MSM 617: Middle School – The Island of Misfit Toys?


Shawn and Troy talk about Astronauts, Michigan History, and more. Dave grows beyond Earth.


I’ve started to teach my grandchildren about the health benefits of eating dried fruit.

What do you call a retired miner? 

  • Doug.

It takes guts to be an organ donor.

I was going to get a brain transplant, but I changed my mind

Why is it so windy inside an arena? All those fans.

Just realised that if aquatic mammals went to university, it would be on the Hippo Campus.

Haven’t heard of an astronaut yet who doesn’t go above and beyond.  

Middle School Science Minute  

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or

K12Science Podcast:  Growing Beyond Earth

I was recently reading the January/February 2024 issue of “Science Scope,” a publication of the National Science Teaching Association for middle school science teachers.

In this issue, I read the “Citizen Science” section written by Jill Nugent.  She wrote an article entitled, “Growing Beyond Earth: Cultivating 21st-Century Science Exploration.”

The Growing Beyond Earth citizen science project, in partnership with NASA and the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden, partners with classrooms and identifies edible plant varieties that are well suited for beyond Earth growing conditions.  For more information, visit:

Reports from the Front Lines

  • Michigan History Day
    • State Representatives
    • Great Feedback
  • PSAT Vocabulary Moodle Course
  • New Grade Bands for Teacher Certification in Michigan  
  • Shawn’s Student Teacher – Shawn
  • What would get you to recommend teaching as a profession to young people today?  
  • Generative AI –
  • Multiple Clipboard – Clipy

The Social Web

Tyler Rablin  @Mr_Rablin

Our school district office takes awkward ice breakers to a whole new level.

Two urinals right next to each other.

DogeDesigner  @cb_doge

Microsoft ruined the Las Vegas sphere 


Trevor Muir  @TrevorMuir

“If you’re a teacher, your job is NOT to get 100% participation from your students. Your job is to keep giving them opportunities to succeed.”

Susie Dent@susie_dent

Word of the day is ‘galère’ (18th century): a coterie or set of undesirable people.


Unlocking the Spectrum of Learning: The Multi-Faceted Magic of Personalization

20 small starts for alternative grading


Game Generators

Three-Quarters of Teens “Feel Happy” Away from Their Phones

Every year I challenge students—seventh graders—to go on a “screen vacation.” This means they have to avoid all screens for at least 24 hours, and write a short essay about their experience going offline.

Nearly every student writes that they “feel peaceful” or “relaxed” or “less anxious” away from their screens. 

In a new survey published Monday by the Pew Research Center, nearly three-quarters of U.S. teens say they feel happy (74 percent) or peaceful (72 percent) when they are away from their phones. Smaller percentages equate not having their phone with negative emotions. For example, teens say not having their phone at least sometimes makes them feel anxious (44 percent), upset (40 percent), or lonely (39 percent).

Most teens say smartphones make it easier to pursue hobbies and interests (69 percent), to be creative (65 percent), and to do well in school (45%). Roughly four in ten teens also say smartphones make it easier for them to develop healthy friendships, while only 31 percent say they make it harder or neither easier nor harder.

What a bunch of A-list celebs taught me about how to use my phone

Web Spotlight: 

 AXIS The Culture Translator

Clocking Out?

What it is: On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would effectively ban TikTok from operating in the US.


What it is: Organized groups on Discord and Telegram have been targeting vulnerable minors, often survivors of serious mental health conditions, for abuse and exploitation.

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