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November 6, 2012
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All About the Middle Grades

  Teaching in the Middle 
  • Tips for teachers to get organized this fall
    There are ways to avoid "falling behind" after the new-school-year momentum disappears, writes former educator Lisa Michelle Dabbs. Following advice from the book, "Getting Stuff Done" by David Allen, Dabbs suggests writing down what you need to remember -- such as student issues that should be addressed at a parent conference -- in a paper journal or a Cloud-based system, such as Evernote. "Just by taking the action of writing down the simplest task, you will feel much better when it's completed and checked off!" Dabbs writes in this blog post. M. Dabbs' blog (11/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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 
  • Students, teachers returning to class post-Sandy need understanding
    Students and teachers affected by Sandy's devastation will need help processing their experiences before they are able to get back to work, middle-grades educator Launa Schweizer writes in this blog post. Schweizer, a New York City teacher, writes that she spent her first day back listening to her students' storm stories -- in which no one lost their homes -- as they took refuge in life getting back to normal. "It will take time for us to unravel what they're saying through their giggles, silences, awkward remarks and misbehavior," she writes. The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/Motherlode blog (11/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Students shoot to win in school archery program
    Students from Tomlin Middle School in Plant City, Fla., recently joined students from around the world to compete in an archery competition. School officials say the archery program offers an outlet for students who may not perform well at other sports. "They are not the kids who are the most outstanding athletes, yet they are still participating in an athletic competition. It kind of gives them confidence in other areas," principal Susan Sullivan said. The Tampa Tribune (Fla.) (11/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

Shake up your writing instruction. In Renew! literacy specialist Shawna Coppola provides a framework for rethinking how we teach the writing process, the tools we use, how we assess student writing, and our roles as writing teachers. A provocative, inspiring, and motivating read. Preview the entire book!
  Classroom Innovation 
  • How teachers can organize students' writing projects
    Middle-grades educator Ariel Sacks offers four tips in this blog post for organizing how students create and turn in drafts of writing projects. Using advice from Maia Heyck Merlin, author of "The Together Teacher," Sacks has created solid rules for students who don't have reliable access to computers at home, allowing them to select whether to complete projects on laptops at school or write them by hand at home. She also is creating a system to help students organize and track the progress of their own writing such as having them develop daily word goals. Teacher Leaders Network/On the Shoulders of Giants blog (11/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • More classroom strategies based on neuroscience research
    In this final blog post in a series on brain-based learning, educator Larry Ferlazzo offers his own strategies -- as well as those some from educational neuroscience consultant David Sousa -- on using brain research in the classroom. Among other ideas, Ferlazzo suggests teachers use stories as part of instruction to help connect content to students' background knowledge and make it part of their long-term memory. In addition, Sousa suggests teachers be selective about which facts to teach in a single lesson because having too many can overload students' working memory. Education Week Teacher/Classroom Q&A blog (11/4) 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.
  Technology & Connected Learning 
  • How to use Superstorm Sandy to create lessons on media literacy
    Teacher-librarian Joyce Valenza in this blog post offers online resources for teachers who wish to create a lesson on media literacy based on social media use during Superstorm Sandy. Many people found social media to be useful for connecting with friends and relatives during the storm, but Sandy also triggered the spread of misinformation through text and photographs, Valenza writes. She suggests teachers use the event to educate students about how to judge the credibility of what they see online. School Library Journal/Never Ending Search blog (11/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Middle Grades Leadership 
  • Tenn. may provide model for new teacher-education programs
    Officials in 20 states are considering modeling their teacher-education programs after a rigorous one adopted in Tennessee. Under the model, teacher candidates are required to pass an evaluation, called edTPA, which is similar to the national boards. "It's sometimes called the junior national board because it requires high-level thinking, analyzing, synthesizing. You must truly demonstrate you have the knowledge and skills to be an effective teacher," said Jennifer Nelson, of the University of Memphis. The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tenn.)(free registration) (11/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  MiddleWeb Recommends 
  • EdCamp: Do It Yourself PD
    It's face-to-face, school- or district-wide, sometimes Wi-Fi'd and always free. Most of all, EdCamp is do-it-yourself PD, planned by volunteers and led by attendees. In this MiddleWeb Resource Roundup, find links pointing to the brief history of this grassroots unconference model, several enthusiastic success stories and a bevy of resources useful for getting your own EdCamp off the ground. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • How to plan STEM lessons
    The "Overarching Design Principles" developed by the Change the Equation organization can help teachers and schools develop their own STEM lessons and projects, Anne Jolly writes in her latest installment at MiddleWeb's STEM Imagineering blog. Jolly hacks the CTEq principles to create a checklist of 10 considerations useful in developing STEM curriculum. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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--William Gibson,
American-Canadian author

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