Podcast #73 Award Award Assembly Conundrum!

Why were you late ?
Sorry, teacher, I overslept.
You mean you need to sleep at home too !

Teacher: Class, we will have only half a day of school this morning.
Class: Hooray
Teacher: We will have the other half this afternoon!

Teacher: You missed school yesterday didn’t you ?
Pupil: Not very much !

Teacher: I’d like to go through one whole day without having to tell you to stop talking.
Pupil: You have my permission !

Be sure that you go straight home
I can’t, I live just round the corner !

Events and Happenings:

  1. The National Middle School Association is looking for an editor for their Research in Middle Level Education Journal (RMLE).
  2. NMSA ‘08 Technology Focus Video.
  3. NMSA ‘09 Elections must be in by May 15th.  (Vote for Jeff LaRoux!)
  4. Schools to Watch Conference June 25-27, Washington D.C.  Conference registration info.
  5. Educational Technology Leadership Conference, June 24th at Holt High School, Holt, MI. Register for the event.
  6. Any information on the Ontario Middle Level Association?  Their site has gone dark and we hope this does not mean the demise of the Association.
  7. NMSA ‘09 Invitation Video:  Indianapolis, IN Conference  November 5-7, 2009.
    • ATTENTION Michigan Association of Middle School Educators & Friends: MAMSE is putting together a bus for the trip to the National Middle School Association’s Annual Conference in Indianapolis, IN this fall.  Ride down to the conference in a luxury bus with satellite access for Twittering, Facebooking, and other 21st Century technology access for less than $100.00.  With all the conversations with middle school teachers on the bus, I wonder if we could call this a mini-MAMSE conference?  There’s nothing like getting together with people who love the people we love:  our students.  Getting together with folks like that is energizing and priceless.  Email Teresa Sutherland for information and details.  Don’t forget to mention you heard about it on Middle School Matters.
    • Keynote speakers for NMSA ’09 have been announced:  Daniel Pink (political connections) opens and Rick Wormeli closes.
  8. The National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform will be holding their annual conference in June.  See the flyer at their website for details.
  9. Brainyflix extends their “video vocabulary” contest to May 22, 2009.
  10. Classroom 2.0’s Live Calendar.
  11. Classroom 2.0’s Ning Blog:  This week’s discussion is on the uses of Copyright and Creative Commons for Teachers.  Archived content is available.
  12. Second Life:
    • No Events specified.  Regular Tuesday meetings are scheduled.  See the board on the ISTE Island for up to the minute details.
    • Video:  Educational Uses of Second Life
    • There is a conference being held by ISTE in Second Life, wander over to the auditorium behind the Headquarters to check it out.


We’re at 8 reviews on iTunes, we are throwing down the gauntlet to make it to 10.

From the Twitterverse:

Listener’s Letters:

Hello famous iTunes podcasters

Just for fun, I googled the words “student award certificates” and received 481,000 relevant entries. Certainly I know as a teacher the importance of celebrating the success of our students. And providing the incentive for recognition at an awards assembly can be a motivator for some. But there are two things I question, from what I have seen, on which you might have opinions.

Observation #1: At an awards assembly in a 5-8 middle school, the principal asked the 300+ student body to hold up and wave any awards they had received during the presentation. As I glanced around the bleachers, it seemed that everyone had something to show for their accomplishments. But I wonder if this is too much. If everyone is rewarded, how effective an incentive can recognition be? At college graduation ceremonies, academic excellence awards such as Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude and Summa Cum Laude are marked individually with sashes or cords of various colors. And you don’t tend to see the entire graduating body displaying this accomplishment. And yet, they have all met the undeniably outstanding goal of a college education. They are beaming with self-esteem regardless of whether they were displaying the adornments of high academic success.

If we are truly preparing students with authentic content and experiences, shouldn’t we be clear on the reality that everyone does not earn honors, an award, or a certificate for doing what is already expected of them as students? Every single child is a winner just by virtue of them learning both academic content and life skills as they attend school each and every day throughout the school year. Shouldn’t we be stressing self-management and recognition of worth instead of tying it so heavily to extrinsic displays of pomp and circumstance?

Observation #2: Following streams of students receiving one certificate after another, I would have expected to see recognition for a teacher’s success as well. From the students’ view, one would believe that teachers are neither striving for nor attaining success on a regular basis in their own lives. Yet, how many teachers during a marking period or school year attend seminars and workshops or pursue ongoing academic fulfillment in graduate courses? If we are acting as role models to our students, don’t we need to do a better job reflecting our commitment to ongoing education and love of learning? What role does our school administration have in this process?

As intelligent and experienced educators, this good work that you do is expected. But even though I provide no certificate, ribbon or award, I’m sure you are self-motivated by the intrinsic satisfaction received from your website and podcast success. Itunes ratings cannot compare to your internal mechanisms that generate the love of learning and sharing with others. It is appreciated.

Web Sitings:

Press Kit for promoting the National Middle School Association’s Annual Conference.   http://www.nmsa.org/annual/AbouttheConference/PromotionalTools/tabid/1882/Default.aspx
Differentiated Classroom:  Characteristics and reference for the classroom.
tuesdays with Karen:  An educator’s blog.
EdTech Conference on iTunesU.
MyRead http://www.myread.org/
NMSA’s suggestions for how you can spend your Education Stimulus money!
Math and Technology Comics.

Shout Outs!

  1. Karen C. Seddon, thanks for the review on your blog!
  2. Teresa Sutherland & Jenny McAvoy-Anteau for their shout-outs on Twitter this week!

News of the Weird:


Superintendent Thinks Small in Plan to Revamp Middle Grades

“If you haven’t got them by the end of their eighth-grade year, you’re going to lose them,” Summers said.
Under Sherman’s plan, George Washington Middle School, which has 950 students, would be divided into two schools. Hammond Middle School, which has 1,350 students, would be split into three.