MSM 299: Silly Pie Charts, Bein’ a Rube-ric, and Advisory, Advisory, Advisory!!

Jokes You Can Use:

The teacher said; “Take a pencil and paper, and write an essay with the title ‘If I Were a Millionaire.’” Everyone but Joe, who leaned back with arms folded, began to write feverishly.

“What’s the matter,” the teacher asked. “Why don’t you begin?”

“I’m waiting for my secretary,” Joe replied.

What's Wrong with this picture?

What’s wrong with this picture?

Toilet Sign

Well, this narrows it down!


After a hard day of drilling, the drill sergeant let the troops go. “All right, you idiots, report to the mess hall.” Everybody walked away, sweating and their heads down, thankful for the end of the hard day. Only one private remained. He looked at the officer and sincerely said, “Boy, there sure were a lot of them, huh, serge.”


There once was a dog named Tax. I opened the door and income Tax.



Eileen Award:

  • Twitter: Luke Iorio
  • Google+:  Jennifer Lipson
  • Email:  Sierra Bishop



3D Drawing


10 Famous Failures Who Turned Out OK



Watch video. Have students reflect on how they have changed a habit. Have each student develop a list of habits that they would like change/develop. Then have them pick one habit to actually change and develop a plan.


Stacked Ball Drop

Replicate in your school.


The 60 Silliest Pie Charts


Kids try breakfast from around the world


Middle School Science Minute

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or



I was recently reading the December, 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 “Scope on Safety” which includes the Science Safety Question of the Month.  The article is written by Ken Roy, Director of Environmental Science for the Glastonbury, Connecticut Public Schools.  This month’s question is:

“I have little experience in working with hand and power tools but have been assigned a STEM class that requires their use.  Is there a resource available to help me review hand- and power-tool safety?”


From the Twitterverse:

John Spencer ‏@edrethink

Q2: What are things that teachers can do to get through the February slump? #randomedchat (btw you can’t answer “drink whiskey”)

Jennie Magiera ‏@MsMagiera

YouTube to launch kid-friendly Android app on Feb. 23 … via @mashable

Diane Ravitch ‏@DianeRavitch

Indiana Superintendent to Parents: Home-School Your Children During Testing Week

Education Nation ‏@educationnation

Cabin Fever? Activities to Keep Kids Busy While Stuck Indoors  via @TODAYshow & the Parent Toolkit

WBEZeducation ‏@WBEZeducation

PARCC arrives at the South Side school we’re visiting today. Principal: I wonder if that means we’re taking it.

PARCC Testing

Terie Engelbrecht ‏@mrsebiology

How I Learned Differentiation  Nice thoughts on what true differentiation is. #edchat

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



Sabermetrics of Effort

The fundamental premise of Moneyball is that the labor market of sports is inefficient, and that many teams systematically undervalue particular athletic skills that help them win. While these skills are often subtle – and the players that possess them tend to toil in obscurity – they can be identified using sophisticated statistical techniques, aka sabermetrics. Home runs are fun. On-base percentage is crucial.

Old-fashioned effort just might be the next on-base percentage.

The wisdom of the moneyball strategy is no longer controversial. It’s why the A’s almost always outperform their payroll,

However, the triumph of moneyball creates a paradox, since its success depends on the very market inefficiencies it exposes. The end result is a relentless search for new undervalued skills, those hidden talents that nobody else seems to appreciate. At least not yet.

One study found that baseball players significantly improved their performance in the final year of their contracts, just before entering free-agency. (Another study found a similar trend among NBA players.) What explained this improvement? Effort. Hustle. Blood, sweat and tears. The players wanted a big contract, so they worked harder.

…despite the obvious impact of effort, it’s surprisingly hard to isolate as a variable of athletic performance. Weimer and Wicker set out to fix this oversight. Using data gathered from three seasons and 1514 games of the Bundesliga – the premier soccer league in Germany – the economists attempted to measure individual effort as a variable of player performance,

If a player runs too little during a game, it’s not because his body gives out – it’s because his head doesn’t want to.

So did these differences in levels of effort matter? The answer is an emphatic yes: teams with players that run longer distances are more likely to win the game,

As the economists note, “teams where some players run a lot while others are relatively lazy have a higher winning probability.”

There is a larger lesson here, which is that our obsession with measuring talent has led us to neglect the measurement of effort. This is a blind spot that extends far beyond the realm of professional sports.

Maximum tests are high-stakes assessments that try to measure a person’s peak level of performance. Think here of the SAT, or the NFL Combine, or all those standardized tests we give to our kids. Because these tests are relatively short, we assume people are motivated enough to put in the effort while they’re being measured. As a result, maximum tests are good at quantifying individual talent, whether it’s scholastic aptitude or speed in the 40-yard dash.

Unfortunately, the brevity of maximum tests means they are not very good at predicting future levels of effort. Sackett has demonstrated this by comparing the results from maximum tests to field studies of typical performance, which is a measure of how people perform when they are not being tested.

As Sackett came to discover, the correlation between these two assessments is often surprisingly low: the same people identified as the best by a maximum test often unperformed according to the measure of typical performance, and vice versa.

What accounts for the mismatch between maximum tests and typical performance? One explanation is that, while maximum tests are good at measuring talent, typical performance is about talent plus effort.

In the real world, you can’t assume people are always motivated to try their hardest. You can’t assume they are always striving to do their best. Clocking someone in a sprint won’t tell you if he or she has the nerve to run a marathon, or even 12 kilometers in a soccer match.

With any luck, these sabermetric innovations will trickle down to education, which is still mired in maximum high-stakes tests that fail to directly measure or improve the levels of effort put forth by students.

After all, those teams with the hardest workers (and not just the most talented ones) significantly increase their odds of winning.



New Paired Reading


If You Teach At-Risk Kids, You Need This Book (Hint: It’s not Ruby Payne)

Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain is not just a “bag of tricks” teachers can pull from to make their at-risk students do better. It is a thoughtful, holistic, brain-based approach to teaching the whole child.”




  • Holistic Rubrics
  • Analytic Rubrics
  • Single-Point Rubrics




Web Spotlight:

Is Your First Grader College Ready?

Matriculation is years away for the Class of 2030, but the first graders in Kelli Rigo’s class at Johnsonville Elementary School in rural Harnett County, N.C., already have campuses picked out. Three have chosen West Point and one Harvard. In a writing assignment, the children will share their choice and what career they would pursue afterward. The future Harvard applicant wants to be a doctor. She can’t wait to get to Cambridge because “my mom never lets me go anywhere.” The mock applications they’ve filled out are stapled to the bulletin board.

“It’s sort of like, if you want your kids to be in the Olympics or to have the chance to be in the Olympics,” said Wendy Segal, a tutor and college planner in Westchester County, N.Y., “you don’t wait until your kid is 17 and say, ‘My kid really loves ice skating.’ You start when they are 5 or 6.”

What do sixth graders do on a tour?

If there’s one thing about college that children struggle to grasp, it’s sleeping at school — with strangers.

Young children simply cannot understand what college is, according to Marcy Guddemi, executive director of the Gesell Institute of Child Development. “You may as well be talking about Mars. It’s totally meaningless.”


Success in the New Economy

Citrus College supported the production of “Success in the New Economy” to help a broader audience begin to understand preparation today for tomorrow’s labor market realities. The end result is a compelling case for students to explore career choices early, make informed decisions when declaring their college education goal, and to consider technical skill acquisition, real-world application and academics (career technical programs) in tandem with a classic education. This balanced approach to life and learning results in a well-educated and employed workforce.

Leveraging his expertise in higher education and Career & Technical Education, Kevin Fleming adapted conference presentations and research to create this data-driven explanation. And award winning film creator and producer Brian Y. Marsh brought the data to life through animation.

The complete transcription of the video with data references is available here:

Success in the New Economy from Brian Y. Marsh on Vimeo.


Random Thoughts . . .

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