MSM 148 NMSA 2010: Happy New Year!


On a visit to Chicago
On a visit to Chicago, a woman was eager to visit a posh department store a few blocks from her hotel. Her husband agreeably hailed a cab. “The lady wants to go to Neiman Marcus,” he told the driver. The cabby looked over his shoulder at them. “And the gentleman?” he asked. “Does he want to go to the bank?”

“Honey,” said this husband to his wife, “I invited a friend home for supper.” “What? Are you crazy? The house is a mess, I didn’t go shopping, all the dishes are dirty, and I don’t feel like cooking a fancy meal!” “I know all that.” “Then, why did you invite a friend for supper?” “Because the poor guy is thinking about getting married.”

Blood Pressure
When a doctor remarked on a new patient?s extraordinarily ruddy complexion, he said, “High blood pressure, Doc. It runs in my family.” “Your mother’s side or your father’s?” the doctor asked. “Neither,” the patient replied. “It’s from my wife’s family.” “Oh, come now,” said the doctor “How could your wife’s family give you high blood pressure?” He sighed. “You oughta meet ’em sometime, Doc!”

The wife saw her husband frustrated reading the Marriage Certificate from top to bottom, flip it over, and then read it again… She asked: “Honey, what are you looking for?” He answered: “Nothing dear, I’m just looking for the expiration date.”

On Our Mind:

Happy New Year!

Middle School Science Minute

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or

Did you Know…..
Ummmmm… Chemistry


2011 Predictions:

From the Twitterverse:

*gatorbonBC by DianeRavitch  Corporate Schools vs Public Schools? No Separate is STILL not equal. Wear Red 4 Public Ed Tues Jan 4. #WearRedForEd #edchat @DianeRavitch
*nancyrubin by francesblo  Why Should Educators Blog? Reflective Writing Can Positively Affect Teaching
*DianeRavitch What you need to know about Finland:
*AnthonyCody Battling the “Bad Teacher” Bogeyman: A Teacher takes on Hanushek’s misguided model of improvement: #edreform
*mcleod New post: A hilarious (and scary) tale about standardized testing scoring #edtech
*web20classroom Want More Engaged Students? Give Them A Say:
*web20classroom RT @ransomtech: A good discussion starter: “21 Things That Will Become Obsolete in Education by 2020”
*NCMSA RT @mathematicsprof: 2011 is also the sum of 11 CONSECUTIVE prime numbers: 2011=157+163+167+173+179+181+191+193+197+199+211
*SeanBanville “2011 to Be Best Year Ever” – My latest BreakingNewsEnglish lesson plan – #ESL
*mcleod CASTLE blog post: Virtual Schooling In The News
*sarahhanawald RT @fredbartels: Blaming bad teachers for learning failure in high-poverty areas like blaming bad doctors for high disease rates in slums.
*DianeRavitch LA school that is “least effective” but not really:
*terryfreedman 10 tips for planning the use of technology in lessons: Using educational technology effectively usu… Pls RT, thx!

NSMA 2010 Session 5:

A five year multi-case study of middle level teachers

Dr. Holly Thornton
(email her for the presentation)

Teacher Observation:  Caitlyn
A lot of these are self reporting.
It’s a legal can of worms.

Teacher Observation:  Caitlyn

Longitudinal case analysis.

Do these beliefs last over time.

Teacher Observation: Caitlyn

Put on your teacher evaluator hat.

What did they do well and what needs improvement?

Teacher Observation:  Amy

More organized.

Dispositions Observation form.

There is an observation form for this stuff.

Left hand column is responsiveness

Right hand column is technical

Center is Medium level.

The disconnected side sounds like a slam, but it isn’t intended to be so.

Dispositions in Action

Focus is impact on student learning/depth of understanding.

Responsive sees the kids getting learning deeply and technical is seeing the kids getting it correctly (technical details)

Context wasn’t a main factor in this study.

Aligned with Young Adolescent needs.

Responsive are better at teaching this.

Responsive dispositions align more with deeper teaching.  Both are necessary, but Responsive seems to have an advantage.

Manifested in teacher/student interaction.

Discourse analysis

Used to understand how the teachers got the kids to this place

Grounded theory from model middle school analysis

Evaluating Dispositions

Summary Findings Over Time

Young teachers’ dispositions remained fairly consistent over time.

They maintained their dispositions over time.

The testing pieces helped them live out their dispositions, maybe.

Many teachers leave the field because they don’t feel successful in what they choose to do.

What does this imply for us?

Factors that did not

Type of school setting

Content area taught

Testing emphasis

Factors that matter most

School climate

Collaborative time with teacher

School leadership

Principal trust was a huge influence.

Push on testing

Trust that they would do their jobs was important

Testing emphasis

How that emphasis was stressed moved people to the technical side.

Original dispositional orientation.

Can you teach dispositions?

All were dealing with a strong emphasis on standardized high stakes testing via No Child Left Behind.

(Note find teacher quality index)

All were held accountable to these tests and were successful in getting students to do well on them.

However, the young teachers’ dispositions affected how they reacted to the testing focus and how they ultimately defined teaching and learning in their classrooms.

Note:  The more middle school a middle school is the better the test scores.  (Find this study)
Consider as Middle Level Teacher Educators

Responsive teachers may at this time in education feel like they are teaching against the grain.  The question may be what types of dispositions we want our graduates to possess, given the current educational context and challenges.  What serves them best and ultimately what best serves their students and our future society?

The people who will be in the next century are the responsive types, not the technical types.

Look for publications in Teacher Ed Quarterly.

How to manifest it in the classroom.

CEU info:  AA7
2461 Session #
Send her stuff too.

21st Century Skills for students

Session 2
Chad Foster

Teenagers preparing for the real world.
Mostly read by 8th graders. Written at a 7th grade level.
Based off of a 10 day short course.
Reading literacy is the basis.
Business background.

Students spend 15,000 hours in the classroom before graduation. Too many kids don’t know what to do after school. Schools do a good job of educating kids but not preparing them.

  • Good Friends
  • Reputation
  • Like what they are doing
  • Give back to the community

Knowledge- must be relevant

What part of the cell provides energy? mitocondri

  • Communication Skills
  • People Skills
  • Technology Skills
  • Time Management Skills

Skills must be learned. They can’t be Googled.
We need to teach the ability to talk to “strangers”.

80% of jobs that are being hired are never posted or advertised. People with networking skills are getting the jobs. In the past, you needed to work hard to stay in contact with others. Today it is easy.

Meet a stranger activity. Too many kids don’t know how to talk to business people. They think that they need lots of complex questions. They need to learn how to ask simple questions, listen and then follow up.

Teach kids to talk about:

  • Family
  • What they do
  • Hobbies

Have kids practice talking to “strangers”. Start with students acting like someone else. Then have adults do the same thing. Then bring in business people.
Have the students contact people who use outside the norm jobs. Students complete interviews and then do a one minute presentation.
Bring in a diverse panel for kids to ask questions.

Have kids write a handwritten thank you cards.


Can Learning to Play the Violin Make you Smarter?

Brenda Brenner, a music education professor at the IU Jacobs School of Music, developed the program after academic research showed students who played string instruments performed better academically than those who did not.


Google Body
Played with Google Earth?  You know, that website the kids go to to look at their own homes via satellite?  Here’s one for the human body:

Math & Money, the popular personal finance management service, in collaboration with Scholastic has launched a free personal finance curriculum for middle school use. Math and Money is a collection of four short lessons (2 primary lessons and two “bonus” lessons) about personal finance. Lesson one is designed to teach students about wages, taxes, and costs of living. Lesson two is designed to teach students the benefits of saving their money in a bank. The bonus lessons expand the first two lessons. Scholastic hosts printable materials that you can download and use to support the lessons.

Life on Minimum Wage

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 ISTE Special Interest Group:  Virtual Environments is holding meetings on Mondays from 4:00 – 6:00 pm (SLT) on ISTE Island.
  • The Ohio Middle Level Association will hold their annual conference February 17 – 18, 2011.
  • Second Life:
    • Regular Tuesday meetings are scheduled. See the board on the ISTE Island for up to the minute details.  Check frequently this week as the ISTE Annual Convention is this week.
    • Video: Educational Uses of Second Life