MSM 282: Own your own stuff, just don’t call a plumber.

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.   


Jokes You Can Use:

A pipe burst in a doctor’s house. He called a plumber. The plumber arrived, unpacked his tools, did mysterious plumber-type things for a while, and handed the doctor a bill for $600.

The doctor exclaimed, “This is ridiculous! I don’t even make that much as a doctor!.”

The plumber quietly answered, “Neither did I when I was a doctor.”


Ham and eggs: a day’s work for a chicken, a lifetime commitment for a pig.


Three men were sitting on a park bench. The one in the middle was reading a newspaper; the others were pretending to fish. They baited imaginary hooks, cast lines, and reeled in their catch.

A passing policeman stopped to watch the spectacle and asked the man in the middle if he knew the other two.

“Oh yes” he said. “They‘re my friends.”

“In that case,” warned the officer, “you’d better get them out of here!”

“Yes, sir” the man replied, and he began rowing furiously

New student in my classroom

Got a new student this week.  Mr. Invisible married Mrs. Invisible and had children.  They’re not much to look at either.

Eileen Award:


  • Twitter: André Sprang, Joseph Kenney, KJ Wari, Jochen Horst


Humans Need Not Apply

The video below is long (15 minutes), but thoughtful and riveting. It make the case that just as horses have been replaced by technology, humans are next. If that sounds like silly logic, invest one minute, just to see what you think.

Getting Over Procrastination

Middle School Science Minute

byDave Bydlowski (k12science or


Middle School Science Minute — Think Apps


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 “Think Instruments, Think Apps: Using App-Based Technology in the Science Classroom” written by Nancy H. Heilbronner.  In the article, Nancy describes 10 apps that would be helpful to use in the science classroom.  All 10 of the apps could take the place of costly scientific instruments.

From the Twitterverse:

George Couros ‏@gcouros 35s

Seems to be a trend all over – Tablets fall out of favour in NSW classrooms …

Tom Grissom ‏@tomgrissom now

Digital textbooks in OneNote stay updated, save money …#onenote#off365#crossplatform

Derek McCoy@mccoyderek 12m

ClassDojo’s Messenger App Now Supports Voice Messages

Scott McLeod ‏@mcleod 33m

When is the last time you saw a “Using Office 365 in Your Classroom” session at an#edtech conference?

Gary G. Abud, Jr. ‏@MR_ABUD 50m

Looking for recommendations of apps and websites to use in your classroom this year? Look no further than@Graphite!

Lisa Dabbs ‏@teachingwthsoul 1h

Excited! New Teacher Chat class#ntchat@RemindHQ is launching! Sign up to connect! 12 subscribers so far! #satchat

Brian Aspinall ‏@mraspinall 1h

Just blogged…Seven Back to School Week Activities to Get to Know Your Students via@mraspinall @dougpete#lkdsb

Derek McCoy ‏@mccoyderek 1h

Why middle-schoolers need to take risks –

MichaelSmithSupt ‏@principalspage 2h

A map of every device in the world that’s connected to the internet.

Brian Aspinall ‏@mraspinall 2h

“Four Things I’ll Do Differently This School Year”

Brian Aspinall@mraspinall 2h

25 Ways To Ask Your Kids ‘So How Was School Today?’ Without Asking Them ‘So How Was School Today?’

Richard Byrne@rmbyrne 3h

Three Android Apps for Creating Flipped Video Lessons

Ryan Bretag@ryanbretag 3h

RT”@ChromebookInst: Get Your Preso Proposal Submitted Quickly for CBI Great Lakes in Ohio. Deadline is nearing!

Diane Ravitch@DianeRavitch 3h

Register your vote for or against Common Core:

Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · Aug 28

Google Slides for#iPad is Finally Out ~#fhuedu320#fhucid#tn_teta#edwebchat =>@MSMatters

Monte Tatom@drmmtatom · Aug 28

LibrAdventures – A Map of Writers & Their Stories ~#fhueng102#engchat#fhuedu320 =>@MSMatters

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

Podcast 282 - This Week - Google Docs 2014-08-30 12-45-37 2014-08-30 12-45-43


Who’s a Math Nerd? *raising hand*

Ok so I didn’t come up with this idea out of nowhere.  I was reading this awesome book–>Number Sense Routines by Jessice Shumway and I had this awesome class of students who were lacking in number sense.

I came up with this idea.  You can read about ithere (THE BLAME GAME) and read through my #TMC13 presentationhere.  In a nutshell, I am unable to live with myself if I allow students to graduate high school (pass my class) without having  mental math strategies.

So I start this idea with my high school class of 12 students who’s only relationship with mathematics was very negative.  To be completely honest, these students’ relationship with school was very negative and they were kind of ready to give up on school all together.

4 Big Things Transformational Teachers Do

Transformational teachers don’t react. They anticipate and prepare. Lee Shulman, asreported by Marge Scherer, suggests that expert teachers demonstrate the following, despite enormous challenges:

Cognitive understanding of how students learn; emotional preparation to relate to many students whose varied needs are not always evident; content knowledge from which to draw different ways to present a concept; and, finally, the ability to make teaching decisions quickly and act on them.

So how do they do that? Let’s break it down.



27 Ways To Promote Intrinsic Motivation In The Classroom

by TeachThought Staff

We’ve talked about thedefinition of intrinsic motivation in the past. We’ve also talked about some basicways to improve student motivation.

This time, it’s Mia MacMeekin‘s turn to speak to you about the same, but through gridded, blocked, and easy to read infographics. The graphic starts with a definition for both intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation, then offers 27 verbs that can help promote that magic stuff that is characterized by curiosity, effort, engagement, and academic success.

Some were a little iffy–”praise” and “milestones” seemed a little closer to extrinsic motivation. But the vast majority are useful to consider as you design units, lessons, and activities this school year.

Our favorites?

5. Create a grade free lesson

7. Challenge students to come up with new solutions to old problems

8. Encourage creative ways to accomplish the same task

22. Create a trusting atmosphere

23. Create a class vision

24. Engage in community service


Web Spotlight:


4 Steps Towards A More Personal Classroom

by Linda Pruett

Personalized learning is a key to transforming education. What is personalized learning? It is meeting the kids where they are – and then helping them grow in their strengths, and better see themselves. It’s finding out where each student’s interests lie, challenging them to grow in their individual interests, and then celebrating their growth! It is student-centered, student-driven, and student-celebrated.

4 Steps Towards A More Personal Classroom

1. Really, truly get to know your students

2. Tailor student learning

3. Help them to set their own goals

4. Use technology to help students interact


5 Ways to Assess Learning without Giving a Test

I ran into a little push-back about assessment.  The chief complaint was that increasing the number of assessments requires teachers to give up more instructional time to test kids.  I couldn’t agree more with. We don’t need more tests. We need more instruction.


But here’s the deal. Assessment is not testing.  Assessment is determining if learning is actually taking place.  In fact, assessment is a vital component on excellent instruction, and without assessment, you’re not delivering instruction.  You’re disseminating information and opportunities to learn.

Why All Students Should Write: A Neurological Explanation

by Judy Willis M.D., M.Ed.,

In terms of writing and the brain, there are multiple reasons for embedding writing throughout STEM courses. Writing promotes the brain’s attentive focus to class work and homework, promotes long-term memory, illuminates patterns (possibly even “aha” moment insight!), includes all students as participants, gives the brain time for reflection, and when well-guided, is a source of conceptual development and stimulus of the brain’s highest cognition.


A strange definition of a ‘bad’ teacher

Whatever you think of job protections for teachers, Wright inadvertently raised a separate issue during an interview he did with Campbell on NY1′s “Inside City Hall with Errol Louis”: What exactly is a “bad” teacher? Some answers are obvious, others less so.

…the suggestion being that a teacher who assigns kindergartners homework routinely is better than one who doesn’t.

But in this interview Wright rested his claims about the value of his children’s teachers on the fact that one was spending personal money for supplies and that the same teacher assigned homework routinely.

But it is troubling when the lead plaintiff in an important lawsuit describes a “good” teacher as one who spends personal money to buy school supplies for kids and who gives young kids homework. In this definitional exercise, that means a”bad” teacher is someone who doesn’t do either thing. That’s beyond wrong. It’s scary.

Ideas Of The Mind (Wandering, Divergent And Flipped)

In many organizations, we are so intent on the problems and walls that stand before us, that we never allow ourselves the time necessary to think past, around or beyond them.  We spend our waking time and mental capacity being now-focused.  Completely immersed in plodding forward…and pushing those walls and obstacles with us.  Never realizing that taking a step back will not only improve our perspective, but unveil a variety of routes forward that may have not been noticeable, previously.

Random Thoughts . . .

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