MSM 279:  A test of random facts and Weird Al makes the show this week on Middle School Matters!  

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.


Jokes You Can Use:

Test Questions:

Johnny’s mother had three children. The first child was named April. The second child was named May. What was the third child’s name?


There is a clerk at the butcher shop, he is five feet ten inches tall and he wears size 13 sneakers. What does he weigh?



Random Facts

  1. An octopus has three hearts.
  2. There’s enough water in Lake Superior to cover all of North and South America in 1 foot of water.
  3. You can spell the word “upside down” upside down by using other letters of the alphabet: umop apisdn.
  4. The name Jessica was created by Shakespeare in the play Merchant of Venice.
  5. The YKK on your zipper stands for “Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikigaisha.”
  6. Every two minutes, we take more pictures than all of humanity did in the 19th century.


Eileen Award:

  • Twitter: Aaron Duff,  Adnan Iftekhar, Kelly Lippard


Chat out of context




Middle School Science Minute

byDave Bydlowski (k12science or




I was recently reading the Summer, 2014 issue of “Science Scope,” a magazine written for middle school science teachers, published by the National Science Teachers Association.

In this issue, I read an article entitled “Modeling What We Can’t Sense – Using Evidence We Can” written by Juliana Texley.  In her article she challenges the thinking that as we look at the history of science, we often imply that ideas were chronologically wrong, then less wrong, culminating with modern scientific theory.


From the Twitterverse:

Derek McCoy ‏@mccoyderek 21m

5 Apps Every Teacher Should Have

Richard Byrne ‏@rmbyrne 23m

How to Use B-Roll Footage In Videos

Miguel Guhlin@mguhlin 24m

“28 Tips to Turbo Charge Your Leadership with@Evernote #NT2T

Mike Paul ‏@mikepaul 29m

Public Domain Photos For You To Use – British Library Publishes 1 Million+ Photos To Flickr

Kathy Ishizuka ‏@kishizuka 31m

Pleased to Meet You: Web apps for getting to know your students before fall | Cool Tools By@rmbyrne

Dru Tomlin ‏@DruTomlin_AMLE 35m

Ten Ideas for Managing Blended Learning in Middle School #mschat@AMLE @middleweb

WalkMe ‏@WalkMeInc May 28

Check out how to make@Moodle easy to use for free –

Karen McMillan ‏@McTeach 39m

Why The Future Of Education Involves Badges

Melany Stowe ‏@MelanyStowe 1h

EdCamps & UnConferences: The person doing the work is the person doing the learning.#satchat ‏@RWTnow 55m

Children’s publisher John Newbery was born on this day in 1713. Create your own book awards in the classroom:

Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · 17h

Use Video Camera Like a Pencil – A Blog Like a Textbook  via@wfryer#fhuedu642#tn_teta#edwebchat =>@MSMatters

Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · 22h

Useful Tools & Apps to Help You Assemble Your Classroom Curriculum  ~#fhuedu642#tn_teta#edwebchat =>@MSMatters

Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · Jul 17

6 ways to leverage social media in school  ~#fhuedu642#tn_teta#edwebchat =>@MSMatters

#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.  And as Troy says, “The Twitter never stops!”



Why Reading Matters

Why Reading Matters is an hour-long BBC program did a couple of years ago on how reading — and writing — impact the brain.

I wouldn’t show the entire show to students, but there are several very good segments.

The entire show is available on Vimeo, which I’ve embedded below, and it’s also available on YouTube, though it’s in six separate ten minute segments. I’ve also embedded the first segment below.

The Seven A’s of Successful High Schools

Defining what it means to have a “successful” high school is quite the challenge, with stakeholders often disagreeing on the approach to take.

Following, I’ve outlined each of the seven attributes I consider essential in a successful H.S., as well as my rationale for selecting each.

Weird Al


“Word Crimes”


Leonard Cohen on Creativity, Hard Work, and Why You Should Never Quit Before You Know What It Is You’re Quitting

before we quit, we have to have invested all of ourselves in order for the full picture to reveal itself and justify the quitting, which applies equally to everything from work to love


Summer Learning Loss

So, if all the research says most of the achievement gap is due to summer learning loss, it boggles my mind even more that we are spending huge amounts of resources on countless school reform boondoggles like Race To The Top, Value Added Measurements (VAM), the “next generation” of standardized testing, etc…

Web Spotlight:


Presentation software that looks like a magazine layout, functions like HyperCard stacks and is more interactive than Slideshare.  It’s an app and until the first 10,000 downloads it’s $9.99.



Think Prezi.  With 3D effects.  And a translation tool.  Basic version is free, the Education version is $2.90/month.

Random Thoughts . . .

ISTE 2014

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