MSM 278:  Random Facts, Write about Maths.

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.


Jokes You Can Use:


Random Facts

  1. You can’t hum while pinching your nose.
  2. Russia has a larger surface area than Pluto.
  3. Anne Frank and Martin Luther King Jr. were born in the same year.
  4. People currently graduating college have never been alive while The Simpsons wasn’t on TV.
  5. Oxford University is older than the Aztec Empire.
  6. There are more fake flamingos in the world than real flamingos.
  7. The fax machine was invented the same year people were traveling the Oregon Trail.
  8. 1998 is as far away as 2030.
  9. France was still executing people with a guillotine when the first Star Wars film came out.
  10. There are more public libraries than McDonald’s in the U.S.

Eileen Award:

  • Twitter: Adnan Iftekhar, Kyle S., Mike Paul
  • Google+: Patrick Brule



Spread of Baby Names

Enter a gender (Male or Female) and a name and watch the prevalence of the name spread across the country (or not). Watch the statistics at the bottom for total number of babies with that name. Hold your mouse over a state to get the numbers for that state.


Jobs Charted by State and Salary

The chart below shows what people do and what they get paid. These vary depending on where you live. Select a state in the drop-down menu, and use the slider to adjust the median annual salary.


Middle School Science Minute

byDave Bydlowski (k12science or


Neuroscience-Career Opportunites


This is the fourth in a four part series on neuroscience with special guest Aneesha Badrinarayan, Outreach Programs Manager with the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, in Ann Arbor, MI. You can visit the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum online at:


In this podcast, we look at the question of “How do you prepare for a degree in neuroscience and what are the career opportunities?”

From the Twitterverse:

Lisa Dabbs ‏@teachingwthsoul 33mRT@connect2jamie: MT@ShellTerrell: Join NOW! Keynote:RemixED: The Power of Remix with@amyburvall   #RSCON5#TLChat
Todd Bloch ‏@blocht574 36mHow can we make middle school kids think Wow! School!?#mschat 5yo daughter brought awesome book home from
Kevin Cummins@edgalaxy_com 51mHundreds of creative writing ideas for teachers
Kevin Cummins ‏@edgalaxy_com 1hTop 5 iPad apps for busy educators
cbeyerle ‏@cbeyerle 2hEducators Are Ditching Traditional Conferences for Blogs and Twitter#satchat …
VoiceThread ‏@voicethread 4m#VoiceThread is getting a NEW look and feel. Join us for a demo on 7/23 to see for yourself: #edchat#edtech
Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · Jul 2Video compilation for#ISTE2014#ISTEAPLN &#OLI14
Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · Jul 10Teachers’ Ultimate Directory of Free Image Sources ~#edwebchat#tn_teta#fhuedu642#fhuedu320 =>@MSMatters
Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · Jul 107 PD tips for your instructional technology integration plan ~#ISTEAPLN#tn_teta#fhuedu642 =>@MSMatters
Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · Jul 915-Year-Old explains the key to developing a#PLN ~#fhuedu642#ISTEAPLN#tn_teta =>@MSMatters
#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.  And as Troy says, “The Twitter never stops!”



Using Writing in Mathematics to Deepen Student Learning

“Writing in mathematics gives me a window into my students’ thoughts that I don’t normally get when they just compute problems. It shows me their roadblocks, and it also gives me, as a teacher, a road map.”

Section One gives a brief background that answers the question you may be wondering: Why write in mathematics? Section Two describes the existing role of writing in the mathematics curriculum, and Section Three provides strategies and ideas to put into practice right away.

Anchor Charts

Useful or just pretty?

School-Wide Twitter Chats

Have you ever had a student say to you, “Wow, this is so much fun, do we have to stop?” This is the kind of excitement that children have shared with teachers after participating in the New Zealand school-wide Twitter chat called Kidsedchatnz.

Kidsedchatnz is a weekly Twitter chat between New Zealand classes and students, every Thursday at 2:00-3:00PM. It is organised by seven New Zealand teachers via Twitter, each taking a turn to run the chats.

These chats give students an authentic audience for sharing and reflecting on their learning. They connect with other classes and students throughout the country, sharing ideas and thoughts while developing their reading, writing, and thinking skills.




Tons of fonts. (Look just above the download button for licensing information. Some are free, some are not.)

The Stencil, Army one could be useful and is donationware.

There are several “School” fonts available as well. Many of these are Free for Personal Use.

The fonts presented on this website are their authors’ property, and are either freeware, shareware, demo versions or public domain. The licence mentioned above the download button is just an indication. Please look at the readme-files in the archives or check the indicated author’s website for details, and contact him if in doubt.

If no author/licence is indicated that’s because we don’t have information, that doesn’t mean it’s free.



Large repository of Common Core Math Word Problems.


Classroom Icebreakers

What was there

Ties historical photos to Google Maps.

Web Spotlight:

The Secret of Effective Motivation



THERE are two kinds of motive for engaging in any activity: internal and instrumental. If a scientist conducts research because she wants to discover important facts about the world, that’s an internal motive, since discovering facts is inherently related to the activity of research. If she conducts research because she wants to achieve scholarly renown, that’s an instrumental motive, since the relation between fame and research is not so inherent.


There is a temptation among educators and instructors to use whatever motivational tools are available to recruit participants or improve performance.

…for students uninterested in learning, financial incentives for good attendance or pizza parties for high performance may prompt them to participate, but it may result in less well-educated students.


The same goes for motivating teachers themselves. We wring our hands when they “teach to the test” because we fear that it detracts from actual educating. It is possible that teachers do this because of an over reliance on accountability that transforms the instrumental consequences of good teaching (things like salary bonuses) into instrumental motives. Accountability is important, but structured crudely, it can create the very behavior (such as poor teaching) that it is designed to prevent.

Death of expertise

Today, any assertion of expertise produces an explosion of anger from certain quarters of the American public, who immediately complain that such claims are nothing more than fallacious “appeals to authority,” sure signs of dreadful “elitism,” and an obvious effort to use credentials to stifle the dialogue required by a “real” democracy.


I fear we are witnessing the “death of expertise”: a Google-fueled, Wikipedia-based, blog-sodden collapse of any division between professionals and laymen, students and teachers, knowers and wonderers – in other words, between those of any achievement in an area and those with none at all.


To take but one horrifying example, we live today in an advanced post-industrial country that is now fighting a resurgence of whooping cough — a scourge nearly eliminated a century ago — merely because otherwise intelligent people have been second-guessing their doctors and refusing to vaccinate their kids after reading stuff written by people who know exactly zip about medicine.


There’s also that immutable problem known as “human nature.” It has a name now: it’s called the Dunning-Kruger effect, which says, in sum, that the dumber you are, the more confident you are that you’re not actually dumb.


Expertise is necessary, and it’s not going away. Unless we return it to a healthy role in public policy, we’re going to have stupider and less productive arguments every day.

Random Thoughts . . .


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