Podcast #46 Izzit Enough? Bailouts, Evaluations, and Co-Teaching.

1.  Month of the Young Adolescent is here!  What are you doing in your classroom or school to celebrate this event? 
2.  Ohio Middle School Association’s Annual Conference, February 19-20, 2009 in Sandusky, OH.  Presenter information is posted on the page.  Download now and get it it in to your administration while they’re too confused and dazed with the opening of school’s events to say, “No.”  (You could argue . . . )
3.  NMSA Annual Conference, October 30 – November 1 (Video sample)  Watch the video invitation on the main page of NMSA’s website. 
4.  Canadian National Middle Years Conference, November 5, 6, & 7 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
5.  Rick Stiggins has a Balanced Assessment Manifesto posted at NMSA‘s website worth checking out.  
6.  Looking for news from Ontario Middle Level Educators Association.  If you have any, drop us a line. 
7.  Wisconsin Association of Middle Level Educators annual conference is coming up October 9-10, 2008. 
8.  The New England League of Middle Schools has a whole bevy of professional development planned for the 2008-2009 school year and you can access it here
9.  ADVISORY IDEAS NEEDED:  NELMS is putting together an Advisory Resource page with lessons for you to use.  They are asking for submissions here by January 1, 2009.  If your entry is used, you will be entered in a raffle for a 3 day NELMS conference ticket. 
10.  NMSA’s latest podcast focuses on using wikis in the classroom to promote learning.  
11.  Research Summary Posted:  Vocabulary Teaching and Learning Across Disciplines is now available at NMSA.   
12.  NMSA has a Facebook !  They would like to invite you to join them on Facebook and the opportunities it affords. How many of you can reach Facebook through your district’s firewall?  Pop over to the Ning site as well.
13.  There’s a new research document on counselors in middle schools and the importance they play in our students’ lives.  The research summary details the importance of each student knowing one adult well and how to do that before the counselor’s role can become multifaceted.  In a way, think of them being the ultimate super Advisory teacher first then counselor.  Check it out here.
14.  If you get a chance to visit Second Life, zip over to the ISTE island for their speaker series on Thursdays.  Last week’s Tuesday guest talked about the US Department of Education’s interest in virtual learning environments.  We’ll look around and see if they posted the session.

The National Middle School Association’s Annual Conference (NMSA08) is coming up soon (yes, 27 days or so, I know, but I’m excited already).
Preparations:

  1. Housing:  Use the NMSA housing form.  It goes through the local city’s convention bureau so if you are the type to check if your reservation is in the books, you won’t be able to contact the hotel and find out if you have a room.  You’ll have to wait until the convention bureau has taken their compiled lists and sent them to the individual participating hotels.  Do use the form on the website.  You’ll save a tidy sum.
  2. Registration:  If you were able to talk a group into going, use the individual/team registration form.  The reduction in price for getting a team to go is worth selling one’s firstborn to the gypsies . . . well ok, maybe not worth that, but do try to take a team of teachers to get the discount.  Mongo-sized groups have a different form.  Mention you saw the registration information here at Middle School Matters.  It won’t get you anything, but the puzzled looks on the poor NMSA staff will probably be worth it.  😉
  3. Transportation:  NMSA has worked out some transportation discounts with United Airlines (promotion code:  584CM), but do check other airlines for their airfares.  Don’t necessarily take the first choice.  One teacher’s experience has shown checking multiple days could yield a better price.  Hertz has a rental car agreement worked out (promotion code:  CV#022Q3931), but do consider public transportation as a viable alternative.  One of the neat things about the conference is walking a bit and seeing part of the city.  In Philadelphia, I would have missed the really cool stuff at Reading Station and some other places had I not taken a stroll from the hotel to the conference center.
  4. Transport from/to AirportFlyDenver.com has a host of transportation options to/from the airport for you to choose from.  My group that went last year used the SuperShuttle service.  If you use them, plan on multiple groups traveling to multiple destinations.  It wasn’t a bad experience.  The only downside is that the scheduled return is set by the dispatcher at the airport, not according to your flight schedule.  We had to be at the airport several hours before we had to be there the regular several hours before departure.  Do chat up the driver.  Ours was allowed to use the vans on the off hours to make some cash on their own and they have a good handle on locations in the area to pick up a flavor of the local culture.  Check out the Colorado Convention Center’s directions to the center from all points on the compass rose and the airport.
  5. Colorado Convention Center:  Use the virtual tour of the Convention Center to find your way around before the conference in October.
  6. Luggage (promo code: 9601):  Find a way to make your luggage distinguishable.  Scarves are not recommended since they catch in the conveyor belt.  Unique tags and stickers, are useful.  If you’re really into luggage tags…   World Richman is an Official NMSA Exhibitor of luggage, but not necessarily for the long distance traveler.
  7. ComfortSocks, Shoes, Shoes for Administrators, Chair (wait for it …), Parrot, iPod, coffee, computer, fudge, Middle School Matters, tech podcast, alternate middle school podcast, cherries (what happens to the pits?), in-flight book,

Advisory Idea:  Izzit.org!
Izzit.org is a non-profit educational video resource for teachers.  One of their first hosts was John Stossel of ABC News who produced DVDs of his special reports and distributed them through Izzit.org.  They have a number of educational videos that you can get for free (one a year).  Register on their site and you can get a free video from them once a year on or near your birthday.  You can also purchase videos, but being genetically predisposed to FREE, it is the greater incentive.  Visit their website and check out the DVD on Unintended Consequences:  The Great Depression which is an in depth look at the causes of the Great Depression and the factors that led up to the economic disaster of 1929.  What to do if your birthday is in June and you need something for Advisory today?  Check out the current events lesson plans/ideas for your Advisory class.  You can look at archived material and make it compare/contrast.  For example, use this 1999 lesson on Administration’s pressure on Freddie and Fannie to take on greater low income housing and riskier home loans which at the time the question was, “What would happen?,” and turn it into, “Compare the concerns in 1999 with the realities of 2008.”  Drew Carey is also producing a series of videos on the Bill of Rights and their use today worth checking out as well.

Teacher Resource:  www.vocabulary.com
Vocabulary.com is another puzzle generator with a twist.  They have a number of prepared vocabulary puzzles that you can use right off the web and over 125 vocabulary puzzles prebuilt for the novel you might be reading right now in your ELA class.

News:
Effect of bailout on Education:
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2008/09/29/06budget-2.h28.html?tmp=981732249
The result of the presidential election will likely help determine how much money education programs receive in the 2009 federal fiscal year, which begins this week. But a multi-billion-dollar federal plan to assist the financial markets may leave the next president with very little room for major increases for K-12 schools, perhaps for the foreseeable future.

Standards for Teacher Evaluation Mulled:
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2008/10/01/06evaluate.h28.html
With the pressure on to increase student learning, two states are in the process of overhauling what analysts say is among the most neglected pieces of the teacher-quality continuum: evaluation.

Co-Teaching:
http://www.teachermagazine.org/tsb/articles/2008/09/10/01math.h02.html

Curriculum Compacting:
http://www.teachermagazine.org/tsb/articles/2008/09/10/01gifted.h02.html

Shout Outs:

1.  To Joyce McGreevy, thanks for the post and hope we see you in Denver!
2.  To the listeners State of Illinois, we appreciate your support!
3.  To our sponsors, we can’t wait to meet ya!