Principal spends day as 6th-grader | Minn. schools see academic benefits of physical activity | Gingerbread house project calls on math skills
New from Jeff Anderson! Patterns of Power invites elementary teachers to devote a few minutes each day to meaningful grammar instruction and watch as their students' understanding of how language works for readers and writers deepens. Filled with over 70 classroom-tested lessons; full color; free study guide. Get details now!
December 8, 2017
Middleweb SmartBrief
All About the Middle Grades
Teaching in the Middle
Principal spends day as 6th-grader
Principal spends day as 6th-grader
Principal Gene Russell became a sixth-grader for one day at his Nebraska middle school to gain an insight into what students experience. From the experience, Russell said he discovered that students may need more time for snacks and exercise, but noted they had many caring adults working with them throughout the day.
The Sidney Sun-Telegraph (Neb.) (12/8) 
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Hands-on science in a digital world
Science education is no longer confined to the pages of a textbook. Students are interacting with science concepts through physical objects and digital platforms, and using this knowledge to solve real-world issues. Get insights for making this work in your classroom in this SmartFocus on Hands-on Science.
Tweens & Young Teens
Minn. schools see academic benefits of physical activity
Fourteen Minnesota schools that implemented a three-year physical activity program report improvements in students' math and reading performance. Researchers say physically fit students were 27% more likely to be proficient in math and 24% more likely to excel in reading.
Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) (tiered subscription model) (12/6) 
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Unleash students’ creativity with coding & STEAM
We can't prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow, but we can ensure they are future-ready. In an increasingly automated world, learning code won't be enough — what students are able to DO with code will be what matters. Learn more on how to use STEAM & coding to turn students into creative problem-solvers.
Classroom Innovation
Gingerbread house project calls on math skills
Gingerbread house project calls on math skills
Teachers can help students sharpen their math skills, including spacial reasoning and calculations, by building a gingerbread house, writes elementary math consultant Jeannie Curtis. In this blog post, Curtis outlines the project and how it works as a mix of math review and the introduction of new skills.
Edutopia online (12/6) 
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Actors perform skits from student monologues
Theater students at Central Washington University created and performed skits from 25 monologues written by middle-schoolers. The skits were chosen from short, personal monologues assigned to about 200 seventh- and eighth-graders in English class.
The Columbia Basin Herald (Moses Lake, Wash.) (12/6) 
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Technology & Connected Learning
Students create web memorial for area veterans
Eighth-graders in a social studies class at an Illinois middle school took the lead in creating a virtual memorial honoring local veterans. Since its launch in 2014, more than 200 students have worked on the database, which features images and details about the vets.
Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, Ill.) (12/7) 
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Students learn to code "Star Wars" game
Fifth-graders at an Oregon school worked with mentors at HP Inc. on designing a "Star Wars"-themed video game as part of the international Hour of Code. The school incorporates Chromebooks into lessons, but the coding event was the first time students used it for programming.
Albany Democrat-Herald (Ore.) (12/6) 
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Middle Grades Leadership
How SEL can boost classroom teamwork
Teachers can foster collaboration in their classrooms by incorporating social emotional learning to build a culture of teamwork, writes 2014 Minnesota State Teacher of the Year Megan Olivia Hall. In this blog post, Hall outlines how these techniques have been used in classrooms.
Education Week Teacher (tiered subscription model) (12/5) 
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Other News
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Rosalind Wiseman's "Owning Up: Empowering Adolescents to Confront Social Cruelty, Bullying, and Injustice" validates the thoughts and feelings of adolescents in a non-judgmental way, invites students to understand why some are motivated to use social cruelty, and gives them tools to respond, writes teacher Amy Estersohn. Read more.
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Review: An idea-packed game plan for Family Math Night
Jennifer Taylor-Cox is back with a second edition of her book "Family Math Night: Common Core State Standards in Action." If that's your idea of a fun evening (and it will be!), you'll find everything you need to present an opportunity for your students and their families to enjoy learning math together, says reviewer Linda Biondi. Read on.
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Review: Techniques to build participation and retention
There seems to be no end to the multiple uses of the "Total Participation Techniques" found in the 2nd edition of Persida and William Himmele's popular ASCD book. Their research-based approach to boosting student engagement, participation, and retention will be helpful in just about every content area, says veteran educator Joanne Bell. Read more.
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