Podcast 69 – Current Cursive, Current Events, & Leftovers from Last Week.

Today’s Quiz:

Events and Happenings:

  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 ‘08 Technology Focus Video.  This video spotlight focuses on the building of the technology demonstration classrooms at last year’s Denver Annual Conference.
  4. Educational Technology Leadership Conference, June 24th at Holt High School, Holt, MI. Register for the event now and hurry to get your presentation proposals in before the deadline!
  5. Any information on the Ontario Middle Level Association?  Their site has gone dark and we hope this does not mean the demise of the Association.
  6. NMSA ‘09 Invitation Video:  Indianapolis,  IN Conference  November 5-7, 2009.
    • ATTENTION Michigan Association of Middle School Educators & Friends:MAMSE is putting together a bus for the trip to the National Middle School Association’s Annual Conference in Indianapolis, IN this fall.  Ride down to the conference in a luxury bus with satellite access for Twittering, Facebooking, and other 21st Century technology access for less than $100.00.  With all the conversations with middle school teachers on the bus, I wonder if we could call this a mini-MAMSE conference?  There’s nothing like getting together with people who love the people we love:  our students.  (Some of you thought I was going to say something else!)  Getting together with folks like that is energizing and priceless.  Email Teresa Sutherland for information and details.  Don’t forget to mention you heard about it on Middle School Matters.
  7. The National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform will be holding their annual conference in June.  See the flyer at their website for details.
  8. Free Professional Development through Webinars! NMSA is offering previously recorded webinars for free from their website.
  9. Classroom 2.0’s Live Calendar.
  10. Classroom 2.0’s Ning Blog:  This week’s discussion is on the uses of Moodle for Teachers.  Archived content is available.
  11. 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
    • There is a conference being held by ISTE in Second Life, wander over to the auditorium behind the Headquarters to check it out.
  12. From the Twitterverse:


iTunes shoutouts:  AK Jenny, Tsutherland, and Wirededucator!  Thanks for posting reviews on iTunes for us.   WeFollow:  Thanks to all the folks following us on Twitter & WeFollow.  We’re number one in the middle school category.

From our Listeners:

Vo-tech was always a place where less academic students found refuge and a career path, turning them into productive mechanics, electricians, hair dressers, and such.  Things are changing nowadays, though, and, in some instances, the door is closing on the traditional vo-tech student. Take New Jersey where 27,766 students are enrolled in 21 county-run vocational school […]
Readable handwriting still matters when computers stop working — but folks who get down on their knees before cursive ought to consider this:

Research shows that the fastest and most legible handwriters avoid cursive. Highest-speed, highest-legibility handwriters join some, not all, letters — making the easiest joins, skipping the rest — and tend to use print-like forms of those letters whose printed and cursive forms “disagree.”

Even signatures don’t legally require cursive, and never have. (Don’t take my word for this: note the legal material in the “signatures” area of the FAQ list on my web-site, HandwritingThatWorks.com )

Kate Gladstone
Founder and CEO, Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works handwriting instruction/improvement service
Director, the World Handwriting Contest

Web Sightings:

  1. www.zombo.com Absurd, but fun.  Just sit, watch, and enjoy.
  2. http://www.nextvista.org/ – An online library of free videos for learners everywhere – find resources to help you learn just about anything, meet people who make a difference in their communities, and even discover new parts of the world. And Next Vista for Learning wants to post your educational videos online, too. Everyone has an insight to share and yours may be just what some student or teacher somewhere needs!

Advisory Ideas:

  • Don’t Judge a Bag by Its Cover…stuff gift bags with unknown items, students select one, discuss why
  • Life Raft…students stand on top of shower curtain and flip it over without anyone stepping off
  • Tinker Toys…create exact same structure while seated back to back


Going in circles puts students on path to better choices

So maybe there was a little drama between you and another ninth-grader, you know, some problem.

You could get suspended for that at a lot of schools, three days or until your mom or dad comes in and has a conference with the principal or somebody like that.


Joining the national trend, metro-area schools are using yoga to help students relax and focus


D.C. Schools Chief Turns To Rookie Teacher Corps

Michele Rhee, the District of Columbia’s public schools chancellor, has done a lot to shake up schools in the nation’s capital. In other words, Rhee is looking for a “new breed” of teachers, mostly 20-somethings fresh out of college, who may not have majored in education but are drawn to teaching; so Rhee is intent on attracting young teachers who aren’t vested in some of the provisions of teachers’ union contract.

Fix the 9th Grade Problem in PreK

The achievement gap is a deep-seated, long-standing, hard-to-solve issue that isn’t going away unless we use a strategic approach to solve it, Vanderbilt University Professor Joseph Murphy told ASCDers in his session entitled “Leadership Lessons for Closing the Achievement Gap.” His recent research points to some “big-picture conclusions,” including that tackling the problem in high school is often too late.

It’s OK. You Can Let Go.