MSM 450: Smile, It’s the Stupidity Opera


Out of all the inventions of the last 100 years, the whiteboard may be the most remarkable.


The alphabet is really pretty terrifying 

– A bee sea? 

No thank you.


I did some mechanics work today. 

I put a rear end in a recliner.


I just developed a thought-controlled air freshener. 

It makes scents when you think about it. 


A friend of mine just bought an empty hanger. 

You can buy tickets for it now. It’s an “air and space” museum.



I’ve been walking to work lately. Every day the same bike tries to run me over. 

It’s a vicious cycle.


What do you call a snake that is 3.14 meters long? 

  • A python


Carpenter ants are just like regular ants except rainy days and Mondays always get them down. 


Tale of Two Monks and a Woman

The tale of two monks and a woman is a well-known Buddhist parable. The story goes that two monks were traveling together, a senior and a junior. They came to a river with a strong current where a young woman was waiting, unable to cross alone. She asks the monks if they would help her across the river. Without a word and in spite of the sacred vow he’d taken not to touch women, the older monk picks her up, crosses, and sets her down on the other side.

The younger monk joins them across the river and is aghast that the older monk has broken his vow but doesn’t say anything. An hour passes as they travel on. Then two hours. Then three. Finally, the now quite agitated younger monk can stand it no longer: “Why did you carry that women when we took a vow as monks not to touch women?”

The older monk replies, “I set her down hours ago by the side of the river. Why are you still carrying her?”

The story is a reminder to not dwell on the past in a way that interferes with living in the present moment. I’m glad to have remembered it today — I’m feeling much better now.

School Pictures

Have the kids demonstrate their school picture pose. Pull yearbooks from the archive if possible. Have kids compare them over the years (if you are at a newer school, find some from the oldest school around). 

  • Discuss “visual culture”.

100 Inspiring Questions That Make You Think About Your Life

Useful resource of basic questions. These are grouped by area.

Middle School Science Minute  

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or

Middle School Science Minute: The Post-Truth Era

I was recently reading the January, 2020 issue of “Science Scope,” a magazine written for middle school science teachers, published by the National Science Teaching Association. 

In this issue, I read the “From the Editor’s Desk” section, written by Patti McGinnis, the editor of Science Scope.  The title of the article was “Scientific Literacy in the Post-Truth Era.” In this article, we learn about the need for our students to be able to gather, read, and synthesize information from multiple appropriate sources and assess the credibility, accuarcy and possible bias of each publication and methods used, and describe how they are supported or not supported by evidence.

From the Twitterverse:  

Diane Ravitch @DianeRavitch

Peter Greene: The Meteoric Rise and Disappearance of Michelle Rhee

Peter Greene: The Meteoric Rise and Disappearance of Michelle Rhee

In thinking back over the past decade, Peter Greene realized that Michelle Rhee was one of its defining figures. For a time, she was everywhere. The media lover her stern and angry visage. She grac…

Will Richardson @willrich45

Try this: Keep a running count of how many questions students ask in class today that signal that they want to learn more about whatever is being discussed. Then do a little math to see how often that happens. Then think about the result. Is it what you want? #justaskin

Will Richardson @willrich45

“It may be easier to assess whether students can add and subtract two-digit numbers than whether they are effective collaborators, but our learners deserve a system based on what is important to asses, not just what is cheap and easy.” Yup.

Amber Mac @ambermac

Creative bunch: “Running your defrosters for awhile will loosen the suction cups… Other students suggested blocking the GPS signal… at least one student realized the device has an unlimited SIM card on it and used it to tether his phone to the internet”



Research-backed advice for building effective developmental relationships with kids in schools, with easy ways to get to know them.  @mindshiftkqed #teaching #studentcentered

Catlin Tucker @Catlin_Tucker

Rethink Your Grading Practices – #edchat

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



We asked teenagers what adults are missing about technology. This was the best response.

Social media makes us feel seen.

Charting Politics in an Election Year –

Here’s an online resource to help keep track of the primary voting cycle and then the general election.

The Wormeli Archive

You’ve been looking for an article by Rick Wormeli, but he’s so prolific you can’t remember where you saw it

Web Spotlight:  

The Case For Professors of Stupidity

But what exactly is stupidity? David Krakauer, the President of the Santa Fe Institute, told interviewer Steve Paulson, for Nautilus, stupidity is not simply the opposite of intelligence. “Stupidity is using a rule where adding more data doesn’t improve your chances of getting [a problem] right,” Krakauer said. “In fact, it makes it more likely you’ll get it wrong.”

Just for fun:  The Incompetence Opera    

Oneteen and Twoteen

“Teen” simply means “ten more than,” and of course, the prefix is self-explanatory.

In short, “11” is not “oneteen” and for that matter, “12” is not “twoteen.” What is going on here?

Bonus: “Twelve plus one” is an anagram of “eleven plus two.” (And for whatever it is worth, “twoteen plus one” is an anagram of “oneteen plus two,” obviously.)

Leif Vollebekk Sees His Song ‘Hot Tears’ As Yellow

Annotated by the Author: ‘Tiny Tyrannosaur Hints at How T. Rex Became King’

The Outsize Influence of Your Middle-School Friends

Friendship has real power for kids.

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