MSM 94: What Conferences Will Come: And That’s Why We Like Faygo!

Shawn & Troy discuss advisory ideas, share some shout outs, spotlight a few web sites, and look forward to the NMSA09 conference.


Computer Class

For a computer programming class, I sat directly across from someone, and our computers were facing away from each other. A few minutes into the class, she got up to leave the room. I reached between our computers and switched the inputs for the keyboards.
She came back and started typing and immediately got a distressed look on her face.
She called the teacher over and explained that no matter what she typed, nothing would happen. The teacher tried everything. By this time I was hiding behind my monitor and quaking red-faced.
I started to type, “Leave me alone!”
They both jumped back, silenced. “What the . . . ” the teacher said. I typed, “I said leave me alone!”
The kid got real upset. “I didn’t do anything to it, I swear!” It was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud. The conversation between them and HAL 2000 went on for an amazing five minutes.
Me: “Don’t touch me!”
Her: “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hit your keys that hard.”
Me: “Who do you think you are anyway?!” Etc. Finally, I couldn’t contain myself any longer and fell out of my chair laughing.
After they had realized what I had done, they both turned beet red. Funny, I never got more than a C- in that class.

Faygo Commercial:  YouTube

From the Twitterverse:


One Letter off Movies:  #oneletteroffmovies

  • Urbane Cowboy
  • A Streetcar Named Desirex
  • Where the Mild Things Are
  • Sat VI
  • Boy Story

Longer Temper:

On Our Mind:

Shout out to March Wells III:  Still on dial up….2 hours to download our Podcast.  The Dedicated Listener Award goes to . . .
Shout out to L.C.:  Thanks for the idea- Snag jokes from Reader’s Digest (so you know they’re funny) and then put them into cartoon form.

Should the National Middle School Association change its name?  This was brought up an annual conference or two ago . . .

Oscar the 3 legged wonder dog.


Comparison of cell sizes:


Schoology combines social networking with course management to enable students and educators to manage classroom work while having the ability to seamlessly communicate and collaborate through a safe and secure network.

Schoology offers both school-wide implementations and individual subscriptions.

Schoology is an alternative to other course management systems on the market.

As a web-based application, Schoology is able to offer services at a lower price than traditional systems. Being a fully hosted and fully managed system means less headache for your users and support staff. This allows you to spend your time using the system, instead of maintaining it.

The social networking features of Schoology compliment the course manager by allowing for seamless and effortless communication of information.

There is always 100% accountability and 100% transparency. Student actions are always affiliated with a physical student. Anything done on Schoology can be compared to performing this action in person.


SlickPlan is a web-based sitemap/flowchart generator that allows for the creation of free sitemap and flowchart design. SlickPlan was handcrafted with PHP/MySQL and jQuery by the Dayton website design team at Atomic Interactive.


The Internet is full of useful information, but it’s disorganized and often unreliable. Despite its problems, the potential of the Internet for education is especially huge. Imagine tapping into that potential. Imagine collecting all the best free educational videos made for children, and making them findable and watchable on one website. Then imagine creating many, many more such videos. Just think: millions of great short videos, and other watchable media, explaining every topic taught in schools, in every major language on Earth.Finally, imagine them all deeply and usefully categorized according to subject, education level, and placed in the order in which topics are typically taught.WatchKnow—as in, “You watch, you know”—has started building this resource.WatchKnow is both a resource for users and also a non-profit, online community that encourages everyone to collect, create, and share free, innovative, educational videos.WatchKnow is now officially launched, after being developed for over a year. Whether you’re a student, a parent, a teacher, or just someone who cares about the education of children, you can now use our service and get involved to make it even better. Please sign up! (But did you know that you can add new videos to our system without signing up? They’ll have to be approved first.)There is no better online cause than the future of our children. And just imagine how fantastic it would be if there were a resource online we could go to, or send our kids to, that would explain every topic they study in school instantly and reliably. Many of the resources needed for such a site already exist online; they just need to be organized.


National Middle School Association’s Annual Conference November 4-6, Indianapolis, IN.

Stress, Control, and the Deprofessionalizing of Teaching:

By Thomas Newkirk

Until fairly recently, psychologists accepted the common-sense view that job stress was directly related to the significance of the decisions being made. The top executive jobs, by this logic, were the most stressful because so much was riding on decisions. And the lower-level positions—the clerks, custodial workers, and receptionists—were less stressful because decisions had less impact. There was less to worry about. All this made a kind of sense.

But it was exactly wrong.

A key word in the advertising copy for these systems is “easy.” Check it out. There is the regular promise that by minutely directing instruction, these systems will relieve the teacher of the stress of planning and decisionmaking and create great results.

It is a Faustian bargain. When teachers lose control of decisionmaking—when they prepare students for tests they have no role in designing (and often no belief in), when they must abandon units they love because there is no longer time, when they must follow the plans designed by others, when they are locked in systems of instruction and evaluation they don’t create or even choose—they will not be relieved of stress.

It will surely be argued that I am too optimistic here, that only a small percentage of teachers can or will take on this more creative work.

What Ted Sizer Meant to Us

By Patrick J. McQuillan
The death this month of Theodore R. Sizer leaves an immense void in the American educational landscape.
Coming at a time that A Nation at Risk would lay a foundation for neoliberal philosophy to dominate U.S. educational policy, Ted Sizer offered an alternative approach to the shortcomings of American education, one rooted in the vision of John Dewey and progressive reform. Based on the research he conducted in high schools across the country that resulted in Horace’s Compromise, Ted highlighted the “compromises” teachers endured while adjusting and adapting to an ineffective system. They were responsible for so many students that they assigned little substantive work. Lacking time to know students well, teachers leveled their expectations to perceived student abilities. To ensure that they “covered” the entire curriculum, many topics were addressed superficially.
Well aware that students were key to any successful reform, Ted advocated “personalizing” student-teacher relationships, ensuring that “faculty knew students as people and learners,” as he would say.
Ted trusted teachers to organize their curriculum and educate their students. Our present emphasis on high-stakes standardized exams sends teachers and students a set of very different messages.

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.  September 30th early registration deadline is approaching  (Use MAMSE09 as your source code.)
  2. Dan Pink is keynoting the conference.  Here’s a teaser at TED.
  3. NMSA 09 Housing Information now available.  Some hotels are nearing full if not so already.  Special housing rates end October 5th.
  4. NMSA 09 Conference Connection:  Stay connected before, during, and after the conference!  Start your packing lists for the conference using!

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 Ohio Middle Level Association will hold their annual conference February 18 & 19, 2010.  Jack Berckemeyer will be keynoting.
  3. 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!
  4. 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 at 10:00 am.  Tickets $4.00 for students and every 15 students gets a chaparone in for free.

  5. Classroom 2.0’s Live Calendar.
  6. Classroom 2.0’s Ning BlogArchived content is available. 
  7. 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