Podcast #75 – Coercive Science of the Twitter!

  1. The National Middle School Association is looking for an editor for their Research in Middle Level Education Journal (RMLE).
  2. NMSA ‘08 Technology Focus Video.
  3. NMSA ‘09 Invitation Video:  Indianapolis, IN Conference  November 5-7, 2009.  Individual Registration is now open.
  4. 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 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.
  5. NMSA 09 Conference Connection:  Stay connected before, during, and after the conference!  Start your packing lists for the conference using packwhiz.com!
  6. Keynote speakers for NMSA ’09 have been announced:  Daniel Pink (political connections) opens and Rick Wormeli closes.
  7. NMSA ‘09 Elections must be in by May 15th.  (Vote for Jeff LaRoux! No NMSA campaign funds were used in this endorsement.)
  8. Schools to Watch Conference June 25-27, Washington D.C.  Conference registration info.
  9. Educational Technology Leadership Conference, June 24th at Holt High School, Holt, MI. Register for the event.
  10. ISTE Eduverse Talks are the recorded sessions held on ISTE Island every week.  Join ISTE in their Second Life conference location for their weekly talks on education.
  11. The Michigan Association of Middle School Educators Annual Conference is coming up March 4-5, 2010 in Dexter, MI.  MAMSE will be celebrating its 40th Anniversary!
  12. Brainyflix extends their “video vocabulary” contest to May 22, 2009.
  13. Classroom 2.0’s Live Calendar.
  14. Classroom 2.0’s Ning Blog:  This week’s discussion is on the preparation for NECC 2009 for Teachers.  Archived content is available.
  15. 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.
    • Training on Presentation Tools (part 1) May 16, 2 to 4 pm.

Shout Outs:

  1. Thanks to ERyan S, and Mrs. C in FL for their reviews on iTunes!
  2. Big thanks to Teresa S. for the kind comments at yesterday’s meeting!


We’re at 10 comments, we are throwing down the gauntlet to make it to 15 comments.

From the Twitterverse:

Advisory Idea:

  1. StickK.com:  Here’s a tech based way to help your students modify their behavior.  StickK.com is a website that helps you establish a goal you want to achieve, develop a plan to get there, and provide some motivation along the way.  Students can put in a goal, establish a person as a Referee that monitors their progress toward that goal and inputs that information into the StickK.com website.  The student can designate other StickK members as their friends to help them along the way with encouragement and co-participation.  There is a second part to the site as well, but only for credit card holders.  You can make it a financial motivation by inputting your credit card, designating an amount, and if you don’t reach your incremental goal, $10 is charged to your credit card that week.  At the end of the challenge the money is sent to a charity you have designated in your name from the StickK site.  The contract/financial motivation is optional.
  2. Build self-confidence and help students get to know each other: Paper Bag Self.
    The students decorate the outside of a paper bag with pictures and words that represent their “outer selves,” such as favorite color, sport, food, etc. Then, they put a word or picture inside their bag that reflects a personal concern, such as health, divorce, peer problems, grades, etc. As a way of introducing themselves to the class, students share the outside of their bag. If they feel comfortable, they are welcome to share the inside of their bag privately with their peers or advisor.
  3. Another advisory group activity that creates the feeling of “family” and focuses on the individual as part of a whole is a puzzle activity. Each member of the class, including the advisor, is given a large cardboard puzzle piece to decorate. The puzzle piece features their name and artwork that reflects their uniqueness. When the pieces are complete, they are joined together to form a puzzle that represents a united advisory group.


From: Jenny McAvoy-Anteau:
(Lots & Lots of information, here’s just a snippet):

Western Michigan University (WMU)_ researchers have discovered no significant advantage to teaching students through experimenting instead of teaching them through direct instruction.
www.physorg.com/news153990337.html (the summary includes this — “The data, while marginally favoring inquiry, really show that as long as the instruction is good either way, the two approaches (inquiry vs direct instruction) lead to no significant difference- at least as far as science content understanding is concerned”  William Cobern of WMU’s Mallinson Institute for Science Education).

Ideas for Middle School Science.
http://fc.dc-grimes.k12.ia.us/~gklocke/Class%20notes – Eighth-grade science teacher Gary Klocke shares his teaching materials, including lesson plans, templates for class notes, review and practice sheets, and PowerPoint presentations at the above link.

Students have been given cell phones loaded with educational software as part of a project at Trinity Meadow Intermediate School in Keller, Texas.
www.ur.umich.edu/0809/Feb16_09/04.php (in story — “5th graders recieved phones containing “Mobile Learning Environment” software developed by University of Michigan scientist Elliot Soloway and Cathleen Norris, a regents professor at the University of North Texas.  The software turns the phones into computers that can do almost everything a laptop can for a fraction of the price claims Soloway.  Students use the phones  to map concepts, animate drawings, surf “relevant” sites on the internet and integrate material into their lessons.  The phones also have mini versions of Microsoft Word and Excel.  The school district will examine whether listening to recordings of texts enhances at-risk student’s reading comprehension and will assess student’s technological savvy before and after the project.)

Web Sitings:

Press Kit for promoting the National Middle School Association’s Annual Conference.   http://www.nmsa.org/annual/AbouttheConference/PromotionalTools/tabid/1882/Default.aspx
Edublogs Live :  Video recorded Elluminate education discussion events.  Sue Waters, an Australian educator, hosts these discussions.
Fancy Talking Blocks:  http://siftables.com/
NMSA’s Al Summers is posting his own blog about the NMSA 2009 Annual Conference in the run up to the big event.  This from that blog:  “NMSA is currently looking for “tech savvy teachers” to feature. We would like to highlight especially those who are doing project-based learning with a community and/or global impact. If you know of any teachers doing cutting edge work like this through technology, please e-mail me information—PLEASE DON’T POST IT ON THE BLOG. My e-mail is asummers@nmsa.org
NASA is Twittering from Space to increase its face time with readers & taxpayers here on Earth.
Obama Administration is cutting the Educational Technology budget by 63%.  The money budgeted goes from $163 million dollars to $100 million dollars.  I’m not sure I could even wrap my head around spending $100 million dollars just by myself.
Make A Video For Mom:  It is what it is.  Enjoy.  🙂
Get your Cursive Handwriting App from the iTunes Store! Learn Cursive Today!
Future of Education (.com)  Michael Horn of Distrupting Class will be on their podcast coming up.

Comic: www.xkcd.com

Books We’re Reading (or going to):

  1. The Aurora County All-Stars by Deborah Wiles:  Walt Whitman meets Baseball.  Good story for kids.
  2. The Wings of Heroes by Richard Peck
  3. Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky
  4. Moodle Teaching Techniques & Moodle by William H Rice IV
  5. MindSet by Carole Dweck
  6. The Leader in Me by Stephen Covey


My Coercive Classroom

By Cossondra George

When we become adults, life itself is coercive by nature. Most everything we do, we do with some amount of coercion present, in one form or another.
My curriculum is coercive. But while I often complain that the guidelines set forth by the state limit what I can and must teach students, I also know that – in the larger scheme – without those grade-level content expectations, students would be left to the whims of individual teachers as to what they are taught in school.
However, I think it’s unreasonable to hope for unfettered freedom in our current K-12 public education system.

It seems only fair to my students that I keep my classroom coercive. I want kids to leave the learning environment we’ve shared for a year knowing a lot more about math than when they arrived. I want to be satisfied that we have maximized our time together. I want them to learn, to grow, and to leave wanting to learn and grow even more—carrying with them the core math skills they’ll need in the grades and years to come.

If that takes a little arm twisting on my part, then so be it.