MSM 494: Just Don’t Break Federal Law


No matter how much you push the envelope,

  • It’ll still be stationery

After Beast reverts to his original form as a Prince, he and Belle get married and have kids. This makes him, wait for it, the Fresh Prince of Belle Heirs. 

Hockey season has been cancelled. Nobody has seen the Zamboni driver. Don’t worry though, I’m sure that he will resurface eventually. 

What’s another name for dental x-rays? 

  • Tooth pics

My wife told me that I’ve grown as a person. 

Her actual words were “you’ve gotten fat”, but I know what she means. 

Eileen Award:  

  • WeChat:  Becessie of Shijiazhuang  

Middle School Science Minute  

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or

Interdisciplinary Science

I was recently reading the November/December 2020 issue of “The Science Teacher” a publication of the National Science Teaching Association.  In this issue, I read the “Editor’s Corner“ column written by Ann Haley Mackenzie.  Her article was entitled “Why Science Teachers Must Employ Interdisciplinary Science Methods to Save the World.”

Interdisciplinary science is when two disciplines come together to broaden the portrait of the concepts being uncovered by their students.  Climate change, cancer, overpopulation, food deserts, pollution, and other critical topics benefit from individuals engaging in collaborative interdisciplinary science.  It is a way to help students see the interconnections of the natural world. 

Reports from the Front Lines

  • Still thinking about the student teacher experience in all of this.  
    • Communication?
    • Back Channel?
    • Lead Teacher
    • Passwords & Access
  • What happens if the technology goes down?  
  • The Future of Tech
    • Recreating Teacher Centered Classrooms


Pictionary Online Recipe

  1. Student Chromebooks are charged.
  2. Grab for random pictionary word generation.
  3. Start a Ziteboard ( for drawing.
  4. Go!  

Possible scenarios:  

  • Use Google Meet breakout rooms and turn the kids loose on it.
  • You make a board, you invite one student to use a word from the generator and then play as a class.
  • Invent your own method!  

The Twitterverse

Cpjones  @icpjones

Online learning: 3 crucial elements for student engagement | Tes


UPCOMING- “It’s Not Too Early to Begin Planning Middle Level Schedules for School Year 2021-2022” w/ Elliot Y. Merenbloom

Jennifer Abrams  @jenniferabrams

20 Hilarious Bernie Sanders Memes Inspired by His Iconic Appearance at the Inauguration  Via  @mymodernmet

Bernie Sits

Nick LaFave  @NFLaFave

QR Code Chrome Extension – Instantly create a QR Code for any site with one click. A convenient way to share links with students. #EdTech #GoogleEdu #QRCodes

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


5 Ways to Take the Distance Out of Distance Learning

  1.  Be Dramatic!  Shout and Whisper 
  2. Focus on Connecting with Students
  3. Make sure everyone speaks.
  4. Really see each student – be specific with praise
  5. Incorporate Social Emotional Learning

Low-Tech Scientific Exploration for Students at Home


The Michigan Council for the Social Studies Resources

This list was produced as a quick go to for January 7th, but certainly could be used well beyond that.*yseDaIYDQAlBMb_8zxvhNw

Interdisciplinary At Work!  Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments Aren’t Blank

Ozone Layer Game

The game is tied to a similarly-titled animated series. It’s billed as a “2D platform runner” with puzzle solving based on your characters’ unique abilities, such as hacking devices, slowing time and even exploding manhole covers. This won’t be a particularly in-depth adventure game or even a complex shooter like Fortnite, but that’s not really the point — it’s meant to teach science in an engaging way.

The Reset Earth game should be available on February 10th, or slightly later than the January 24th premiere of the series.

From AXIS:  The Culture Translator – Spotify Playlists as conversation starters

This week we’re making conversation starters out of popular songs. Though we may hope our teens don’t know any of these, if they do, we want to help you meet them in their world. If they like a song, try asking first what they like about it. (FYI: The explicit version of every song here contains profanity, and some contain sexual content, so use discretion.)

1) “drivers license” by Olivia Rodrigo: a heart-wrenching ballad about driving to places haunted by memories of an ex.

  • It’s tempting to minimize breakup pain, but for teens, pain feels eternal. Consider asking, “How do you feel when you hear this song?” and sharing part of your own story. 

2) “Good Days” by SZA: another song about struggling to get over an ex, but holding out hope for good days in the future. 

  • Key lyric: “All the while, I’ll await my armored fate with a smile”
  • If your teen likes SZA (pronounced “sizza”), consider asking what they think the key lyric means, 

3) “Bad Boy” by Juice WRLD: about sex, drugs, and power, surprising only because Juice WRLD was often more introspective.

  • Consider asking, “What do you think about Juice WRLD? Are you surprised to hear him on a song like ‘Bad Boy’?”

4) “Whoopty” by CJ: another song full of braggadocio, using lots of obscure slang. 

  • Consider asking, “Why do you think so many people rap and sing about how rich they are?” 

5) “34+35 (Remix)” by Ariana Grande: one of the most sexually explicit songs on positions, made more so with Doja Cat and Megan Thee Stallion. 

  • Consider asking, “Why do you think so many women see music like this as empowering?” 

6) “Mood” by 24kGoldn: a song about relational conflict and avoidant attachment styles. 

  • Consider asking, “Have you ever felt the impulse to unattach when you start getting close to someone?” 

7) “Lemonade” by Internet Money: drugs and braggadocio with shimmering guitar.  

  • Consider asking, “How many people do you think actually pay attention to the lyrics in songs like this?” 

8) “WITHOUT YOU” by The Kid LAROI: another painful breakup ballad (reviewed in detail here). 

  • Consider asking, “Do you think most people like this because they’re going through heartache, or for other reasons?” 

9) “positions” by Ariana Grande: about love, commitment, and flexibility in relationship (full album reviewed here). 

  • Key lyric: “Know my love infinite, nothin’ I wouldn’t do”
  • Consider asking, “Is anyone’s love actually infinite? Why?” 

10) “Streets” by Doja Cat: about regretting a breakup and getting back together. 

  • Consider asking, “How will you know if you’re in the right relationship? Is any relationship ever 100% right?”


Bleak is a young adult novel inspired from my experiences with bullying in elementary school. Writing the book was a 15 year journey for me and I was continually motivated by my middle school students who said that their voices weren’t being heard. The thought I couldn’t run away from at 11 was if “life is this bad now, it will never get any better.” If you’re struggling with similar thoughts – it is my hope that this book is a light in your world.

Whiteboard Chat

Web Spotlight:  

Can PBIS Build Justice Rather Than Merely Restore Order?

In a multicase qualitative study, inclusive school leaders attempted to move their schools from the excessive use of suspension; they employed positive behavioral intervention and support (PBIS) as an alternative they thought would be therapeutic rather than punitive. However, the PBIS system traded a disciplinary system of control for a medicalized system of restoring order. Unwanted behavior came to be defined as evidence of possible behavioral disability. Hence, the PBIS system exchanged one deficit identity of “disorderly” student for another of “disordered” student, subsuming other considerations of race, class, and gender identity. Following the study’s findings, this chapter proposes more liberatory practices for PBIS that interrupt dominant culture discourses of normal behavior and power, and hold promise for establishing justice, rather than simply reinstating order.

50 Things You Won’t Be Able to Unsee

The Misremembering of ‘I Have a Dream’

Half a century after the March on Washington and the famous “I Have a Dream” speech, the event has been neatly folded into America’s patriotic mythology. 

Instead, it is hailed not as a dramatic moment of mass, multiracial dissidence, but as a jamboree in Benetton Technicolor, exemplifying the nation’s unrelenting progress toward its founding ideals.

Central to that repackaging of history is the misremembering of King’s speech. It has been cast not as a searing indictment of American racism that still exists, but as an eloquent period piece articulating the travails of a bygone era.

Regardless, any contemporary discussion about the legacy of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech must begin by acknowledging the way we now interpret the themes it raised at the time. Words like “race,” “equality,” “justice,” “discrimination” and “segregation” mean something quite different when a historically oppressed minority is explicitly excluded from voting than it does when the president of the United States is black. King used the word “Negro” fifteen times in the speech; today the term is finally being retired from the US Census as a racial category.

In Congress Assembled . . . 

HR-33 117th Congress – January is Mentoring Month

HCR-4 117th Congress – Support for National No-Name-Calling Week

HR-3982 116 Congress – Protect Women’s Sports Act

HR-8797 116 Congress – Establish a Commission on American Civics.

HR-8715 116th Congress – Pandemic Planning and Response for Schools Act

HR-8714 116th Congress – Family Friendly Schools Act

Random Thoughts . . .  


4 Channels of News

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