MSM 234: There is a squirrel eating your internet connection.

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.

Jokes You Can Use:

Which side of the chicken has more feathers?
What do you call a man who shaves 20 times a day?
Why should you never trust an atom?
What do you call Santa’s little helpers?
What did the hat say to the hat rack?

Eileen Award:


  • Facebook:  Karen Decker




Money Tips for Parents & Teens

The Radio Show
The $2 ebook is available here:

Water Changes Everything

Magic Trick


Middle School Science Minute

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or

I was recently reading the NSTA Ready Reference Guide for Safer Science, Volume 2, written by Ken Roy, director of environmental health and safety for Glastonbury Public Schools in Glastonbury, CT. Within the book are topics dealing with “Safer Science” and questions that teachers have sent him regarding “Safer Science.”  The focus of this podcast is on a question from a teacher regarding the teaching of science in a mathematics classroom.

By the way, I added a Twitterverse to my bi-monthly Michigan Science Matters Network eBlast.  Check it out at:

From the Twitterverse:

* ConnectEDU ‏@ConnectEDUInc
“Change happens at the speed of trust” #learnlaunch13
* Larry Ferlazzo ‏@Larryferlazzo
The Best Ways To Deal With Rudeness In Class …
* Richard Byrne ‏@rmbyrne
Blubbr – Create Interactive Quizzes Using YouTube Clips
* Karen Horne ‏@mrskhorne
@syded06 Now I have discovered google docs (and free!) I rarely use Microsoft office, the purchase of a chromebook was the icing on the cake
* Will Richardson ‏@willrich45
“The Coming KIPP Bubble”  Long, but interesting. #edchat #education
* Will Richardson ‏@willrich45
Posted: The Missing Layer  Sincerely interested in your comments/thoughts. #education #edreform #edchat
* Scott McLeod ‏@mcleod
DI: Learning no longer has to stop  #edtech
* Mark Barnes ‏@markbarnes19
Quizpoo Is An Easy & Unique Tool For Making Online Tests – Quizpoo lets you create, without requiring registration, …
* Sheri Edwards ‏@grammasheri
CCSS: Teaching Argument vs. Evidence | MiddleWeb #midleved …
* Scott McLeod ‏@mcleod
Rigor v. Vigor. Let’s change the conversation here in Iowa!  #iaedfuture #plaea
#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.


Reading Rockets

Reading, and a love for reading, begins at home. The Reading Tip of the Day widget offers easy ways for parents to help kids become successful readers


iCivics prepares young Americans to become knowledgeable, engaged 21st century citizens by creating free and innovative educational materials.
In 2009, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor founded iCivics to reverse Americans’ declining civic knowledge and participation. Securing our democracy, she realized, requires teaching the next generation to understand and respect our system of governance. Today iCivics comprises not just our board and staff, but also a national leadership team of state supreme court justices, secretaries of state, and educational leaders and a network of committed volunteers. Together, we are committed to passing along our legacy of democracy to the next generation.
In just two years, iCivics has produced 16 educational video games as well as vibrant teaching materials that have been used in classrooms in all 50 states. Today we offer the nation’s most comprehensive, standards-aligned civics curriculum that is available freely on the Web.

Web Spotlight:


The One Math Skill You Need to Succeed at Work


  • The key to improving today’s workforce could lie in the elementary school math class, new research shows.
  • lack of a specific math skill in first grade correlated to lower scores on a seventh-grade math test
  • United States Center for Educational Statistics revealed that one in five adults lacks the math competency expected of an eighth-grader
  • specific numerical skill as a target, we can focus education efforts on helping deficient students as early as kindergarten and thereby give them a better chance at career success in adulthood
  • identified was “number system knowledge,” which is the ability to conceptualize a numeral as a symbol for a quantity and understand systematic relationships between numbers.
  • The study found that having this knowledge at the beginning of first grade predicted better functional mathematical ability in adolescence.
  • “Poor understanding of mathematical concepts can make a person easy prey for predatory lenders,” he said. “Numerical literacy, or numeracy, also helps with saving for big purchases and managing mortgages and credit-card debt.”
  • 180 13-year-olds who had been assessed every year since kindergarten for intelligence, memory, mathematical cognition, attention span and achievement.

Where the iPhone 5 Kicks the Mars Rover’s Butt

“You’re carrying more processing power in your pocket thanCuriosity,” Ben Cichy, chief flight software engineer, told an audience at this year’s MacWorld. Specifically:

  • Processors: Curiosity’s is 132MHz; the iPhone 5’s is 1.3 GHz.

  • Memory: Curiosity’s has 128 MB; the iPhone 5 has 1 GB.

  • Storage: Curiosity holds 4 GB; iPhone 5 holds 64 GB.

  • OS: Curiosity runs Wind River VxWorks 6.7 Real-time OS; the iPhone runs iOS 6.

One of the team’s biggest challenges is having to script instructions for Curiosity within a 12 to 16 hour window. Each day, after the lander downloads the latest batch of data to the 100 scientists watching her movements, the team determines what they want her do next and make sure that their goals align with Curiosity’s capabilities. Then the software team writes the necessary script and sends it off via uplink. Because of the roughly 14 minutes it takes for the instructions to reach Mars, all of this has to be done within the window, when Curiosity is sleeping.

Teach This! Teaching with lesson plans and ideas that rock 01/29/2013

Posted by Vicki Davis

The Google Science Fair is an online science competition open to students ages 13-18 from around the globe. We’re looking for ideas that will change the world. To get started, all you’ll need is a Google account.


Data: No deus ex machina


  • Data-based decision-making is all the rage. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (2009) has emphatically declared, “I am a deep believer in the power of data to drive our decisions. Data gives us the roadmap to reform. It tells us where we are, where we need to go, and who is most at risk.”
  • Data expose inequities, create transparency, and help drive organizational improvement.
  • But something is amiss – push to narrow schooling to test scores and graduation rates
  • the data—which are relatively crude, consisting mostly of reading and math scores—are unequal to the heavy weight they’re asked to bear.
  • Data can be a powerful tool. But we must recognize that collecting data is not using data; that data are an input into judgment rather than a replacement for it; that data can inform but not resolve difficult questions of politics and values; and that we need better ways to measure what matters, rather than valuing those things we can measure
  • Ellwood Cubberley (1919), cheered such assessments, insisting, “We can now measure an unknown class and say, rather definitely, that, for example, the class not only spells poorly but is 12 percent below standard” (p. 694)
  • Standardized tests have meant nothing less than the ultimate changing of school administration from guesswork to scientific accuracy. The mere personal opinions of school board members and the lay public … have been in large part eliminated.
  • In the 1960s and 1970s, proponents of data and accountability again insisted that they had it right.
  • Lessinger was hardly alone; more than 4,000 books and articles on data and education accountability were published in the late 1960s and early 1970s
  • Yet in 2001, No Child Left Behind’s architects started from the bipartisan conviction that U.S. schooling was nearly bereft of good data.

CA Gov. Jerry Brown: “I would prefer to trust our teachers”

California Jerry Brown just gave his State of the State address.

  • We seem to think that education is a thing—like a vaccine—that can be designed from afar and simply injected into our children.
  • I would prefer to trust our teachers who are in the classroom each day, doing the real work – lighting fires in young minds.

Why You Truly Never Leave High School

  • There are some people who simply put in their four years, graduate, and that’s that. But for most of us adults, the adolescent years occupy a privileged place in our memories, which to some degree is even quantifiable: Give a grown adult a series of random prompts and cues, and odds are he or she will recall a disproportionate number of memories from adolescence
  • Yet there’s one class of professionals who seem, rather oddly, to have underrated the significance of those years, and it just happens to be the group that studies how we change over the course of our lives: developmental neuroscientists and psychologists.
  • For years, we had almost a religious belief that all systems developed in the same way, which meant that what happened from zero to 3 really mattered, but whatever happened thereafter was merely tweaking.”


  • “If you put adults in a similar situation”—meaning airlifted into a giant building full of strangers with few common bonds—“you’d find similar behaviors.” Like reality television, for instance, in which people literally divide into tribes, form alliances, and vote one another off the island. “And I think you see it in nursing homes,” says Faris. “In small villages. And sometimes in book clubs.” And then I realized, having covered politics for many years: Congress, too. “It’s not adolescence that’s the problem,” insists Faris. “It’s the giant box of strangers.”
  • As adults, we spend a lot of time in boxes of strangers. “I have always referred to life as ‘perpetual high school,’
  • Today, we also live in an age when our reputation is at the mercy of people we barely know, just as it was back in high school, for the simple reason that we lead much more public, interconnected lives. The prospect of sudden humiliation once again trails us, now in the form of unflattering photographs of ourselves or unwanted gossip, virally reproduced. The whole world has become a box of interacting strangers.
  • Maybe, perversely, we should be grateful that high school prepares us for this life. The isolation, the shame, the aggression from those years—all of it readies us to cope. But one also has to wonder whether high school is to blame; whether the worst of adult America looks like high school because it’s populated by people who went to high school in America. We’re recapitulating the ugly folkways of this institution, and reacting with the same reflexes, because that’s where we were trapped, and shaped, and misshaped, during some of our most vulnerable years.
  • one datum was interesting: At 24, the princesses had lower self-esteem than the brainy girls, which certainly wasn’t true when they were 16.
  • Until Facebook, the people from my high-school years had undeniably occupied a place in my unconscious, but they were ghost players, gauzy and green at the edges. Now here they were, repeatedly appearing in my news feed, describing their plans to attend our reunion. And so I went, curious about whom they’d become. There were the former football players, still acting like they owned the joint, but as much more generous proprietors. There were the beautiful girls, still beautiful, but looking less certain about themselves. There was my former best pal, who’d blown past me on her way to cheerleaderhood, but nervous in a way I probably hadn’t recognized back then. I was happy to see her. And to see a lot of them, truth be told. We’d all grown more gracious; many of us had bloomed; and it was strangely moving to be among people who all shared this shameful, grim, and wild common bond. I found myself imagining how much nicer it’d have been to see all those faces if we hadn’t spent our time together in that redbrick, linoleum-­tiled perdition. Then again, if we hadn’t—if we’d been somewhere more benign—I probably wouldn’t have cared.


Tony private schools aren’t paying their teachers based on test scores

My child should not be responsible for anyone’s pay based on one test on one day. . . . I keep checking the tony private schools to see when they are going to pay their teachers based on test scores and I have yet to find one that thinks this is credible nor do any believe in this data-driven model of high stakes testing for their students.