MSM 618: What Means This “Over Achievery?”


Shawn and Troy talk about middle schoolers, AI, and more. Dave books us some learning.


I had a fight with a snowman last night. He didn’t last long.0

  • things got a bit heated.

Never mind the ice, I’ve just slipped on the floor in the local library.

I was in the non-friction section.

I was in a good mood till I started petting a duckling in the park. Then I started feeling a little down.

yesterday a clown held a door open for me.

I thought it was a nice jester!

What is the most effective way to quit being vegan? Cold turkey.

Boss Why is it when things go wrong you always blame somebody else?

Me No, you’re thinking of Dave, hes the one always blaming others.

Which is heavier, the collected works of Shakespeare or a prison full of inmates? The prose outweighs the cons.

What do you call a horse that lives next door? A neighbor.

People often ask me how i smuggle chocolate into the movies?


I have a few Twix up my sleeve!

A book just fell on my head. I only have my shelf to blame.

Middle School Science Minute  

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or

K12Science Podcast:  Outstanding Science Trade Books for Middle School Students – Part 1

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 section on the “Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students.  The selections are a collaboration of the National Science Teaching Association and the Children’s Book Council.

In this first of two podcasts, I share six of the twelve books that were selected for middle school students.  The books are:

  • “My Indigo World” by Rosa Chang
  • “Before Colors: Where Do Pigments and Dyes Come From” by Annette Bay Pimental
  • “Grizzly Bears: Guardians of the Wilderness” by Frances Backhouse
  • “Mission Arctic: A Scientific Adventure to a Changing North Pole” by Katharina Weiss-Tuider
  • “We Need to Talk About Vaginas” by Dr. Allison K. Rodgers
  • “Evolution” by Sarah Darwin and Eva-Maria Sadowski

Reports from the Front Lines

  • Shawn’s Work Projects
  • Cyber Storm
  • Help Desk
  • Web Site Updating

The Social Web


Join NJAMLE and Katie Nieves Licwinko, Ed.D to learn about how you can use technology to support all learners in the classroom! Register at!

Ron King  @mthman

Oh these middle school boys…for weeks I get 5-6 boys, who I don’t even have in class, come in and play 1v1 on my Nerf hoop before school starts. Well, they slowly shredded the net with their simulated dunks. Today, while at bus duty, one of them hands me a replacement net. 

National Park Service  @NatlParkService

Forgot it was St. Patrick’s Day…wore green anyway. #StPatricksDay 

Michael Matera  @mrmatera

Working on this new #EMC2Learning resource. Hoping to finish it off. I love creating new resources for teachers everywhere. What is a theme you love and would like to see a resource made with?

Susie Dent  @susie_dent

Word of the Day is ‘limbeck’ (16th century): to fatigue the brain with attempts to extract something useful from it.

Mr H5P  @mrh5p

#H5P has been doing a great job updating its content types. Check out the ability to add distractors to ‘drag the words’ questions.



Amazon Product Page Template

Amazon’s product pages are how we gather information and evaluate products with images, descriptions, categories, and ratings. Students can describe and critique objects, people, places, and more that they’re studying with product pages.


7 Digital Tools That Help Bring History To Life

Rotel Project

(Remixing Open Textbooks through an Equity Lens)

A Metacognitive Strategy to Help High School Students See Their Progress in Learning

These activities, with adaptable worksheets, help high school students check their understanding of course content quickly.

AXIS:  The Culture Translator

Babysitter’s Snub

What it is: Babysitting, once seen as a rite of passage for young girls, is on the decline in the US.

Why it’s happening: The Atlantic suggests two main reasons that fewer young people are racking up babysitting hours as their first independent source of income. First, the rise of what’s known as intensive parenting—a philosophy that micromanages kids’ time for maximum learning, education, and enrichment, leaving little kids and their would-be-sitters with precious little idle time left over. The second reason implicates society, in general, as Americans have grown more suspicious, more risk-averse, and less community-oriented, meaning parents might not know any teens they trust enough to ask to watch their kids during a night out.

Continue the conversation: What makes someone trustworthy?

Showing Off

What it is: YouTuber MrBeast has signed an expensive deal with Amazon Studios to host and produce a reality television show.

Why it’s an industry flashpoint: MrBeast is the most popular YouTuber of all time, but his production studio won’t make a profit this year. He’s often said that most of the money he makes from brand deals and YouTube ads is given away in philanthropic efforts or funneled into creating more content. The bidding war for his reality show deal marks a moment of “if you can’t beat him, join him” from industry execs who want to understand and cash in on MrBeast’s approach to making content that is loud, colorful, and addictive without ever being too controversial for the masses. The competition he plans to host will culminate in a $5 million prize, the largest ever awarded to a game show winner.

Continue the conversation: Why do you think MrBeast is so popular?  

The Achievery

A free and safe online learning platform created by AT&T to provide K-12 students with engaging and entertaining videos paired with educational activities.

Would You Rather Question Generator

Select the grade level of your students, enter your topic/content, select what kind of questions you would like, click ‘Generate AI Responses’, and then wait for your questions to generate. Please allow up to 30 seconds for our Artificial Intelligence (AI) models to work their magic!

The Teaching Channel: Jack Berckemeyer Interview

Web Spotlight: 

What We Gained (and Lost) When Our Daughter Unplugged for a School Year

My 13-year-old has left her phone behind for hiking, chores and study in the Australian wilderness. Our pen-and-paper correspondence is opening up an unexpected world.

The handwritten letters from our 13-year-old daughter sit on our coffee table in a clear plastic folder. With their drawings of pink flowers and long paragraphs marked with underlined and crossed-out words, they are an abridged, analog version of her spirited personality — and a way for my wife and me to keep her close as we watch TV and fiddle with our phones.

…at a uniquely Australian school in the bush, where she is running and hiking dozens of miles a week, sharing chores with classmates, studying only from books and, most miraculously, spending her whole ninth-grade school year without the internet, a phone, a computer or even a camera with a screen.

Here in Australia, a growing number of respected schools lock up smart everything for months. They surround digital natives with nature. They make tap-and-swipe teens learn, play and communicate only through real-life interaction or words scrawled on the page.

…as we adjust, her correspondence and ours — traveling hundreds of miles, as if from one era to another — is teaching us all more than we’d imagined. The gift of digital detox that we thought Australia was giving our daughter has also become a revelatory bequest for us — her American parents and her older brother.

Students helped build some of the rustic cabins where my daughter and her classmates now live — cabins where hot showers happen only if they chop wood and fire it up in an old-fashioned boiler. The idea was to build courage, curiosity and compassion among adolescents, and their ranks have ranged from the children of sheep farmers and diplomats to a certain angsty member of the British royal family named Charles. 

…a class of 240 boys and girls who have signed up for, along with the usual classes, community service at local farms, winter camping in the snow and, in the final term, a six-day hike, where students plan their own route and are entirely self-sufficient.

AWOL from Academics

Although the average college student spent around 25 hours a week studying in 1960, the average was closer to 15 hours in 2015.

17 astounding scientific mysteries that researchers can’t yet solve

A Bronx Teacher Asked. Tommy Orange Answered.

From eerily prescient to wildly incorrect, 100-year-old predictions about 2024

“In the year 2024, the most important single thing which the cinema will have helped in a large way to accomplish will be that of eliminating from the face of the civilized world all armed conflict,” Griffith predicted. “Pictures will be the most powerful factor in bringing about this condition. With the use of the universal language of motion pictures, the true meaning of the brotherhood of man will have been established throughout the earth.”

At the other extreme, Professor Leo H. Baekeland, president of the American Chemical Society, worried that futuristic weaponry could obliterate humanity in the blink of an eye.

“Jazz music is a powerful force for development of music in America, and in a hundred years will be accepted as classical,” he said. “I cannot imagine how anyone can say that your American jazz music is a destructive force. I consider such a statement as being wholly ridiculous.”

“In the city of a hundred years from now, I see three-deck roads, speedways through the heart of town, skyscrapers with entrances for automobiles as high as 15 stories, monorail expresses to the suburbs replacing streetcars and motor-omnibuses, ever-moving sidewalks and underground freight carriers which will go in all directions, serving all railway stations and business districts, and which will replace to a large extent the heavy trucks and wagons of today,” Bjorkson noted.

“Before many years, the use of a horse for the purposes with which he has been identified since time immemorial will be a curiosity. In another hundred years, you may find horses in zoos. I am sure you will not find them anywhere else.”

“Has anyone ever stopped to think how this country will be a hundred years from now? Just imagine: We will have a woman president, woman politicians and police,” Ferraro wrote. “As women will occupy all the highest positions, naturally men will be compelled to do all the labor; those who are not physically fit for such arduous jobs will have to stay home and wait on the babies (or mind the pets).

“Then we will have an army entirely of women, so that in case of war, women will do all the fighting (Believe me, they can fight, too).”

“Unless the people see the need of simplifying government, we shall be unable to meet the problem and in 100 years from now we shall be in no better condition than the nations that have perished in the past,” he said.


“One of the most bearish statistics for the future of the United States is this: Two-thirds of fourth graders in the United States are not proficient in reading,” wrote Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times.

The student reading proficiency Big Lie grounded in misrepresenting or misunderstanding NAEP is likely one of the most complicated Big Lies of Education.

Random Thoughts . . .  

Click the Play button below to listen to the show!