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November 27, 2012
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All About the Middle Grades

  Teaching in the Middle 
  • PBL science lesson is growing opportunity for Iowa sixth-graders
    Science teachers Chad Uhde and Kevin Roling had their sixth-graders research, design and build hydroponic systems to grow lettuce, tomatoes and bell peppers as part of a project-based learning assignment at Bettendorf Middle School in Iowa. Next, the students will plant their seedlings in a greenhouse they designed and built with 2-liter bottles. "It's pretty neat to see how creative they can be when you give them the materials and just let them go," Uhde said. Quad-City Times (Davenport, Iowa) (11/25) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Ill. middle school teaches math with "virtual textbooks"
    Seventh- and eighth-graders at Eureka Middle School in Illinois are using electronic textbooks as part of a blended-learning approach to teaching math. Teachers developed digital lessons and assignments, including videos, that allow students to work ahead or get extra help. "[Overall], it's been very positive," eighth-grade math teacher Sandy Tignor said. "Not a single eighth-grade student is doing poorly in math. The lowest grade right now is a low B." The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill.) (11/25) 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 
  • Doctor offers advice on helping young teens use social media wisely
    Dr. David Hill, a pediatrician, talks about the need for parents to police young teens' screen time as well as the struggle pediatricians have in trying to help parents and patients use social media more responsibly. Hill advises parents to let teens know they will monitor social media and text messages, and then act upon anything inappropriate. "Teens actually want and need limits on their behavior," Hill said. CNN (11/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
Reading is a critical life skill that provides us with enjoyment, edification and education. When students embrace reading they boost literacy, improve learning and knowledge, and prepare for the workforce. In this SmartFocus on Student Reading, veteran educators offer tips to help your students get more from reading.
  Classroom Innovation 
  • Educators offer tips to develop students as writers
    Educators share their advice in Larry Ferlazzo's blog post for helping students become better writers. Aimee Buckner, a consultant and author, suggests starting a writing workshop, giving students time each day to write and showing students how to eliminate unnecessary words in their writing. Writer and teacher Carolyn Coman suggests that teachers focus on their own writing and help students make connections to their writing, while Tanya Baker, director of National Programs for the National Writing Project, agrees that teachers need to write, write, write. Education Week Teacher/Classroom Q&A blog (11/24) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • How fanfiction can develop better student writers
    Teachers can use fanfiction -- fiction pieces written by the fans of a work from books, movies or video games -- to build their students' writing skills, college professor and author Christopher Shamburg writes in this guest blog post. Shamburg offers examples why teachers should allow students to write about their interests outside of the material they cover in class. "It validates where they are developmentally, but it demands that they take different perspectives on familiar situations and stories," Shamburg writes. School Library Journal/Connect the Pop blog (11/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

New edition! Strategies That Work has helped over a million teachers explicitly teach comprehension strategies so students become engaged, thoughtful, independent readers. The 3rd edition includes 30 new lessons and new and revised chapters that tackle close reading, close listening, text complexity, and critical thinking. Preview the entire text online!
  Technology & Connected Learning 
  • A guide to Twitter for educators
    Educators are increasingly using Twitter to connect and share resources and insight, asserts Amy Erin Borovoy, Edutopia's digital media curator. In this blog post, she offers resources to help teachers use Twitter in the classroom. Included are tips for educators new to Twitter, hashtag basics and ideas about what teachers should post. Erin Borovoy's blog (11/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Teachers transform smartphones into learning tools
    Teachers should integrate smartphones into daily classroom instruction, suggests teacher Jennifer Carey. In this blog post, Carey writes about how her students use smartphones to complete in-class polls, as e-readers for books and handouts, to do research and to conduct Google searches. "If teachers actually direct how students will use their cellphones in class as learning tools, we can minimize their role as a distractive presence," she writes. Powerful Learning Practice (11/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Implementing A District-Wide Science Success
Veteran education leader Mike Dillon has helped his school district continue on a steady path of success in science. The Smithsonian’s Science and Technology Concepts program and kits, available through Carolina Biological, have ensured that an entire district maintains a culture of high academic achievement. Read the case study.
  Middle Grades Leadership 
  • Mentoring helps develop effective teachers
    Great teachers are not born, they are made, says Shira Loewenstein, associate director of New Teacher Support at Yeshiva University. In this blog post, she offers suggestions for teachers hoping to mentor new educators. She recommends becoming part of a formal mentoring program and opening up the classroom to novice teachers. Loewenstein's blog (11/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
SmartReport on EdTech
SmartReport on EdTech is your guide for all things education technology. Read about the highlights and takeaways from this year's ISTE Conference; find out what's keeping educators up at night; 5 tips for developing VR content creators; plus all of the latest innovative edtech products. Read it here.
  MiddleWeb Recommends 
  • More book reviews for our fall festival
    In October, MiddleWeb held its first annual Fall Book Review Festival, featuring 15 professional books reviewed by middle grades educators. Our reviewers refuse to stop reading, so we've decided to bring out a sequel: A dozen more brand-new reviews, covering teaching tips and strategies, digital tools and tech integration, the Common Core, bullying, brain-wise pedagogy, English language learners, engagement, motivation and more. Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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Every path hath a puddle."
--George Herbert,
Welsh-British poet, orator and priest

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