Podcast #56 Teaching the Middle School Brain, Facebook issues, and Disrupting Class!

Special Notice: Due to web server space limitations, we will be removing some early shows. If you’d like to hear a show that is unavailable, please email us!

Items & Events

  1. The Michigan Association of Middle School Educators (MAMSE) Annual Conference will be held in Saginaw Township on March 12 & 13 at White Pine Middle School.
  2. The Ohio Middle School Association’s Annual Conference will be held at Kalahari February 19-20.
  3. The National Middle School Association’s Annual Conference will be November 5-7 in Indianapolis, IN.  The theme will center around globalization and service learning.
  4. The Middle Level Essentials Conference will be held at the Red Rocks in Nevada April 23-34.  Tell your high school colleagues about the special “conference in a conference” on ninth grade teams.
  5. A link to Will Ricardson’s featured presentation at NMSA ’08.
  6. The LEAGUE’s Knight Scholarship Competition:
    The KNIGHT scholarship is a national scholarship competition where 3 students will receive $5,000 each for their writings or reflections on civic experiences in one of three categories: Persuasive Essay (building awareness and inviting action for change in your school, community or the world), Personal Narrative (experiences with service and volunteerism), or News Story (creating newspaper articles that reports acts of service and volunteerism by young people). The scholarship is open to high school seniors from all over the country, even students who are not part of a LEAGUE classroom can apply! The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (http://www.knightfoundation.org) promotes excellence in journalism worldwide and invests in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities. Since 1954, the foundation has given more than $300 million in journalism grants. Applications will be posted at www.theleague.org beginning January 5th.  Students must submit their applications before the March 6th deadline. For more details about The LEAGUE and the KNIGHT scholarship please visit www.theleague.org.
  7. ACT has a new report on The Forgotten Middle .  You can read the report as a PDF file directly from the NMSA website.
  8. See the folks who attended NMSA08 this year and left a message on the virtual wall at SchoolTube! Videos are posted for you to either relive the experience or get a taste of the convention from the folks who attended.
  9. Recommended website:  Carol Josel was a presenter at this year’s NMSA Annual Conference.  She has a website with wonderful tips for both parents and teachers that draw from her years of teaching experience.  Sign up for her newsletter and get a newsletter bonus feature:  a new receipe from a featured nutritionist!  Do check out her compilation of free articles on her website.
  10. Catch Dr. Debbie Silver at the following locations in January:  Anderson, MO Teacher’s Conference January 5, 2009; California League of High Schools, Monterry, CA January 16; and other Teacher In-Services in a district near you!
  11. Do some Christmas Break PD!  Check out the Second Life Education screen casts here.
  12. Job Opportunity!  The New England League of Middle Schools is looking for a “visionary leader” to guide them into the coming years.  The position of Executive Director is open and persons interested should submit a resume, letter of intent, three letters of recommendation, salary requirements to Mr. Paul Freeman of the East Lyme Public Schools.

Book Update! – Disrupting Class Latest reading update from Troy.

Space Concern: Due to web site space issues, we will be removing some of the early shows.

Student Sues High School over Facebook Suspension:
A former Florida high school student who was disciplined for “cyberbullying” a teacher on Facebook is suing the school principal on allegations of violating her free speech rights.

Sending Racy photos via phone common amongst Teenagers:
Sending or posting nude or semi-nude cell phone pictures starts at a young age and becomes even more frequent as teens become young adults, according to a new survey that suggests the racy-photo problem might be bigger than many adults realize.
“Teenagers are early adopters of technology–from the latest social-networking sites to the hottest new cell phones,” said Susan Schulz, special projects editor for Hearst Magazines (which publishes Cosmo Girl). “While this tech savvy can be seen as positive, our study reveals there’s also a negative side. Teenagers should be aware of the real consequences of this type of behavior, and we need to provide them with guidance and encourage them to make smarter choices.”
The survey also indicated that 15 percent of teens who have sent sexually suggestive content such as text messages, eMail, photographs, or videos say they have done so with someone they know only online.

To help warn teens and young adults of the dangers associated with sending or posting sexually suggestive material online, the National Campaign has published a list of 10 suggestions.

For parents, the initiative recommends:

1. Talking to kids about what they are doing in cyberspace.
2. Knowing who kids are communicating with.
3. Considering limitations on electronic communication.
4. Being aware of what teens are posting publicly.
5. Setting expectations.

For teens:

1. Don’t assume anything you send or post is going to remain private.
2. There is no changing your mind in cyberspace–anything you send or post will never truly go away.
3. Don’t give in to the pressure to do something that makes you uncomfortable, even in cyberspace.
4. Consider the recipient’s reaction.
5. Nothing is truly anonymous.

Shout outs!:

  1. Mary Henton:  Thanks for the inclusion on the Conference Connections page of NMSA ’09!
  2. Todd Williamson:  Congrats on the new kid and future middle schooler!
  3. Santa Claus:  a new mic for Troy, Apple stock for us both, Kindles for Jack, Troy, & Shawn, and server space.

Teaching the Middle School Brain (Stop by the booth for a handout on the session.)
1.  Principles of Brain Friendly teaching.
2.  Align instruction with how brain best learns through structures.
3.  Silly sports & Goofy games that align with brain friendly instruction.
4.  Deepen our understanding of our 3 pound miracle.
The quiet signal:
1.  Raise your hand.
2.  Full focus attention on Dr. Kagan
What the brain attends to the more the brain retains.
3.  Signal others.
Good brain instruction involves structured interaction and a high level of engagement.
Structure:  Take off, Touch Down
If it’s true, stand up.  If the second statement is true move again.
Why is it brain friendly?
It increases blood and glucose and oxygen in the brain to stand up and sit down a couple of time.
The brain consumes 20% of all the glucose in the body.  It is only 2% of the body’s weight.
Put your two fists together.  That’s the size of your brain.  Disappointed?
Brain dendrites fire 200 times per second.
100 billion neurons.
Standing up and sitting down puts more glucose and oxygen in the brain.
Better nourishment:  Frequent muscle movements are important.
Book:  Spark by John J Ratey, MD.
Evidence for more phys. ed. in  the schools to grow better brains.
Aerobic movement is required.
Brain attends to Novelty.
Stand up, Hand up, Pair up
Why is RallyRobin more brain friendly?
Frequently stop and have students process information.
Why frequently process?
1.  More energy for new learning.
Inhibiting impulses takes a ton of energy.
2.  Clarify and refine thinking.
Became aware of what you know and what you don’t know.
3.  Store in long-term memory.
4.  Clear working memory.
It’s what we can hold in our heads at one time.
Not usually more than ten things.
Number 11 replaces one of the original 10.
5.  Engage multiple intelligences and multiple memory systems.
Episodic memory is the most engaging of the memory systems.
The brian processes in episodes, something that takes place at a location, has a beginning and an end and a location.
More brains active
More brain parts active
Social Interaction
Episodic memory
Team Interview
Favorite snacks
anything fun will serve as a teambuilder
Ways to spend $1000.
Fun things to do after schooll
Movies you have liked.
Describe a sceene from a movie you enjoy.
See the Personal Questions page he has prepared.  (Sells?)
Academic content
Science:  View on cloning; inert elements
Math:  Geometry Proof; prime numbers
Language arts:  Verbs; metaphors
Social Studies:  Causes of event; consequences of an event.
How will I use?
Interview each other (gambit chips?) and create a 5 paragraph essay based on the information they’ve gleaned from their partners and incorporate transtitions between paragraphs.  3 main paragraphs are based on each of the 3 people interviewed.
What happened in the brain?
The amygdalae
There are 2.
Left processes tone of voice
Right processes faces.
Both sides are threat sensors
When do they fire most?
Other race
Fearful face
Angry face > Happy face
out-group > in-group
Linked to all major parts of the brain.
Prefrontal Cortex
Decision making
Emotional Control
Attention, thinking, working memory
The Amygdala can shut this down.
The Amygdalae explain
Impared learning (high stress destroys brain nerves).
Silly Sports
Hagoo:  Inuit game.
If they can make the other person smile, they cross over the line and join their team.  Teams are in two lines.
No touching, can say anything they like.
Great picture of a “teenage brain”
What is white matter?
Myelination of neurons helps them fire 200 times faster.
The teenage brain is not completely myelinated.
Independent Memory systems
There is not one thing called memory!
Memory Test
1 Night
2  tired
3  wake
4  dream
5  sleep  (not on list!)
6  bed
7  rest
9 (
10  (slumber)
Memory pinciple:  Memory is not a place it is a process!
SPEWS & Structures (matrix made by Kagan)