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January 4, 2013
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All About the Middle Grades

  Teaching in the Middle 
  • How to use discourse to meet common core math goals
    Teaching students how to use discourse to learn math concepts helps them to reach the common core goal of being able to understand and explain the math they are doing, eighth-grade teacher Marsha Ratzel writes. Ratzel describes how she introduced her students to "mathematical discourse" and helped guide them in developing conjectures about increasingly difficult concepts. "My classroom is becoming more like the collaborative, challenging work environments my students will face in the future -- whether or not their careers have anything to do with math," Ratzel writes. Education Week Teacher (premium article access compliments of EdWeek.org) (12/31) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Establishing a needs-fulfilling classroom
    In a needs-fulfilling classroom, both the needs of the students and the teacher are met, writes teacher Chad Sansing. In this blog post, he writes that teachers in such classrooms give students more freedom and understand what the students consider fun, how they use power, how they relate to others and what they are scared of in order to better facilitate instruction. Needs-fulfilling classrooms also allow teachers and students to better work toward a common goal, Sansing writes. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (12/31) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
 
  • Tips to improve student collaboration
    In this blog post, middle-school teacher Heather Wolpert-Gawron writes about the benefits of having students work collaboratively. To begin, she recommends that students create, with some teacher input, a team charter or ground rules. From there, each student is responsible for a portion of the end product and their work fits together like a puzzle, she writes. At the end of the exercise, students are asked to evaluate their group members' ability to collaborate. Edutopia.org/Heather Wolpert-Gawron's blog (12/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Tweens & Young Teens 
  • Kindness may boost happiness and popularity among preteens
    Preteens who were asked to do three acts of kindness every week for four weeks were happier and more popular among their classmates, according to a study in the journal PLoS One. The findings suggest that performing "positive acts" could even help fight bullying in school. BBC (12/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Classroom Innovation 
  • Deciphering between project-based, project-oriented learning
    While some teachers have the goal of implementing project-based learning in the classroom, they may actually be practicing what is known as project-oriented learning, says eighth-grade teacher Azul Terronez. In this blog post, he offers some examples of how he has used projects to improve students' education, including those in which students create an iPod application, host a cooking competition and learn to read nutritional labels. KQED.org/Mind/Shift blog (1/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
 
  • Ariz. educator uses movement, songs to teach math
    Students sing, dance and perform skits to learn math concepts in Alicia Behrens' fifth-grade class at Desert Willow Elementary School in Casa Grande, Ariz. During a recent class, students learned the order of operations to the tune of "We Will Rock You," and took on different personas, such as Albert Einstein, to demonstrate how to solve problems on the board. "When they can tie movement and actions or song to math operations, it not only motivates them to learn, but it helps them learn those standards in a more concrete way," principal Jennifer Murrieta said. Casa Grande Valley Newspapers (Ariz.)/Casa Grande Dispatch (12/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Technology & Connected Learning 
  • Group-messaging programs help teachers stay in touch with parents
    Former educator Katie Lepi highlights three group text-messaging and e-mail programs designed to help teachers communicate with parents and students outside the classroom. Several programs allow teachers to use their computer to send messages while keeping their personal cellphone numbers private, but some companies charge a fee for the service. Edudemic (1/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Middle Grades Leadership 
  MiddleWeb Recommends 
  • Book review: Amplified e-book can help boost reading
    Sixth-grade teacher Kevin Hodgson found Lee Ann Spillane's online book, Reading Amplified, "a fantastic resource" for literacy teachers who are ready to explore digital tools that can help engage grades 4-8 readers. "Spillane covers a lot of ground here," says Hodgson, "and the videos, images, links and podcasts embedded right into the e-book itself are woven together like a comfortable quilt." Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Two Teachers in the Room: Our Co-Teaching Resolutions
    Middle-grades special educators Laurie Wasserman and Elizabeth Stein team up to offer their New Year "Co-Teaching Resolutions." The pair of writers for MiddleWeb's Two Teachers in the Room blog also share their wishes for co-teachers and teams in schools everywhere. Read more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  SmartQuote 
Beware the fury of a patient man."
--John Dryden,
British poet, critic and playwright


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