MSM-119 Teaching Secrets that we just gave away!


The world’s first fully computerized airliner was ready for its maiden flight without pilots or crew. The plane taxied to the loading area automatically, its doors opened automatically, the steps came out automatically. The passengers boarded the plane and took their seats. The steps retreated automatically, the doors closed, and the airplane taxied toward the runway. “Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,” a voice intoned. “Welcome to the debut of the world’s first fully computerized airliner. Everything on this aircraft is run electronically. Just sit back and relax. Nothing can go wrong … Nothing can go wrong…nothing can go wrong….”

Homework Assignments
A father came home from work one night to find his little boy sitting on the cat, with a pen and paper in his hand. “Why are you sitting on Felix?” he asked. “Well, teacher told us to write an essay on the family pet.”

On Our Mind:

Happy Belated Birthday to Ron King!

1:1 Learning:

In “Educational Outcomes and Research from 1:1 Computing Settings” Damian Bebell and Laura M. O’Dwyer examine all four empirical studies and conclude that they provide clear evidence that 1:1 computing programs in K-12 schools have produced: increased student and teacher technology use; increased student engagement level; and modest increases in student achievement.

More specifically, they draw conclusions in four areas:

  • Viability of the Technology Immersion plan: The authors conclude that it can work if done right and that a key to success is ensuring that students have computers outside of school as well as in the classroom.
  • Assessment: They conclude that more research is needed about the relationship between laptops and standardized tests and raise questions about whether the current tests measure what students actually learn from 1:1.
  • Impact on Teachers: They observe that 1:1 implementations challenge traditional teaching approaches and find that professional development geared especially to teaching in the 1:1 classroom is very helpful.
  • Impact on Students: Finally, Bebell and O’Dwyer conclude that students not only became more engaged with school but became better researchers, have access to an “expanded” classroom, and benefit from “systematic and ubiquitous use of technology, as opposed to idiosyncratic and sporadic use of technology” (Weston, Bain).

Elementary to Middle

Middle to High

From Our Listeners:

Hi guys,
I was listening to the podcast while I was driving to the Detroit Zoo to do a workshop with 8th – 12th grade teachers, on Writing in Science.  I heard you talk about the person who wanted to use 70% formative and 20% summative for students grades and how you thought he had it backward. Well, in our workshop, we have been working on writing strategies from the Writing Across the Curriculum Document and in the document they share Writing to Learn (formative) strategies and Writing to Demonstrate Knowledge (summative) strategies.  As we talked, it was obvious that there was a lot of confusion between formative and summative, especially when it came to grades.  I shared your example of the students who both learned the content, but started their learning at different levels.  As you talked about you, it was clear that if a student had more prior knowledge they would probably get a better grade.  But a student who learned the same things, yet had less prior knowledge would probably not get as good a grade.  This was a striking example for the participants in the workshop.  All of a sudden, people got a much better understanding of formative assessment, summative assessment and its impact on grading.  I think it is a great example and it had a great impact on 40 science teachers.
Keep up the good work,
Dave Bydlowski
Twitter:  k12science
Facebook:  k12science

From the Twitterverse:


The Learners Profile
These are informal “information gathering” tools for you to use in your classroom. They are designed to make teachers and students more aware of their different strengths, interests, modalities, and personalities. Please do not accept any results or responses without checking them out by watching your students in action. Observation and data gathering go hand-in-hand and enable you to detect the difference between what your students SAY and what they actually do.


Teens & Mobile Phone Infographic:

Create your own timelines:

Students Provide Feedback on Teachers:
A measure that calls for students to provide “constructive feedback’’ to their teachers was approved by the Boston School Committee last night, after students had spent two years working for its passage.
The students had initially pushed for teacher evaluations that would be kept on file, and would carry weight in the overall evaluation of the teacher by administrators, but union officials balked at that idea.
Instead, the measure puts in place a survey that students will fill out anonymously and submit directly to their teachers. The feedback would then be compiled and passed on to administrators with the names of the teachers excluded.

Teaching Secrets: 10 To-Dos for New Teachers

1. Find your curriculum and read through it several times.
2. Find all your supporting materials, both student and teacher copies.
3. Ask to look over last year’s yearbook.
4. Create a birthday list for each class (celebrate half-birthdays for summer birthdays, six months from the actual date).
5. Develop some sort of impartial method for calling on students during class.
6. Figure out how you will capture students on the first day of school.
7. Design some method to manage and keep track of daily paperwork, especially for absent students.
8. Make an appointment to sit down with important building specialists.
9. Introduce yourself to the school secretaries, the nurse, the bookkeepers and the paraprofessionals.
10. Decide where and when you will fight your battles with the kids.

Reading Programs Yield Few Gains in Comprehension

A federal study of supplemental programs that are intended to improve students’ reading comprehension has found that only one of the three programs examined actually did so.
The report, released May 5, focuses on the second and final year of research into the reading programs. It concludes that ReadAbout, a computer-based program by Scholastic Inc., improved students’ comprehension of social studies texts when the teacher had a previous year’s experience with the program. The size of the effect after an academic year of instruction was the equivalent of moving a student from the 50th to the 59th percentile, the researchers said.

Events & Happenings:

Calendar of Events:

NMSA News:

Other News:

  • 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.
  • The Ohio Middle Level Association will hold their annual conference February 18 & 19, 2010. Jack Berckemeyer will be keynoting.
  • Second Life: