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November 13, 2012
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All About the Middle Grades

  Teaching in the Middle 
  • Should STEM recruiting begin in the middle grades?
    Boeing has long sought to inspire high-school and college students to consider engineering and technical jobs, but the aviation company recently opened its doors to fifth-graders from the Mukilteo School District in Washington state. "If we can plant that in them today -- to do their math, to do their science -- by the time they come out of high school they'll be so much more ahead in their opportunities to come here and work for Boeing," said Ross Wilson, who is leading an initiative to inspire younger students' interest in aerospace. KING-TV (Seattle) (11/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • How teachers can avoid power struggles with students
    Deal with student disruptions quickly -- but wait until the end of class to privately discuss it with the student and address potential consequences -- to avoid power struggles during class, education consultant and author Allen Mendler writes in this blog post. Mendler recommends teachers avoid stopping instructing in response to student behavior. However, teachers should explain this strategy to students at the beginning of the year and ensure them there are consequences to bad behavior, even when meted in private. Mendler's blog (11/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
Teach about the Holocaust Using Visual History Testimony
The leading Holocaust education program, Echoes and Reflections includes a comprehensive curriculum with over two hours of visual history testimony from survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust, interactive digital activities on IWitness, and a dynamic professional development program that has reached over 16,000 educators. Sign up today!
  Tweens & Young Teens 
  • More teens are reading, but is it time well spent?
    Teachers, librarians and others say that teen-friendly books, such as the "Harry Potter," "Twilight" and "Hunger Games" series, have helped make reading popular again. The most popular genre among teens continues to be supernatural/paranormal fiction. However, some parents suggest that today's young-adult books contain questionable content and are too superficial. Green Bay Press-Gazette (Wis.) (11/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Researchers show negative effects of student churn
    Researchers studying student mobility in Ohio say the number of students who switch districts -- especially in suburban districts -- is surprising. In Columbus-area schools, about 19,000 students over a two-year period switched districts. Researchers said such "churn" can take a toll on student achievement, and also can create difficulties for teachers and the students who stay in place. The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio) (11/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

Are your students bored? Beat Boredom gives you proven, out-of-the-box strategies and activities for engaging high school students in any class. You'll see how to generate active engagement and move way beyond traditional passive memorization of information. Informed by a survey of 800+ high school graduates. Preview the entire book!
  Classroom Innovation 
  • Use traditional, digital literacy to improve students' research skills
    Teachers should emphasize digital and traditional literacy to help students acquire enough knowledge on a subject to know whether an online source is reliable, journalist Annie Murphy Paul writes in this blog post. Paul cites a recent Pew Research Center survey of middle- and high-school teachers who say students expect to find information quickly because of search engines like Google and don't dig deeply enough. Paul offers three tips to improve students' research skills, such as requiring students to read nonfiction books. blog (11/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • How teachers can set up effective learning environments
    The establishment of effective learning environments are required for students to achieve success, write teacher Rebecca Friedman and Chavi Abramson, who studies education at Thomas Edison University. They offer reasons why teachers may arrange desks in a "U" shape -- independent learning -- or in clusters, so students can work more in groups. They also suggest classroom-management strategies to keep students on task and avoid classroom interruptions. Education Next (11/2012) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Technology & Connected Learning 
  • How teachers can use Learnist in the classroom
    English teacher Hauna Zaich writes in this blog post how she uses Learnist -- a website that is similar to Pinterest and is designed for educators -- in her eighth- and 10th-grade classes. Zaich uses "Learnboards," which are collections of Web resources, for her flipped-classroom lessons such as instruction on grammar where she uses reading, examples, videos and online activities. "I see so many possibilities for Learnist in my classroom and am excited to apply this innovation to my teaching practice," she writes. Zaich's blog (11/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Middle Grades Leadership 
  • Why education conferences should go high-tech
    While educators increasingly are using technology in the classroom, education conferences may not be keeping up with the times, according to Tom Whitby, an adjunct professor of education. He writes in this blog post about a recent middle-grades conference, which he says largely relied on lengthy PowerPoint presentations to convey information -- the same approach used years ago. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (11/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  MiddleWeb Recommends 
  • Here come the toy ads
    Toy commercials -- so pervasive on TV during the holidays -- are a great way to jump-start media literacy discussions with students, expert Frank Baker say. Baker draws on several examples of deceptive toy ads to support his discussion about ways to help students become more critical consumers of TV marketing. He also shares a lesson plan that includes a vintage PBS video clip showing children testing the claims of an early 1990s action toy. Learn more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • A STEM-powered presidency
    Anne Jolly, author of MiddleWeb's STEM Imagineering blog, follows up the election with a letter to re-elected President Barack Obama. She calls for aligning presidential leadership in the education arena with STEM learning techniques as the best strategy to revitalize our public schools and help them break the "Groundhog Day cycle." Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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For the happiest life, rigorously plan your days, leave your nights open to chance."
--Mignon McLaughlin,
American author and journalist

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