MSM 309:  The Teenaged Brain, Books and the First Days of School.


Jokes You Can Use:

Where does Frosty keep his cash?

In the snow banks.

What do you call a guy with no shins?


What do sprinters eat before a race?
Nothing. They fast.



Kick off the year


Guess Which Letter has been added


Mike Rowe on a Career


Middle School Science Minute  

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or



I was recently reading the March, 2015 issue of “Science Scope,” a magazine written for middle school science teachers, published by the National Science Teachers Association.  


In this issue, I read the article, “Biomimicry: The “Natural” Intersection of Biology and Engineering,” written by Celeste Nicholas and Jeffrey Peterson.  In the article, they describe a project on biomimicry that uses the crosscutting concept of Structure and Function to link disciplinary core ideas from biology with performance expectations for engineering.


From the Twitterverse:  

Bill Ferriter ‏@plugusin

Experimenting with Screencastify for creating screencasts straight from Chrome:  #edtech

Teachers.Net ‏@TeachersNet

.@MelissaJonesIC Building a Relationship With Your New Students …

Teachers.Net ‏@TeachersNet

Effective Leaders Focus on Faculty Talents & Strengths … #leadupchat #edchat #cpchat #edadmin

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



4 Cues for the First Day of School

  1. Some students have lots of supports before ever stepping into schools. Billy may be irritated and nervous–sometimes his mom’s super-involvement in his life gets on his nerves, and it was hard to sleep the night before school, but he comes to school with a lot of support from home. He’s been to orientation. He has a schedule. He’s ready and it makes the morning easier.
  2. Billy’s teacher makes it even easier for him to feel secure and oriented. Mrs. Donovan has gone out of her way to make sure he knows where he is and what is expected of him. He could just as easily been in a room with less structure like Jenny. Instead he thrives even more with the support he finds in his first hour.
  3. Jenny is coming to school already struggling from the overwhelming responsibilities she’s managing outside of school. She’s already working independently, and she doesn’t have the kind of emotional and family support that makes it easy to start school. Starting with low support from home makes support at school even more important for her.
  4. Even though Jenny has made a big mistake in going to the wrong class, the problem is exacerbated when the teacher provides little or no direction for her on where she is. Her first-day experience was going to be tough enough because of her struggles outside of school. But the lack of follow-through from her first hour teacher (who isn’t even her teacher) only adds to an already difficult situation. How different her first day may have been had she stepped into Mrs. Donovan’s class!



Chegg Publishing:  The future of textbook publishers?  

Chegg, Inc. has been moving away from textbook publishing on paper to textbook publishing ebooks.  Rather than generate a revenue stream twice a year, they are also getting into tutoring and other student products.  Is this the future of textbooks?  Their stock price is up $.10 on Friday’s announcement of a $.02/share better than expected profit this past quarter, and this semester’s textbook purchases are just getting started.  

Open Textbook thoughts by Troy:


Teacher Salary Around the World


The Terrible Teens

But adolescent males with cage mates went on a bender; they spent, on average, twice as much time drinking as solo boy mice and about thirty per cent more time than solo girls.

“When we think of ourselves as civilized, intelligent adults, we really have the frontal and prefrontal parts of the cortex to thank,” she writes. But “teens are not quite firing on all cylinders when it comes to the frontal lobes.” Thus, “we shouldn’t be surprised by the daily stories we hear and read about tragic mistakes.”

The frontal lobes are the seat of what’s sometimes called the brain’s executive function. They’re responsible for planning, for self-awareness, and for judgment. Optimally, they act as a check on impulses originating in other parts of the brain. But in the teen years, Jensen points out, the brain is still busy building links between its different regions.


College readiness declines when school’s focus is improving test scores, study finds


Published recently in The High School Journal, the case study reveals the unintended consequences of school reform policies, and how these mandates may warp schools’ instructional focus and thwart students’ academic success.

More than half of Green’s students were enrolled in some form of intervention for the exit exam during the time Welton and Williams were collecting data. Because so many students were being steered into these interventions, the school eliminated some advanced placement courses due to low enrollment, the researchers discovered.

History’s Most Powerful Pictures


*Warning some are not for every classroom.


Why Teachers and Bees are disappearing

The explanation of why bees are disappearing is complex. The question why teachers are leaving the profession is not.

Back in the 1960s, when I was in school, teachers debated whether they should “teach the student” or “teach the subject.” It would have never occurred to educators or students of my generation that there would be one right answer to that question.

But with the No Child Left Behind era of the early 2000s, the pendulum swung to “teaching the subject,” concentrating primarily on the material that should be mastered and assessed.


What We Know About the Teenage Brain


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Random Thoughts . . .

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