Podcast #66 Sorry Jack, National Standards and a “New” Route to Depths of Understanding.

Shout out to everyone who chatted up Jack and Apologies to Jack.

Middle School Matters Calendar:

  1. Book sale!  NMSA is having a clearance sale until March 31st.
  2. NMSA’s Middle Level Essentials Conference April 23-24, 2009.
  3. NMSA ‘09 Invitation Video:  Indianapolis,  IN Conference  November 5-7, 2009.
  4. NMSA ‘08 Technology Focus Video.  This video spotlight focuses on the building of the technology demonstration classrooms at last year’s Denver Annual Conference.
  5. Educational Technology Leadership Conference, June 24th at Holt High School, Holt, MI.
  6. Michigan Association of Middle School Educators Annual Conference March 12 & 13 at White Pine Middle School in Saginaw Township.  Mr. Ron Clark will be keynoting.
  7. North Carolina Middle School Association’s Annual Conference will be March 16-17 in Pinehurst, NC.  Keynote speakers include Bill McBride and Rick Wormeli.  Ron Williamson from Eastern Michigan University will also be speaking at the conference this year.
  8. The National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform will be holding their annual conference in June.  See the flyer at their website for details.
  9. Free Professional Development through Webinars! NMSA is offering previously recorded webinars for free from their website.
  10. Classroom 2.0’s Live Calendar.
  11. Classroom 2.0’s Ning Blog:  This week’s discussion is on the uses of Twitter for Teachers.  Archived content is available.
  12. Second Life:
    • No Events specified.  Regular Tuesday meetings are scheduled.  See the board on the ISTE Island for up to the minute details.
    • Video:  Educational Uses of Second Life
  13. From the Twitterverse:
  • From GardenGlen’s blog:  CDC Science Ambassador Program.
  • Join the conversation about Congressman John Conyers‘ (blog) new bill to restrict access to scientific papers to journal publishing.
  • From eduprenur: “if your house is being foreclosed- find nearest HUD certified housing counselor in area- will not charge for intervention svcs”
  • Math worksheet creator
  • Be a photo detective !  (Library of Congress link)  Research skills activities associated with the website.  May be a little escoteric for some middle school classrooms.
  • From Twilliamson15:  Physics emulator.
  • From the “Kids aren’t so different” files:  “Pipefiddle: Why is it when the temperature goes above 40 middle school kids insist on wearing flip flops? It really isn’t that warm you know.”  Yup, totally agree.

Media Literacy Test

Advisory Activities:

  1. National Middle School Association’s Month of the Young Adolescent is looking for artwork for the upcoming October celebration.  The deadline is March 16th for submission.
  2. My Week in Three Words.  ABC has a weekend segment that shows off viewers’ video describing something about themselves or their week in three words.  The submissions are short and could be fit into a slide show which could be made using Animoto.  Clips wouldn’t necessarily have to be sent to ABC but could be shown on closed circuit within the building.

Truc et Chose:

  1. Who’s in your PLN?  An elephant seal?
  2. Speaking of PLNs, MSNBC has an article declaring the irrelevancy of Twitter and the New Scientist says that Facebook may be healthy for you.
  3. Still time to vote for one of three Animoto test videos on Middle School Matters.  So far #2 has the most votes.  There’s no prize for the winner.


National Standards Gain Steam

National standards—once the untouchable “third rail” of American education policy—now have the backing of the nation’s governors, a growing number of education leaders, and the U.S. secretary of education. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has said he wants the federal government to be “a catalyst” for the development of national standards, and wants to support the NGA and other groups working to set them. “We want to get into this game, … and I’m not leading this game,” Mr. Duncan said. Proposals for such standards are now gathering support, unlike previous attempts to nationalize standards and testing. The recent endorsements of national standards have emerged, in part, because critics say the patchwork of state standards under the NCLB law set inconsistent goals for reading and math. In those two subjects, supporters say, educators should be able to agree on common standards.

The agreement among governors and education policy leaders suggests to some observers that the development of national standards, in some form, is inevitable.

“The question is much more how it will happen,” said Bruno V. Manno, a senior program associate at the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore and a political appointee at the U.S. Department of Education under the first President Bush. “Will it happen in a haphazard way, or will it happen in a thoughtful way?”


Students Benefit From Depth, Rather Than Breadth, In High School Science Courses

A recent study reports that high school students who study fewer science topics, but study them in greater depth, have an advantage in college science classes over their peers who study more topics and spend less time on each. The study relates the amount of content covered on a particular topic in high school classes with students’ performance in college-level science classes. The study also points out that standardized testing, which seeks to measure overall knowledge in an entire discipline, may not capture a student’s high level of mastery in a few key science topics. Teachers who “teach to the test” may not be optimizing their students’ chance of success in college science courses, Tai noted.


Web 2.0: Navigating the new web
Jonathan Edquid

Pin Oak Middle School
Houston, TX

email jedquid@houstonisd.org for handouts.

Can we have have students use Google Docs? Revision history. Checking without taking papers home.
Use Google Spreadsheet for tracking Parent Contacts?
Take Google Spreadsheet and turn it into forms. Use the Create New Form function.
Presentations can be shared on line with a chat function.
Presentations can also be collaboratively worked on.