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January 8, 2013
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All About the Middle Grades

  Teaching in the Middle 
  • Can worksheets help enhance project-based learning?
    A well-crafted worksheet can help guide students in their learning as they complete projects, educator Andrew Miller writes in this blog post. Including rubrics and the "driving question" of the project on a worksheet helps students to know how to set goals for improving their work. "While these are technical and aesthetic changes to the worksheet, it is more critical that teachers continually connect the daily work to the authentic task or project through discussion, metacognition and reflection," Miller writes. Miller's blog (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • 3 education trends for 2013
    This year is expected to bring rapid change to education, particularly with the anticipated implementation of Common Core State Standards, Annie Murphy Paul writes in this blog post. The new year also is expected to include better use of education technology, as well as a dose of reality regarding what technology can -- and cannot do -- for students, she writes. It's also likely, she writes, that educators will be discussing effective ways to use resources to educate students outside of the classroom. blog (1/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
Proven model for schoolwide collaboration & inclusion
Great for teacher training, this book is a step-by-step guide to the research-based Co-Design Model, a schoolwide approach to strengthening collaboration and inclusion. Includes strategies, success stories, and forms and checklists for promoting collaborative education.
Download a free chapter now!
  Tweens & Young Teens 
  • Ohio middle school offers enrichment, homework help after school
    A middle school in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, has teamed with a local day care to provide enrichment programs after the school day ends at 3 p.m. through 7 p.m. Paid for with a $850,000 21st Community Learning Centers grant, the program offers classes ranging from Zumba workouts to Chinese and Spanish lessons, along with homework help and opportunities to socialize. "These kids have opportunities they wouldn't have otherwise," principal Denise Lutz said. The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio) (1/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News

New from Regie Routman! Literacy Essentials inspires K-12 teachers and leaders to build a school culture of engagement, excellence, and equity. You'll get practical, easy-to-implement tools to help all students develop as self-determining readers, writers, and learners. Includes a free study guide and rich online resources. Preview the entire book!
  Classroom Innovation 
  • Hands-on lessons make classes more engaging
    There are many benefits to hands-on learning and some schools that have found success in the "learning by doing" approach, write Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen, authors of "Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun." They write in this blog post about a school in New York, which has a digital prototyping and manufacturing facility called the Fab Lab that allows students to engage in math and science through hands-on activities. "I don't believe you can just pour knowledge into students. They have to learn things by trying them out," said Jaymes Dec, Marymount School's lab administrator. The Huffington Post/The Blog (1/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Technology & Connected Learning 
  • Improving students' work by showcasing it
    Students should be given opportunities to create work for audiences outside of the classroom, said Ron Berger, chief program officer for Expeditionary Learning Schools. He writes in this blog post about students who have created art and YouTube videos for audiences other than their peers and how the act of completing "work of value" changes students and improves the quality of their work. Berger's blog (1/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Middle Grades Leadership 
  • What are the benefits of competency-based grading?
    The competency-based grading and reporting model has been a part of one high school's improvement plan, writes principal Brian Stack. In this blog post, he notes five things that changed at his school in the three years since implementing the model. Among them are the formation of small learning communities for students and professional learning communities for teachers, the use of competency-based, common grading procedures and the reporting of student progress based on students' mastery of course-based competencies. Connected Principals blog (1/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Teachers collaborate to develop classroom practices through CoLab
    Helping teachers share best practices and work out classroom problems during summer workshops is one way CoLab helps teachers take risks and learn to fail in the process of becoming learning facilitators, Ralph Cordova, a CoLab teacher-leader, said in this interview with Bill Donius. An offshoot of the National Writing Project, CoLab offers a summer institute, local school-site support and school-level professional development. "Teachers learn how to study each other's local challenges and then develop design-centric approaches that lead to prototyping solutions to those problems, which they then test at small scales of resolution," Cordova said. The Huffington Post/The Blog (1/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  MiddleWeb Recommends 
  • Going deep with student-led conferences
    When she moved to a new middle school where students were leaders of parent-teacher conferences, Laura Collander wanted to make sure her SLCs were more than "feel-good experiences" for the participants. In this MiddleWeb review, Collander tells how she drew on the new book, "Fostering Student Accountability Through Student Led Conferences," to help her students "gain a better understanding of why SLCs are important and how they could make their presentations even more meaningful." Read more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • 6 STEM starter tools
    In many middle-grades classrooms, STEM-styled learning is an isolated add-on, as teachers rush to cover core curriculum objectives. While she hopes STEM projects will one day be fully integrated into the curriculum, science educator Anne Jolly says busy core content teachers can still "consciously connect STEM concepts, thinking processes, and procedures to your daily teaching (and) spice up your regular, run-of-the-mill lessons." Jolly shares six ideas to get started. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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It is wise to keep in mind that neither success nor failure is ever final."
--Roger Babson,
American entrepreneur and business theorist

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