MSM 201: Retention, That’s Awkward. . . POST!

Jokes You Can Use:

Joe and Bill met on a street corner.
Joe said, “It’s great to see you again, my old friend”.
Bill responded, “How can you see me when I’m not here?”
Joe was confused: “What do you mean, you’re not here?”
Bill stated: “I’ll bet you $10, that I’m not here. I can prove it”.
Joe: “You’re going to bet me $10 that you’re not here? You’re on”.
Bill: “Am I in Chicago?”
Joe: “No.”
Bill: “Am I in New York?”
Joe: “No.”
Bill “Then I must be somewhere else. If I’m somewhere else, I can’t be here. Pay me my $10.”
Joe: “If you’re not here, I can’t pay you.”

On Our Mind:

Happy Birthday Rick Wormeli

Eileen Award:

  • Jennifer Applebaum
  • Liz Kolb:  Twitter
  • Paul Steele


How important is it to be at school, on time?

Middle School Science Minute

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or

Tough Climate for Teachers

This middle school science minute is about the difficult situation that teachers face today in the teaching of climate change.  In the March 2012 issue of Science Scope (NSTA publication) Inez Lifttig, editor of Science Scope wrote in the Editor’s Roundtable: “A Tough Climate for Teachers.”  In the editorial she discusses the hurdles that teachers have today and relates them to the problems that Biology teachers have had in the teaching of evolution.  She also points out that the teaching of climate change should not be a cautious approach because the Framework for K-12 Science Education, does not support a cautious approach and in fact emphasizes strongly that human activities impact climate change.

From the Twitterverse:

* Shelly S Terrell ‏ @ShellTerrell

* Rick Wormeli ‏ @RickWormeli

  • Hey, it’s my birthday today, and I realize how good it is to be in the world. Salsa, guacamole, & chips for everyone!
* Shannon Miller ‏ @shannonmmiller

* Miguel Guhlin ‏ @mguhlin

* Steven W. Anderson ‏ @web20classroom

* Erin Klein ‏ @KleinErin

* Scott McLeod ‏ @mcleod

* The Mind Trust ‏ @TheMindTrust

  • School reform in Detroit: 10 schools to have control over operations and central office providing services for fees
* WORLD Magazine ‏ @WORLD_mag

* Apple Plaza ‏ @ApplePlaza

* Ron Peck ‏ @Ron_Peck

* Chan Hsiao-yun ‏ @hychan_edu


More States Retaining Struggling 3rd Graders

By Erik W. Robelen

Oklahoma is one of several states that recently adopted new reading policies that—with limited exceptions—call for 3rd graders to be held back if they flunk a state standardized test.
But the policy is still controversial among Florida educators.
“After 10 years, I don’t like it. I don’t think it’s good for kids,” said Doug A. Whittaker, the superintendent of the 16,200-student Charlotte County school district in southwest Florida. “I don’t care how the adults frame it: The people making those decisions forget what it’s like to be 8 years old.”
Mr. Whittaker said he’s not opposed to holding students back, but said such action should not be driven by a test score. “It really should be a team of people that make the decision, including the parents,” he said.
Despite the decline, a recent federal report shows that Florida students represented one-third of all 3rd graders retained in a nationwide data set. (“Data Show Retention Disparities,” March 7, 2012.)
Ms. Emhof points to state data showing that far fewer students now score at the lowest level on the FCAT in reading, dropping from 27 percent in 2001-02 to 16 percent in 2010-11. But the figure has been stuck at about 16 percent for several years.
Although the forthcoming study finds that the benefit “dissipates” over time, co-author Marcus A. Winters, an assistant education professor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, says it remains robust into 7th grade, the last year examined to date.

Common-Core-Test Group Gives Higher Ed. Voting Rights

By Catherine Gewertz
A group of states that is designing tests for the common academic standards has taken a key step to ensure that the assessments reflect students’ readiness for college-level work: It gave top higher education officials from its leading states voting power on test-design questions that are closest to the heart of the college-readiness question.
“This cut-score thing is going to be a nightmare,” Chester E. Finn Jr., the president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a Washington think tank, said at an August 2010 meeting of the National Assessment Governing Board, which sets policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP. “I’m trying to envision Georgia and Connecticut trying to agree on a cut score for proficiency, and I’m envisioning an argument.”


The homework trap and what to do about it

By Valerie Strauss
There are many parents whose major concern is not public policy but what will happen at home tonight. They are not Tiger Moms, but ordinary parents who simply want the best for their children.
The problem starts in elementary school. The notes come home, and the parents get “the call.”
By middle school, there are several teachers, the disciplinarian and the nurse, all fretting over what these children do not do. Their parents feel pressured to oversee their work, as they also feel criticized as if they’ve done something wrong.
The key misconception about homework-trapped children is what I call the “myth of motivation.” These children are viewed as lazy and unmotivated,
Rather, they have “under the radar” learning problems.
The child, who is forced to keep on working without boundaries, will predictably learn how to avoid.

My Ten Most Used Apps to Become Fluent on the iPad

It is no secret, that I enjoy my iPad tremendously. I even proclaimed, now and then, that I love it! From the beginning, I approached the iPad with one goal in mind: I wanted to become fluent in using it. There is a distinct difference, in my opinion, between being skilled, literate and fluent in the use of an iPad.

Web Spotlight:

The Stanford Education Experiment Could Change Higher Learning Forever

Stanford doesn’t want me. I can say that because it’s a documented fact: I was once denied admission in writing.


The Dreaded F Word: Fractions

By David Ginsburg on April 1, 2012 7:00 PM

Just hearing the F word can cause kids (adults too) to freak out. And if you think about it, there are lots of reasons students feel flummoxed by fractions. For one thing, there’s the misleading vocabulary, as when we reduce a fraction to lowest terms even though it doesn’t involve a reduction in value. Or when we call a fraction “improper” just because its value is greater than one.


Do Students Know Enough Smart Learning Strategies?

What’s the key to effective learning? One intriguing body of research suggests a rather gnomic answer: It’s not just what you know. It’s what you know about what you know.
Research has found that students vary widely in what they know about how to learn, according to a team of educational researchers from Australia writing in this month’s issue of the journalInstructional Science.
Teaching students good learning strategies would ensure that they know how to acquire new knowledge, which leads to improved learning outcomes,…
Students can assess their own awareness by asking themselves which of the following learning strategies they regularly use (the response to each item is ideally “yes”):

Fun Failure: How to Make Learning Irresistible

Failure is a positive act of creativity,” Katie Salen said. Scientists, artists, engineers, and even entrepreneurs know this as adults. But in schools, the notion of failure is complicated.
Any practice – athletic, artistic, even social – involves repeatedly failing till one gets the experience or activity right. We need to “keep the challenge constant so players are able to fail and try again,” she said. “It’s hard and it leads to something rewarding.”
But the opposite is true in school, Salen said. School usually gives students one chance to get something right; failing grades work against practice, mastery, and creativity. To keep kids motivated, learning needs to be irresistible, Salen said.
Here’s what she learned in terms of gaming principles that can be applied to education:

  • Don’t shoot the player while she’s learning.
  • Learning is social.
  • A strong sense of community creates safety.
  • Learning that empowers the learner helps make it irresistible.

Events & Happenings:

Calendar of Events:

Ohio Middle Level Association:


AMLE Affiliate Conferences:

Classroom 2.0’s Live Calendar.