MSM 355: The Ron King Award Show


Jokes You Can Use:


Why was Peter Pan banned from using any Airline?


My books all piled on top of me, I’ve only got my shelf to blame.

I read this book about Mount Everest… It was quite the cliff hanger!


Two engineers were standing at the base of a flagpole, looking at its top. A woman walked by and asked what they were doing.

“We’re supposed to find the height of this flagpole,” said one, “but we don’t have a ladder.”

The woman took a wrench from her purse, loosened a couple of bolts, and laid the pole down on the ground. Then she took a tape measure from her pocketbook, took a measurement, and announced, “Twenty one feet, six inches,” and walked away.

One engineer shook his head and laughed, “A lot of good that does us. We ask for the height and she gives us the length.”


Eileen Award:  

  • Twitter: Ron King (Special LifeTime award)





As human beings, we get used to “the way things are” really fast. But for designers, the way things are is an opportunity … Could things be better? How? In this funny, breezy talk, the man behind the iPod and the Nest thermostat shares some of his tips for noticing — and driving — change.



The process of being creative can be fun and take on different “looks”.  The Swingle Singers are a vocal group that jump starts the creative writing juices with a writing exercise.  They get three words in an envelope.  They pair up and have to come up with a song that builds off of those three words.  Here’s an example:  Tree, Friend(s), and Attack.


National Day…

April 8th


Mindfulness makes a difference in schools


Relaxation techniques calm K12 students and staff, leading to better grades and better behavior.


“We decided to respond to our students’ anxiety, rather than have to deal with the behavioral challenges,” Hanscom says.

Districts that succeed in making mindfulness a regular part of the school day—and an impactful part of students’ lives—start by training the adults in their buildings to become competent practitioners, says Saltzman, whose Menlo Park, California-based mindfulness practice operates training programs in schools.

And a little time spent on mindfulness at the beginning of class can pay off. “A teacher may think, I can’t add another thing to my day,” Saltzman says. “But what teachers find is, if they start class with five minutes of mindfulness—movement, breathing, journaling—most teachers will report ending up with more teachable time.”

“There were just so many layers of yuck to get through before we could get to academics,” Achterhoff says. “If we don’t address the trauma, then the kids are going to become stunted in academic growth.”

Teachers who use the techniques report improvements in behavior, and that students often ask to take short yoga or breathing breaks so they can refocus on instruction.  


Middle School Science Minute  

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or

Best STEM Books, Part 1


I was recently reading the February, 2017 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 on the best STEM Books for 2017, for students in grades K-12, as recommended by the National Science Teachers Association.  In this first of a two part series, we look at 5 of the recommended books that are appropriate for middle school students.  Titles include:

  1.  Emmet’s Storm
  2.  Genetic Engineering: Science, Technology, and Engineering
  3.  A Global Warming Primer: Answering Your Questions About the Science, the Consequences, and the Solutions
  4.  Red Madness: How a Medical Mystery Changed What We Eat
  5.  Sabotage: The Mission to Destroy Hitler’s Atomic Bomb

Lithuania Update for Dave

From the Twitterverse:  

Scott McLeod‏ @mcleod

Strategizing Your BYOT Implementation, Part 1 | @mguhlin  #edcolo #iaedfuture


MiddleWeb‏ @middleweb

REVIEW: An essential guide to becoming an ELA teacher. @HeinemannPub #educoach #elachat @ncte #mschat #teachered …



#MiddleSchool educators, submit an article to AMLE Magazine & share your sch & classrm ideas that make a difference


Jerry Blumengarten‏ @cybraryman1

My PLN (Personal Learning Network) page  #nt2t Build a PLN of passionate educators who are willing to connect & share

Rick Wormeli‏ @rickwormeli2

Scratching My Head: Project 180, Day 129  via @MonteSyrie


Jessica Van de Kemp‏ @jess_vdk

Helpful ‘closure’ activities for teachers and students:  via @finleyt @edutopia #edchat #hschat #mschat


Jasper Fox Sr.‏ @JasperFoxSR

Calling for a “Timeout” on Rubrics and Grading Scales  essential reading frm: @rickwormeli2


David Geurin‏ @DavidGeurin

12 Rules Of Great Teaching –  via @TeachThought

Paul Chenoweth‏ @bruingeek

I approve of this message:

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




How to support wiggly students

In fact, according to, “A 2008 study found that children actually need to move to focus during a complicated mental task. The children in the study—especially those with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)—fidgeted more when a task required them to store and process information rather than just hold it. This is why students are often restless while doing math or reading, but not while watching a movie, explained Dr. Mark Rapport, the supervisor of the study and professor of psychology at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.”


  1. Redirect
  2. Experiment.
  3. See what’s on the market for support.


No Grade Is Too Early for Flexible Seating

A decade ago, I watched college students break out for small group work on hallway benches, on the floor in the corner, and standing at tables. I noticed that kindergartners could learn while standing, kneeling, huddling under a table, and even sitting in a wooden cubby. I saw my principal take a reading group to the office, where students loved to cram themselves beside the copier, between UPS boxes, and under a table. All this got me thinking: Why do we work at desks? Why stop students from wiggling? Could we purposefully educate students to recognize the locations they work best in?


Plan your transition to flexible seating with:

  • a variety of workspaces
  • clear expectations for behavior
  • guidelines for where/how students may work
  • consequences for abuse of the seating options

When developing your seating options, consider the needs of different activities:

  • clipboards for writing
  • flat surfaces for word work sorts
  • comfort for pleasure reading
  • stability for electronics

Offering just one or two seating options may put your students in the same boat as traditional seating. Just as traditional seating doesn’t work for everyone, flexible seating may not either.



WRITE. Find creative inspiration to write. Make their writing better. Have fun writing. Share their writing. Read other students’ writing. Respond to writing. Write some more.


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