Mass. middle school ends tracking | Tips to help teachers find their voice | Conference boosts black middle-school girls
March 24, 2017
Middleweb SmartBrief
All About the Middle Grades
Teaching in the Middle
Mass. middle school ends tracking
Educators at a Massachusetts middle school plan to end academic tracking in core subjects except for math in order to create higher expectations for all students. The school's seventh-graders will no longer be divided after this fall, and tracking will end for eighth-graders the following year.
Wicked Local/Easton, Mass. (3/23) 
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Tips to help teachers find their voice
Many teachers feel they do not have a voice, educator Barbara Blackburn says in this interview. Blackburn and fellow educator Mary Tarashuk offer advice to help teachers find their voices and help students to be heard, too.
SmartBrief/Education (3/22) 
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Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You'd Had shows teachers how to make math class more like the playful, creative, and captivating experience mathematicians describe. Author Tracy Zager tackles big ideas and instructional decisions, drawing on years of work with amazing teachers from across the country. Click here to preview the entire book!
Tweens & Young Teens
Conference boosts black middle-school girls
A group of professional black women in Wisconsin has created an annual half-day conference for African-American middle-school girls to improve their academic and social skills. The conference covers topics such as cyberbullying, dealing with conflict and pursing life goals.
The Capital Times (Madison, Wis.) (3/21) 
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Classroom Innovation
Math class designs futuristic airplanes
Math class designs futuristic airplanes
Six students at a California elementary school recently won awards for futuristic airplane designs. The award was part of a program that brought a local engineer to the students' math class to teach students about aeronautics.
The San Diego Union-Tribune (tiered subscription model) (3/21) 
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Teachers design basketball-type bracket for books
Teachers design basketball bracket for books
(Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Teachers in a South Dakota elementary school have created a March Madness-themed bracket using books. Students will read eight books and vote on their favorites, using the bracket model, leading up to a "championship" to crown the favorite book on April 3.
Argus Leader (Sioux Falls, S.D.) (tiered subscription model) (3/22) 
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Other News
Technology & Connected Learning
Study: E-readers tied to less frequent reading
The greater access students have to electronic reading devices, such as iPads and mobile phones, the less likely they are to read, according to a recent study by Murdoch University lecturer Margaret Merga. Findings also show that frequent readers prefer paper books.
The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) (3/21) 
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Middle Grades Leadership
Va. district uses Google Classroom for PD
Officials in a Virginia school district are using Google Classroom for effective and convenient professional development for teachers, according to Tina Weaver, director of teaching and learning for Madison County Public Schools. In this commentary, she describes how teachers complete the modules according to their pace and schedule.
District Administration magazine online (3/23) 
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MiddleWeb Recommends
Review: Literary conversations to build writing skills
In "Read Talk Write: 35 Lessons That Teach Students to Analyze Fiction and Nonfiction," Laura Robb provides strategies that can grow students' ability to have rich, accountable conversations, leading to productive, engaging writing. Reviewer Linda Biondi especially appreciates the mentor texts, detailed lessons, and reproducibles. Highly recommended. Read more.
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Review: 10 performance-based projects for English Language Arts
Todd Stanley's units of study in "10 Performance-Based Projects for the Language Arts Classroom: Grades 3-5" address the need of today's students both to problem solve and present findings to an audience. Jennifer Wirtz implemented a well resourced Oral Presentation unit and will use more of the easily adapted enrichment projects with her seventh-graders. Read on.
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Review: Engaging teachers for top performance
Cathie E. West packs "The 6 Keys to Teacher Engagement: Unlocking the Doors to Top Teacher Performance" with key concepts and skills, charts to help explain them, engagement strategies, and step-by-step activities for teacher engagement. Literacy coach Janice Rustico likes the book enough to share widely with school leaders and other colleagues. Read more.
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