MSM 492: Insta is the new Santa?


What do you call stealing someone’s coffee? 

  • Mugging

How come New Year’s Kissing is such a big thing? 

  • After all, it’s the first date. 

Why don’t cats make Resolutions on New Year’s Eve?

  • They are Purrfect.

Did you hear that Dracula passed out at Midnight on New Year’s Eve? 

  • There was a Count Down. 

Why do people in Athens hate getting up early? 

  • Dawn is tough on Greece

I have a friend selling a George Foreman Grill and some Muhammad Ali DVDs. 

  • Pick up is easy, both boxed. 

What do you call a wreath made with $100 bills? 

  • Aretha Franklins

I just saw an ad for a Radio for $1, volume stuck to the loudest setting. 

  • I’m thinking, I can’t turn that down. 

I had a dream that I was getting attacked by a bike repeatedly. 

  • It was a vicious cycle.

Here’s a question for mind readers out there. 

Middle School Science Minute  

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or

What a Year!

I was recently reading the November/December 2020 issue of “Science and Children” a publication of the National Science Teaching Association.  In this issue, I read the “Editor’s Note” column written by Elizabeth Barrett-Zahn.  Her article was entitled “What a Year.”

As we move toward the early winter of 2020 we look back at schools following a patchwork of face-to-face, hybrid, and virtual models of instruction.  All teachers, at whatever grade-level, have been returned to their “rookie year” of teaching as they struggle to find ways to meet the needs of learners in their physical classrooms and on screens.

Reports from the Front Lines


Ira Glass on Storytelling

Ira Glass from This American Life talking about story telling. Part 3, On good taste and falling short.  This is a wonderful episode on how we all go through phases where we know our work is not up to par, even though we are trying so hard to make it perfect.  Keep doing your work, keep focused and don’t give up!

The Twitterverse


How do you incorporate multimedia into your lesson plans? #AMLE #NationalShortFilmDay #mschat #middleschool #ela #teachers #classroom #pixar  

Jeremy Hyler @Jeremybballer

If you haven’t been part of the One Word Challenge by @JonGordon11

, I highly recommend it. Do it with your students too. It is my first order of business on Monday. 2021 is going to see me be relentless! #oneword2021 #oneword #miched #mschat #6thchat #edchat

Larry Ferlazzo  @Larryferlazzo

Eight Teaching Concerns I Have Going Into 2021  

MiddleWeb  @middleweb

“How We Can Make Research Matter to Kids.” #mschat #tlchat #engchat #sschat #elachat #edchat

#mschat every Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.  And as Troy says, “The Twitter never stops!” 


General Principles of Virtual Learning – Georgia State University  

Key Factors in Virtual Learning:  

  • Intentionally organize the classroom.
  • Scaffold the lesson with intentionality.
  • Set up a single line of communication with parents and students.  
  • Post assignments in one place, one document.  

Could we make the case for additional Encore classes in Social Studies?  

Fordham Institute’s Longitudinal Study on Reading Comprehension:  

  • Elementary school students in the U.S. spend much more time on ELA than on any other subject.
  • Increased instructional time in social studies—but not in ELA—is associated with improved reading ability.
  • The students who benefit the most from additional social studies time are girls and those from lower-income and/or non-English-speaking homes.


Good News

Since 1997, millions of people have turned to the Good News Network® as an antidote to the barrage of negativity experienced in the mainstream media. Because of its long history, staying power, and public trust, GNN is #1 on Google for good news.

The website, with its archive of 21,000 positive news stories from around the globe, confirms what people already know—that good news itself is not in short supply; the broadcasting of it is. From our 5-star app, to our new book (And Now, The Good News: 20 Years of Inspiring News Stories), to our weekly Good News Gurus podcast, and Morning Jolt email newsletter, GNN is a daily dose of hope for millions of fans.

AXIS Network – The Culture Translator (  

Instagram is like . . . Santa Claus???

Forget Santa or the Elf on the Shelf, a new lawsuit (paywall) claims that Instagram sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake. The app has been accused of using users’ cameras to collect their data even when they’re not logged in.  

Web Spotlight:

Random forest images and audio.

Black Out Poetry

Black Out Poetry is made by colouring over parts of an existing text, so that only selected words remain visible, creating a poem.

To use this tool, you can select a text from the samples, or paste your own text source into the custom text field. Your chosen text will appear in the large box to the right.

With your mouse or touchscreen, select the words from the text you want to keep, and, when you are ready, press the black out button.

If you want to save the result as an image, maybe to post to your social network of choice, scroll down and hit Render as image. You can then save the image directly to your device.

Click the Play button below to listen to the show!