MSM 258: Wagging the Addison Tale.

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.

Jokes You Can Use:

A cocky State Highways employee stopped at a farm and talked with an old farmer. He told the farmer, “I need to inspect your farm for a possible new road.”


The old farmer said, “OK, but don’t go in that field.” The Highways employee said, “I have the authority of the State Government to go where I want. See this card? I am allowed to go wherever I wish on farm land.”


So the old farmer went about his farm chores.


Later, he heard loud screams and saw the State Highways employee running for the fence and close behind was the farmer’s prize bull. The bull was madder than a nest full of hornets and the bull was gaining on the employee at every step!!


The old farmer called out, “Show him your card!!”


Dear Dad,

$chool i$ really great. I am making lot$ of friend$ and $tudying very hard. With all my $tuff, I $imply can`t think of anything I need. $o if you would like, you can ju$t $end me a card, a$ I would love to hear from you.


Your $on

The Reply:


Dear Son,


I kNOw that astroNOmy, ecoNOmics, and oceaNOgraphy are eNOugh to keep even an hoNOr student busy. Do NOt forget that the pursuit of kNOwledge is a NOble task, and you can never study eNOugh.



A Navy Officer was trying to make a phone call, but had no change, three Marines were approaching and the Officer asked one of them, “excuse me private do you have change for a dollar?” the private replied, “yes I do”, the Navy officer said, “don’t you mean no sir, now let’s try this again” so the Navy Officer, asked again ” private do you have change for a dollar?” The private replied, “no sir”

Eileen Award:



Why Read?


Middle School Science Minute

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or


Argumentation From Evidence


I was recently reading the Summer, 2013 issue of “Science Scope,” a magazine for middle school science teachers, published by the National Science Teachers Association.  Within this issue is the article, “Turning the Science Classroom into a Courtroom: Engaging in Argument from Evidence,” written by Douglas Llewellyn and Amanda Adams.  The article explains six elements that play an important role in designing argument-based science investigations.

From the Twitterverse:

* Steven W. Anderson ‏@web20classroom 5m

If we replace traditional learning with technology we haven’t really done anything. We have to shift the pedagogy. #edscape

* Jan Wee ‏@weejan 54m

15 Learning Tools You Never Knew Existed

* Chad Lehman ‏@imcguy 49m

The DEN VirtCon is going on NOW! Over 20 sessions streamed live all day. Head to  to participate. #ce13 #DENchat

* Tim Childers ‏@tchilders 55m

Oh, this is GOOD. False Transparency and the Airport Princess | CTQ

* Roxanne Glaser ‏@roxanneglaser 1h

New Wolfram Problem Generator: Practice and Learn … #mathchat #Edchat

* amhistorymuseum ‏@amhistorymuseum 1h

Today in 1781: Lord Cornwallis surrenders to Washington at Yorktown. French engraver’s depiction of the surrender:

* Sally Baldridge ‏@SallyBaldridge 3h

The Smartest Kids In The World: 50 Brilliant Students That Model A Love For Learning  via @zite

* Robin Talkowski ‏@RobinTalkowski 13m

Livebinder resource by presenters … #denvirtcon

* Jon Acuff ‏@JonAcuff 14m

The 5th grade me would be disappointed how rarely I use my jumping my bike off of dirt mounds skills as an adult.

* Scott McLeod ‏@mcleod 21m

PPT of changes 2 teacher tenure in NC reminds me of Sneetches (some have stars…)  HT @plugusin #edreform #iaedfuture

* Todd Nesloney ‏@TechNinjaTodd 44m

RT “@thomascmurray: ‘No one became a teacher because they loved copying notes off a board.’ @gcouros #Edscape

#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.



7 Free iPad Apps for Science Lessons

I’m preparing to do a virtual presentation for a small district next month. My hosts asked for a list of some science apps that their middle school and high school students can use. This is part of the list that has free apps.


Addison Tales: Ignite Your Student’s Imagination


What it is: Addison Tales is an interesting interactive site that asks your students to contribute content.  This ongoing competition challenges students to invent an imaginative story character forAddison’s Tales.  When students visit the site, they will be introduced to Mr. Cornelius Addison.  If students click on the sparkly stars, they can visit the story’s characters.  When students click on Mr. Cornelius Addison, they will be taken to a story called “The Dream”.  The story is about Mack’s wild and imaginative store where he sells characters.  The story urges students to add characters to the store and then to “trap” their characters inside finished stories so that they don’t just remain figments of the imagination.  When students create their own characters, they make them “real” like the solid characters in the cottage that can be discovered inside the apps that are available from Addison tales in the app store.  The challenge is for students to write and draw interesting characters.

How to integrate Addison Tales into your classroom:  I think the way that Addison Talescombines technology, writing, drawing, story and imagination is brilliant!  Read “The Dream” with your students using classroom computers, an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer.  For those of you with iPads in the classroom, “The Dream” is also available as a free app.  After reading the story, talk about the types of characters described in “The Dream.”  This is a great way to get your students thinking about description and imagery!  Ask students to write down the adjectives and descriptive words that they remember from the story.  Students can choose a character from the story to draw.  For a fun class activity, invite students to all draw the same character and see what similarities and differences exist between student drawings.  (This can lead to some fun discussion about artistic license!)

After students try their hand at describing characters from the story, they can work on creating their own character.  Students should think carefully about word choice and imagery.  Through December (2013) Addison Tales is running a competition where students can submit their characters.  Each week, Mr. Addison will frame a select number of characters on his wall with the artist’s nickname, country and character name for everyone to see.  At the end of the month, one of the most curious of the characters submitted will be turned into a plush toy and sent to the lucky artist.  Pretty great reward!

Web Spotlight: is a non-profit dedicated to growing computer science education by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. Our vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer programming. We believe computer science should be part of the core curriculum in education, alongside other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses, such as biology, physics, chemistry and algebra.

Our goals include:

  • Bringing Computer Science classes to every K-12 school in the United States, especially in urban and rural neighborhoods.

  • Demonstrating the successful use of online curriculum in public school classrooms

  • Changing policies in all 50 states to categorize C.S. as part of the math/science “core” curriculum

  • Harnessing the collective power of the tech community to celebrate and grow C.S. education worldwide

  • To increase the representation of women and students of color in the field of Computer Science.


For federal and local advocacy, collaborates with our sister organization, Computing in the Core.

Computing in the Core (CinC) is a non-partisan advocacy coalition of associations, corporations, scientific societies, and other non-profits that strive to elevate computer science education to a core academic subject in K-12 education. Learn more about Computing in the Core.

The Test of the Common Core

by E. D. Hirsch, Jr.


Here’s the follow-up post to “Why I’m For the Common Core.” It explains why we should be leery of the forthcoming “core-aligned” tests — especially those in English Language Arts that people are rightly anxious about.

These tests could endanger the promise of the Common Core.

The first thing I’d want to do if I were younger would be to launch an effective court challenge to value-added teacher evaluations on the basis of test scores in reading comprehension. The value-added approach to teacher evaluation in reading is unsound both technically and in its curriculum-narrowing effects. The connection between job ratings and tests in ELA has been a disaster for education.


My analysis of them showed what anyone immersed in reading research would have predicted: The value-added data are modestly stable for math, but are fuzzy and unreliable for reading.


Math tests are based on the school curriculum. What a teacher does in the math classroom affects student test scores. But reading-comprehension tests are not based on the school curriculum. (How could they be if there’s no set curriculum?) Rather, they are based on the general knowledge that students have gained over their life span from all sources — most of them outside the school.


The whole project is unfair to teachers, ill-conceived, and educationally disastrous. The teacher-rating scheme has usurped huge amounts of teaching time in anxious test-prep. Paradoxically, the evidence shows that test-prep ceases to be effective after about six lessons.


…the inadequate theories of reading-comprehension that have dominated the schools — mainly the unfounded theory that, when students reach a certain level of “reading skill,” they can read anything at that level.


The Common Core-aligned tests of reading comprehension will naturally contain text passages and questions about those passages. To the extent such tests claim to assess “critical thinking” and “general” reading-comprehension skill, we should hold on to our wallets. They will be only rough indexes of reading ability — probably no better than the perfectly adequate and well-validated reading tests they mean to replace.


The solution to the test-prep conundrum is this: First, institute in every participating state the specific and coherent curriculum that the Common Core Standards explicitly call for. (It’s passing odd to introduce “Common Core” tests before there’s an actual core to be tested.)



With shows like American Idol and The Voice suggesting that anyone can become a pop star, it was only a matter of time before we had a reality show suggesting that anyone can be a teacher.

In 2010, A&E brought us Teach, which featured actor Tony Danza teaching English at a Philadelphia high school. Danza went on to write a book, aptly titled I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had: My Year as a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and rapper 50 Cent produce this show that follows celebrity attempts to teach 15 teenagers who have either dropped out or been expelled from school.

The celebrity teachers’ mission is “to excite these young minds, reignite their passions, and get them to graduate from a real, accredited high school,” according to the show’s publicists.

What groundbreaking tactics do the intrepid celebrity teachers bring to the classroom? Well, for starters, 50 Cent kicks off the first day of homeroom by, brace yourselves, asking the students to suggest classroom rules.

“But here, we want to empower and motivate each and every kid to be part of the process.” Did you hear that, you teachers in “traditional” schools? Is it possible that you somehow missed that you’re supposed to empower and motivate your students?

Oliver Stone is the history teacher, and if you think of every approach you would not use for reaching your most disengaged students, you’ll get a sense of Stone’s instructional strategies. He drones on while the camera zooms in on the clock ticking and students falling asleep at their desks. “This is a great example for folks coming in: Teaching is hard,” observes the principal.

Teaching is hard – but this show seems to us at Edwize like a shameful gimmick that’s disrespectful to both teachers and high-risk students. Can you imagine the outcry if we had a show, Dream Courtroom, where non-credentialed celebrities represented defendants in their “last chance” to avoid prison? Or Dream Hospital, where celebrities acting as doctors became their patients’ “last chance”…literally?

Bruno: Bullying Is Bad, But Do We Know How To Stop It?

That bullying is bad is mostly uncontroversial, but precisely how bad – and for whom – has always been a bit difficult to say.

Researchers, however, are increasingly investigating and quantifying the mental and physical toll that bullying takes on children, and a new study looking at long-term impacts into adulthood is particularly grim.

The authors found that even after accounting for pre-existing hardships, the victims of bullying had worse health outcomes, weaker social relationships, and lower wages as young adults. This was especially true for individuals who were bullied more frequently and for victims who responded by becoming bullies themselves.

As the authors put it, “Being bullied is not a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up but throws a long shadow over affected children’s lives.”

Another recent study suggests that we do not. It’s most talked-about finding was the one trumpeted in the press release: that students at schools with anti-bullying programs in place are more likely to be victims of bullying.

We should be careful, however, in interpreting the finding that anti-bullying programs are correlated with bullying behavior.