MSM 225: Advisory! Advisory! Advisory!

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.

Eileen Award:

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Jokes You Can Use:

One reason the Military Services have trouble operating jointly is that they don’t speak the same language. For example, if you told Navy personnel to “secure a building,” they would turn off the lights and lock the doors. The Army would occupy the building so no one could enter. Marines would assault the building, capture it, and defend it with suppressive fire and close combat. The Air Force, on the other hand, would take out a three-year lease with an option to buy.

A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.
A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.
A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.
A successful woman is one who can find such a man.


You are Predictable

Make the board ahead of time, or put it on a Promethean Board.

Business Cards

Have the kids design business cards for famous people, fictional characters, historical figures, etc.

10 Bets that you can win

Use these to create a challenge for students. Encourage them to think together. This can help prime the thinking. These are really just problem solving opportunities.


On the cover of American Prospect, Joel Sternfeld’s ode to roadside America, was a ghoulish photo. A fireman shops for a pumpkin as the farmhouse — whose fire presumably brought him to this very acres — burns in the background. Its fiery destruction perfectly complemented the wintry leaves, the spoilt pumpkins, and from the foreground, with his hands tightly clasped upon a prized possession, the orange-clad firefighter: an American Nero.

Middle School Science Minute

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or

Reflecting on Data

Recently I gave a talk at a new teacher orientation for the Rouge Education Project, a water quality monitoring project on the Rouge River, in the Michigan counties of Wayne and Oakland.  The purpose of the talk was to share ideas on curriculum.  The two areas I focused in on were:
1.  Inquiry Analysis and Communication
2.  Reflection and Social Implication

To learn more about the Rouge Education Project, please visit:

From the Twitterverse:

* Monte Tatom ‏@drmmtatom
#iPad in schools 102  via @zite #fhuedu320 #fhuedu642

11 Excellent Ways Teachers Can Use Google Docs  #fhuedu320 #eLearning #fhuedu642

6 Reasons To Get A Tutor  #fhuedu610 #fhuedu508

* YouAndI School ‏@YouAndISchool
#Teachers have such an awesome job. Here is a teachers survival kit for everyday living
* Patrick Larkin ‏@patrickmlarkin
Gamification 101: Why A Badge Is Better Than An A via @terryheick  #edchat #bhschat
* Miguel Guhlin ‏@mguhlin
10 evernote uses in classroom
* Lisa Dubernard ‏@onboardlearning
Good blog about the “culture of excellence” #satchat …
* Kyle Calderwood ‏@kcalderw
Infographic: The Anatomy of a Great Teacher  #njed #edtech #edchat
* Sandy Kendell ‏@EdTechSandyK
18 Snapshots Of iPad Integration | #edtech #mlearning @scoopit via @tperran

10 Ways To Use Technology To Teach #Writing … via @edudemic #edtech #literacy

* EdTechTeacher ‏@EdTechTeacher21
iPad Resources and More iPad Summit Blog Posts
* Audrey Nay ‏@audrey_nay
Great livebinder – Top 5 Reasons 2 Use Your Library … #advocacy #tlchat #ozteachers #nswdec #austl
* Kristen Stringfellow ‏@SouthKingSuper
“Twitter Cheat Sheet (for any “newbies” out there) #NCTE12
* Gerald Aungst ‏@geraldaungst
Why while presenting do so many ed conference speakers avoid the very strategies they promote? #irony #fail
* Lee Ann Spillane ‏@spillarke
Save the date 2/6/13 Digital Learning Day @sjhayes8 #ncte12
#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.


Circuits was founded in 2012 by Karel Bruneel and Benjamin Schrauwen. After struggling for years to design and teach to design electronics using existing EDA tool, they felt that electronics design needed an urgent jolt. Learning from how software is designed, they came up with the following magic recipe which is at the heart of (i) allow to easily build on pre-designed electronics modules, (ii) use intuitive tools that hide much of the complexity in software, and (iii) embrace the open hardware movement. Furthermore, we will soon allow easy PCB ordering right from, no more messing with Gerber files. We promise that will always be free for open hardware designs and that you can export all your designs, we will never lock in what actually is yours.


After posting about some of the best gradebook tools for teachers we got an email from one of our readers asking about some grading apps for iPad. We looked into our archive and found a post that we have published almost a year ago containing some great grading apps for iOS users but because thousands of apps have been created since the posting of that list we deemed it important that we do a general scan to review the new emerging grading apps. We found quite many but we only handpicked the ones mentioned below.

Web Spotlight:

A Cure for the Mania of Multiple Drafts, Multiple Formats, X 100

By Ariel Sacks
In my last post, I described my utter failure to effectively organize and manage my students’ drafting process for writing projects.  This job has become much more complicated over the years with the availability of various technological tools for writing.  New, clear parameters are definitely necessary.

Everything That Will Go Extinct In The Next 40 Years

Futurist website put together this awesome infographic predicting all of the technologies, behaviors, and ideas that will probably be distant memories by 2050.
Among their predictions: no more retirement four years from now, no more secretaries six years from now, and no more free parking or sit-down breakfasts by 2019.
The European Union is seen as surviving the current crisis before extinct in 2039.


The [editor of Phi Delta Kappan] concludes by asserting that “every classroom should have excellent teaching every hour of every day.” I would add that every child should also have an excellent parent who serves them excellent food and provides them with an excellent home in an excellent neighborhood. Let’s also add excellent healthcare and excellent supervision every hour of every day as well. If we could accomplish all of that, we would have the highest achieving students on earth.

AMLE Annual Conference Sessions:

Dr. Debbie Silver, paid session.

Standard Introduction:
Teach through stories.
The self-reference depends on when the story happened in her life.
Middle school song by Monte Selby:  “Get Back Up Again.”

“He has a relentless commitment to his dream
so he’ll watch and ask
Then walk for books to read
Builds his talent with desire,’
Loads of time and endless fire
Always redefining persevere”

“So he tries and he tries, with a smile, then he cries
Countless falls, break the skin, get back up
Start again and again
Then he stays up late when he knows he shouldn’t
Tells his parents that he couldn’t – quit.”

Middle school is the last best hope for some of these kids.

“What lies behind us and what lies in front of us are but tiny matters as compared to lies within us.”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson
We have kids that have already given up before they got there.
Research is clear, you cannot motivate anybody.  They have to motivate themselves.  (That’s interesting!)
Mindset-The new Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
Elizabeth’s Story:
Which of the five choices are the right response:
1.  You tell her you thought she was the best.
2.  Tell her she was robbed of a ribbon that was rightfully hers.
3.  Reassure her that gymnastics is not that important.
4.  Tell her she has the ability and will surely win the next one.
5.  Tell her she didn’t deserve to win.
Video:  Charlotte & Johnathan
How do we help students become self-motivated?
Failure has become an entity instead of a state of being.
We need to get kids to understand that falling is part of the process, not the end state of things.
Advertisement video:  CapriSun commercial where the Mom goes and protects the kids to the point of being stupid.
Replace the term Self-Esteem with Self-Efficacy (Bandura)
What does it do?  It influences:
•The choices we make
•The effort we put forth
•How long we persist when we confront obstacles
•How quickly we “bounce back” from setbacks or failures.
Learned helplessness
When kids have power over their environment, they will blossom.
“Anything easily attained is cheaply held.”
Zone of Proximal Development:  Lev Vygotsky
The greatest way to get people self motivated is to raise the bar just beyond their reach.
Letting students do what they can already, it is demotivating.
Lifting the leg example.
What kids are starved for is adult attention.
The Zip Line Adventure
Cartoon:  Scaffolding
Describe a scenario in which you were asked to perform a task far beyond your current ability level and no scaffolding was provided.  How did you respond to the challenge?  What happened?
Handout item:  Scaffolding Instruction Guidelines
Deci & Ryan
Helping Kids Be Successful:
•  Autonomy:  Go do it.
•  Competency:  They have to feel they have the knowledge to do it.
•  Relatedness:  Connecting it to other things and people.
The story of Andy:
Cartesian Diver:  You can do it with condiment packages evidently.
Be careful of over effusive praise.
Andy and the drums.
Doug Moreland Band
Seventh Sun
One of Andy’s character traits is his very strong self-discipline.
The ability to delay self-gratification.
Many lack the ability to defer gratification
Video:  The Marshmallow Test
65% of the kids waited.
65% were:
•more socially competent
•more personally effective
•more self-assertive
•Better able to cope with life’s frustrations.
• . . . see handout
210 more points on SATs.
(Mischel, Schoda, and Peake, 1988)
These skills can be taught!
Tips for helping Children with Impulse control
In class do not allow students to raise hands or blurt answers.  When asking for a response require students to wait 10-15 seconds before calling on someone randomly (I pick up from a cup of craft sticks with the name of a different student on each one).
•  Model “think alouds” for the students.
1.  The adult performs a task while “thinking out loud.”  For example, “Before I start to do this activity.  I need to read all the directions.  After I read all of the directions, I will check and make sure all of the materials are here.  Then I will begin with step #1.

3.  The student performs the task while instruction them self out loud.
Teach students the “Stop and Think” 5 step problem solving strategy:
1.  “What am I supposed to do?”  (Figure out what exactly what the problem is.)
2.  “Look at all the possibilities
•  Role play with the students the problem and possible solutions that occur in recurring social events.
•  Use a timer to indicate periods of independent work and reinforce appropriate behavior with positive feedback.
•  Use the words “For now . . . ”
“I don’t want to do this.”  “That’s ok, you’ll do this ‘for now’.”
Steps in Deliberate Practice.
•  Remember that deliberate practice has one objective:  to improve performance. ” People who play tennis once a week for years don’t get any better if they do the same thing each time.”  Ericson has said, “Deliberate practice is about changing your performance, setting new goals and straining yourself to reach a bit higher each time.”
•  Repeat, repeat, repeat.  Repetition matters.  Basketball greats don’t shoot ten free throws at the end of team practice, they shoot five hundred.
•  Seek constant, critical feedback.  If you don’t know how you’re doing, you won’t know what to improve.
•  Focus ruthlessly on where you need help.  while many of us work on what we’re already good at, says Ericsson, “those who get better work on their weakness.”
•  Prepare for the process to be mentally and physically exhausting.  that’s why so many people . . see handout.
Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation
Psychological reactance relates to a classic distinction made by motivational psychologists:  the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motives.  An activity intrinsically motivating if a person does it voluntarily, without receiving payment or other type of reward.  An activity is extrinsically motivated if it is performed primarily for external reinforcement such as food or money.
The Chit Example:
How to turn play into work:  Lepper and Green (1974)
What are classroom rewards?
•  Extrinsic rewards can be denied as rewards that come from an aoutside source such as the teacher.  Rewards include the obvious bonuses such as prizes, certificates, special privileges, gold stars, stickers, candy gum, redeemable tokens, grades, or even money.  Teacher praise is also considered to be an extrinsic reward as are more subtle signs of approval such as thumbs up signs, smiles, nods, hugs, or pats on the back.
•  Intrinsic rewards can be defined as rewards that are inherent or the natural consequence of behavior.
Activity:  Describe how praise can sometimes do more harm than good.  Give examples from your experience.
Using Classroom Rewards
•  Task-contingent rewards are available to students for merely participating in an activity without regard to any standard of performance (i.e. anyone who turns in a homework paper gets an A.)
-Detrimental to motivation
•  Performance-contingent rewards are available only when the student achieves a certain standard (i.e. anyone who has at least 93% correct responses on the homework paper gets a sticker.)
*  Success-contingent rewards are given for good performance and might reflect either success or progress towards a goal (i.e. anyone who has at least 93% correct responses on the homework paper or improves from their previous score.)
Guidelines for using Classroom Rewards
•Use the weakest reward required to strengthen a behavior.
•When possible, avoid using rewards as incentives.
•Reward at a high rate in the early stages of learning and reduce the frequency of rewards as learning . . .
“It is the nature of man to rise to greatness, if greatness is expected of him.”
-John Steinbeck
Song:  “Fly on the Wall” by Monte Selby
The Key Principles of SFP are these:
A.  We form certain expectations of people or events.
B.  We communicate those expectations with varous cues.
C.  People tend to respond to these cues by adjusting their behavior to match them.
D.  The result is that the original expectation becomes true.
“Hamstrung by unrealized potential.”  Don’t praise anything a child cannot control.
Jordan’s Nike commercial:  “Over and over again I’ve failed in life, and that’s why I succeed.”
Realize that inappropriate praise can do more harm than good.
Attribution theory:  Why do individuals say they fail?
• Task Difficulty
•  Luck
•  Innate Ability or Talent
•  Effort
External (controlled by other than self)
•  Task Difficulty
•  Luck
•  Innate ability or talent
Internal (controlled by self)
•  Effort
Mindset:  The new psychology of success.  Dr. Carol Dweck (2006)
Fixed Mindset (Entity Theory)
Growth Mindset
Dr. Dweck’s Interview Video
Being praised for the easy problems caused students to go back to the easy stuff because they were successful at it.
Students praised for effort, generally were more willing to take on harder tasks.
Implicit Personality Theory.

The Book:  The little girl on the front is a character of a little girl named Stephanie.
We must view young people not as empty bottles to be filled, but as candles to be lit.  (The burning of the ditto transfer paper)

Website:   Password:  iamateacher
I’m number 24.  Randomizer says
EY-88 Code for CEUs.