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February 22, 2013
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All About the Middle Grades

  Teaching in the Middle 
  • Ideas to make PLCs more supportive, effective
    Meeting weekly with his professional learning community helps with planning and developing strategies, writes middle-grades educator Rob Kriete. Before tackling student data, they worked on building trust and setting goals to guide their work during the school year, he writes in this article. "Sure, we discuss data, assessments, and lesson plans during these meetings, but our fundamental purpose is to support each other in better serving our students," Kriete writes. Education Week Teacher (premium article access compliments of (2/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Why teachers should share assessment data with students
    Sharing achievement data with students can help motivate them to take control of their learning and improve, Kickboard Community Manager Stew Stout writes in this blog post. Among his ideas are creating simple billboards to give students a visual representation of their performance and how they compare with other students in the class. "By creating a visual out of data, everyone – including students – can interpret it more easily," Stout writes. Edudemic (2/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Should deliberate confusion be part of learning?
    Being confused actually can improve learning, according to researchers who say it improves efficiency and retention and also may result in deeper learning. Confusion has been shown to improve one's drive to find the right answer and lead to greater exploration in learning. This blog post, by Annie Murphy Paul, offers ways teachers can generate confusion and problem-solving, including exposure to confusing material and withholding answers. blog (2/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

Upgrade your walls and your instruction with this new set of 8 shapes posters by Christopher Danielson, author of Which One Doesn't Belong? These posters spark curiosity, creativity, and conversations, prevent misconceptions, and move beyond treating geometry as vocabulary to memorize. Teacher's guide included. Grades K-12. Get details here!
  Tweens & Young Teens 
  • Tips for helping girls develop media literacy
    This article offers tips and online resources suggested by Jessica Abel and Elizabeth Nye -- both of Girls Inc. -- for discussing the impact and purpose of ads and other media with children, particularly girls. Among other things, the pair suggest seizing "teachable moments," asking children to consider what a provocative ad is selling and whom it is targeting. Also included are a number of online resources, including those that provide tools and curricula as well as reviews of movies and games. The Oregonian (Portland) (2/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
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.
  Classroom Innovation 
  • 10 writing alternatives to the typical book report
    There are alternatives to the book report that allow students to demonstrate what they have learned while encouraging a love of reading, writes Elena Aguilar, a transformational leadership coach in Oakland, Calif. Among her suggestions for students in this blog post are to allow them to create drawings resembling a graphic novel, come up with an alternate ending, help develop a sequel and write letters to the author. Aguilar's blog (2/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Technology & Connected Learning 
  • Getting the most out of high-tech feedback from students
    Students today are inundated with digital feedback, asserts teacher Kristen Swanson, who shares in this blog post three ways students can maximize the feedback they get. First, she suggests having students lay out a goal for their work beforehand and examine feedback while they review their initial goal. She then suggests setting specific times in which to consider digital feedback and have students consider ways they have adapted to feedback. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (2/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Middle Grades Leadership 
  • Calif. district looks inside for professional development
    The Long Beach, Calif., school district has adopted a training system in which classroom teachers work collaboratively to improve teaching and learning, a shift from outsourcing professional development. "Our system is really invested in building internal capacity," said Jill Baker, the district's assistant superintendent for elementary and K-8, plus chief academic officer. "What that means is teachers become leaders and trainers. We're not bringing someone in from the outside. We're teaching teachers within to go back to their school sites to train others." The Hechinger Report (2/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  MiddleWeb Recommends 
  • Rethinking special needs accommodations & modifications
    All special needs students on IEPs have some type of accommodations, writes co-teacher Laurie Wasserman in the latest post at MiddleWeb's Two Teachers in the Room blog. Many also have modifications. How do co-teachers implement these accommodations on a day to day basis? And what about the students in co-taught classrooms who may not need these accommodations? Wasserman shares some practices from her own middle school. Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Review: Unpacking the Common Core ELA Standards
    "Pathways to the Common Core: Accelerating Achievement" is a teacher-friendly book that can help educators across the content areas "understand what the ELA standards really say and how to bring them to life in classes," says reviewer Julie DeMicco, a 7th and 8th grade reading teacher in West Des Moines, Iowa. The trio of authors, all leaders in the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University, offer lots of practical help and point to resources where teachers will find more in-depth treatment of standards and recommended teaching practices. Read more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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You can do anything in this world if you are prepared to take the consequences."
--W. Somerset Maugham,
British writer

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