Our apologies for the tardiness. We’ve had some scheduling issues to address to get together to chat. We plan on being back on schedule this weekend.
We chat about a range of topics, including:
NMSA Annual Conference Launched (officially)!
Shawn and I discussed a project that I’m involved in that demonstrates where technology is right now. This project is a good overview of things that students are using and teachers could be using (at least some of them) currently.
Technology and Teachers:
Here’s the blurb for the project:
Over the next 10 weeks, you will complete 23 Things to become familiar with a variety of Web 2.0 tools. Everything you need is available here so that you can work on your own time, at your own pace.
Following are the 23 Things to complete in the order listed. Click the blue links to go to each Thing. You may complete the Things at your own pace, but we suggest trying to finish one topic area per week. Have fun!
What are the 23 Things? (This is by subject only. Most of these include 2-3 things each):
- What is Web 2.0?
- Photos and Images
- Online Productivity
- Social Bookmarking
- Online Video
- Wrap Up
How many of these are familiar with? How many do you use regularly? How many do you use in your classroom?
Like a few other of my cohort, I jumped the gun for Part 5. I subscribed to many sites in Part 4 when that is supposed to be part of part 5. Anyway, I largely revisited some of my most heavily “traveled” RSS sites from NetNewsWire. (If you’re interested, check them out at: http://www.bloglines.com/public/MiddleSchoolMatters ) . RSS can allow you to gather a lot of information together. I think that it needs to be targeted though. I sometimes return to visiting web sites for a couple of reasons.
- Going to a web site gives me more context.
- Going to a web site “slows” me down. This allows me to process better.
- I can automatically “rank” the sites that I want to see. Yes, I know that I can do something similar with the RSS reader, but somehow it’s still different.
News & Events: The “Datey Thingys”
NMSA Annual Conference (NMSA08) October 30-November 1
Hotel information coming soon on the website.
Conference focus on Technology this year.
Grade Configuration: Grade configuration was a hot topic early in the school year and is likely to come up again as we move into the summer and as next year’s schedules are being developed. Here is a link to research on grade configuration courtesy of NMSA.
What Makes Middle Schools Work: Some research out of New York Public Schools on their top ten performing middle schools and what elements can be replicated to produce success in other middle schools.
Ohio Middle School Association Annual Conference:
Kalahari, Sandusky, OH.
February 21-22, 2009
First Annual Schools to Watch Conference
May 7, 2008
Mount Pleasant, MI
Michigan Joint Education Conference
June 25, 2008
Holt High School
Michigan Association of Middle School Educators Grants – $1000.00
June 30 is the deadline for application.
Teaching Moments has a new goal setting presentation that is FREE!
ATT – $100 million grant to stem dropouts. The AT&T Aspire program will distribute the $100 million over four years through a competitive grant process, said Eric Hausken, a spokesman for AT&T.
Why do we teach middle school?
1. We get to see our names carved into various places with colorful adjectives attached.
2. Up to date with current fashion trends.
3. Easier to teach those who know everything already.
4. Hormone therapy without the prescription.
5. Also qualifies for CIA spy training, FBI interrogation training, and local or State Police crime lab training.
6. With all the comments heard on hall duty and student responses, it would qualify as research for the next Broadway comedy show.
7. FREE PENCILS ON THE FLOOR IN THE HALLWAY!
Cool quote from the NMSA website: “Maybe the biggest reason some teachers love middle schoolers is the gap between what they know and what they do.”
—Nancy Feigenbaum, More Than I Ever Imagined
Mr. Devore’s Do-Over
Some Education Blogs from around the web:
Learning is Messy::Roll up your sleeves and get messy
The Dream Teacher:
Cool Cat Teacher:
http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/ - Teaching content with new tools, enthusiasm and the belief that teaching is a noble calling!
http://mathmusings.blogspot.com/ – Thoughts of a middle school math teacher who is re-discovering technology.
Teaching in the 408:We must reject the ideology of the “achievement gap” that absolves adults of their responsibility and implies student culpability in continued under-performance. The student achievement gap is merely the effect of a much larger and more debilitating chasm: The Educator Achievement Gap. We must erase the distance between the type of teachers we are, and the type of teachers they need us to be.
The Blurb: -The Blurb is a daily, weekly or sometimes monthly news show created and maintained by some seriously motivated students living in cyberspace! Check out our news and views regularly.
Weblogg – learning with the read/write web
Really liked the article titled Believe What You Want to Find.
Teacher Magazine Blogboards: Compilation of blogs with a teacher eccentric viewpoint.
News & Information:
Innovative Practices Across the Curriculum
June 24, 2008
Institute for Middle Level Leadership
July 13-16, 2008
July 20-23, 2008
Best Practices for Student Success
July 28, 2008
Fargo, North Dakota
August 6, 2008
2008 Board of Trustees election
View bios and letters of recommendations for the candidates in your region. All ballots must be postmarked or faxed by May 9, 2008. (Troy as a ‘write-in’ candidate …)
The National Forum: To Accelerate Middle Grades Reform (Schools to Watch )
Annual Conference in Washington D.C. June 19-21
NMSA’s Annual Conference, Denver, CO October 30 – November 1, 2009: Watch this space for upcoming information.
Something coming up in your area? Send us information at email@example.com or www.middleschoolmatters.com.
Student Level Factors:
The biggest question for educators is whether factors outside our control are determinate or can we, as educators, make a difference in the lives of children regardless of those issues?
- Home Environment
- Income – Correlation with SES (SES is actually a complex statistic which can be broken down further) – Ruby Payne
- R.E.A.D.Y. to Learn
- Home atmosphere only
- Parents having frequent discussions about school with their children
- Parents encouraging their children to do homework
- Parents providing resources to help their children
- Learned Intelligence/ Background Knowledge
(Intelligence as 2 types: Knowledge & Cognitive Process)
- maintain a steady & consistent presence in a student’s life
- Realize the relationship may be “one sided”
- involve the student in decisions
- Recognize the need for fun
- Learn about the student’s life
- Vocabulary Instruction
- Wide reading
- Direct Instruction
- Why do we do things?
- Acceptance of failure: Mr. Devore’s Do-Over
- Things we can do:
- Provide feedback
- Provide tasks that are inherently engaging
- Long term projects of their own design
- Directly teach the dynamics of motivation
How about some good sites?
FranklinCovey – 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
Randy Pausch “Last Lecture” – available from iTunesU
Letter from OpenEducation.net on internet safety and the stakeholders in technology in education.
Openeducation.net examines the report commissioned by Gordon Brown on internet safety and education. The report finds that educators, industry, and families need to come together to handle the plethora of transescents. Parental controls and opportunities to control are encouraged in the article. Parental controls do exist for some operating systems including restricted logins, setting restricted hours of usage, developing a “space” for students to work, and logging the contacts and activity of the student on the computer. Mac OS X has these features. I’d propose that parents aren’t aware these things are on their computers as internet immigrants.
Failing Schools Show Progress with most of the Same Teachers:
Much of the widely reported improvement in student achievement at eight inner-city Chattanooga, Tenn., schools seems to be linked to the rising effectiveness of teachers who had been at the schools when their students’ performance was dismal, a report from an education think tank concludes.
That finding goes against the way the elementary schools’ story has often been told by education reformers, many of whom have focused on financial incentives that were meant to lure better teachers to the schools.
This conversations is continued from last week. Please check out Podcast #28 for more information.
- Classroom Management
- Establishing & Enforcing Rules & Procedures
- Shouldn’t be too many (though Ron Clark did well with 55)
- Students can be involved in developing
- Carrying Out Disciplinary Actions
- Reinforcement – recognition/reward for appropriate behavior or absence (or cessation of negative) behavior
- Punishment – negative consequences
- No Immediate consequences- reminders
- Combined punishment/reinforcement -
- Ed Ford: The Responsible Thinking Process
- “The Questions“
- Teacher & Student Relationships
- High Cooperation — High Dominance
- Teacher traditionally enter with high cooperation
- Within 6-10 years more dominant
- Do students “know” the teacher?
- Maintaining Appropriate Mental Set
- “withitness” – “eyes in the back of your head”–identifying problems early.
- emotional objectivity – teacher’s emotions
- Classroom Curriculum Design
- Correcting Students’ Misconceptions About Content
- Activate Prior Instruction
- Student Discussion
- Student Argumentation
- Learning Experiences:
- Verbal Instruction
- Visual Instruction
- Dramatic Instruction
* Note all of the work on Brain Based Learning & Gardner‘s Multiple Intelligences.
- Teachers must specifically identify what students are to learn and communicate that to students.
- Learning tasks must be close enough to “real world” tasks to allow for transfer of knowledge.
- Students need multiple opportunities and complex interaction with the skills
Universe: Visually searching the web.
Imagine for a moment that you’ve got a visual learner and you’re asking them to research in a verbal/linguistic environment. Imagine the internet as a vast expanse of solar systems and each topic are the stars and planets that orbit that topic. If you can do that, you can visualize Universe.
Universe gleans information from the web and organizes it into orbiting information. The first screen is constellations of stars flowing past the central star, which is your initial topic. There are different ways to see the results of the search and can be selected along the bottom of the output screen. The second option is to turn the star clusters in to constellations of words that float by the central star. What if your student just doesn’t handle the floating words or stars too well? Choose the third option for presenting the information, called “secrets”, and the words become stationary and in a grid with the larger print words being more related to the subject than the smaller sized words. Students can then select keywords based on relevance and correlation. Other options include statements, taken in your selected time frame, that can be viewed related to the topic, superstars, people related to the topic, and snapshots, photos related to your topic. These are the same people that also did “We Feel Fine” that looks for the key statement “I feel” and “I feel like” in people’s blogs and then pulls them together into an emotional assessment of the world. It relates it to weather and photos posted on the blogs it collects from and translates that into a graphical picture of emotion. They also have a website called Lovelines that does the same thing with just the statements Love and Hate, but probably not designed for a middle school audience since the search engine only looks for the emotive statement not the content related to it.
It’s time for me to work out our schedule for next year. My current goal is to establish a schedule which will allow for us to build in professional development right smack dab into the schedule. We are doing cost cutting, again, and one of the areas that is expensive is the cost of substitutes. This cost is actually doubly high, not only do we have the financial cost of a substitute, but the instructional value that substitutes bring is definitely lower than the scheduled teacher.With that in mind, we are looking for creative ideas. Here’s what we are discussing so far:
- Early dismissal once every other week (roughly) and extending the day – (Generally hated by parents. Child care is an issue).
- Late arrival – see above.
- Scheduling teachers in core areas to have common prep – (Could mean the loss of teams. Also a problem for teachers who teach multiple subjects).
Do you know of a creative way to build in professional development? Any comments, please hit the comment button above and let us know what you think.