MSM 263: How do I love thee? Let me calculate the snow days . . .

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.


Jokes You Can Use:

The local sheriff was looking for a deputy, so Gomer, who was not exactly the sharpest nail in the bucket, went in to try out for the job.

“Okay,” the sheriff drawled, “Gomer, what is 1 and 1?”

“11” he replied.

The sheriff thought to himself, “That’s not what I meant, but he’s right. What two days of the week start with the letter ‘T’?”

“Today and tomorrow.”

The sheriff was again surprised that Gomer supplied a correct answer that he had never thought of himself.

“Now Gomer, listen carefully: Who killed Abraham Lincoln?”

Gomer looked a little surprised himself, then thought really hard for a minute and finally admitted, “I don’t know.”

“Well, why don’t you go home and work on that one for a while?”

So, Gomer wandered over to the barbershop where his pals were waiting to hear the results of the interview. Gomer was exultant. “It went great! First day on the job and I’m already working on a murder case!”


At school one morning the teacher asked little Johnny what he had for breakfast. Little Johnny said, well, on my way to school I come cross this Apple tree, so I climbed up there and started eating apples. I guess I eat about six, said little Johnny. No, said the teacher, it’s ate! Little Johnny said well it could’ve been eight I don’t remember.


Q. What did the traffic light say to the other traffic light?

A. Don’t look now am changing!


Q: What kind of insects to you find on the Moon.

A: Lunar Ticks (Lunatics)


Q. Why did the kid eat his homework?

A. His teacher said it was a piece of cake.


Eileen Award:

  • Twitter:  Shawn Davids, Middle Grades Ed UGA,

  • Google+: Jaguar Ed,


One Job

Have students write a story about one of the pictures.


Middle School Science Minute

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or


Science Literacy

I was recently reading the November, 2013 issue of Science Scope, a magazine for middle school science teachers, published by the National Science Teachers Association.  I then read the article “Building Science Literacy by Reading: Science News” written by Kent Schielke, a 7th-8th grade science teacher in Naperville, IL.

Every year, she challenges her 8th graders with the question, “Where will you get your information about new science after you take your last science class.”  She then shares the assignment that she uses to help her students answer this question.


From the Twitterverse:

* Dean Shareski ‏@shareski

Want to impress Canadians? Use one of these terms in a sentence. …

* Todd Bloch ‏@blocht574

#miched Metro Detroit Tweet-up for Jan 3. Here is the RSVP form … CC: @MR_ABUD @thenerdyteacher @StanleyTeach

* MichaelSmithSupt ‏@principalspage

Smart people surround themselves with smarter people.

* Dr. Jeff Butts ‏@WayneTwpSuper

If the purpose for learning is to score well on a test, we’ve lost sight of the real reason for learning.

Retweeted by Marzano Research Lab

* Scholastic Teachers ‏@ScholasticTeach

“A mug from SeaWorld that said NICEST NIECE.” —Seema B. #TeacherGifts

* Mr. Jordan ‏@jkltraveler

@awit19 has kids that make reindeer food. #Christmas #TeacherGifts

* shirely grohmann ‏@ShirelyG

@ShirelyG: @ScholasticTeach An engagement ring a 6th grader gave to me. It belonged to his mom. I returned it.#TeacherGifts

* Scholastic Teachers ‏@ScholasticTeach

“A heartfelt letter in which the student told me I was her second-favorite teacher. I don’t know who number one is.” —Becky G. #TeacherGifts

* McKenzieBrannen ‏@Bran96Mck

#CraftyChristmas #teachergifts made the Christmas tree things around the soap out of old box springs from a bed



Club Academia

Mission: Club Academia strives to organize existing knowledge in ways that make learning easily accessible while simultaneously inspiring people to discover and innovate.


Since its founding, Club Academia has provided supplemental instruction to students who are struggling with a particular concept and are looking for further explanation. We recognize that often fellow students can most easily help peers understand difficult classroom material. Starting with only four high schoolers uploading videos to a YouTube account, Club Academia has expanded nearly exponentially, currently with 17 video makers and over 300 videos on our website. With the help of the $20,000 Westly Prize grant, we are able to provide equipment for our video-makers and thus create a strong video base. As a result, we are able to expand into more schools and recruit more volunteers to make high-quality videos for our learners!

Five Tools That Help Students Plan Stories

As a student the importance of planning a story before writing it was driven into my head. Then when I became a teacher, I drove that same message home to my students. Here are five free tools that students can use to plan and outline their stories.


Snow Day Calculator


Free Images from the British Library


We have released over a million images onto Flickr Commons for anyone to use, remix and repurpose. These images were taken from the pages of 17th, 18th and 19th century books digitised by Microsoft who then generously gifted the scanned images to us, allowing us to release them back into the Public Domain. The images themselves cover a startling mix of subjects: There are maps, geological diagrams, beautiful illustrations, comical satire, illuminated and decorative letters, colourful illustrations, landscapes, wall-paintings and so much more that even we are not aware of.


AMLE 2013 Annual Conference

Flipped Classrooms in the Middle Level

Nichole Carter (@MrsCarterHLA)

Conferene handout:  (Note:  the page is down at the time of this podcast.)

Back Channel:

(Note:  The audience was very not back channel savvy and the presenter didn’t incorporate it in their presentation.)

Video Scribe app:  Sparkol Videoscribe is a cheap app for her video presenting.

What is the Flipped Model?

   At it’s core the idea is to take out direct instruction from the classroom and to move the application of the knowledge back in.  It also asks that you rethink the valuable face to face time with students.

   Rethink your face-to-face time with the kids.



   Project Based Instruction

   Video:  Flipped Classroom G. Johnson from Canada

Think Feasible!

   If it isn’t something you can maintain, you won’t do it!

   All flipped models are different, that is okay!  Find what works for you and your population of students.

Think about your options:

   Do you want to create your own material?

   TED Ed

   Do you want to use previously made videos?

Can you deliver the content with videos, articles, podcasts?

Delivering the content:

   In a proficiency based program use backwards design linked to the standards.

   Once you know the ending summative assessment you can better breakdown how to deliver the content.

   Jon Bergman says to keep the videos to 15 minutes per grade level.  (For sure 15 minutes or less,)

   2-3 videos per week.  (Max)

   Routine is important.

   Think about what you want to do with them while they are watching these videos.

Do the WSQ!  Flipping with Kirch (look this up)

   Watch and take notes

   Summarize the content


Think HOT!



   Thinking question

   (See the website for the details.)

The Power of the Pause Button

   It’s important to train students on how to use the videos.

   Teach the students the proper behavior for watching these vidoes.

   They should watch on their own.

   Go at their own pace, teach the  power of the pause button.

   This style of teaching is great for ALL students, they can rewind, pause for their own pace and note taking and rewatch!

First few days of school

   It’s a good idea to model these ideas in class before unleashing the students on their own.

   I like to watch a video that I made explaining these concepts in class. (It’s five minutes long.)

   I have a student come up to my SMART board and control the video, and pause it when they need to.

How to make a video

   Research and create the content.

   Stick with a presentation medium you are comfortable with.

   Do a screencast of the video.

   Recommended: (Free) limited to 15 mins.

   You could use Quicktime on a Mac.

To Face or Not to Face?

   My videos generally are a prezi, or a powerpoint and a voiceover

   Feedback from students last year was that they were fine with a disembodied voice!  This year that might change!


Guided Notes or Not?

   I started with guided notes last year and ended up dropping them due to keeping my sanity!

Going Digital with Google Forms

   Did a template.

   It saved her sanity!  Grading is now a breeze!


   Class period

   Type out their summary

   Answer some questions

   Learning target:

   This is an excellent idea!

   Time stamped, sort by name, hour, etc.

   Example:  Summarize, Define 2 terms, What is your question?

Flipping with

   One place to embed your videos, google forms and additional links and resources.

   Track student usage.

   Provide short formative assessment in small quizzes on the content.

   Organize tutorials into playlists.

   Tutorial is one lesson

   Playlist is a unit of content.

Learning Management Systems & Google Sites

   Edmodo and Schoology

   Used in the classroom to push stuff out to the students in a blended learning environment.

   Also a great place for students at home for a central log in and contact with the teacher

   Google Sites.

   One place for parents to go to for information on class.


   Create a google form and find out what students have at home:  technology

   Viewing Parties

   I provide, at least once a week, essentially office hours for students to come in and catch up on their homework.

   Sometimes snacks are provided.

   Videos in class?

   Other Interventions?

Face to face time, how does that change?

   Discussion in class on nightly homework

   Activities and application in class.

   In her class specifically:

   Proficiencies worked out together.

   Reading and discussion time

   Essays done together in class where help can happen whenever a question appears.

   One on one intervention for those students that need help.

Develop your PLN!


   Monday 8-10 pm EST follow #flipclass

   Flipped Learning Network Ning:


   Use the LMS systems too!

Now it’s time for exploration!

   On the conference handout site she has provided a symbaloo full of links that might be helpful to get you started.


CEU Code:  ZH-36


Random Thoughts . . .