MSM 389: The Penguin Defense

Jokes You Can Use:  

Lily‏ @Lilylauren

I want to defend a penguin in court simply so I can say “Your honour. My client is clearly not a flight risk”


Important “Jokes You Can Use” Tool from Google  


A student in class the other day dropped her phone.  It landed safely. It was in airplane mode.


I’m currently boycotting any company that sells items I can’t afford.


PATIENT: Doctor, I need your help. I’m addicted to checking my Twitter!

DOCTOR: I’m so sorry, I don’t follow.


Why are iPhone chargers not called Apple Juice?!


Did you hear about the love affair between sugar and cream?  It was icing on the cake.




Motivation Increased 35% By One Simple Goal-Setting Instruction, Study Finds

Goals are frequently found to boost people’s motivation, and so their performance.

A recent study, however, reveals a fascinating kink in that oft-quoted research.

Men, it seems, respond to goals better than women, the study found.



Middle School Science Minute  

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or

Take a Stream Selfie

I was recently reading the February, 2018 issue of “Science Scope,” a magazine written for middle school science teachers, published by the National Science Teachers Association.  


In this issue, I read the Citizen Science article, “Take a Stream Selfie for Science,” written by Jill Nugent. The article describes a project that maps streams across the United States and bridges an existing gap in water quality data. For more information, please visit:


From the Twitterverse:

ISTE‏ @iste

“As educators, our challenge and opportunity is to give our students the tools they need to engage in a civil society whose future they will shape.”  via @EdSurge #stuvoice #digcit


NYSUT‏ @nysut

Sign up for the Thunderclap to spread the word. Urge Sen. Flanagan and @NYSenate to support local control of teacher evaluations! Together we can fix APPR! … #Pass8301NOW #LetUSTeach #LetThemLearn


Richard Byrne‏ @rmbyrne

Free Tools for Creating Animated Videos


Richard Byrne‏ @rmbyrne

How to Automatically Issue Certificates When Students Pass a Quiz in Google Forms …


Greg Gorman‏ @gormang

10 ways Google tools can make the end of the year ROCK  via @jmattmiller #usd246


Richard Byrne‏ @rmbyrne

17 Audacity Tutorials for Beginners …


Richard Byrne‏ @rmbyrne

300+ Printable Comic Templates …


Richard Byrne‏ @rmbyrne

TodaysMeet Is Shutting Down – Six Alternatives to Try …


Tony Vincent‏ @tonyvincent

You can visually organize your Google Drive by color-coding folders and including emojis as icons.

Tom Murray‏Verified account @thomascmurray

8 apps and tools for classroom SEL  #edtech


Steve Seward‏ @sewardstephen

Exit tickets, entry tickets, mid-lesson tickets—it’s all about learner thinking & using data to inform (extend or remediate) next instructional decisions. 25 questions to get you & your learners kick-started! #AdaptBasedOnPurpose

Michael Werner‏ @SimpleCEO

8 Ideas for Using Tech in Math Class


George Couros‏Verified account @gcouros

How to change your mindset to be more positive.


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




Positive Reinforcement

As the largest middle school in the state of New Jersey, Lincoln Middle School has struggled at times with student discipline. Chronic tardiness and fights on campus have been a problem for this school, which serves 1,800 7th- and 8th-grade students.

Traditional approaches to student discipline haven’t worked to change the school’s culture. Not only has punishment been largely ineffective as a deterrent, but it also erodes the critical relationship between students and educators. When teachers are constantly meting out punishment, their relationship with students becomes confrontational instead of supportive—and this isn’t the type of environment in which students can learn most effectively.


My Daughter’s Homework is Killing Me

Memorization, not rationalization. That is the advice of my 13-year-old daughter, Esmee, as I struggle to make sense of a paragraph of notes for an upcoming Earth Science test on minerals.

Esmee is in the eighth grade…

What I am interested in is what my daughter is doing during those nightly hours between 8 o’clock and midnight, when she finally gets to bed.




The Problem with All Stars

How humility is crucial to success.

Start by asking kids, if you could make up a team, would it be better to have a team of all super stars, or a mix of stars and average players?

32 minutes. – Audio only


Save the Planet Board Game

Save The Planet Board Game is free and open-source DIY cooperative board game. In the Save the Planet Game you and your family and friends can work together to save the planet to win, while learning how to save the planet in real life. The beginner option is appropriate for children 4 and up and the advanced option is a fun game for teens up to any age. This game is open-source so you are encouraged to build on it – make it better, add more good deeds, make a local deed list and make more advanced derivatives. Have fun!


Answer Garden

AnswerGarden is a new minimalistic feedback tool. Use it for real time audience participation, online brainstorming and classroom feedback.



Search museums, archives and libraries for images, embed them in slides at the click of a button! Also available for documents.

Highlight text in your slide and use it to search many of the world’s largest and richest archives.

Find images that you can re-use, view licensing information, embed them in your presentation complete with attribution, caption and link to source with a single click.


Docs Teach

DocsTeach is a product of the National Archives education division. Our mission is to engage, educate, and inspire all learners to discover and explore the records of the American people preserved by the National Archives.


The National Archives and Records Administration is the nation’s record keeper. We save documents and other materials created in the course of business conducted by the U.S. Federal government that are judged to have continuing value. We hold in trust for the public the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights — but also the records of ordinary citizens — at our locations around the country.


Access thousands of primary sources  — letters, photographs, speeches, posters, maps, videos, and other document types — spanning the course of American history. We’re always adding more!


Borrow from an ever-expanding collection of document-based activities created by the National Archives, and teachers around the world. Copy and modify activities for your students.


Create your own activities using the online tools. It’s as simple as: (1) selecting a tool, (2) choosing your primary sources, and (3) customizing instructions.


Audacity Tutorials for Beginners

17 Videos to help you (and your students) use Audacity.



Share Code from any Device

Trinket lets you run and write code in any browser, on any device.

Trinkets work instantly, with no need to log in, download plugins, or install software.

Easily share or embed the code with your changes when you’re done.


Periodic Videos

A lesson about every single element on the periodic table

Created by the Periodic Videos team using the TED-Ed platform.


The Baseball Study by Recht and Leslie

Video relating research on the importance of vocabulary and background knowledge.


18 Free Image Sites and Tools for Schools

A picture is worth a thousand words, but it might also be worth a thousand dollars if your school gets hit with a copyright violation claim. This happens to schools every year as students or teachers inappropriately use an image that they do not have the rights to.

Web Spotlight:


25 Things Successful Teachers Do Differently


Strategies List

Thinking Collaborative List of strategies for the learning. Here is a sample…


3-2-1 Plus 1


7-11 Conversations

A B Each Teach

Adjournment Directions

Airplane Stacking

Analogy Prompts


Around the Room

Ask for Sabotage Ideas

Assumptions Challenge

Assumptions Inquiry

Assumptions Wall

Attention First

Banned Words

Block Party

Brainstorm Modalities

Brainstorm Questions


Break and Breathe

Broken Squares


Card Games

Card Stack and Shuffle

Carousel Brainstorming

Carousel Interview


Causal Loop Diagram

Check In

Choose Voice

Choreograph an Opening

Clarify Conflicting Mental Modes

Use the link below for more:



Welcome to Grasshopper,the coding app for beginners

  • Learn with fun, quick lessons on your phone that teach you to write real JavaScript.
  • Move through progressively challenging levels as you develop your abilities.
  • Graduate with fundamental programming skills for your next step as a coder.


Amazon Shareholder Letter


Six-Page Narratives

We don’t do PowerPoint (or any other slide-oriented) presentations at Amazon. Instead, we write narratively structured six-page memos. We silently read one at the beginning of each meeting in a kind of “study hall.” Not surprisingly, the quality of these memos varies widely. Some have the clarity of angels singing. They are brilliant and thoughtful and set up the meeting for high-quality discussion. Sometimes they come in at the other end of the spectrum.


High Standards

Understanding this point is important because it keeps you humble. You can consider yourself a person of high standards in general and still have debilitating blind spots. There can be whole arenas of endeavor where you may not even know that your standards are low or non-existent, and certainly not world class. It’s critical to be open to that likelihood.

Recognition and Scope

What do you need to achieve high standards in a particular domain area? First, you have to be able to recognize what good looks like in that domain. Second, you must have realistic expectations for how hard it should be (how much work it will take) to achieve that result – the scope.

Let me give you two examples. One is a sort of toy illustration but it makes the point clearly, and another is a real one that comes up at Amazon all the time.

Perfect Handstands

A close friend recently decided to learn to do a perfect free-standing handstand. No leaning against a wall. Not for just a few seconds. Instagram good. She decided to start her journey by taking a handstand workshop at her yoga studio. She then practiced for a while but wasn’t getting the results she wanted. So, she hired a handstand coach. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, but evidently this is an actual thing that exists. In the very first lesson, the coach gave her some wonderful advice. “Most people,” he said, “think that if they work hard, they should be able to master a handstand in about two weeks. The reality is that it takes about six months of daily practice. If you think you should be able to do it in two weeks, you’re just going to end up quitting.” Unrealistic beliefs on scope – often hidden and undiscussed – kill high standards. To achieve high standards yourself or as part of a team, you need to form and proactively communicate realistic beliefs about how hard something is going to be – something this coach understood well.

In the handstand example, it’s pretty straightforward to recognize high standards. It wouldn’t be difficult to lay out in detail the requirements of a well-executed handstand, and then you’re either doing it or you’re not. The writing example is very different. The difference between a great memo and an average one is much squishier. It would be extremely hard to write down the detailed requirements that make up a great memo. Nevertheless, I find that much of the time, readers react to great memos very similarly. They know it when they see it. The standard is there, and it is real, even if it’s not easily describable.

Here’s what we’ve figured out. Often, when a memo isn’t great, it’s not the writer’s inability to recognize the high standard, but instead a wrong expectation on scope: they mistakenly believe a high-standards, six-page memo can be written in one or two days or even a few hours, when really it might take a week or more! They’re trying to perfect a handstand in just two weeks, and we’re not coaching them right. The great memos are written and re-written, shared with colleagues who are asked to improve the work, set aside for a couple of days, and then edited again with a fresh mind. They simply can’t be done in a day or two. The key point here is that you can improve results through the simple act of teaching scope – that a great memo probably should take a week or more.


Random Thoughts . . .  


Personal Web Site


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