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February 19, 2013
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All About the Middle Grades

  Teaching in the Middle 
  • Which teaching approach is right for your class?
    There's a lot of talk about problem-, project- and inquiry-based learning, but how do you know the difference and understand what will work best for your students? In this blog post, former English teacher Lauren Davis offers a cheat sheet for these teaching methods, along with examples and tips. For example, teacher Heather Wolpert-Gawron used project-based learning in which her students sought to have a broken school bell repaired. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (2/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • New learning path moves math grouping to middle school
    It used to be that elementary-school teachers in Ridgefield, Conn., determined which math track students would be on during middle school, but with transition to Common Core State Standards under way in area schools, officials have decided to ask middle-school teachers to make this decision after students complete their first year. While some expressed concern about the changes, district officials said they will add more teacher development and formal guidelines to the process to help during the transition. The Ridgefield Press (Conn.) (2/16) 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 17,000 educators. Sign up today!
  Tweens & Young Teens 
  • Learning resilience through playtime
    Allowing children to have time for "free play" is key to helping them become successful adults, according to Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg, an author and pediatrician at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. This blog post describes Ginsburg's seven characteristics of resilience and suggests that unstructured play is the self-learning method children use to develop them. blog (2/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

"You can't learn math without making mistakes." What's Right About Wrong Answers gives you 22 activities that focus on important ideas in grades 4-5 math. Each includes a summary of the content and highlighted error, Common Core connections, redproducibles, required manipulatives, and other tools. Preview the entire book!
  Classroom Innovation 
  • Common core lesson makes the short story even shorter
    Eighth-grade teacher Ariel Sacks shares a lesson plan that helps students examine how much authors can say using few words, a lesson aligned with the Common Core State Standards requirement that students closely examine their reading material. Sacks, who writes in this blog post that she borrowed parts of the lesson from other educators, explains how students bring in a photograph of personal significance. She then tells them to free write, followed by having them write 25-word stories. Students then write and share six-word stories before posting the writing online and examining their punctuation and word choices. Teacher Leaders Network/Ariel Sacks' blog (2/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Fifth-graders help reduce energy use at school
    Fifth-graders at Waco Elementary School in Kentucky recently conducted an energy audit of their classrooms -- measuring room temperatures and calculating kilowatt usage -- and developed plans to help their school use less energy. Students then presented their projects to a group of judges, and their scores will be used to determine which projects will be presented to the school's decision-making council next month. Richmond Register (Ky.) (2/16) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Technology & Connected Learning 
  • Smithsonian goes online with activities for students
    The Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies has started a program to encourage research, discovery and creative collaboration with project-based learning. Called Smithsonian Quests, the online resource awards digital badges to students upon completion of their activities. The projects are aimed at students of various grade levels, and can be done as part of classroom lessons or independently. T.H.E. Journal (2/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Middle Grades Leadership 
  • What qualities, skills make a good coach?
    Educators take many paths to become coaches, but they need strong communication skills and emotional intelligence to be successful, transformational leadership coach Elena Aguilar writes in this blog post. "Effective coaches use an extensive set of skills, have deep and wide content knowledge, and have developed a number of dispositions that allow them to engage others in a learning process," she writes. Aguilar also proposes several requirements for would-be coaches, and suggests courses and policies be developed to prepare educators to take on such roles. Education Week Teacher/The Art of Coaching Teachers blog (2/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  MiddleWeb Recommends 
  • 3 steps to improved student behavior
    Under constant pressure to cover curriculum goals, teachers may opt for the three most familiar choices when disciplining unruly students: shout, threaten and punish. But professional development consultant Rich Allen and middle grades teacher Jenn Currie tell us that, according to research about learning and the brain, these tactics actually shut down student learning. In this MiddleWeb guest article, they offer three alternative strategies to prevent the classroom from becoming a battleground. Read more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • STEM Imagineering: "Dadgum it, I'm mad as heck"
    Science educator and STEM curriculum developer Anne Jolly is "mad as heck" as she watches teachers struggle to implement STEM projects while drilling kids for high stakes tests that don't measure deep learning. Until education policymakers and system leaders back off the constant testing and make room for challenging project-based learning, she writes, the United States will not achieve its STEM goals. Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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Everything that lives, lives not alone, nor for itself."
--William Blake,
British poet and painter

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