MSM 216: 150, Fundies for Student Success & Starting School.

Presented in collaboration with the Association for Middle Level Education.

AMLE Feature:

Fundamentals for Student Success in the Middle Grades

This presentation tool is a free resource appropriate for advocacy work with school boards, parent/family groups, school staff, and community members. The presentation is a 17-minute overview of the characteristics of young adolescents, the national recommendations for their education, and current research on middle level education. Fundamentals for Student Success in the Middle Grades can be viewed in its entirety, or in segments.



Jokes You Can Use:

While getting a checkup, a man tells his doctor that he thinks his wife is losing her hearing. The doctor says, “You should do a simple test. Stand about 15 feet behind your wife and say ‘honey?’ Move 3 feet closer and do it again. Keep moving 3 feet closer until she finally responds.” Remember how close you were when she gives you an answer. That will help me know how bad her hearing loss is.


About a month later the same guy is at the doctor again and the doctor asks, “Well, did you do that experiment with your wife’s hearing?” The man says “yes”. “How close did you get before she answered?” “Well, by the time I got about 3 feet away she just turned around and said “For the FIFTH TIME… WHAT???”



One day, a grandpa and his grandson go golfing. The young one is really good and the old one is just giving him tips. They are on hole 8 and there is a tree in the way and the grandpa says, “When I was your age, I would hit the ball right over that tree.” So, the grandson hits the ball and it bumps against the tree and lands not to far from where it started. “Of course,” added the grandpa, “when I was your age, the tree was only 3 feet tall.”



Bad Dog:

On Our Mind:

Starting of the school year…

Eileen Award:

  • Eric Huff
  • Twitter:  Todd Bloch, Debbra Uttero, Khadigah A.


Classrooms Around the World

Middle School Science Minute

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or



This podcast is based on the article “STEM Across Middle Grades Curriculum,” written by Chad Pavlekovich, Jenny Benardi, and Jayne Malach.  It was published in the August 2012 edition of “Middle Ground,” a magazine published by the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE). Salisbury MIddle School in Salisbury, Maryland has had a STEM program for three years.  The program serves 90 students, 30 in each grade level.  The STEM program includes three core subjects (science, ELA, history), technology education, and computer science.


For more information, please visit:


From the Twitterverse:

Jerry Blumengarten @cybraryman1

A2 My Back to School/Icebreakers page: #ntchat

Richard Byrne @rmbyrne

Earn Your Digital Passport by Learning Digital Safety

Terie Engelbrecht @mrsebiology

Mapping Media to the Curriculum Nice ideas for tech integration
#edchat #edtech #midleved

Elizabeth Calhoon @ecalhoon

We would never say “how can we design this lesson around this pencil…yet we do
this with technology” @web20classroom #npsessions

Sandra Wozniak @sanwoz

Just added a new blog post on Technology Integration in Education

Diane Ravitch @DianeRavitch

Is Common Core “Developmentally Appropriate”? via
“Everything You’ve Heard about Failing Schools Is Wrong” via @wordpressdotcom

Jason @jybuell

Ten Middle Grade Books that Reflect the US Immigration Experience @CBethM (Added Francisco Jimenez books in comments)

Teachers.Net @TeachersNet

Suggestions for Motivation #mschat
#midleveled #6thchat

Carol Tonhauser @cmt1

LiveBinders Apps Collection #edapps #ipaded #LiveBinders
Join #mschat on Thursdays at 8:00 pm EST on Twitter!


150 Book Report Alternatives:


How to Turn Your Classroom into an Idea Factory

Here are eight tips to borrow from classrooms where teachers are reinventing yesterday’s schools as tomorrow’s idea factories.











First Day of School Activity


New Times, New Solutions:

Strategies to Sustain Professional Development 

by Melinda Kolk, Creative Educator magazine


John Lien Jeanne Imbriale Janene Gorham Diana Freeman


Not talking about PLN’s or social media.

There is a portion to what you know based upon how far you travel.


Successful Strategies: Visioning

What do you want classrooms to look like as a result of professional development? Is your vision relevant?

Can you get others to believe in this vision?

How do you get buy in?

Be Clear on your goals

Include administration and curriculum

Involve Stakeholders

Work for consensus


Begin with end in mind.

They map it physically on the wall.


How will you get there?

Be sure that you:

Have the resources (not necessarily the money) or a way to access them. Think outside the box.

Always have a Plan B.

Consider adult learning principles.

Consider individualized plans as well.

Freeway model is discussed.




Student Growth (Evidence & artifacts)


Personal choice

Needs vs wants

Can we pair with teachers to develop the vision of what PD should be? Too frequently, we have PD that is top down and changeable every year.


ACOT or Loti – Technology development.


Successful Strategies: Personalization One size doesn’t fit all

Cafeteria options

Supporting individual school initiatives Building Collaborative networks


New tools given a context

Become the change that you want to see.


Successful Strategies: Vendor Partnerships

No “drive by” purchases

Hardware, Software and resource vendors agree to teach 20-50 district educators to be experts on tool use, integration and support.

Participants agree to return to schools to mentor and support classroom teachers.


Successful Strategies: Coaching/ Mentoring Modeling, mentoring and peer coaching Support and collaboration

Modeling goo teaching


Sharing experiences

Giving feedback

Providing encouragement

Being Colleagues


School-based, job embedded, non-evaluative


Coaching is to achieve something very specific. Mentoring is to support.


Successful Strategies: Video Capture Mentoring (human capital) is expensive New teachers can capture “lessons” for: Individual reflection


Mentor discussions

Master teachers can capture teaching for: Individual reflection

Mentor discussions


Bank of best practices


Successful Strategies: Evaluation How do you measure success?


Change in teacher practice and student learning.


Money for video cameras. We spend a lot of money on PD. How do we know that it makes it back to the classroom? Video taping helps to build in support and accountability.


Limit the number of new initiatives. Differentiate the PD as well.

Use Podcasts to provide PD in short bursts.


Steps to Success:

Have a clear vision

Needs assessment

Develop a plan

Form partnerships Implementation

Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate Revise


Evaluate again

Vision again.



WizIQ for Free

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Enjoy all the premium features of WizIQ

Use the WizIQ Virtual Classroom to conduct live online classes, flip your classroom, hold office hours, or meet students online for regular discussions and homework help. Take full advantage of every WizIQ feature, including screen-sharing, polling, video-conferencing, shared whiteboards, and more.

Record and archive all your online classes

Your free account includes 15 GB of storage for class recordings, which means approximately 1500 recorded classes that your students can review at their own pace. We host recordings in the cloud, for free.


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Yes, you can use your free account for commercial purposes. Offer your classes for free or a fee, it’s your choice!

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This free membership is valid for a period of one year.

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If you still have an email account affiliated with a School or College then you qualify for a free membership. For any query, write to us at

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It is likely that the email address you have used to sign up on WiziQ does not fall into the eligible educational institutions list. We take about 2 business days to review such request. We will contact you as soon as the review is complete.



Web Spotlight:


If Sal Khan Says He’s Teaching, Are Students Learning? [Achievement vs. Learning]

By TeacherSolutions 2030 Team

“For instance, at the Celebration for Teaching and Learning 2012, I got a chance to hear him speak. I came in trying to have a measure of objectivity, just taking in the show I knew I would witness. Sure enough, he had a few jokes, a few highlights, and some success stories. That’s good, fantastic. Upon reflection, I realized that any instructional coach who came with their administrator or superior would immediately get asked the question, “So how do we bring that to our school?”



Teachers, Cheating, and Incentives


In recent years there seems to have been a surge in academic dishonesty in high schools.

To think about the effects of these measurements, let’s first think about corporate America, where measurement of performance has a much longer history.

So how does this story of mis-measurements in corporate America relate to teaching? I suspect that any teachers reading this see the parallels. The mission of teaching, and its evaluation, is incredibly intricate and complex.

Interestingly, the outrage over teachers cheating seems to be much greater than the outrage over the damage of mis-measurement in the educational system and over the No Child Left Behind Act more generally.

Maybe it is time to think more carefully about how we want to educate in the first place, and stop worrying so much about tests.


A running theme that the only thing that matters is test scores


Notice the running theme throughout all these — that just about the only indicator of childrens wellbeing that matters anymore is how well they score on standardized tests? Hard to remember now that once upon a time, when Americans talked about children, healthy “hearts and lungs” were thought to be a pretty important condition for their own sake. Yet now that test scores have become the holy grail of education, other really important indicators of children’s well being — their health, their opportunities to learn about the arts, their intrinsic love of learning — seem passé.

Events & Happenings:

Calendar of Events:

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Classroom 2.0’s Live Calendar.


Classroom 2.0’s Ning Blog: Archived content is available.