MSM 512: I Suspect That This is English, But I’ve Got Nothin’. . .


I had a dog named “5 miles” so I could tell people I walked “5 miles.”  But today I ran over “5 miles.”  

Did you hear about the Dad who had his worst fear happen when the family bunnies escaped? 

  • Yep, hare loss

My friend loaned his girlfriend $100. Three years later, they broke up. She paid him back the $100. I guess you could say he lost interest in that relationship.

My friend started a new band. The band is called “Duvet”. 

  • They’re a cover band. 

We went to a new restaurant. It has a “Mary Poppins” theme. 

  • Super cauliflower cheese but the lobster was atrocious

Middle School Science Minute  

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or

What the 2020-2021 School Year Taught Us About Science Teaching and Learning

I was recently reading the May/June 2021 issue of “The Science Teacher” a publication of the National Science Teaching Association.  In this issue, I read the section “Editor’s Corner” written by the editor, Ann Haley MacKenzie.  Ann wrote an article entitled “What the 2020-2021 School Year Taught Us About Science Teaching and Learning.”

The school year has drawn to a close, although many schools have extended learning into the summer to address the gaps in learning experienced this year due to COVID.  Some schools were remote all year, some have been face-to-face, and others have been hybrid.  The year was surreal and reminded many of their first year of teaching or starting teaching all over again.

Reports from the Front Lines

  • Shawn has delayed summer vacation AGAIN!  
  • Summer Conference Series  
    • The Future of Conferencing?  


Google Arts & Culture – Art Freefall

Click a pic and watch an exploding ball of art.  Use the mouse to navigate around the “ball” and see individual pictures from Google Arts & Culture.  Pick a pic and share what draws you to it.  Alternatively, they could pick a pic that describes them that day.  


Hand out a few slips of paper to each student and ask them to write down questions they’d like to discuss as a group. These can be prompts like “Which restaurant serves the best pizza in town?” or “Would you rather _____ or _____?”

Once you have the questions, you can set aside two minutes at the beginning or end of class—depending on your other classroom routines—for student-led discussions twice a week. Arrange a schedule that allows for each kid to have a chance to lead the talk. Put the schedule on the whiteboard and encourage the class to take ownership of this activity by having the students design a set of discussion norms.

On the designated days, all you need to do is hand a prompt to the facilitator. After that, stand to the side and listen to the conversations, but don’t participate—this is a chance for students to chat about a non-academic topic of interest.

Introverts may be anxious about leading a discussion; you can ease this worry by allowing students to co-lead with a peer. To encourage self-advocacy, you can ask them to arrange this before their turn to lead comes.

Design a Team Sticker – Sticker Giant

These folks have sponsored educational events in the past and been generous.  Make a sticker, pass them out to your team.  Create a team identity together and build your learning community for the year.

The Twitterverse  

Eric Curts  @ericcurts

How to Play YouTube Videos Safely in School… #ControlAltAchieve  

John R. Sowash  @jrsowash

Explore your #Chromebook with @ThingLink_edu #ChromebookEDU #googleEDU

Phyllis Fagell, LCPC  @Pfagell

With my 13-year-old, I would get the death stare if I became visible to his Zoom classmates. With my 19-year-old—who took a summer course from my car during a road trip—I had to beg him to warn me if he was going to turn the camera on me & announce: “Say hi to my mom, everyone!”  

The Daily Wire  @realDailyWire

Radioactive Boar-Pig Hybrids Emerge From Fukushima Disaster Site, According To Study 

Joy Kirr @JoyKirr

This summer: Realizing that I don’t need to go many places, do many things, or see many people in order to be content and recover from last year. I appreciate it when it happens, but I’m loving the life I’m fortunate/privileged enough to have. Working on learning + relaxing. 

Thomas Sowell  @ThomasSowell

Advice to the young: You don’t have to listen to anybody. You can learn everything from your own personal experience. Of course, you will be at least 50 years old by the time you know what you need to know at 25.

Michael Fricano II  @EdTechnocation

Top secret! @CoSpaces_Edu is working on a new virtual tour creator tool! #ARVRedu #edtech #cospacesedu

MindShift  @MindShiftKQED

It is the inherent messiness of this stage that gives parents an opportunity to “get in there and make a difference.”

Joy Kirr   @JoyKirr

I understand giving students choice. As it shows here, though, what’s the learning objective?  As a reader, I don’t do any of these when I finish a book. If it’s good, I want to share it (or part of it) w/someone. Other ways students can “prove” they’re reading? #ShiftThis

 Typical EduCelebrity   @EduCelebrity

My new learning pyramid… Students remember: 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they see, 40% of what they see and hear, 100% of what’s on Tik Tok!  

Mountain Moot @mtmoot

keynote #2 Martin Dougiamas will be joining us from Australia to talk about Moodle, changes and what is coming soon. @moodler Friday 9:00am (MST). #mtmoot

Typical EduCelebrity  @EduCelebrity

Listen, I am all about knowing classical languages, but there are better ways to learn the Greek alphabet than through Covid variants.

WeAreTeachers  @WeAreTeachers

Asking for a friend…how’d we go from June 9th to July 9th in the blink of an eye? #teachertwitter #teachers

cpjones FCCT  @icpjones

Very very concerning …. Millions of pupils in England had no language teaching in lockdowns – survey

Mark Glynn @glynnmark

#Moodle Board is now Available – a plugin design to improve student engagement

Phyllis Fagell, LCPC  @Pfagell

I have my best ideas at 3 am, then forget them by morning. So last night, I decided to end this frustrating cycle by emailing myself the idea right away. Anyway, here’s the brilliance I found in my inbox this morning. Getheng all as is at cosdoqnsis wto being good at wvwetryitb

Social Studies @socialstudiestx

#Socialstudies educators: we are looking for people that are interested in joining our #ssunconference this December. It will be free and we need help with planning presenters and more.

Join us! #sschat #sstlap #education #teachertwitter  

H5P  @H5PTechnology

Major new features coming soon to H5P: – The H5P OER Hub – Virtual escape room – Real time competition mode ( – Augmented reality – Paragraph sorting – Cornell notes


Kevin Honeycutt  @kevinhoneycutt


Mr. Taylor Lewis  @TeachMrLewis

Make the venn diagram shape squares , not circles. Much easier for students to type into and a better use of space.

Matt Miller  @jmattmiller

20 useful ways to use Padlet in class now


Launch Michigan @launchmich

#Michigan teachers are retiring in record numbers. Our latest statewide survey of 5,000 educators revealed retirements are up 44%, and college graduates with a teaching degree are down 70% over the last eight years.

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


20 Questions – Matt Miller’s Ditch That Textbook!

Summer is a time of reflection for teachers.  Matt Miller has some questions to get your thinking started.

Taking Middle Schoolers’ Reading Journals Online

Talking Through Reading and Writing you make a case for a broad definition of text. You draw the students in through discussions about song lyrics, tv shows, YouTube, poetry, and art.


AMLE Schools of Distinction

AMLE Schools of Distinction is both a recognition and continuous improvement program open to any school that educates students aged 10-15. Schools will be celebrated for their commitment to the middle grades best practices outlined in AMLE’s foundational text, The Successful Middle School: This We Believe, while also being guided through a process of self-assessment and strategic vision setting to help foster ongoing growth and success.  

Truth & Propaganda – World Radio

Before we can spot lies, we have to know what’s true


Gamification:  Netflix Binge Learning

Turn binge watching into binge LEARNING with this fully editable template inspired by Netflix!  This Netflix-inspired “Binge Learning” Google Slides Template offers students a low stress, low hassle way to give your students a “big picture” overview of a concept and the possibility to zoom in with individual “episodes” related to a particular topic of your choice. 

Google Arts & Culture – X Degrees of Separation

Click on two pictures and watch Google build you a timeline on how the history of art got from that art piece to the other one.

HackEducation – Audrey Watters

Remember the book?  Well, the website is now on hiatus until further notice.  I get the feeling it is gone, but that could be the beans from breakfast.  Audrey has completed a book on Teaching Machines.  You can order it from MIT Press, or save some money and pre-order it from Amazon.  The book ships August 3, 2021.  

Moodle Close and GIFT Code Generator V3.31

Download a code generator for creating simple Moodle compatible embedded answer (cloze) question strings and GIFT formatted import strings in Excel.  Thanks to Jordan Svien of the Bunkyo English Communications Center for producing this handy tool.  

Compass Classroom – Word Up!  – Complete Set

Dwane Thomas of Visual Latin fame stars in a zany show teaching Latin and Greek roots, as well as hundreds of English words. Utilizing a new approach to learning, WordUp! seriously expands a student’s grasp of the vocabulary used in literature, science, and standardized tests.  Includes Vol. 1 – 3.  $65.00 while on sale.

Civic Online Reasoning

Students are confused about how to evaluate online information. We all are. The COR curriculum provides free lessons and assessments that help you teach students to evaluate online information that affects them, their communities, and the world.

Spelling Words

We’ve dropped the Merriam-Webster definitions beside them, to help if you’re testing your friends and family (National Spelling Bee competitors are allowed to ask for this, so your loved ones are, too).


Explore the British countryside and delve into the big rural issues with the team at BBC Countryfile Magazine. Follow us on walks into beautiful places and meet fascinating people. Lots of sound scapes available.

Lift Every Voice

For more than a century, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” has held a powerful place in American history. The hymn is known as the Black National Anthem, but it’s more than that. It’s a history lesson, a rallying cry, a pledge of unity, and as people gather to fight for equality and justice, it is an ever-present refrain.

Here’s a tour of the historical and cultural meaning behind the lyrics.

Web Spotlight:  


Turn your spreadsheets of information into flashcards.

The Class is LAVA! – Edrenaline Rush  

Back to school activity where students accomplish tasks to collect things like furniture for the classroom.  As they navigate the room, they encounter the . . . LAVA!  

Google Arts and Culture

This is the landing place for Google Expeditions and Google Poly.  If you haven’t seen the site in a little while, I’d check it out.  There are a variety of different ways to explore the site, including by timeline.  As you explore the site, you can earn badges.  There was some speculation at #ISTE21 LIVE! that some of the Google Experiments stuff may be moving over to Google Arts & Culture in the future to make the feature more robust.  Looking for Blob Opera?  Sneak over to Google Arts & Culture.  You’ll also find GAC on giphy.

AXIS – The Culture Translator

Vax On, Vax Off

What it is: Teens are rebelling against their parents by getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Legal loopholes mean that they sometimes are able to get these shots without their parents knowing.  

This American Friendship

What it is: Survey results reveal young Americans have far fewer close friends than they did thirty years ago.

Why it’s affecting your sons and daughters: In 1990, three percent of Americans reported that they had three or fewer close friends. In 2021, that number jumped to twelve percent. This same data set reports that young men are relying more on their parents than close friends for everyday emotional support, and that men of all ages are far less likely than women to have recently had any type of private conversation with a friend in which they confided a problem or expressed affection. 

The Purge: TikTok

What it is: TikTok deleted over 11 million accounts this quarter for violations of their community guidelines. More than 7 million of those were removed due to violating TikTok’s rules about age.

Why it’s a promising sign: In the past, TikTok hasn’t published numbers that show how many underage accounts they found and expunged from the platform. TikTok’s standard is that a user needs to be 13 or older to manage their own individual account. The fact that the app, which currently has 1 billion global users, is getting publicly honest about younger user’s presence on the platform while doing something to limit their access shows that maybe the platform is taking the rules they adopted in December of 2020 seriously.  

#WatermelonMustard Challange

What it is: A viral TikTok trend you might actually want to try at home: mustard on a slice of watermelon.

Slang of the Week

snatched: a compliment typically used for physical attributes, especially the smallness of someone’s waist, but also sometimes their makeup or outfit. 

Poggers: an expression of excitement that typically refers to something surprising, impressive, or delightful, usually during a video game (see also: Pog, PogChamp). 

Cap: to lie or to exaggerate; sometimes represented with a baseball cap emoji. The opposite of “cap” is truth or authenticity, referred to as “no cap.” 

Ex: “I’ll be swinging by your house to pick you up in the nicest car you have ever seen, no cap.”

Other Data: 20 Signs You’re Actually Making A Difference As A Teacher

Random Thoughts . . .  


If you’re like Troy, you’ve always wanted to be a conductor.  Personally, I’m best at electricity.  You, however, might enjoy Google’s Semi-Conductor:  

Click the Play button below to listen to the show!