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December 21, 2012
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All About the Middle Grades

  Teaching in the Middle 
  • How does teacher learning influence instruction?
    The way a teacher learns affects how he or she instructs students, but teachers can learn to adapt their style to better meet students' needs, writes Geralyn Schmidt, an educator in Harrisburg, Pa. In this blog post, Schmidt lists eight factors that influence teacher learning -- from life experiences to knowledge and skills -- that can, in turn, affect their teaching style. "In a nutshell, today's teacher needs to be able to learn continuously from their students as they present the curriculum," she writes. Powerful Learning Practice (12/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Mass. middle school drops all-girls math class
    A middle school in Massachusetts has eliminated an all-girls math class after eighth-grade students enrolled in the course failed to perform any better than female students who learned math in co-ed classes. The course was launched in 2009 with the theory that the all-girls course would allow female students to focus more and feel less intimidated. Principal Matthew Francis said the school plans to replace the course with a method known as "looping," in which students have the same teacher for two years. (12/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
Recommended by the Common Core State Standards!
Joy Hakim's award-winning A History of US series is recommended by the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy as an exemplary informational text. Hakim details the birth and development of the United States, from pre-Columbian Native American life in The First Americans through to the 21st century America in All the People. Learn More
  Tweens & Young Teens 
  • The importance of teaching students social awareness
    The holiday season's traditions of remembrance and giving thanks offer excellent opportunities for students to become aware and concerned about the world around them, writes David Penberg, an urban and international educational leader. In this blog post, he writes about the need to discuss events, such as Superstorm Sandy, with students, and includes a list of themes that would be appropriate to study with students. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (12/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • How one teacher is helping students cope with tragedy
    Dina Strasser, a seventh-grade English teacher in upstate New York, this week gave her students the option to write questions they have about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on index cards. Strasser, a member of the Teacher Leaders Network, then reviewed the major themes with students, who most often wanted to know why the tragedy occurred and what they would do if a similar incident happened in their own school. Above all, the key to the conversation is to emphasize to students that they are safe, Strasser writes. Education Week Teacher (premium article access compliments of (12/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

Do you feel overwhelmed? Practicing Presence is the book you need to take care of yourself as a teacher. Veteran educator Lisa Lucas supports you with ideas, exercises, checklists, anecdotes, and simple practices you can use to establish a mindset that will enhance your focus and engagement in the classroom. Preview the entire book!
  Classroom Innovation 
  • 3 reasons why students may resist collaboration
    There are many reasons students may be reluctant to collaborate with their peers, writes Robin Newton, an English education student at East Carolina University. There may be cultural differences or a lack of understanding, or the students may be shy or introverted. Newton writes that collaboration among students will not happen by chance. "Rather, a teacher must know his or her students well enough to understand the ways in which collaboration might be a struggle," Newton writes in this blog post. Newton's blog (12/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Technology & Connected Learning 
  • Educator: Teaching students how to conduct online research is a must
    Having students learn how to find the right information quickly and efficiently online is an important responsibility of 21st-century teaching, educator Terry Heick writes in this blog post. Heick describes how search engines, such as Google, work and explains the need for teachers to help students find the right search terms for their projects. "And finding the right information at the right time can be as challenging as finding just the right word for a poem or the right song for an occasion," Heick writes. Heick's blog (12/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Why "visual literacy" can improve student learning
    Widely available technology -- such as projectors, computers and Internet access -- makes it easier for teachers to incorporate full-color images into their lessons and enhance learning, visual-literacy proponent Lynell Burmark says in this interview. Because humans process images 60,000 times faster than text, teachers can use images to help students master concepts faster, she said. "When you see that image later anywhere, all my words will come back to you. That's making education stick," Burmark said. T.H.E. Journal (12/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Middle Grades Leadership 
  • Teachers can find success during a rough year
    Struggling teachers can improve, instructional coach David Ginsburg writes in this blog post. Struggling teachers, he suggests, can turn things around by taking ownership over their classrooms. They then work to find the cause of problems with teaching and learning, and "seek solutions that target the causes of problems rather than their effects," Ginsburg writes. Education Week Teacher/Coach G's Teaching Tips (12/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  MiddleWeb Recommends 
  • A few of our favorite things
    Here are a few of our favorite MiddleWeb posts from 2012. Although we had only six months of content to choose from (we launched our new site in late June), we still had a difficult time selecting just 10 posts from among our MiddleWeb blogs, guest articles, interviews, book reviews and resource roundups. Consider this a small sample of some great fare that can inspire and support you in the New Year. Read more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Teacher teams are no stronger than their weakest link
    "Teamwork" is a word that succinctly sums up what successful co-teaching is all about, says middle-grades special educator Elizabeth Stein. But teacher teams are only as strong as their weakest link. In the latest post at the MiddleWeb blog Two Teachers in the Room, Stein identifies four typical "weak links" that need to be addressed if all students are going to be successful. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Editor's Note 
  • MiddleWeb SmartBrief will not publish Tuesday, Dec. 25
    In observance of Christmas, MiddleWeb SmartBrief will not publish Tuesday, Dec. 25. Publication will resume Friday, Dec. 28. Enjoy the holiday! LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."
--Annie Dillard,
American author

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