MSM-85 Taken to Task


This simple page of alleged creative writing quotations gave me multiple chuckles, fueled with snippets like these:

  • “They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.”
  • “John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.”
  • “He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.”

Shout outs:

  1. Todd Williamson:  Audio response. (Visit Todd at )
  2. Dr. Debra Franciosi:

From the Twitterverse:


I came across this podcast for the first time today, and while significant time has passed, I cannot let this go without comment. While some parts of your program were interesting, I was disappointed in your lack of critical analysis of the reading research. (Yes, I am in a biased position on this, being employed by one of the study treatment companies, but my doctoral work in ed and research came before my latest venture with CRISS, and there is injustice in this!) You (along with an Ed Week reporter, etc) shared that “none of them [treatments] are effective”. The fact is, a null effect or no positive effect in statistical research does NOT mean a treatment is ineffective. It means they didn’t find results — and that can be for a variety of reasons, including faulty research design. Having read the research report and talked to teachers and trainers (for CRISS), I know that the design was flawed, as was the way the researchers grouped the info. CRISS is the only one of the treatments that is a professional development program, NOT a canned curriculum. All four were treated as the same thing. Even if the design wasn’t flawed, the researchers themselves stated that the study demonstrates likely outcomes in a “typical” implementation. In the case of many of the sites CRISS worked with, teachers had NO input into their participation and therefore NO BUY-IN. Some teachers did not show up for the trainings, but the test data was kept in the mix anyway. It makes no sense.
Before I started working for CRISS last September, I taught middle school for 9 years and was the 6-12 Literacy Specialist for 3. We implemented CRISS at the high school and the teachers that participated loved it and used what they learned — and saw positive results. But it takes time (3 years to get teachers fully implementing, with regular support); changing pedagogy isn’t easy.
That said, gentlemen, I ask that you revisit adolescent literacy again — maybe after looking at the report that came out last spring(Ed Week March or April?)that noted that random control/treatment studies done by the IES are consistently coming out with null effects. It appears that education does not fit into that paradigm of research design. Kids aren’t widgets, and you can’t control for all the chaos that human subjects bring to public schools. There ARE concrete things educators can do to improve students’ literacy. No canned program (or professional development, for that matter) required.
Dr. Debra Franciosi

California should fund Music:

Events & Happenings:

Calendar of Events:
NMSA News:

  1. NMSA’s Annual Conference:  NMSA ‘08 Technology Focus VideoNMSA ‘09 Invitation Video:  Indianapolis, IN Conference  November 5-7, 2009.  Individual Registration is now open.
  2. 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.
  3. NMSA 09 Housing Information now available.
  4. NMSA 09 Conference Connection:  Stay connected before, during, and after the conference!  Start your packing lists for the conference using!
  5. Keynote speakers for NMSA ’09 have been announced:  Daniel Pink (political connections) opens and Rick Wormeli closes.
  6. NMSA has a new publication on the role of middle grades in drop-out prevention.  You can download it as a pdf file.
  7. Middle Level Promise and Practice Moorhead, Minnesota August 5, 2009
    Speakers: Mark McCleod & Monte Selby

Other News:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. Theater Education Opportunity:  Eastern Michigan University’s Quirk-Sponberg Theater has announced their Fall 2009 Season.

    “The Prince, the Wolf and the Firebird”
    By Jackson Lacey
    Directed by Pam Cardell
    December 4, 5, 10, 11 at 7PM
    December 5, 6, 12 at 3PM
    School Matinees: December 9 and 10

  4. Classroom 2.0’s Live Calendar.
  5. Classroom 2.0’s Ning Blog:  This week’s discussion is on Telling Stories with Digital Threads for Teachers.  Archived content is available.
  6. 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