MSM 290: The Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen Show.

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Jokes You Can Use:

An optometrist was instructing a new employee on how to charge a customer. “As you are fitting her glasses, if she asks how much they cost, you say ‘$150.’ “If her eyes don’t flutter, say, ‘For the frames. The lenses will be $100.’ “If her eyes still don’t flutter, you add, ‘Each.’”


An out-of-towner drove his car into a ditch in a desolated area. Luckily, a local farmer came to help with his big strong horse named Buddy.

He hitched Buddy up to the car and yelled, “Pull, Nellie, pull!” Buddy didn’t move.

Then the farmer hollered, “Pull, Buster, pull!” Buddy didn’t respond.

Once more the farmer commanded, “Pull, Coco, pull!” Nothing.

Then the farmer nonchalantly said, “Pull, Buddy, pull!” And the horse easily dragged the car out of the ditch.

The motorist was most appreciative and very curious. He asked the farmer why he called his horse by the wrong name three times.

The farmer said, “Oh, Buddy is blind and if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn’t even try!”


A motorist was unknowingly caught in an automated speed trap that measured his speed using radar and photographed his car. He later received in the mail a ticket for $40 and a photo of his car. Instead of payment, he sent the police department a photograph of $40. Several days later, he received a letter from the police that contained another picture, this time of handcuffs. He immediately mailed in his $40.



Eileen Award:


  • Twitter: Mike Reading, Jason Katcher, Jenna Dixon, Brandon Ouellette, Chris Wherley
  • Email: Sierra Bishop





Is the American obsession with individual freedom really such a great idea? What other cultures know about how to make good choices.


36 Life Changing Poems


How to fold the world record paper airplane

How to fold the world record paper airplane. John Collins design, Suzanne, broke the Guinness World Record for distance in 2012. The New World Champion Paper Airplane Book contains the world record paper airplane design and instructions.


5 Steps to Internet Safety

5 Steps to Internet Safety



Mr. Farrer – you inspire us.

Bruce would be the first person to tell you he’s just your regular, average teacher. More than 20 years after taking his class, his students will wholeheartedly tell you otherwise. We can all learn something from Mr. Farrer. His ability to leave such a profound and long-lasting impression is truly something to be admired. We hope his story is as inspiring to you as it is to us. Thank you, Bruce.


How juries are fooled

Oxford mathematician Peter Donnelly reveals the common mistakes humans make in interpreting statistics — and the devastating impact these errors can have on the outcome of criminal trials.

Middle School Science Minute

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or


Model Synergy


I was recently reading the October, 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 article, “Model Synergy,” written by David Kujawski. In the article, he combines classic modeling practices and digital simulations to augment deeper conceptual understanding.



From the Twitterverse:

Richard Byrne ‏@rmbyrnePresent and Share Your Prezi Presentations Remotely via Free Technology for Teachers – Earlier …
Sue Gorman ‏@sjgormanLesson plan for a flipped classroom with Book Creator – Book Creator app @BookCreatorApp … #edtech #iosedapp #edchat
Smhearty ‏@SmheartyThe evolve-D(earborn) theme keeps getting better! Great work Chris. You can check it out for FREE #moodle
Smhearty @Smhearty  ·  Dec 8Richard Byrne posts great stuff. iPad Apps to create visual representations.  #teach
Luann ChristensenLee ‏@stardiverrUsing student test scores to evaluate teacher prep programs; a lesson in tort law for Arne. …
Lindsay Nowak ‏@LindsNowak Dec 10#engagemath approaching problem solving from a different angle creates a deeper understanding! @BergsEyeView, enjoy!

Ian Jukes ‏@ijukes  Durban8 TED Talks That Promote Creativity … …
Christopher Weiss ‏@ChrisWeissCTLove it!“@ipadqueen2012: @bradmcurrie Support group for the amount of ed acronyms thrown down the pipeline #satchat

Karen Bosch ‏@karlybComic Book app free today only! Great app to use with students for digital storytelling!  #iosedapp #ADEdu
Karen Bosch ‏@karlybFun Free Creative Christmas apps! … #iosedapp #ipaded
#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.  And as Troy says, “The Twitter never stops!”



The Real Revolution in Online Education Isn’t MOOCs

Data is confirming what we already know: recruiting is an imprecise activity, and degrees don’t communicate much about a candidate’s potential and fit. Employers need to know what a student knows and can do.


Even the latest hoopla around massive open online courses (MOOCs) amounts to more of the same: academics designing courses that correspond with their own interests rather than the needs of the workforce, but now doing it online.

It’s called online competency-based education, and it’s going to revolutionize the workforce.

Online competency-based education is the key to filling in the skills gaps in the workforce.

They include measurable learning objectives that empower students: this person can apply financial principles to solve business problems;

Competencies themselves are nothing new. There are schools that have been delivering competency-based education offline for decades, but without a technological enabler, offline programs haven’t been able to take full advantage of what competencies have to offer.

The key distinction is the modularization of learning.

Here’s why business leaders should care: the resulting stackable credential reveals identifiable skillsets and dispositions that mean something to an employer. As opposed to the black box of the diploma, competencies lead to a more transparent system that highlights student-learning outcomes.

College transcripts reveal very little about what a student knows and can do. An employer never fully knows what it means if a student got a B+ in Social Anthropology or a C- in Geology.

Most colleges measure learning in credit hours, meaning that they’re very good at telling you how long a student sat in a particular class — not what the student actually learned.

Competency-based learning flips this on its head and centers on mastery of a subject regardless of the time it takes to get there. A student cannot move on until demonstrating fluency in each competency.

Major companies like The Gap, Partners Healthcare, McDonald’s, FedEx, ConAgra Foods, Delta Dental, Kawasaki, Oakley, American Hyundai, and Blizzard are just a few of the growing number of companies diving into competencies by partnering with institutions such as Brandman, CfA, and Patten.





from: Richard Byrne

Clarisketch allows you to add your voice and drawings to pictures or to a blank canvas. While you are talking about your picture you can draw on it to highlight sections of it. Completed projects are shared as links to the video file hosted on Clarisketch. You can share the link to your Clarisketch video and have it play on nearly any device that has a web browser.

Available for Android and as a Chrome App.


200 Free Kids Educational Resources: Video Lessons, Apps, Books, Websites & More

This collection provides a list of free educational resources for K-12 students (kindergarten through high school students) and their parents and teachers. It features free video lessons/tutorials; free mobile apps; free audiobooks, ebooks and textbooks; quality YouTube channels; free foreign language lessons; test prep materials; and free web resources in academic subjects like literature, history, science and computing. This newly-released list is a work in progress.



Flubaroo is a free tool that helps you quickly grade multiple-choice or fill-in-blank assignments.

I designed it for my own classroom, and want to share it with other teachers… for free!

More than just a grading tool, Flubaroo also:

  • Computes average assignment score.
  • Computes average score per question, and flags low-scoring questions.
  • Shows you a grade distribution graph.
  • Gives you the option to email each student their grade, and an answer key.
  • Lets you send individualized feedback to each student.


Google Drawings – Templates

Below are Google Drawings to be used as fill-in templates or pre-made activities for graphic organizers.  These Drawings are view only so you will need to make your own copy of each (open the Drawing, click File, then click Make a copy). You will then have your own copy of the Drawing that you can edit.


Introduce Word Problems to Students Sooner, Studies Say

Earlier exposure found to boost learning

By Sarah D. Sparks

If Ms. Smith’s 8th grade algebra class works through 10 word problems in an hour, and Ms. Jones’ class works through 10 equation problems during the same time, which class is likely to learn more math concepts by the end of class?


Web Spotlight:


Free, totally free, royalty free, copyright free images.


Random Thoughts . . . 

Personal Web Site




MSM 289:  Upcoming Vacation, Back to the Future – Grammar, and Election (Signs)

advisory, MSM, Podcast, Web Spotlight Comments Off

Jokes You Can Use:


A skeleton walks down empty Main Street. Suddenly he sees another skeleton carrying a gravestone. “Hey, what are you doing?” the other skeleton answers “Just strolling”, “Why do have the gravestone, buddy?”, “Because I always want to have some ID”.


A crying, three-legged dog walks into a ice cream and says, “I’m looking for the man who shot my paw.”


A mother mouse and a baby mouse were walking along, when all of a sudden, a cat attacked them. The mother mouse goes, “BARK!” and the cat runs away.

“See?” says the mother mouse to her baby. “Now do you see why it’s important to learn a foreign language?”


During a recent password audit by a company, it was found that an employee was using the following password:


When asked why she had such a long password, she rolled her eyes and said: “Hello! It has to be at least 8 characters long and include at least one capital.”


Eileen Award:

  • Twitter: Dan Balestrero



Halloween Candy




Back to The Future Grammar


10 Greatest Changes of the past 1,000 years




Middle School Science Minute

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or



Lakes Alive!


I was recently reading the October, 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 article, “Lakes Alive,” written by Karla Eitel, Frank Wilhelm, Ross Parsons, and Jan Eitel. In the article, the authors explain how they used the 5E Learning Cycle to engage their students in authentic field-data collection of the conditions for life under lake ice in winter.!.html



From the Twitterverse:

EdTechFam ‏@EdTechFamCould This Chicago Teen’s App Put an End to Cyberbullying?  #Edtech
Chris Kesler ‏@iamkeslerI’ll go on record and say I agree w/ a lot if this RT: Much of what we believe about teaching science is wrong
Chris Sousa ‏@csousanhCommon Core and the End of History … #nhed #ccchat
Apple Plaza ‏@ApplePlazaCops Can Force You To Unlock Phone With Apple Touch ID, Judge Rules
Mark Barnes ‏@markbarnes19Let Them Play: Enhancing Student Motivation Through #Simulations  #pbl #strategy #gaming
Bill McShane ‏@billmcshaneNew post: “Leaving The Church Of Data”
Ian Jukes ‏@ijukes Auckland City25 Things Skilled Learners Do Differently …
Mark Hess ‏@MarkHess98The “Really Loves Signs” Party

He really loves signs.

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



Counter Factuals

Given the perilous political circumstances in some regions of our world today, understanding what could have been, may in fact help us better understand what might be.



6th – 8th Grade Paired Text Question Sets



Yummy Math



NASA Library of Space Sounds



Socrative Quiz List

One of the nice administrative aspects of Socrative is the ability to share quizzes with colleagues and import quizzes that are shared with you. This morning on the Socrative Facebook page I found their massive spreadsheet of more than 1,000 shared quizzes. The spreadsheet is arranged by subject and grade level. You can find a quiz by opening the filter menu and selecting a subject. Once you have found a quiz you can import it into your Socrative account. Click here for directions on that process.


Election Day Resource



Teacher & Student Assessment




Web Spotlight:

Gifted & Talented…and Afraid


50 Great Teachers: Socrates, The Ancient World’s Teaching Superstar

Today, NPR Ed kicks off a yearlong series: 50 Great Teachers.

We’re starting this celebration of teaching with Socrates, the superstar teacher of the ancient world. He was sentenced to death more than 2,400 years ago for “impiety” and “corrupting” the minds of the youth of Athens.


Random Thoughts . . .


Personal Web Site




MSM 288:  Search, Forms, Images, PhotoMath- Your Life on Earth.

advisory, MSM, Podcast, Strategy Comments Off

Jokes You Can Use:

What is the difference between a cat and a comma?

One has the paws before the claws and the other has the clause before the pause.


What’s the best or fastest way to tune a banjo?

With wirecutters.


What could you call the small rivers that flow into the Nile?



Heard about the math teacher with constipation?  Worked it out with a pencil.


A chicken walks into a library, goes up to a librarian and says, “Book book book.” The librarian decides that the chicken wants a book so he gives the chicken a book and the chicken walks away. About ten minutes later the chicken comes back with the book, looking a bit agitated, saying, “Book book book.” The librarian decides the chicken wants another book so he takes the old book back and gives the chicken another book. The chicken walks out the door. Ten minutes later the chicken comes back again, very agitated, saying, “Book book book!” so quickly it almost sounds like one word. The chicken puts the book on the librarian’s desk and looks up – waiting for another book. This time the librarian gives the chicken another book and decides that something weird is happening. He follows the chicken out the door and into the park, all the way to the pond. In the pond is a frog sitting on a lily pad. The chicken gives the book to the the frog, who then says, “Reddit, reddit.”


Q: Why did the pig leave the costume party?

A: Because everyone thought he was a boar.


Q: How do astronomers organize a party?

A: They planet.


Q: What do you call a Filipino contortionist?

A: A Manila folder.



Eileen Award:

  • Twitter: Trevor Mattea






Star College athlete’s take on reading.




How to do nothing

…being alone with a screen is not quite being alone at all, so the art of taking joy in one’s own company slips further and further out of reach.



Your Life on Earth

Enter some data to see how the person and the world has changed. This could be done with students or with historical figures.

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: Cause and Effect,” written by Inez Liftig, Editor of Science Scope. In the roundtable, she shares her thoughts and the research which supports that the teaching of cause and effect cannot be an afterthought in instruction; it must be considered an integral part of lesson planning integrated seamlessly with other dimensions of a lesson.



From the Twitterverse:

Tracie Cain ‏@TracieGCainRT @skimbriel: Use Aurasma to create presentation on historical figure in lieu of living wax museum #edcampdallas #leapesc11
Russel Tarr ‏@russeltarrCSI Web Adventures – Lessons in Forensic Science:
Dr. Justin Tarte ‏@justintarteHow to make that redo/retake policy actually work!  #edchat #unionrxi #sblchat
Susie Highley ‏@shighleyMy fav resource from #sljsummit so far: @livebinders by @jlgdeborahford Booktalks to go … #tlchat
Paul Bogush ‏@paulbogushDoc for “Assessments that don’t stink”  #edcampseacoast
Clay Shirky ‏@cshirkyI just heard little Chinese girls belting Let It Go. It’s their London Calling, a signal flare of rebellion, the global punk of girlhood.
Karen Bosch ‏@karlyb30 Techniques to Quiet a Noisy Class | Edutopia …
Real Life English ‏@RealLifeEng[New Podcast] Learn how to express all of your favorite body noises with the newest episode of RealLife Radio.
Jennifer Dorman ‏@cliotechCheck out TED-Ed’s awesome interactive periodic table, with videos for every one of the 118 elements!  via @TED_ED
Brenda Dyck ‏@bdyck@millerg6: Technology And Video Games Make Kids Think Differently About Old Questions #educ23253 #eder679
Sue Waters ‏@suewaters Sep 3For more free image sources check out The Ultimate Directory of Free Image Sources …
#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.  And as Troy says, “The Twitter never stops!”



Google Search Tips

Can be useful for students and you.




Try the New Add-ons for Google Forms

Applications for Education

The Form Limiter Add-on mentioned above is useful for delivering timed assessments. Form Limiter can also be used to close the form when you a designated number of submissions have been made. That option is useful when you’re using Google Forms to create capped registration lists.


gMath for Google Forms is another that teachers will find useful. gMath allows you create and insert graphs and mathematical expressions into your Google Forms. That feature is one that math teachers have wanted for years.



PhotoMath reads and solves mathematical expressions by using the camera of your mobile device in real time. It makes math easy and simple by educating users how to solve math problems.



Contains lessons and units K-6. This also includes Standards alignment. Additionally, they have resources that are aligned to grade level/strategy. These can be printed.


Random Thoughts . . .

Personal Web Site




MSM 287:  If Siri can answer, don’t take the bet or the bribe!

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

Jokes You Can Use:


Everybody should pay their taxes with a smile, said Bob. “I tried it but they wanted cash.”


Wife: “There’s trouble with the car. It has water in the carburetor.”

Husband: “Water in the carburetor? That’s ridiculous.”

Wife: “I tell you the car has water in the carburetor.”

Husband: “You don’t even know what a carburetor is. Where’s the car?”

Wife: “In the swimming pool.”


A girl walks into a supermarket and asks the clerk,” Can I have a turkey for my grandma?” the clerk responds,” Sorry. We don’t do exchanges.”


CHICAGO CUBS VIRUS: Your PC makes frequent mistakes and comes in last in the reviews, but you still love it.

AT&T VIRUS: Every three minutes it tells you what great service you are getting.

MCI VIRUS: Every three minutes it reminds you that you’re paying too much for the AT&T virus.

PBS VIRUS: Your programs stop every few minutes to ask for money.

ELVIS VIRUS: Your computer gets fat, slow and lazy, then self destructs; only to resurface at shopping malls and service stations across rural America.

PAUL REVERE VIRUS: This revolutionary virus does not horse around. It warns you of impending hard disk attack—once if by LAN, twice if by C:>


A butcher saw a Lawyer passing by his shop one day, and asked him: Atty., what would you do if a dog came in and stole your meat? Lawyer replied: why? of course, I’ll make the owner pay for it! The butcher said: If that is so, now you owe me $15 because it is your dog. The Lawyer replied: very well, just deduct the $15 from the $25 you owe me for the advice, I’ll collect the remaining $10 the next time I pass by here.



Eileen Award:

  • Twitter: Jenny Lee, Amy Rugg




10 Amazing Bets



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 an article entitled “Scope on Safety,” written by Ken Roy, Director of Environmental Health and Safety for the Glastonbury Public Schools in Glastonbury, CT. Within this article is the “Question of the Month.”  This month’s question is, “Do custodians need safety training prior to cleaning the floors in a science lab?”



From the Twitterverse:

Lucy Gray ‏@elemenous  12m12 minutes ago

American Schools Are Training Kids for a World That Doesn’t Exist | WIRED …

juandoming ‏@juandoming  26m26 minutes ago

List of 20+ #Apps and Extensions for Chromebookers - #EdTechReview™ (ETR) via @jtoufi

HP Storage@HPStorage  Oct 15

Add highly available shared storage to virtualized #Intel servers. Get your free 1TB of HP #storage to get going.

Ms. Diem ‏@GetTeaching  33m33 minutes ago

Homework conversation in full swing! #edcampou (Hint: if Siri can answer all your HW questions, it’s not good HW!)

Todd Bloch ‏@blocht574  46m46 minutes ago

Want to know more about #michED … This might help! #edcampAMI #edcampNoMI  #edcampou

Scott McLeod ‏@mcleod  1h1 hour ago

The State of Educational Blogging 2014 | @edublogs  #edtech

Jennifer L. Scheffer ‏@jlscheffer  42m42 minutes ago

5 key elements of effective PD via @MaineSchoolTech #edscape

Erin Klein ‏@KleinErin  10m10 minutes ago

Why It Is So Important to Visit Other Schools (and how to do it right)  via @ajjuliani

Monte Tatom @drmmtatom · 20h20 hours ago

Here’s the link for the #K12online14 Conference:  / #fhuedu642 Advanced Technology

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





A veteran teacher turned coach shadows 2 students for 2 days – a sobering lesson learned




Schools told: cash bribes ‘fail to improve GCSE grades’


Schools are wasting thousands of pounds each year attempting to bribe pupils to try harder in exams, according to government-funded research.

In the biggest study of its kind, it was claimed that promising children cash rewards in exchange for higher levels of attendance, behaviour and homework led to increased effort in the classroom.

But the use of incentives had little “direct impact” on pupils’ ability to learn and failed to actually improve their GCSE scores in core academic subjects, it emerged.

The conclusions raise serious questions over tactics employed by schools across Britain that spend tens of thousands of pounds each year on elaborate reward schemes.

One popular scheme – Vivo Miles – allows pupils to accumulate points for good work and behaviour before cashing them in for rewards such as iPods, iTunes vouchers, digital watches, bike equipment and clothes.

It is used by around 500 secondary schools in the UK, with more than nine-in-10 saying it has aided academic performance and improved student motivation and behaviour.

Many parents also make similar promises, with a survey this summer suggesting that 38 per cent of pupils were offered cash incentives by mothers and fathers. This includes those promised laptops, holidays and even cars.

“The study suggests that while incentives can increase effort in the classroom, their direct impact on learning is low. “


Web Spotlight:


Online Conference

The Pre-Conference Keynote is up today, Monday, 10/13/2014.

This online conference is a little different in that the sessions have already been taped and will be opened on the day of the presentation.

Here is the link to today’s Keynote and introductions to upcoming sessions:

Here is the link to the various topics being presented over the two week period:

Dr. Tatom’s Presentation:

My presentation is scheduled for Friday, 10/24/2014.  It will be available at 8:00 AM, EDT.


Why I now Friend Student via Social Media

I tell my students that if they choose to friend me, I will friend them back but they need to know that I’m relating to them as a teacher. Anything they communicate to me is as if I am at school.

They can unfriend me at any time and refriend me — just as they wish, no questions asked. If they communicate anything to me, I keep screenshots (with time and date stamps.)


8th-grader Writes Hilariously Epic Algebra Problem. JJ Abrams Would Be Proud…

When Cody Swanek was told by his math teacher to take a certain algebra problem and convert it into a story, the 8th-grader dug deep into his knowledge of the Star Wars universe and wrote the most epic possible math question.


A surprising new argument against using kids’ test scores to grade their teachers

When a teacher whose students do well on tests moves to a school where test scores were improving the previous year, and average scores continue improving after that teacher arrives, it is hard to know how much of that continued improvement is due to the new teacher and how much to other factors.

This dispute is just one example of the mathematical acrobatics required to isolate the effect of one teacher on their students’ test scores, when so many other factors inside and outside the school’s walls affect how students perform.


Random Thoughts . . . 

Personal Web Site

MSM 286:  It’s International Day of the Girl, Homework, and Muting the Messenger . . .

advisory, MSM, Podcast Comments Off

Jokes You Can Use:


Little Johnny was at football practice one day and the coach said

“Who here thinks they can jump higher than the goal posts”

Immediately little Johnny said, “Ooh me sir me”

The coach then said, “But Johnny you are the worst in the team!”

Then Johnny said, “I know, but goalposts can’t jump!”


A school teacher asked her primary six class to construct sentences with the words: defeat, detail, defense.

There was a pause before a pupil raised his hand and said he could make a sentence with them; “The cow jumped over defense and detail went over defeat.”



A distraught older woman is looking at herself in the mirror and crying. Her voice shakes as she says to her husband, “I’m so old. I’m so fat. I look horrible. I really need a compliment.”

Her husband, determined to quickly give his beloved the comfort she needs, exclaims, “Well, you have good eyesight!”


I intend to live forever – so far, so good.


In Australia, a race was proclaimed, with a huge payoff for the winner. The one stipulation was that only ostriches were allowed to run the race. A fellow decided to enter, but not having an ostrich, and hearing that the fastest ostrich in the world was the mascot of the local police department, he stole the bird and entered the race. As luck would have it, when the pistol shot went off to start the race, the ostrich buried its head in the sand and the fellow lost the race.


Eileen Award:

  • Twitter: Julie Tanner (@julietanner07), Vocab Sushi, That School App,




Does My Voice Really Sound Like That?

Take it from an expert: It’s weird to hear how your voice really sounds. But why does it sound different to you than everyone else. Hank explains — in a deep, resonant voice.


16 Shakespearean Insults

*Warning the *H* word is used.



Children all over the world eat cornflakes and drink chocolate milk, of course, but in many places they also eat things that would strike the average American palate as strange, or worse.

“The idea that children should have bland, sweet food is a very industrial presumption,” says Krishnendu Ray, a professor of food studies at New York University who grew up in India. “In many parts of the world, breakfast is tepid, sour, fermented and savory.”

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 an article entitled “Moving Ahead With Alternate Conceptions,” written by Aaron Isabelle, Rosemary Millham, and Thais da Cunha. In the article, they explain how alternate conceptions are also referred to as misconceptions, which are deeply ingrained, scientifically inappropriate ideas about something in the physical or natural world.  In the article, they state 11 alternate conceptions correlated with the NGSS.  An example of an alternate conception is that dinosaurs and cavemen lived at the same time.


From the Twitterverse:

+AnibalPachecoIT ‏@AnibalPachecoIT  2m2 minutes ago8 Tips to Create a Twitter-Driven School Culture -  via @edutopia  #NT2t
Sheryl NussbaumBeach ‏@snbeach  42m42 minutes agoConsider joining #plpnetwork team for #ce14. Help us reach the unconnected in your school.
Emily Vickery ‏@ehvickery  48m48 minutes agoPay Attention: Breaking Down Learning Barriers Through the Better Use of Time  #leadership #edchat #ADEchat
Larry Ferlazzo ‏@Larryferlazzo  1h1 hour ago: Part 3 in my @educationweek series “7 Strategies For Working With Student Teachers” …
William Chamberlain ‏@wmchamberlain  2h2 hours agoThe next time you condemn a teacher for not getting kids to love their subject remember how many subjects you don’t love. #schoolishard
Kyle Pace ‏@kylepace  19h19 hours agoWhy the Growth Mindset is the Only Way to Learn … #r7efa
MiddleWeb ‏@middleweb  2h2 hours agoRT @ElizabethLStein: Educator shares 7 principles for co-teacher collaboration  #mschat @amle #elemchat
Pilar Pamblanco ‏@englishteach8  12m12 minutes agoTop story: How To Burn Yourself Out As A Teacher …, see more …
Monte Tatom @drmmtatom · Oct 1Need More Storage Space? Google Drive for Education Has You Covered  ~ #fhuedu642 #tn_teta #ISTEAPLN @MSMatters
julietanner07 @julietanner07 · 16h16 hours agoAmerican Proverb~ A tree never hits an automobile except in self defense.
#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.  And as Troy says, “The Twitter never stops!”





  • A brand-new study on the academic effects of homework offers not only some intriguing results but also a lesson on how to read a study — and a reminder of the importance of doing just that:  reading studies (carefully) rather than relying on summaries by journalists or even by the researchers themselves.
  • First, no research has ever found a benefit to assigning homework (of any kind or in any amount) in elementary school.  In fact, there isn’t even a positive correlation between, on the one hand, having younger children do some homework (vs. none), or more (vs. less), and, on the other hand, any measure of achievement.  If we’re making 12-year-olds, much less five-year-olds, do homework, it’s either because we’re misinformed about what the evidence says or because we think kids ought to have to do homework despite what the evidence says.
  • Second, even at the high school level, the research supporting homework hasn’t been particularly persuasive.
  • It’s easy to miss one interesting result in this study that appears in a one-sentence aside.  When kids in these two similar datasets were asked how much time they spent on math homework each day, those in the NELS study said 37 minutes, whereas those in the ELS study said 60 minutes.
  • it was statistically significant but “very modest”:  Even assuming the existence of a causal relationship, which is by no means clear, one or two hours’ worth of homework every day buys you two or three points on a test.
  • There was no relationship whatsoever between time spent on homework and course grade, and “no substantive difference in grades between students who complete homework and those who do not.”
  • The better the research, the less likely one is to find any benefits from homework.
  • you’ll find that there’s not much to prop up the belief that students must be made to work a second shift after they get home from school.  The assumption that teachers are just assigning homework badly, that we’d start to see meaningful results if only it were improved, is harder and harder to justify with each study that’s published.
  • many people will respond to these results by repeating platitudes about the importance of practice[8], or by complaining that anyone who doesn’t think kids need homework is coddling them and failing to prepare them for the “real world” (read:  the pointless tasks they’ll be forced to do after they leave school).



Three critical questions students should keep in mind–any subject, any grade–when reading NF:

3 Questions for reading Non-fiction








How Teacher’s Learn

How Teachers Like to Learn Their Tech
















National Cyber Safety Month

National Security Awareness Month




Coding is the new literacy! With ScratchJr, young children (ages 5-7) can program their own interactive stories and games. In the process, they learn to solve problems, design projects, and express themselves creatively on the computer.

Download for the iPad.

Web Spotlight:


Mute the Messenger

When Dr. Walter Stroup showed that Texas’ standardized testing regime is flawed, the testing company struck Jason Stanford Published on Wednesday, September 3, 2014, at 8:00 CST

  • “Rigor” was the new watchword in education policy.
  • Testing advocates believed that more rigorous curricula and tests would boost student achievement—the “rising tide lifts all boats” theory. But that’s not how it worked out.
  • Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott, long an advocate of using tests to hold schools accountable, broke from orthodoxy when he called the STAAR test a “perversion of its original intent.”
  • To his credit, Committee Chair Rob Eissler began the hearing by posing a question that someone should have asked a generation ago: What exactly are we getting from these tests?
  • Stroup sat down at the witness table and offered the scientific basis behind the widely held suspicion that what the tests measured was not what students have learned but how well students take tests.
  • his testimony to the committee broke through the usual assumption that equated standardized testing with high standards. He reframed the debate over accountability by questioning whether the tests were the right tool for the job. The question wasn’t whether to test or not to test, but whether the tests measured what we thought they did.
  • Stroup argued that the tests were working exactly as designed
  • Stroup had caught the government using a bathroom scale to measure a student’s height.
  • The scale wasn’t broken or badly made. The scale was working exactly as designed. It was just the wrong tool for the job. The tests, Stroup said, simply couldn’t measure how much students learned in school.
  • Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock (R-Killeen) brought Stroup’s testimony to a close with a joke that made it perfectly clear. “I’d like to have you and someone from Pearson have a little debate,” Aycock said. “Would you be willing to come back?”
  • “Sure,” Stroup said. “I’ll come back and mud wrestle.”
  • Stroup had picked a fight with a special interest in front of politicians. The winner wouldn’t be determined by reason and science but by politics and power.
  • Pearson’s real counterattack took place largely out of public view, where the company attempted to discredit Stroup’s research. Instead of a public debate, Pearson used its money and influence to engage in the time-honored academic tradition of trashing its rival’s work and career behind his back.
  • standardized tests have become the pre-eminent yardstick of classroom learning in America, and Pearson is selling the most yardsticks.
  • Stroup started asking after he thought he found a way to use cloud computing to expose poor, minority children to basic math concepts using calculus.
  • The same kids branded as failures by the state tests embraced the project, using the cloud technology collaboratively to learn basic math concepts. This was the breakthrough that everybody—Kress, Perot and lawmakers in Austin—had been looking for.
  • However, the students’ scores rose only 10 percent, a statistically valid variance but hardly the change that he had observed in the classroom.
  • Using UT’s computing power, Stroup investigated. He entered the state test scores for every child in Texas, and out came the same minor variances he had gotten in Dallas. What he noticed was that most students’ test scores remained the same no matter what grade the students were in, or what subject was being tested. According to Stroup’s initial calculations, that constancy accounted for about 72 percent of everyone’s test score. Regardless of a teacher’s experience or training, class size, or any other classroom-based factor Stroup could identify, student test scores changed within a relatively narrow window of about 10 to 15 percent.
  • Stroup knew from his experience teaching impoverished students in inner-city Boston, Mexico City and North Texas that students could improve their mastery of a subject by more than 15 percent in a school year, but the tests couldn’t measure that change. Stroup came to believe that the biggest portion of the test scores that hardly changed—that 72 percent—simply measured test-taking ability. For almost $100 million a year, Texas taxpayers were sold these tests as a gauge of whether schools are doing a good job. Lawmakers were using the wrong tool.
  • The paradox of Texas’ grand experiment with standardized testing is that the tests are working exactly as designed from a psychometric (the term for the science of testing) perspective, but their results don’t show what policymakers think they show.
  • Stroup concluded that the tests were 72 percent “insensitive to instruction,” a graduate- school way of saying that the tests don’t measure what students learn in the classroom.
  • After correcting what Pearson interpreted as the mislabeled column, Way wrote, the tests were “only 50 percent” insensitive to instruction.
  • This alone was a startling admission. Even if you accepted Pearson’s argument that Stroup had erred, here was the company selling Texas millions of dollars’ worth of tests admitting that its product couldn’t measure half of what happens in a classroom.
  • A student in the third grade did as well on a math test as that same student did in the eighth grade on a language arts test as the same student did in the 10th grade on a different test. Regardless of changes in school, subject and teacher, a student could count on a test result remaining 50 to 72 percent unchanged no matter what. Stroup hypothesized that the tests were so insensitive to instruction that a test could switch out a science question for a math question without having any effect on how that student would score.
  • “teachers account for about 1% to 14% of the variability in test scores,” largely confirming Stroup’s apparently controversial conclusion.
  • If it’s true that the test measured primarily students’ ability to take a test, then, Stroup reasoned to the House Public Education Committee in June 2012, “it is rational game theory strategy to target the 72 percent.” That means more Pearson worksheets and fewer field trips, more multiple-choice literary analysis and fewer book reports, and weeks devoted to practice tests and less classroom time devoted to learning new things. In other words, logic explained exactly what was going on in Texas’ public schools.
  • we end up with adults and professionals spending most of their time gaming the system.”
  • Rep. Eissler never called another hearing to have the debate between Stroup and a Pearson representative as Rep. Aycock had suggested. Eissler retired from the Legislature and now lobbies for Pearson.
  • Tax law allows corporations to establish charitable foundations. What tax law doesn’t allow is endowing a nonprofit to supplement the parent corporation’s profit-driven mission. Last December, Pearson paid a $7.7 million fine in New York state to settle charges that the Pearson Foundation “had helped develop products for its corporate parent, including course materials and software,” reported The New York Times.


Random Thoughts . . .


Personal Web Site



deliberate [sic] Optimism:  reclaiming the JOY in education by Dr. Debbie Silver, Jack C Berckemeyer, and Judith Baenen.


“Recharge the optimism that made you an educator in the first place!  School is where students and staff should feel safe, engaged, and productive – and choosing optimism is the first step toward restoring healthy interactions necessary for enacting real change.”


MSM 285: Dancing Queen in Sonnet or Jeopardy Rocks the Green Pennies . . . From Heaven.

advisory, MSM, Podcast Comments Off

 Jokes You Can Use:


A small 1 SEATER plane crashed into a cemetery. Police have recovered 102 bodies so far and will continue to dig throughout the night.


There was a student who was desirous of taking admission for a study course.


He was smart enough to get through the written test, a GD and was to appear for the personal interview. Later, as the interview progressed, the interviewer found this boy to be bright since he could answer all the questions correctly. The interviewer got impatient and decided to corner the boy.


“Tell me your choice;” said he to the boy, “What’s your choice: I shall either ask you ten easy questions or ONE real difficult. Think well before you make up your mind.”


The boy thought for a while and said, “My choice is ONE real difficult question.”


“Well, good luck to you, you have made your own choice!” said the man on the opposite side. Tell me: What comes first, Day or Night?”


The boy was jolted first but he waited for a while and said: “It’s the DAY, sir.”


“How???????” the interviewer was smiling (“At last, I got you!” he said to himself.)


“Sorry sir, you promised me that you will not ask me a SECOND difficult question!”


Admission for the course was thus secured.


Eileen Award:  



Chukchuk is in a Quiz Contest trying to win Prize money of Rs.1 Million US$

The questions are as follows:

1) How long was the 100 yr war?

  1. A) 116
  2. B) 99
  3. C) 100
  4. D) 150

Chukchuk says, “I will skip this”


2) In which country are the Panama hats made?

  1. A) BRASIL
  2. B) CHILE
  3. C) PANAMA

Chukchuk asks for help from the University students


3) In which month do the Russians celebrate the October Revolution?


Sardar asks for help from general public


4) Which of these was King George VI first name?

  1. A) EDER
  2. B) ALBERT
  3. C) GEORGE
  4. D) MANOEL

Chukchuk asks for lucky cards


5) The Canary Islands, in the Pacific Ocean, Has its name x-udd on which animal:

  3. C) PUPPY
  4. D) RAT!

Chukchuk gives up.



If you think you are indeed clever and laughed at Chukchuk ‘s replies, then please check the answers below:

1) The 100-year war lasted 116 years from 1337-1453

2) The Panama hat is made in Ecuador

3) The October revolution is celebrated in November

4) King George’s first name was Albert. In 1936 He changed his name.

5) Puppy. The Latin name is INSULARIA CANARI This means islands of the puppies. Now tell me who’s the dumb one…Don’ Ever Laugh at a Chukchuk again.

(ChukChuk community lives somewhere in Siberia)



Middle School Science Minute

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or


New Middle School Science Minute Podcast on “Green Pennies”    

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 “Why the Statue of Liberty is Green: Coatings, Corrosion and Patina,” written by Richard H. Moyer and Susan A. Everett. In this 5E-learning-cycle lesson, students test different types of coatings on pennies to observe how the coatings affect the amount of corrosion produced when the penny is placed in a moist environment and a moist, acidic environment.



From the Twitterverse:

Lise Galuga ‏@lisegaluga What is the biggest game changer in education? It is not technology. It is an educator that’s an innovator. @gcouros #gafesummit
Neil Sandham ‏@scienceg33k A Professional Learning Teacher Toolkit  #satchat #rvsed
Patti Kinney@pckinney  8 Things About Middle School Kids | @scoopit
Dr. Justin Tarte ‏@justintarte 53 Ways To Check For Understanding:  #edchat #unionrxi via @edutopia,d.aWw  
Kevin CumminsMassive collection of maths ideas and lesson plans. Fractions, Algebra, Space, measurement, and more
Erin Young ‏@EdMagsEditor RT @sjunkins: The Periodic Table of iPad Apps. #ISTE2014
McGrawHill Education ‏@MHEducation 45 Fun Animations & Cartoons Introducing Key Literacy Skills:  #reading #edchat
Kelly Dumont ‏@kdumont 8 Characteristics of the Innovative Leader – love this from @gcouros
Brent Csutoras ‏@brentcsutoras Why Did China Block Duck Duck Go? by @albertcostill: Of all the search engines in the world, one of the most i…
Laura Briggs ‏@LauraBTRT  1h1 hour agoRT @pammoran you can’t expect teachers to embrace and own their connected learning if admins don’t #satchat #edleader21
Teacher@Primary_Ed  2h2 hours ago8 Ways Teachers Can Talk Less & Get Kids Talking More #edchat #pypchat  #satchat #gafesummit
Get your #mschat Twitter gear here:  
#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.  And as Troy says, “The Twitter never stops!”



Jeopardy Rocks!

Really easy to create and save Jeopardy style board. You just give them a Title for the board (end of the URL),  email address and create a password. Then click and type. Easy peasy. Note that you must complete the entire board before the “Publish” button is available. There are six columns. Each column needs five questions. You also need a Final Jeopardy question. (Only the Hosts category has real questions.)


Google Forms

Google has updated Google Forms to include a couple of nice options. First of all, you can now limit respondents to one response. Secondly, you can now shuffle question order. Thirdly, you can now customize the images and fonts in a form. You can do a lot of good stuff with Forms.




What happens when you take a pop song and rewrite it as a sonnet?


Inside the Brain of a Struggling Reader [Infographic]

When a student struggles to learn to read, we often look to social or economic factors, access to books, or the home environment for an explanation. While each of these factors can play a part, treatable brain differences are often part of the equation.

Inside the Brain of a Struggling Reader:  infographic

See the original infographic at


Richard Byrne Google Docs Resources

27 (and growing) video tutorials by Richard Byrne on using Google.


Sources of Free Sound Effects and Music for Multimedia Projects

Just as with images, it is important to have students use music and sound effects that they have permission to use. The following resources offer music and sound effects that students can use for free in multimedia projects.

Web Spotlight:



Random Thoughts . . .


Personal Web Site




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

MSM, Podcast, Web Spotlight Comments Off

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





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