-demand capabilities in association with Yale University Press. For the Met’s Bulletin, all but the most recent issue can be downloaded as a PDF. For the Met’sJournal, all individual articles and entire volumes can be downloaded as a PDF.

Readers may also locate works of art from the Met’s collections that are included in every book and periodical title and access the most recent information about these works in Collections.

Readers are also directed to every title located in library catalogues on WATSONLINE and WorldCat.

Please check back frequently for updates and new book titles.

MetPublications is made possible by Hunt & Betsy Lawrence.

Full text online: (395 current choices):


Create Infographics

Nice rundown on different tools to create infographics.


Down for everyone or just me?

Neat site that will let you know if a web site is down, or just down for you. This can help troubleshoot if a firewall is blocking a site or school filters, etc.

Online Timer/Clock

Free, easy to use.

Web Spotlight:


3 Things We Should Stop Doing in Professional Development

by George Couros • January 30, 2014

1.  Creating a detailed agenda

2.  Scheduling back-to-back-to-back-to-back learning

3. Thinking that “collaboration” with others is the only way we learn


Remind 101 Adds Support for Sending Text Messages to Subgroups

Remind 101 has been busy to start 2014. Earlier this month they introduced the option to download your message history as a PDF. This week they introduced the option to send text messages to subgroups of students and parents.


Map: ‘How Much Snow It Typically Takes to Cancel School in the U.S.’

Trubetskoy includes the following clarifications:

  1. In much of the Midwest and Great Plains, school closing often depends more on wind chill and temperature than on snow accumulation (“cold days”). Thus, this map may be misleading in those areas.

  2. Many jurisdictions in California and other western states have significantly varied snowfall, depending on elevation. This makes it difficult to find an “average” number, or often makes it misleading.

  3. Urban areas like Chicago and New York have more resources to clear snow and often need more to cause closings.

  4. Clarification: The lightest green says “any snow” but also includes merely the prediction of snow.

  5. Clarification II: This is snow accumulation over 24 hours/overnight.

  6. Hawaii does get snow! Just… not where people live.

Connected Educator 2014 Conference

The Educator’s Un/Conference . . . and 4 Scechs to boot!


MSM 266: Shawn’s had enough, enough I tell you! And most of this you can use for Advisory, Advisory, Advisory!!!- Patent Pending.

advisory, MSM, Podcast, Strategy Comments Off

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.

Jokes You Can Use:

Why is it called a ‘Picnic’?

Betty Sue wanted to eat outside on a hot summer day with her boyfriend. Problem: she had two boyfriends, Fred and Nick. Considering she knew she wouldn’t have a very happy lunch if the two boys were arguing, she decided just to choose one boy to have the meal.

She Picked Nick.


If a cat won an Oscar, what would he get?

An a-cat-emy award.

A mechanic was removing a cylinder head from the motor of a Harley

motorcycle when he spotted a well-known heart surgeon in his shop.

The surgeon was there, waiting for the service manager to come and take a look at his bike.

The mechanic shouted across the garage, “Hey, Doc, can I ask you a question?”


The surgeon a bit surprised, walked over to the mechanic working on the motorcycle. The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag and asked, “So Doc, look at this engine. I open its heart, take valves out, fix ‘em, put ‘em back in, and when I finish, it works just like new. So how come I get such a small salary and you get the really big bucks, when you and I are doing basically the same work?”


The surgeon paused, smiled and leaned over, and whispered to the mechanic…

“Try doing it with the engine running.”

Bubba and Johnny Ray, two good ole boys from North Carolina, were sitting’ on the front porch when a large truck hauling rolls and rolls of sod went by.

“I’m gonna do that when I win the lottery,” said Bubba.

“Do what?” asked Johnny Ray.

“Send my grass out to be mowed,” answered Bubba.


Somehow we always think we are aging at a slower rate than everyone else, this was true of this older woman who is seeing a doctor for the first time.

She was taken into a room and told to “make herself comfortable.” While reading the doctor’s diploma on the wall, she realizes that she went to high school with him many years ago.

The doctor enters the room; he is very gray, and slightly bent over from old age, and says “hello, how can I help you?”

The woman asks; “Did you attend Roosevelt High School?”

“Yes I did”, the doctor answered.

She asks: “Class of 79?” “Yes I was”, was the answered.

The woman was delighted, and said: “You were in my class!”

The doctor responded: “What did you teach?”

Eileen Award:



Best City to Visit

London is on track to being the most popular tourist destination in the world, beating Paris and New York, with latest numbers showing visitors to the UK capital up 20 per cent. The rivalry between ‘The Big Smoke’ (London) and ‘The City of Love’ (Paris) comes amid another media-based spat between Britain and France over the economy.

Trending Words

Kind of like Word of the day,

Middle School Science Minute

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or




I was recently reading the November, 2013 issue of Science Scope, a magazine written for Middle School Science Teachers, published by the National Science Teachers Association.  In this issue, I came upon an article entitled, “Safety in Videos,” written by Ken Roy, Director of Environmental Health and Safety for Glastonbury Public Schools.

Ken shares his advice on how teachers should always review media with an eye toward appropriate safety practices.


From the Twitterverse:

* Vicki Davis ‏@coolcatteacher

How To Install Chromecast and Listen to Podcasts on Your TV  via @Ileane

* Derek McCoy ‏@mccoyderek

7 Creative Apps That Allow Students To Show What They Know

* Marygrove College ‏@MGCollegeMAT

“Why won’t my students engage?!” Here are 5 quick strategies to increase student engagement:

* Nicholas Provenzano ‏@thenerdyteacher

Excellent Classroom Poster on How to Cite Information from Internet

* Mike Muir ‏@mmuir

Interesting exploration of making tough choices in Ed Tech, and “settling” due to financial concerns…

* Diane Ravitch ‏@DianeRavitch

Maryland: Common Core Testing Will Codt $100 Million


Your input requested: Educators have until Jan. 28 to comment on new standards that will impact appraisals.  #txed

* pammoran ‏@pammoran

Tchrs use SM in their personal lives but avoid in class due 2 possible repercussions via Ed Week #satchat …

* Judy O’Connell ‏@heyjudeonline

Engaging with Ebooks Can Aid Children’s Literacy, Study Finds

* Hemanshu Nigam ‏@HemanshuNigam

Trolls Force Olympian to Quit Twitter Until Games Are Over


We’re reading: Middle School: Not So Bad – Hilary Conklin – The Atlantic  #mschat #midleved

#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.



True Grit: The Best Measure of Success and How to Teach It

Can you predict academic success or whether a child will graduate? You can, but not how you might think.


This scientist has three patents pending. He also happens to be 12.

Web Spotlight:


40 more maps that explain the world

Maps can be a remarkably powerful tool for understanding the world and how it works, but they show only what you ask them to. You might consider this, then, a collection of maps meant to inspire your inner map nerd. I’ve searched far and wide for maps that can reveal and surprise and inform in ways that the daily headlines might not, with a careful eye for sourcing and detail. I’ve included a link for more information on just about every one. Enjoy.

Rag Linen

Rag Linen, named for the heavy-duty paper on which pre-19th century news was printed, is an online museum of rare and historic newspapers, which serve as the first drafts of history and the critical primary source material for historians, authors and educators. Curator and publisher Todd Andrlik has built one of the most significant and comprehensive private collections of Revolutionary War era newspapers. Glimpses of the newspapers can be found on, but the full archive of American Revolution newspaper coverage will be made public for the first time in the forthcoming book, Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before It Was History, It Was News (Sourcebooks, November 2012).

Before 1870, newspapers were printed on a sturdy paper made by pulping linen rags, often from clothes or ship sails. Thanks to the durability of rag linen paper and Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press, history’s most important events from the 16th through the 19th centuries are often well preserved in printed form.

Rick Rolled my physics teacher…

History Picz

MSM 265: Two things are inevitable. . .

advisory, MSM, Podcast, Web Spotlight Comments Off

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.

Jokes You Can Use:

Before going to Europe on business, a man drives his Rolls-Royce to a downtown New York City bank and asks for an immediate loan of $5,000. The loan officer, taken aback, requests collateral. “Well then, here are the keys to my Rolls-Royce,” the man says. The loan officer promptly has the car driven into the bank’s underground parking for safe keeping and gives the man the $5,000. Two weeks later, the man walks through the bank’s doors and asks to settle up his loan and get his car back. “That will be $5,000 in principal, and $15.40 in interest,” the loan officer says. The man writes out a check and starts to walk away. “Wait, sir,” the loan officer says. “You are a millionaire. Why in the world would you need to borrow $5,000?” The man smiles, “Where else could I find a safer place to park my Rolls-Royce in Manhattan for two weeks and pay only $15.40?”


A man goes on a 2-month business trip to Europe and leaves his cat with his brother. Three days before his return he calls his brother.

Brother 1: So how is my cat doing?

Brother 2: He’s Dead

Brother 1: He’s Dead! What do you mean He’s Dead! I loved that cat. Couldn’t you think of a nicer way to tell me! I’m leaving in 3 days. You could of broke me to the news easier. You could of told me today that she got out of the house or something. Then when I called before I left you could of told me, Well, we found her but she is up on the roof and we’re having trouble getting her down. Then when I call you from the airport you could of told me, The Fire Department was there and scared her off the roof and the cat died when it hit the ground.

Brother 2: I’m sorry…you’re right…that was insensitive I won’t let it happen again.

Brother 1: Alright, alright, forget about it. Anyway, how is Mom doing?

Brother 2: She’s up on the roof and we’re having trouble getting her down.

A Spanish teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.

“House” for instance, is feminine: “la casa.”

“Pencil,” however, is masculine: “el lapiz.”

A student asked, “What gender is ‘computer’?”

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether “computer” should be a masculine or a feminine noun.

Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.


The men’s group decided that “computer” should definitely be of the feminine gender (“la computadora”) because:

1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic.

2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else.

3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and

4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.

The women’s group, however, concluded that computers should be masculine (“el computador”) because:

1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on.

2. They have a lot of data but still can’t think for themselves.

3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time, they ARE the problem; and

4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.

A man was walking along a California beach and stumbled across an old lamp. He picked it up and rubbed it and out popped a genie. The genie said, “OK. You released me from the lamp, blah blah blah. This is the fourth time this month and I’m getting a little sick of these wishes so you can forget about three. You only get one wish!” The man sat and thought about it for a while and said, “I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii but I’m scared to fly and I get very seasick. Could you build me a bridge to Hawaii so I can drive over there to visit?” The genie laughed and said, “That’s impossible. Think of the logistics of that! How would the supports ever reach the bottom of the Pacific? Think of how much concrete…how much steel!! No, think of another wish.” The man said OK and tried to think of a really good wish. Finally, he said, “I’ve been married and divorced four times. My wives always said that I don’t care and that I’m insensitive. So, I wish that I could understand women….know how they feel inside and what they’re thinking when they give me the silent treatment….know why they’re crying, know what they really want when they say ‘nothing’….know how to make them truly happy….”

The genie asked, “Do you want that bridge two lanes or four?”

Eileen Award:

  • Twitter:  Chris Gore, Rolli, Ali Spagnola



The Train that never stops


19 Saying Fixed


Middle School Science Minute

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or


I was recently reading the November, 2013 issue of Science Scope, a magazine written for Middle School Science Teachers, published by the National Science Teachers Association.  In this issue, I came upon an article entitled, “Classroom Zoo: Practicing Ethical Research on Animals,” written by June Poling from Portland, OR.

She developed a classroom invertebrate zoo project where students take on the role of zookeepers.

From the Twitterverse:

* Allison M. White ‏@allionthemove

State Ed storing student data on ‘cloud’ delayed … @Newsday Heed petition @NYSA_Majority

* Todd ‏@ToddWhitaker

Should principals stop visiting classrooms? …

* Secondary Principals ‏@massp

Is your staff drowning under the waves of change? Steps to save them:,-But-Drowning.aspx … #MichED

* Dean J. Fusto ‏@DJFTLL

A6 – LInkedIn effective when one is interactive w/ specific affinity groups such as @DruTomlin_AMLE @ASCD @TABSorg @isteconnects #satchat

* Scott McLeod ‏@mcleod

Zombie-Based (Geography) Learning

DI: Data resisters aren’t Chicken Littles  #edtech

* Theresa Reagan ‏@tee62

Finally, an Alternative to the Much-Hated QR Code … via @mashable

* Karen Bosch ‏@karlyb

How to create AR Scavenger Hunts using KlikaKlu app:

* Mike Muir ‏@mmuir

What teachers, parents, & students need to know about cyber bullying.

* Ryan Bretag ‏@ryanbretag

Wolfram releases Problem Generator to create practice problems

* Arne Duncan ‏@arneduncan

Redesign of school discipline practices long overdue. Too many schools resort too quickly to exclusionary discipline  

* Diane Ravitch ‏@DianeRavitch

Study: NYC Charters Lose 80% of Students with Disabilities by Third Grade

#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.



5 Special Strategies for Teaching Tweens

Strategy 1: Teach to Developmental Needs

Strategy 2: Treat Academic Struggle as Strength

Strategy 3: Provide Multiple Pathways to Standards

Strategy 4: Give Formative Feedback

Strategy 5: Dare to Be Unconventional




What Happens on the Internet in a Minute?

The Principal: The Most Misunderstood Person in All of Education

A few years ago when I walked the hallways of a high school with my five-year-old niece Evie, she remarked, without prompting: “There’s the principal’s office: you only go there if you are in trouble.”

Most remarkably, those very people who did not understand what a principal did were often the first to argue for the abolition of the role.

In American public schools, the principal is the most complex and contradictory figure in the pantheon of educational leadership.

The history of the principal offers even more contradictions. Contemporary principals work in the midst of unique modern challenges of ever-changing fiscal supports, school law and policy, community values, and youth culture.

The complex role of the principal is not an accidental by-product of history; rather, the principal’s position at the nexus of educational policy and practice was an intentional component of the role when it was originally conceived.

Like other middle managers, the principal had a “dual personality,” standing “on the middle ground between management and employee,” as both a loyal sergeant to a distant supervisor and a local administrator who had to negotiate with workers in order to get the job done properly.

Through the mid-20th century, the principalship was an inconsistently defined position, as often a teacher with administrative responsibilities as an administrator who supervised teachers.

As the principalship evolved away from the classroom to the administrative office, the principal became less connected with student learning, and yet more responsible for it.

Modern principals came to have less to do with student learning and more to do with upholding administrative structures and responding to public pressures.

For all those efforts, however, the history of the principalship is marked by an increasing discrepancy between the popular image and the actual work of the position. Ironic too, is the dominant image of the principalship with an office, given the great variety, mobility, human interactions, and community relations of principals’ work.


Common Core and the Food Pyramid

By Rick Hess on December 16, 2013 7:33 AM


Unlike a lot of folks, it’s because I thought (and continue to think) that the Common Core itself just doesn’t matter that much.

Standards are just a bunch of words on paper.

I always think of the food pyramid (the one that the feds unveiled decades ago, only to decide that it was offering families bad advice and needed to be revised and replaced by “food plate” that Michelle Obama has championed. Whoops.).  When the pyramid was unveiled, I’m sure some amped-up nutritionists excitedly thought it would make a huge difference when it came to health and obesity.  Turned out: not so much. Most people have never paid a whole lot of attention; after all, it’s just a bunch of suggestions assembled through a bureaucratic process. (And did I mention it was questionable advice?)

In truth, the idea that the Common Core might be a “game-changer” has little to do with the Common Core standards themselves, and everything to do with stuff attached to them, especially the adoption of common tests that make it possible to readily compare schools, programs, districts, and states (of course, the announcement that one state after another is opting out of the two testing consortia is hollowing out this promise).

But the Common Core will only make a dramatic difference if those test results are used to evaluate schools or hire, pay, or fire teachers; or if the effort serves to alter teacher preparation, revamp instructional materials, or compel teachers to change what students read and do.  And, of course, advocates have made clear that this is exactly what they have in mind.

Common Core boosters seem to suggest they’re just proposing a food pyramid. This, of course, infuriates the critics, who think (fairly enough) that what the Common Core’ites are really after is to reorder schooling, soup to nuts.

Fighting in Teenagers Lowers Their IQ

Florida State University’s College of Criminology and Criminal Justice found that injuries sustained in fighting as a teenager lead to a significant loss of intelligence (IQ).

The study, “Serious Fighting-Related Injuries Produce a Significant Reduction in Intelligence,” was conducted by doctoral student Joseph A. Schwartz under the guidance of Professor Kevin Beaver and was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The study found that adolescent boys who are hurt in just two physical fights suffer a loss of IQ that is roughly equivalent to missing an entire year of school. Girls experience a similar loss of IQ after only a single fighting-related injury.

The study used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, known as Add Health. Add Health began in 1994 with a sample of 20,000 middle and high school students who were then followed through 2002 with a series of data collections. These subjects supplied information about personality traits, social relationships and the frequency of specific behaviors.

Web Spotlight:


How flipping saved a teacher’s career

Four years into his fifth grade teaching career in a small rural district in Texas, Todd Nesloney felt burned out and ready to quit.

“I was tired of worksheets, tired of teaching to the test. I wanted to do something different,” he said. “At the end of my fifth year, I was anticipating leaving.”

“I was dead set on proving my kids could be just as successful by not focusing on the tests or being taught a standardized question in class. We had the highest scores in the district. Most of my students passed on the first try. It really helped solidify in my district’s mind that I could continue this.”

“I could see a passion building in my students. I could see them love learning. Before, I was just preparing them to pass the test.”

Flipping his classroom allowed Nesloney to make the time, and he now regularly scours Pinterest for inventive projects that not only relate to what he’s teaching but allow students to create a tangible end product or engage with the material in a real-life application.

MSM 264: Suffixes matter & Sunshine on the Soap Bubbles . . . Then there was a ding.

advisory, MSM, Web Spotlight Comments Off

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.

Jokes You Can Use:


Q. What do you call a person who goes on talking when nobody listens?

A. A teacher!

Did you hear about the thief who moved into an apartment over the Police Station?


Computers are like air conditioners. They work fine until you start opening windows.


Why was the glowworm unhappy?

Because her children were not very bright!

The drunken defendant appears yet again before the tired judge, who says, “You have been constantly appearing before me for the past twenty years.” Replied the drunk: “Can I help it if you can’t get promoted?”


“An abstract noun,” the teacher said, “is something you can think of, but you can’t touch it.

Can you give me an example of one?”

“Sure,” a teenage boy replied. “My father’s new car.”

An Antartian boy and his father were visiting a mall. They were amazed by almost everything they saw, but especially by two shiny, silver walls that could move apart and back together again.

The boy asked his father, “What is this, Father?” The father [never having seen an elevator] responded “Son, I have never seen anything like this in my life, I don’t know what it is.”

While the boy and his father were watching wide-eyed, an old lady in a wheelchair rolled up to the moving walls and pressed a button. The walls opened and the lady rolled between them into a small room.

The walls closed and the boy and his father watched small circles of lights with numbers above the walls light up. They continued to watch the circles light up in the reverse direction.

The walls opened up again and a beautiful 24-year-old woman stepped out. The father said to his son, “Go get your mother.”

Eileen Award:

  • Twitter:  Jodi Stewart, Coach Burk, Michael Carton




I’ve included a link for you to print out your own. The trick looks best through a camera. If you close one eye and move back and forth it works pretty good too.


GreenT-Rex image

Red T-rex

Blue T-rex

Winter Soap Bubbles

When the weather forecast announced about the unexpected cold from -9°C to -12°C last week, Washington-based photographer Angela Kelly decided to take an advantage of it in one truly creative way. Together with her 7-year-old son, Kelly combined the home-based remedies – dish soap, karo syrup, and water – and went out to blow bubbles and take pictures as they freeze and melt.

Middle School Science Minute

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or




I was recently reading the November, 2013 issue of Science Scope, a magazine for middle school science teachers, published by the National Science Teachers Association.  I then read the article “Increasing Science Vocabulary Using PowerPoint Flash Cards.”

In order to help improve science vocabulary in the school, they did the following:

1. Explored Science-Vocabulary Acquisition

2. Implemented Vocabulary Instructional Practices

3. Implemented PowerPoint Flash Cards

4. Integrated Science Vocabulary as a School-Wide, Universal Support System.

From the Twitterverse:

* Laura Gilchrist ‏@LauraGilchrist4

How a book really can change your life: Brain function improves for DAYS after rding a novel  via @VictoriaL_Day

* Larry Ferlazzo ‏@Larryferlazzo

Two Days Left To Share The Best Education-Related Book You Read This Year! …

* Lockie Chapman ‏@lockiechapman

Turns out there is a word for the indescribable— 38 Wonderful Foreign Words We Could Use in English  via @ShareThis

* John Bernia ‏@MrBernia

Are you starting to think about your return to work? Time to step back and think “keep, stop, do.” …

* Wendy Lecker ‏@Wlecker

Pearson, Microsoft, and Barnes & Noble Join Forces to Form an “Online Education Dream Team”

* Seth Berg ‏@BergsEyeView

Some quality ideas for engaging middle school readers

* Scott McLeod ‏@mcleod

“We want our schools to be more like those in the East, who, in turn, want to be more like us”  #edreform #iaedfuture

* Maria Popova ‏@brainpicker

Judge rules Sherlock Holmes is in the public domain  Celebrate with how to think like Holmes

* Erin Klein ‏@KleinErin

20 Ways to Bring Your Textbook to Life!

#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.



Open Library

One web page for every book ever published. It’s a lofty but achievable goal.

To build Open Library, we need hundreds of millions of book records, a wiki interface, and lots of people who are willing to contribute their time and effort to building the site.

To date, we have gathered over 20 million records from a variety of large catalogs as well as single contributions, with more on the way.

Open Library is an open project: the software is open, the data are open, the documentation is open, and we welcome your contribution. Whether you fix a typo, add a book, or write a widget–it’s all welcome. We have a small team of fantastic programmers who have accomplished a lot, but we can’t do it alone!



Web Spotlight:

Turn 0 Phrase

Identify colloquial phrases.

‘Small typo’ casts big doubt on teacher evaluations


A single missing suffix among thousands of lines of programming code led a public school teacher in Washington, D.C., to be erroneously fired for incompetence, three teachers to miss out on $15,000 bonuses and 40 others to receive inaccurate job evaluations.

Devaney said the firm employs stringent quality control, which in this case included 40 hours of meetings to review the updated model and an analysis by independent programmers paid to comb through the code line by line. Yet no one noticed the missing suffix until yet another routine quality review took place this November — after the district had already distributed bonuses, layoff notices and evaluation scores based on the value-added data for the 2012-13 school year, Devaney said.

The recalculations produced “very small differences” in individual teachers’ scores, Devaney said. “But small differences can sometimes have big implications,” she added.

But some critics noted that it may be impossible for the district to “hold harmless” all teachers affected by the error, as Kamras intends. A study released earlier this year found that getting a poor rating prompted many teachers to leave the district or quit the profession, even though they were not fired. It’s unclear whether any of the affected teachers may have altered their career plans after receiving scores that were lower than they actually deserved.

A study that Mathematica conducted for the Department of Education in 2010 found that value-added estimates “are likely to be quite noisy.” Indeed, the study concluded that even when three years of student test data are used, as many as 50 percent of teachers will be misidentified — deemed average when they’re actually better or worse than their peers, or singled out for praise or condemnation when they’re actually average.


5 Ideas To Bring Parents Into The Learning Process

by George Couros • December 26, 2013


Here are some ways that we can build strong connections with the parents in our school communities:

  1. Use what the kids use

  2. Have an open mind

  3. Tap into parent leadership

  4. Focus on open communication

  5. Create learning opportunities

Why All Students Should Write: A Neurological Explanation

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


Writing promotes the brain’s attentive focus to classwork 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.

There is an involuntary information intake filter that determines what sensory input is accepted into the brain. Input must also pass through an emotional filter, the amygdala, where the destination of that information. When stress is high, the intake filter favors information selectively admits information related to perceived threat, virtually ignoring other sensory input.

Writing can include individual journaling, formal research-style formatted reports of student experimentation and data analysis, newspaper editorials about the evidence for environmental problems and a plan for intervention. Writing can be shared with varying degrees of scaffolding for students who need to build confidence, such as class blogs or wikis with code names known only by the teacher.

MSM 263: How do I love thee? Let me calculate the snow days . . .

advisory, AMLE, MSM, Strategy Comments Off

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.


Jokes You Can Use:

The local sheriff was looking for a deputy, so Gomer, who was not exactly the sharpest nail in the bucket, went in to try out for the job.

“Okay,” the sheriff drawled, “Gomer, what is 1 and 1?”

“11″ he replied.

The sheriff thought to himself, “That’s not what I meant, but he’s right. What two days of the week start with the letter ‘T’?”

“Today and tomorrow.”

The sheriff was again surprised that Gomer supplied a correct answer that he had never thought of himself.

“Now Gomer, listen carefully: Who killed Abraham Lincoln?”

Gomer looked a little surprised himself, then thought really hard for a minute and finally admitted, “I don’t know.”

“Well, why don’t you go home and work on that one for a while?”

So, Gomer wandered over to the barbershop where his pals were waiting to hear the results of the interview. Gomer was exultant. “It went great! First day on the job and I’m already working on a murder case!”


At school one morning the teacher asked little Johnny what he had for breakfast. Little Johnny said, well, on my way to school I come cross this Apple tree, so I climbed up there and started eating apples. I guess I eat about six, said little Johnny. No, said the teacher, it’s ate! Little Johnny said well it could’ve been eight I don’t remember.


Q. What did the traffic light say to the other traffic light?

A. Don’t look now am changing!


Q: What kind of insects to you find on the Moon.

A: Lunar Ticks (Lunatics)


Q. Why did the kid eat his homework?

A. His teacher said it was a piece of cake.


Eileen Award:

  • Twitter:  Shawn Davids, Middle Grades Ed UGA,

  • Google+: Jaguar Ed,


One Job

Have students write a story about one of the pictures.


Middle School Science Minute

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or


Science Literacy

I was recently reading the November, 2013 issue of Science Scope, a magazine for middle school science teachers, published by the National Science Teachers Association.  I then read the article “Building Science Literacy by Reading: Science News” written by Kent Schielke, a 7th-8th grade science teacher in Naperville, IL.

Every year, she challenges her 8th graders with the question, “Where will you get your information about new science after you take your last science class.”  She then shares the assignment that she uses to help her students answer this question.


From the Twitterverse:

* Dean Shareski ‏@shareski

Want to impress Canadians? Use one of these terms in a sentence. …

* Todd Bloch ‏@blocht574

#miched Metro Detroit Tweet-up for Jan 3. Here is the RSVP form … CC: @MR_ABUD @thenerdyteacher @StanleyTeach

* MichaelSmithSupt ‏@principalspage

Smart people surround themselves with smarter people.

* Dr. Jeff Butts ‏@WayneTwpSuper

If the purpose for learning is to score well on a test, we’ve lost sight of the real reason for learning.

Retweeted by Marzano Research Lab

* Scholastic Teachers ‏@ScholasticTeach

“A mug from SeaWorld that said NICEST NIECE.” —Seema B. #TeacherGifts

* Mr. Jordan ‏@jkltraveler

@awit19 has kids that make reindeer food. #Christmas #TeacherGifts

* shirely grohmann ‏@ShirelyG

@ShirelyG: @ScholasticTeach An engagement ring a 6th grader gave to me. It belonged to his mom. I returned it.#TeacherGifts

* Scholastic Teachers ‏@ScholasticTeach

“A heartfelt letter in which the student told me I was her second-favorite teacher. I don’t know who number one is.” —Becky G. #TeacherGifts

* McKenzieBrannen ‏@Bran96Mck

#CraftyChristmas #teachergifts made the Christmas tree things around the soap out of old box springs from a bed



Club Academia

Mission: Club Academia strives to organize existing knowledge in ways that make learning easily accessible while simultaneously inspiring people to discover and innovate.


Since its founding, Club Academia has provided supplemental instruction to students who are struggling with a particular concept and are looking for further explanation. We recognize that often fellow students can most easily help peers understand difficult classroom material. Starting with only four high schoolers uploading videos to a YouTube account, Club Academia has expanded nearly exponentially, currently with 17 video makers and over 300 videos on our website. With the help of the $20,000 Westly Prize grant, we are able to provide equipment for our video-makers and thus create a strong video base. As a result, we are able to expand into more schools and recruit more volunteers to make high-quality videos for our learners!

Five Tools That Help Students Plan Stories

As a student the importance of planning a story before writing it was driven into my head. Then when I became a teacher, I drove that same message home to my students. Here are five free tools that students can use to plan and outline their stories.


Snow Day Calculator


Free Images from the British Library


We have released over a million images onto Flickr Commons for anyone to use, remix and repurpose. These images were taken from the pages of 17th, 18th and 19th century books digitised by Microsoft who then generously gifted the scanned images to us, allowing us to release them back into the Public Domain. The images themselves cover a startling mix of subjects: There are maps, geological diagrams, beautiful illustrations, comical satire, illuminated and decorative letters, colourful illustrations, landscapes, wall-paintings and so much more that even we are not aware of.


AMLE 2013 Annual Conference

Flipped Classrooms in the Middle Level

Nichole Carter (@MrsCarterHLA)

Conferene handout:  (Note:  the page is down at the time of this podcast.)

Back Channel:

(Note:  The audience was very not back channel savvy and the presenter didn’t incorporate it in their presentation.)

Video Scribe app:  Sparkol Videoscribe is a cheap app for her video presenting.

What is the Flipped Model?

   At it’s core the idea is to take out direct instruction from the classroom and to move the application of the knowledge back in.  It also asks that you rethink the valuable face to face time with students.

   Rethink your face-to-face time with the kids.



   Project Based Instruction

   Video:  Flipped Classroom G. Johnson from Canada

Think Feasible!

   If it isn’t something you can maintain, you won’t do it!

   All flipped models are different, that is okay!  Find what works for you and your population of students.

Think about your options:

   Do you want to create your own material?

   TED Ed

   Do you want to use previously made videos?

Can you deliver the content with videos, articles, podcasts?

Delivering the content:

   In a proficiency based program use backwards design linked to the standards.

   Once you know the ending summative assessment you can better breakdown how to deliver the content.

   Jon Bergman says to keep the videos to 15 minutes per grade level.  (For sure 15 minutes or less,)

   2-3 videos per week.  (Max)

   Routine is important.

   Think about what you want to do with them while they are watching these videos.

Do the WSQ!  Flipping with Kirch (look this up)

   Watch and take notes

   Summarize the content


Think HOT!



   Thinking question

   (See the website for the details.)

The Power of the Pause Button

   It’s important to train students on how to use the videos.

   Teach the students the proper behavior for watching these vidoes.

   They should watch on their own.

   Go at their own pace, teach the  power of the pause button.

   This style of teaching is great for ALL students, they can rewind, pause for their own pace and note taking and rewatch!

First few days of school

   It’s a good idea to model these ideas in class before unleashing the students on their own.

   I like to watch a video that I made explaining these concepts in class. (It’s five minutes long.)

   I have a student come up to my SMART board and control the video, and pause it when they need to.

How to make a video

   Research and create the content.

   Stick with a presentation medium you are comfortable with.

   Do a screencast of the video.

   Recommended: (Free) limited to 15 mins.

   You could use Quicktime on a Mac.

To Face or Not to Face?

   My videos generally are a prezi, or a powerpoint and a voiceover

   Feedback from students last year was that they were fine with a disembodied voice!  This year that might change!


Guided Notes or Not?

   I started with guided notes last year and ended up dropping them due to keeping my sanity!

Going Digital with Google Forms

   Did a template.

   It saved her sanity!  Grading is now a breeze!


   Class period

   Type out their summary

   Answer some questions

   Learning target:

   This is an excellent idea!

   Time stamped, sort by name, hour, etc.

   Example:  Summarize, Define 2 terms, What is your question?

Flipping with

   One place to embed your videos, google forms and additional links and resources.

   Track student usage.

   Provide short formative assessment in small quizzes on the content.

   Organize tutorials into playlists.

   Tutorial is one lesson

   Playlist is a unit of content.

Learning Management Systems & Google Sites

   Edmodo and Schoology

   Used in the classroom to push stuff out to the students in a blended learning environment.

   Also a great place for students at home for a central log in and contact with the teacher

   Google Sites.

   One place for parents to go to for information on class.


   Create a google form and find out what students have at home:  technology

   Viewing Parties

   I provide, at least once a week, essentially office hours for students to come in and catch up on their homework.

   Sometimes snacks are provided.

   Videos in class?

   Other Interventions?

Face to face time, how does that change?

   Discussion in class on nightly homework

   Activities and application in class.

   In her class specifically:

   Proficiencies worked out together.

   Reading and discussion time

   Essays done together in class where help can happen whenever a question appears.

   One on one intervention for those students that need help.

Develop your PLN!


   Monday 8-10 pm EST follow #flipclass

   Flipped Learning Network Ning:


   Use the LMS systems too!

Now it’s time for exploration!

   On the conference handout site she has provided a symbaloo full of links that might be helpful to get you started.


CEU Code:  ZH-36


Random Thoughts . . .



MSM 262: MODEMS Are a Pain, but necessary… The Musical.

advisory, AMLE, Conferences, MSM, Podcast Comments Off

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.

Jokes You Can Use:

Q.  What kind of monster is safe to put in the washing machine?-

A.   A wash and wear wolf


Q.  What does a cow make when the sun comes out?

A.  A shadow


Top 10 signs your presidential candidate is under-qualified

10. Promises to improve foreign relations with Hawaii.

9. Runs a series of attack ads against Martin Sheen’s character on “The West Wing.”

8. His #1 choice to work on his cabinet is “That Bob Vila guy.”

7. Outstanding record as Governor of Rhode Island nullified by the fact that no one really cares.

6. Got his degree in Political Economics by bribing Sally Struthers with a chocolate donut.

5. Anybody mentions Washington, he asks, “The state or the DC thingie?”

4. At the debates, answers every question with a snarled, “You wanna wrestle?!?”

3. Vows to put an end to the war in Pokemon and free the Pikachu refugees once and for all.

2. Says the Pledge of Allegiance as quickly as possible, then shouts, “I win!”

….. and the Number 1 Sign Your Presidential Candidate Is Under-Qualified..

1. On the very first question of the debate, he attempts to use a LIFELINE.


The Old Man and the Sea

A seaman meets a pirate in a bar, and they take turns to tell their adventures on the seas. The seaman notes that the pirate has a peg leg, hook, and an eye patch. Curious, the seaman asks “So, how did you end up with the peg-leg?”

The pirate replies “I was swept overboard into a school of sharks. Just as my men were pulling me out, a shark bit my leg off”.

“Wow!” said the seaman. “What about the hook”?

“Well…”, replied the pirate, “We were boarding an enemy ship and were battling the other sailors with swords. One of the enemy cut my hand clean off.”

“Incredible!” remarked the seaman. “How did you get the eye patch”?

“A seagull dropping fell into my eye”, replied the pirate.

“You lost your eye to a seagull dropping?” the sailor asked.

“Well…” said the pirate, “That was my first day with the hook.”

Eileen Award:

  • Twitter:  Raul Santiago





What’s your general term for a sweetened carbonated beverage? What word or words do you use to address a group of two or more people? What do you call it when the rain falls while the sun is shining?


What if Instragram had been available throughout history?


Yep, MicroSoft. Predicts passwords.


Right or Left Brained?

If you’re not sure whether you’re left- or right-brained, here’s a quiz to give you an idea.

A quick review:

• Right-brain types are visually oriented. They tend to think in images rather than words, focus on the big picture rather than the details, and go through life in a somewhat seat-of-the-pants (a.k.a. scattered) way.

• Left-brainers are those who think in words (attention, list makers!), do a lot of advance planning, and approach challenges in a rational, linear way.

* Note that this is targeted at Home Organizing.


Middle School Science Minute

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or


Changing Grades


I was recently reading the October, 2013 issue of NSTA Reports, published by the National Science Teachers Association.  In this issue, they reported on a survey that was given to teachers, asking whether they were ever asked to change a student grade that they had given at the end of the semester or school year.  The results of the survey are included in the podcast.  Five middle school science teachers also shared their comments on why this is or is not a reasonable practice.


From the Twitterverse:

* Scott McLeod ‏@mcleod 7m

International test scores: Getting the data straight

* Scott McLeod ‏@mcleod 37m

Twenty Ideas for Engaging Projects | @edutopia

Rurik-Rory Nackerud ‏@ruriknackerud 32m

Write about your work because NOBODY ELSE is going to do it for you. #pdkel13

* Kevin Honeycutt ‏@kevinhoneycutt 35m

We need the some pig principle from Charlotte’s Web, brag about it or you will be bacon. Same concept for public education. #Brag

* Russel Tarr ‏@historynews 2h

First World War project to tell little-known stories of the artists  #historyteacher

* Monte Tatom ‏@drmmtatom 6 Dec

QuizBean – Quickly Create & Distribute Quizzes to Students Even If They Don’t Have Email Addresses  ~ #fhuedu320

Hemanshu Nigam ‏@HemanshuNigam 26m

Viral photo teaches 5th graders in Tennessee important internet safety lesson

#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.



How Competency Based Grading Has NOT Changed Our School’s Transcript

by Brian Stack • December 6, 2013

My school district implemented a K-12 competency-based grading and reporting system four years ago.


They are surprised to learn, in fact, that little has changed about our transcript.


The purpose of our high school transcript, just like any other high school transcript, is to provide a final record of a student’s performance at our school.


Other information, such as:  Class Rank; Grade Point Average (weighted or non-weighted); Attendance Information, and Diploma Type are optional features that can also be printed on a transcript as needed.


Our transcript explains to the reader what the final grades of E (Exceeding), M (Meeting), IP (In-Progress), and LP (Limited Progress) mean. It also explains what it means for a student to get a code of NYC (Not Yet Competent) or IWS (Insufficient Work Shown), both of which result in no credit awarded for the course.


At one point last year a team of administrators from my school had the opportunity to address an audience of admissions representatives – one from every single public and private college and university in the State of New Hampshire.


Then, they began to talk about how the differences between our transcript and the tradition school’s transcript are not in the grades themselves but what the grades represent.


The message for the college admissions representatives that day was that our transcript, just like any other high school transcript, is just a snapshot of data on a student.


Varsity Tutors

Our mission is to improve the academic achievement of all students by providing high quality individualized tutoring services that foster intellectual and personal development in a positive learning atmosphere.

Service has real tutors that are available for hire.

They also have a variety of tutorials available on-line for free. Additionally, you can create flashcards and organize them by class.

AMLE 2013 Annual Conference

Rick Wormeli & Formative Assessment

Videos:  The Piano Guys and the Nowegian Technology Problem.  The Inner Net

Formative vs. Summative Assessment and questions conventional practice.


Opening Video:  Corner Gas (?), Mr. D.  Grading Essays in the Bar:

Follow up conversation:

   Electronic download available on the AMLE website.

What’s the difference between formative assessments and summative judgements?

   Let’s change the name from homework to Social Studies practice and tests are performances.

   Formative gives them feedback.

Soooooo . . . What if we put the standard in the Zangle and then put in the grade for a Project Based Learning grade?

Game changing tenets for Formative Assessment

   Fair isn’t always equal

   We grade against students, not the routes we take to get to standards,

   Descriptive feedback and the power to revise in response to feedback are paramount.

   All summatives can be turned into formative assessments.

Common Core is a foundation of basics and the local school district determines the details they want included.

“Tim was so learned, that he could name a horse in nine languages; so ignorant, that he bought a cow to ride on.”  -Ben Franklin

The better question is not, “What is the Standard?”  The better question is, “What is the evidence?”

“The student understands fact versus opinion.”






Wormeli’s definition of mastery:

   Students have mastered content when they demonstrate a thorough understanding as evidenced by doing something substantive with the content beyond merely echoing it.  Any one . . . .

Consider graduations of understanding and performance from introductory to sophisticated.

Article:  ”How do you know what to teach?”

Larry Ainsworth:  See his articles for the most practical stuff.


   1.  The way you see the world.

   2.  Decide every year if it still works.

   3.  Can you minimize your hypocracy.

Operating Mindsets

   Grading isn’t a “gotcha” enterprise

   We strive to be criterion – evidenced based, not norm-referenced in classroom grading.

   It’s what students carry forward, not what they demonstrated during the unit of learning, that is most indicative of true proficiency.

Grading Mindsets

   1.  Accuracy increases with sample size, use clear and consistent evidence over time.

   2.  Disaggregate:  The more curriculum we report with one symbol, the less useful is the report.

   3.  Grading evolution is a journey of ethics.

Grading Mindsets C

   Just because it’s mathematically easy to calculate doesn’t mean it’s pedagogically correct.

   The symbols we use for garding (A-F, 4-0, %’s) mean nothing.  They are shorthand for much longer descriptions of evidence.

   We can learn without grades, we can’t learn without descriptive feedback.

Grading Mindsets D

   Anything that diffuses the accuracy of a grade is removed from our grading practice.

   The best grading ocmes only when subject like colleagues have vetted what evidence of standards they will tolerate

   Se cannot conflate reports of compliance with evidence of mastery.

Grading Mindsets D

Grades are NOT compensation.  Grades are communication:  They are an accurate report of what happened.

Gold mine of short videos:  Recent uploads

Feedback is where you hold up a mirror to the students, showing them what they did and comparing it what they should have done – There’s no evaluative component!

Assessment:  Gathering data so we can make a decision.

   Greatest impact on Student Success:  FORMATIVE feedback.

Two ways to begin using descriptive feedback:

   1.  ”Point and Describe”

   2.  ”Goal, status, and Plan for the Goal”

   Identify the objective/goal/standard/outcome

   Identify where the student is in relation to the goal (Status)

   Identify what needs to happen in order to close the gap.

Formative Feedback Suggestions:

   Question #, Topic or proficiency, Right, Wrong, Simple mistake?, Really don’t understand it.

November 20th Ed Leadership:  Wormeli’s article.

CEU Code:  UL-34

Article:  Inside the Black Box.

Random Thoughts . . .

Conference notes. Native Apps vs Generic Conference apps.

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