MSM 496: Crisis or Opportunity?


Did you hear about the rogue Mimes who kidnapped the Banker? 

  • They did unspeakable things.

If a drummer comes out of retirement will there be …

  • repercussions?

If you notice cows sleeping in a field, what does that mean?

  • It’s pasture bedtime

Why is it always unexpected when an Australian cook makes meringue on a cooking show and the audience applauds? 

  • Australians usually boo meringue

Why did the fisherman bring the shark back? 

  • It was a loan shark

Started a new job as a delivery man. The first delivery there was a note, “Delivery person, we’re out, please hide in the garage”. It’s been eight hours and nobody’s found me yet. 

I swallowed a dictionary. 

  • It gave me thesaurus throat I’ve ever had. 

How are carpenter ants different than Regular Ants?

  • Rainy Days and Mondays get them down. 

Middle School Science Minute  

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or

I was recently reading the January/February 2021 issue of “Science Scope” a publication of the National Science Teaching Association.  In this issue, I read the “From the Editor’s Desk“ column written by Patty McGinnis.  Her article was entitled “Learning for All.”

The changing demographics of our classrooms require differentiation strategies to ensure all students are working toward the performance expectations outlined in the NGSS.  One resource that you may find useful is the Universal Design for Learning framework, in which the teacher thoughtfully analyzes the learning environment and plans for all learners by removing barriers to learning.

Reports from the Front Lines

  •  Technical Troubles
    • Wiring vs Wifi 
  • Schedules
  • Restricted Access Fun in Moodle


The Big Fib (Formerly Pants On Fire)

This is a podcast now with Disney adapted for Disney+.  Two adults, one is an expert and one is an absolute liar.  They bring on a middle schooler and they get to ask questions to find out who is the liar and who is the expert.  Play the podcast and then over time create your own.  You can find The Big Fib over here:  

A Capella Group Does Sound Effects  

Play the YouTube video and have the students figure out the sound.  Don’t let them see the video, they have an iPad showing the answers.  How many can they guess?  

Where Are You From?

The World’s Most Dangerous Fart

The Twitterverse

The Modest Teacher @ModestTeacher

I wish weight loss worked the same way as learning loss.  

M. Yip @melyiplit

Michigan teachers- join us March 11 and 17 for Analyzing Propaganda and Teaching Media Literacy with @HolocaustMI hosted by @WashISD FREE and all welcome!

Detroit Inst of Arts  @DIADetroit

The DIA joins the Detroit community in celebrating life of artist Charles McGee, who has passed away at the age of 96.  

Miguel Guhlin @mguhlin

That Chrome zero-day bug affects Edge, Vivaldi, and other Chromium-tinged browsers


How can you promote good citizenship & mental wellness in a #virtualclassroom? Join us on 2/18 for a #webinar presented in assoc. w/ @pamleorg to learn best practices: #AMLE #PAMLE #middleschool #ICanHelp #mschat  

AIMS  @aimsnetwork

Have you checked out @AMLE‘s podcast: Middle School Walk & Talk? Timely topics related to all things middle school! #AIMSNetwork

Larry Ferlazzo  @Larryferlazzo

In each of my classes, a student gives a “daily dedication” where they talk about a fictional or real person who inspires them (idea borrowed from @edutopia article). SO MANY students get inspiration from anime ! I knew it was popular, but was ignorant of its power  

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


It’s a “Selfie” Thing:  The Role of Artifacts in Teacher Evaluation

“Don’t be afraid to document your achievements as an effective instructor.”

17 Bellringer Activities for Remote Learning



Primary Source Sources for Primary Source of the Day . . .  

Identifying children at risk of later being frequent online-technologies users

Open Middle Problems

Ditch those worksheets! This book serves as a collection of digitally interactive Open Middle problems.  Be sure to check out Open Middle’s site: This volume will continue to grow over time. This book also contains great resources from Steve Phelps and John Ulbright.

Great Gatsby

49,752 words (3 hours 1 minute) with a reading ease of 73.07 (fairly easy)


Web Spotlight:  

Snowflake Generator

Proposed Legislation

HR8570  Teachers and Parents at the Table Act

Establishes a Teacher Advisory council to make sure the ESSA is implemented.  Headed up by the Secretary of Education.

HR-8551  The Interstate Teacher Mobility Act

Participating states would accept the teaching certificates from other member states without additional teacher education so that a teacher can accept a position in another state without worrying about additional coursework.

HR-8550  The Students Helping Younger Students Act of 2020

College students can get Federal money for working after school programs.

HR-8623 Supporting Students with Disabilities During COVID Act

Supplemental funds for states to support children with disabilities and early childhood education.

Virtual Based Opportunities from the Arab American National Museum

Educator Virtual Open House4:30-6 p.m. EST Tuesday, Feb. 16FREE with RSVP
AANM invites Educators to join us for our first Educator Virtual Open House of 2021, taking place virtually over Zoom. The Open House will showcase the many educational, cultural and digital offerings and resources that AANM has available for educators locally and nationally to utilize in their classrooms. We are also excited to reveal, for the first time, some of the things we have been working on throughout 2020. Our goal is to equip teachers with appropriate materials and resources to better educate the masses about the Arab American community.
For questions, email Dave Serio, Education & Public Programming Specialist, at dserio “at”  Registration and more information can be found by clicking here.  
SURA Arts Academy: Online Photography Spring SemesterRegistration Deadline: 5 p.m. EST Friday, Feb. 19
Conducted completely online from the comfort of students’ homes, once a week via Zoom, both Beginner (ages 11-18) and Intermediate (ages 17+) 10-week courses are available for students nationwide. 
Students will learn the art of photography during a 10-week online course designed to help students share stories about their lives, community and culture, developing skills in composition, lighting and storytelling. The curriculum includes visual presentations, photographic challenges, activities and more. Students’ work will focus on documenting our world in the age of Covid, and will be celebrated in the annual SURA Student Photography Exhibition in 2021. 
Register today, space is limited!
Museum Members: $75General Public: $100Scholarships awarded based on financial need + availability
Beginners Course (Ages 11-18): 4-6 p.m. EST Tuesdays, Feb. 23 – May 4, 2021No experience necessary. Students must have access to a cell phone with a high quality camera.
Intermediate Course (Ages 17+): 4-6 p.m. EST Wednesdays, Feb. 24 – May 5, 2021Students must have their own DSLR camera and have some experience using and understanding their camera.  More information and registration can be found by clicking here.  

Educators: want to learn more about best practices for teaching about the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)? 

The Center for Middle Eastern & North African Studies (CMENAS) at the University of Michigan, in partnership with the Duke-UNC Center for Middle East Studies, is offering Grade 6-14 educators a series of five interactive 90-minute trainings, “How to teach about the Middle East — and Get it Right!” Register here

Educators may register for any or all of the sessions. SCECHs from the Michigan Department of Education are available.  

AXIS – The Culture Translator

Your Laugh Is Cringe

What it is: According to a Twitter thread started by The New York Times’ Taylor Lorenz, who reports on influencers and Gen Z, the youth have deemed the crying-laughing emoji as “cringe” and it is now reserved for people 30 and above.

Why you could choose to switch it up, or not: Affectionately dubbed “cry-face,” the “crying-laughing” emoji has been used for over a decade by iPhone and Android users alike as a shortcut to depict laughter or amusement. When teens text with each other, the cry-face might be interpreted as sarcasm or a passive aggressive response. If you’re still using “cry-face,” rest assured, your teen probably isn’t judging you. A parent sending “cry-face” will have different implications than it would when teens send it to each other. (Digital life has heaped layers of context onto our communication that will take years to untangle.) To better speak your teen’s (texting) language, you could try texting the skull emoji (as in, “that’s so funny, I’m dead”) or the actually crying emoji (as in, “that’s so funny, I’m weeping”).  

2021 Self C.A.R.E – AMLE 

“‘Educator” is synonymous with selfless. We wear this title with pride, even neglecting ourselves in the process, but it’s a new year, so why not start a new tradition of self-care? Self-care is any intentional way we focus on ourselves. This year—especially given our unique context–let’s consider ourselves as much as we consider those in our middle schools using C.A.R.E.: community, activity, reflection, and elimination.”

Student ‘Compliance Does Not Equal Engagement’

Some research suggests that as students get older, their engagement with school tends to decrease. 

 Our nation’s infatuation with winning and being first is closely related to Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest situated in the realm of the education system.

Our students who are not the best or the brightest are viewed as liabilities who should fend for themselves and make it the best way they can. High-stakes testing, which compares schools, students, and services, has an unintended consequence of placing blame on the very students the system claims it wants to help educate.

Random Thoughts . . .  

Personal Web Site   

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