MSM 231: Pidgeons, Pick Pockets, Bi Icycles and Brains.

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.

Jokes You Can Use:

How does Jack Frost get to work?
Why did the face of Joe go to the party by himself?
What happened when Ali found out his toaster was not waterproof?
How often does Dave Bydlowski make Chemistry jokes?
In fact, he told one the other day…
Why did Cleopatra fall off the swing?
What is orange and sounds like parrots?



Share the video with the students. Ask them to describe how the puppy learns to go down the stairs. How can we apply this to our learning?

Brief Interruptions

Challenge the kids to explain how they multi-task. Use the information from this article to help them realize how they can improve their work.

Sexism in Ads


Pickpocket at work. Have the kids pay attention to see what he steals.
Then on Fox news station:
Finally, On NOVA:

Middle School Science Minute

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or

I was recently reading the Winter 2012-2013 issue of Green Teacher Magazine, a magazine that cares about Education for Planet Earth.  I read an article entitled “Zambian Girl Inspires Water Action” written by Michelle Macdonald.  It traces the story of a girl named Tikho, who lives in Zambia.  She was asked to share the story of her daily life as it related to water, sanitation and hygiene.  Her story has provided an example for North American youth to recognize local and global water challenges and look for solutions.

From the Twitterverse:

* Miguel Guhlin ‏@mguhlin
For Teachers
* John Spencer ‏@johntspencer
Which goes back to the Starship Enterprise. Let Data inform rather than drive decisions. #rechat
* Eye On Education ‏@eyeoneducation
What is school for if it is no longer the place to go to acquire knowledge?  @PrincipalPC #cpchat #eduleaders #edchat
* royan lee ‏@royanlee
Just blogged ~ Stop Mystifying Creativity: 5 Things That Might Help  #edchat #rechat #5thchat #mschat
* Diane Ravitch ‏@DianeRavitch
Support the Teachers of Seattle
* Will Richardson ‏@willrich45
10 Predictions for Personalized Learning for 2013  Most are “personal” not personalized. Interesting list. #edchat
Why every school needs an ‘innovation day’
* Monte Tatom ‏@drmmtatom

  1. 26 Ways to Use Comics in the Classroom and 5 Free Tools for Creating Comics  #fhuedu320 #fhuedu508 #eLearning
  2. RT @rmbyrne: Doodlecast Pro Makes It Easy to Create Flipped Classroom Videos  #fhucid #fhuedu320 #mLearning
  3. Tip of the Day: Looking for a New Lesson Idea?  #fhuedu320 #fhuedu508
  4. Podcastomatic Turns Your Blog Posts Into Podcasts  #fhuedu642 #fhuedu320
 CAMLE ‏@camlecolorado
Are you smarter than an 8th Grader from 1912? … #midleved #mschat
#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.


Three Ways to Create a Digital Classroom Library for Your Students

Walk into an English teacher’s classroom, and you might be able to guess how long they’ve been there. Take a look at the classroom library. It takes time to collect hundreds of books for your kids to read, and veteran teachers have worked for years to amass those giant collections.
Luckily, modern technology gives us an alternative: extend your classroom library with free eBooks. There are literally thousands of free eBooks available for your students to read, and with free apps your students can turn their smartphones or tablets into eReaders.
The biggest logistical problem is turning that vast digital catalog into something more personal. You need to use a tool to collect a small number of books that you think your students will be interested in, and then put those books in front of them.

Three Tools Students Can Use for Collaborative Brainstorming on the Web

One of the first challenges that students face when beginning to work on a group research project is organizing and connecting all of their ideas. These three tools can help students collaboratively organize their ideas on the web.

Guide to Budgeting

Creating Comics
Comics apps such as Comic Zeal are compatible with a couple of DRM-free comic book file formats, namely .cbr and .cbz. Those are both compressed formats, related to RAR and ZIP files, respectively.

Web Spotlight:

Why Scratch Club?

By Wesley Fryer On January 10, 2013
Learn more about the IES Scratch Club on Check out Mason’s Scratch project,“About Me” on the Scratch community website.

Reading Like a History

The Reading Like a Historian curriculum engages students in historical inquiry. Each lesson revolves around a central historical question and features sets of primary documents designed for groups of students with diverse reading skills and abilities.
This curriculum teaches students how to investigate historical questions by employing reading strategies such as sourcing, contextualizing, corroborating, and close reading. Instead of memorizing historical facts, students evaluate the trustworthiness of multiple perspectives on historical issues. They learn to make historical claims backed by documentary evidence.


Vending Machine Dispenses MacBooks for Student Use

Providing a solution to students who don’t want to carry a laptop while walking late at night from their dorm or off-campus housing to the library, Drexel introduced a 24-hour, self-service kiosk located in its Hagerty Library that will dispense MacBooks to students, faculty and staff. Drexel is the third university on the East Coast to introduce the vending machine, which holds up to 12 MacBooks that could be checked out free by anyone with a Drexel ID for five hours of use.

AMLE Annual Conference Sessions:

Teaching to gender differences.
Brain-based teaching
1.  How do boys and girls learn differently?
2.  What can we do to balance literacy strategies for gender differences?
Women and Men:  New Research
•  One out of three women become more attractive as they grow older.
•  One out of three men become more attractive as they grow older.
•  Men – a better understanding of women
•  Women = give up.
What percentage of a high school class drops out?
26% is the national average
Males in school
•  Make up the majority of high school dropouts.
•  Make up the majority discipline problems.
see paper handout and wiki
The Trouble with Boys
Males in Jails
In 2008, 1 in 18 men versus 1 in 89 in times previous
The Silent Epidemic
1.7-2.3 million dollars in cost to jail a male.
The Minds of Boys
Are there really differences?
Testosterone physically changes the brain at 26 weeks.
Single Gender classrooms:  NASSPE conference (usually in Orlando)
Points to Remember
Nature <———————————–> Nurture
Brain structure is not equal to particular gender behaviors.
Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine.
How do we make learning more engaging for boys and girls?
The Minds of Girls
Brain Based Teaching
The corpus callosum is the bundle of nerves that sends signals across the two parts of the brain.  This enables “cross talk” between hemispheres.
A girl’s stronger neural connectors and a larger hippocampus may provide greater use of sensory memory details in speaking and writing.
Speaking of Tone
A couple was driving down a country road and had a just had a fierce argument.  The passed a herd of goats.  Relatives of yours?  Yes, my in-laws.
One simple solution:  Predicting/Summarizing ABCs
“Young girls’ brains tend to mature faster in the front part, which is responsible, among other things, for language learning and controlling aggression and impulsivity.”
“Women actually get a buzz out of hearing their own voices.  The simple of . . . ”
Single Men are like Waffles and Single Women are like Spaghetti
“For women, every thought and issue is connected to every other thought and issue in some way [spaghetti].  Life is much more of a process than it is for men.”
What’s Happening?  book by Bill McBride
Provide activities that allow girls to share and model their better verbal skills.
See his template on pre-reading paper.
With more cortical areas devoted to verbal functioning, girls tend to be better at:  sensory memory, sitting still, listening, tonality, mental crosstalk and complexities of reading and writing.  i.e. the very skills and behaviors often rewarded in school.
“Girl behavior becomes the gold standard.  Boys are treated like defective girls.”
The Minds of Boys
“For boys, the fastest development is in the back of the brain, which performs visual-spatial tasks at which males tend to excel, such as geometry and puzzle-solving.”
The Minds of Teens
Blue=large differences
Purple=little differences
White=very similar
The Minds of Girls and Boys
“Critical thinking and reasoning develop rapidly through adolescence.”
“These are skills that have to be learned and practiced.”
“If teens do not learn to think strategically they may never do so.”
Critical Thinking – Organizing
Students can use phones or email to:
•  Call in reminders to themselves
•  Send emails or text messages about assignments or homework.
•  Listen to podcasts of information.
•  Send text messages to help classmates in collaborative . . .
Critical thinking – Categorizing
The Minds of Teens
“Our jobs as adults is to serve as external frontal lobes.”
Brain-Based teaching
The Minds of Girls
Two gas pedals
Two brake pedals
Girls have more serotonin and tend to make fewer impulsive decisions than boys.
The MInds of Teens
Teenagers don’t always think of the consequences.
Why do we let 16 year olds drive?
The Minds of Boys
Ladies!  Sportka Ford commercial with the pidgeon.
The Minds of Boys and Girls
Boys systematically overestimate their own ability, while girls are more likely to underestimate their abilities.
“One of the most reliable predictors of whether a boy will succeed or fail in high school rests on a single question:  who is the male adult they chose as their mentor?
Fisher, D & Frey, N.  “Motivating Boys to Read.”
•  Always have kids reading for a reason.
Set it up as a problem to solve.
•  Read aloud to kids and speak your thoughts out loud as you read.
•  Give students choices.
Comic Life software

Bill McBride’s contact information is in the packet.

We need to bring in media.  Movement is good for boys.
Book:  Entertaining Elephant:  Carrying a Load of Feathers by Bill McBride.