MSM 436: Welcome Back, Don’t Let Us Ruin Your First Day!

Jokes You Can Use:  

Thirteen Presenters Who Ruin the First Day


Ice Breakers & Beginning The Year Activities:

  1. Head and Shoulders, Knees and Cup Activity:  Play it like Simon Says.  Start with a cup for every two people.  Do the “Simon Says” thing, but when you say “cup” whomever gets the cup stays in the game.  Narrow it down to the last few. Issue a prize at the end.  
  2. Play Dough “What is Creativity” Activity:  Give each student a mini tub of “Activity Dough.”  Put a timer on the screen and tell them they have 5:00 minutes to come up with the most creative thing they can think of.  Constantly remind them of the time. Update them on the time every 30 to 40 seconds. At the end of the five minutes, do a gallery walk so they can see each others’ ideas.  Ask them to rate their creation on a creativity scale of one to 5. Next, tell them that the second part of this activity, they may take their dough and find one or two other people to work with and come up with the most creative thing of which they can think.  They may combine efforts and dough. Go. Don’t start a timer. Don’t reference time. Don’t even answer their questions about time. Sometime before the end of the class, tell them to stop, do a gallery walk. Have them evaluate their work again. Most of the time they will say that they came up with something more creative that time than they did the first.  Now talk about the planner and how important it is to have enough time to be creative and do good work. Show the advertising company video on the importance of time in creativity and coming up with ideas.  
    1. Activity Dough:  
    2. Video:  
  3. Cup Stacking:  Take a rubber band and tie different lengths of string at uneven points along the band.  Issue 3-6 cups per table. Ask students to arrange the cups in designs you display at the front of the room.  Start with simple designs, work to flipping the cups, work to stacking higher and higher, etc. The only rules are that they cannot touch the cups with their hands and can only manipulate the cups with the string and rubber band.  They must hold the string at the farthest end. The idea being that they have to communicate with each other to get the rubber band stretched, around the cup, and in position – together.  
  4. Table Soccer:  Students line up on either side of a table at chin level.  Put a ping pong ball in the middle. Students may blow, but that is all, to move the ball off their opponents’ side.  If the ball goes off the ends, it doesn’t count. It must go past them. Score it just like soccer. Score it just for fun.  
  5. One Thing . . . :  Put a post it note on each student’s desk (or seating assignment).  Have them write their name, date and one thing they are excited for today.  You get a personal message from them, set a positive mindset, and in case you messed up attendance, you also have a paper record of who made it today.  (Kevin Leichtman via Facebook)  

Frayer Model Icebreaker

Icebreaker Fun Questions

Use with Frayer Model above

Middle School Science Minute  

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or

Monitoring Precipitation

I was recently reading the July, 2019 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 entitled, “Monitoring Precipitation,” written by Bob Riddle. The author shares NASA resources that teachers can use to help students better understand our Earth System. One of the best resources is the NASA Precipitation Education Website at:

From the Twitterverse:  

Alice Keeler@alicekeeler

We are working to get discounts and flat out funding for what you’re paying out of pocket for in your classroom. Fill out this Form if you would like solutions to you paying out of pocket.

@PledgeCents  #teachersareprofessionals

Larry Ferlazzo@Larryferlazzo

A Look Back: My Growth Mindset Lessons Usually Go Well, But What I Did Today Was The Best Yet (Student Hand-Outs Included)  

Shelley Burgess @burgess_shelley

A3: “Rigor” rubs a lot of educators the wrong way. I prefer talking about “complex thinking or the “complexity of thought” needed to solve the problem or do the work… #LeadLAP

Christine Johnson (aka Dr. J)

When your first year teachers completely get it!!

#betheone #root4Sterling #kidsdeserveit #leadlap #JoyfulLeaders


Stephanie Auditore@steph_auditore

Almost 5% of middle school students vape…I’ve heard different strategies on curbing vaping. What are you doing in your school? #middleschool #vaping #mschat

Don’t forget #mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm EST.  Look for your host Tood Bloch to have a middle school topic all ready to go!  Make it a strategic part of your personal professional development.  


Edutopia – The Case Against Allowing Retakes

What are the practicalities of allowing retakes and the problems with allowing it with students?  Edutopia takes a look:  


Horrible Histories – BBC

Made for TV series from the books by the same name.  Do watch beforehand. Produced by the BBC, they use British vernacular and reference things that are commonplace on British TV, but not outside the United Kingdom.

Random Thoughts . . .  

Pinky & The Brain: Postmodern Jukebox

The video highlights the original two voice actors.  It’s not the fast paced theme song we remember, but it’s entertaining nonetheless.  

Click the Play button below to listen to the show!