Podcast 71- Grading, Bad Segues, and Advisory

When you hear the toilet flush and the words “uh oh”, it’s already too late.

Funny Faces Joke #1:
Finding one of her students making faces at others on the playground, Ms. Smith stopped to
gently reprove the child.
Smiling sweetly, the Sunday school teacher said…
“Johnny, when I was a child, I was told if that I made ugly faces, it would freeze and I would
stay like that.”
Johnny looked up and replied…
“Well, Ms Smith, you can’t say you weren’t warned.”

Funny Faces Joke #2:
“I don’t know where you got your face from, but i hope you have the receipt”.

“What a glum face, what would you say if I came to school with a face like yours?”
“I’d be too polite to mention it!”

A little boy came running into the kitchen…
“Dad, dad,” he said, “there’s a monster at the door with a really ugly face.”
“Tell him you’ve already got one,” said his father.

“My teacher’s got a pretty face if you can read between the lines.”

“You’ve got a face like a million dollars!”
“Have I really?”
“Yes – it’s green and wrinkly!”

Events and Happenings:

  1. The National Middle School Association is looking for an editor for their Research in Middle Level Education Journal (RMLE).
  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. NMSA ‘09 Elections must be in by May 15th.
  5. Schools to Watch Conference June 25-27, Washington D.C.
  6. Educational Technology Leadership Conference, June 24th at Holt High School, Holt, MI. Register for the event.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.  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.
  9. The National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform will be holding their annual conference in June.  See the flyer at their website for details.
  10. Free Professional Development through Webinars! NMSA is offering previously recorded webinars for free from their website.
  11. Classroom 2.0’s Live Calendar.
  12. Classroom 2.0’s Ning Blog:  This week’s discussion is on the uses of Screencasting for Teachers.  Archived content is available.
  13. 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.

From the Twitterverse:

  • AngelaMaiers World Digital Library Aims to Be “Unrivalled Educational Tool” http://tinyurl.com/clxese.
  • sharon_elin Working on report of survey results: “What’s blocked at your school?”; hope to share it this weekend. Mom’s surgery interrupted the process!
  • cookp For those of you with 1:1 laptop programs, please share your districts main reasons for the models you chose. Looking at Apple over Dell.
  • LadyParadis the only sound heard / in the silence of the night / a beetle scratching #haiku
  • cathyjo RT @hollybounds: Do you think teachers should use Twitter as a way to comm w/ parents? Or do you like the whole “send a note home” routine?
  • willrich45 Reading Nat’l Coun Soc Stud Position Statement on Media Literacy. http://tinyurl.com/cw9cpc Some interesting analysis of the times.
  • deangroom Twelfth Night in Second Life http://tinyurl.com/dahlln Anyas great post and images!
  • liteNup RT @DouglasStuart: Amateurs wait for inspiration. The rest of us just get up and go to work. http://jijr.com/hxNI
  • LadyParadis “By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day” ~Robert Frost


  1. Congratulations to David Virtue the new editor of the Middle School Journal!

From our Listeners:

WOW!  Now the pressure’s on … 🙂

Web Sightings:

http://www.uri.org/kids/world.htmWelcome to the United Religions Initiative, a growing global community working to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings. From its beginning, URI has been a vision and an invitation. The vision is that people from all different faiths can work together to make the world a better place for everyone. The invitation is to everyone in the world – boys and girls, women and men – to help make this vision a reality.

World Library goes online April 21, 2009

From the above Twitter post:  Warning Label Generator

Advisory Ideas:

4 Corners..Agree A Little, Disagree, Agree, Disagree A
Little…use any topic to discuss points of view
Debate/Opinion Topics



Advisory Resource: Gossip Girls and Boys Get Lessons in Empathy (Letters to the Editor about the article)


Senate passes teacher contract bill

BOISE, Idaho – The Senate voted 26-8 to let school districts modify contracts to reduce teacher pay in financial emergencies.

Plano considers alternative grading policy for middle schools

Cheat on a test, get a zero. Turn in a late assignment, the grade suffers. They are the long-established rules of engagement in school.

Recent research shows that assigning grades by themselves, without teachers providing consistent and specific feedback, doesn’t aid student progress, he said. He supports policies such as the one Plano is considering.

Plano schools have begun considering a new grading policy for middle schoolers. School officials hoped to roll out the new policy next school year but are delaying to collect more feedback and input from teachers and principals. Here are highlights from the proposal:
Situation Current practice Recommended middle-school policy
Late work Teachers deduct points for late assignments. Some late work would not result in lost points.
Cheating An assignment receives a zero or a failing grade. School officials would assign a consequence other than a grade reduction.
Nonacademic behavior Students are docked points for disorganization or being off-task. Students would receive conduct grades but not overall grade reductions.
Homework Homework is graded for completion or accuracy. Some homework wouldn’t be graded.
SOURCE: Dallas Morning News research


Student responsibility needs to be nurtured

Whose responsibility is education? Some days it seems that our students view responsibility as a burden, some horrendous task that they are forced to take on. So often, responsibility for just about everything is projected by our students onto someone else.

Reading Test Dummies (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/23/opinion/23hirsch.html?_r=1)

“Let’s imagine a different situation. Students now must take annual reading tests from third grade through eighth. If the reading passages on each test were culled from each grade’s specific curricular content in literature, science, history, geography and the arts, the tests would exhibit what researchers call “consequential validity” — meaning that the tests would actually help improve education. Test preparation would focus on the content of the tests, rather than continue the fruitless attempt to teach test taking.”