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March 19, 2013
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All About the Middle Grades

  Teaching in the Middle 
 
  • 3 ideas for a successful class blog
    Classroom blogs are a great project to motivate students to write, but they can be a lot of work for teachers, writes sixth-grade language arts teacher Bill Ferriter. In this blog post, Ferriter shares three tips he has learned while developing blog projects for his class, such as training students to work as editors to assign, edit and post student articles. "You'll find that they are JUST as capable as you are -- and probably MORE motivated!" he writes. Teacher Leaders Network/Tempered Radical blog (3/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • What is missing from teachers' lesson planning?
    Teachers' preparation often focuses too much on planning for academic lessons -- and too little on classroom management and teaching methods -- writes instructional coach David Ginsburg. In this blog post, he writes that when he was a new teacher, he fell into a trap when he planned a project-based lesson in which students marketed T-shirts commemorating the Chicago Bulls' NBA championship. While he thoroughly prepared for the lesson, it fell flat, Ginsburg writes, because he lacked proficiency in his teaching methods and classroom-management skills. Education Week Teacher/Coach G's Teaching Tips blog (3/17) 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 
 
  • Study links middle-school dating to risky behaviors
    Students who begin dating in middle school perform worse in school and are more likely to smoke, drink and take drugs than those who begin dating later or not at all, according to a study published in the Journal of Research on Adolescence. University of Georgia researcher Pamela Orpinas surveyed 624 students in grades 6-12 for seven years. "A likely explanation for the worse educational performance of early daters is that these adolescents start dating early as part of an overall pattern of high-risk behaviors," Orpinas said. The Daily Mail (London) (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Problems Worth Solving
Join the live webcast on January 8, 2015 for the launch of a breakthrough digital textbook that changes the way students and teachers experience math. Engage students with real-world problems worth solving. Support teachers with real-time data and professional development.
Register Today

  Classroom Innovation 
 
  • How to work all STEM components into lessons
    Units that incorporate each component of STEM -- or science, technology, engineering and math -- and connect students to the larger world to achieve deeper learning are at the heart of project-based learning, Nevada-based STEM instructional coach Brian Crosby writes in this blog post. Crosby outlines steps for including each part of STEM, plus ideas that teachers can use to guide students to develop critical-thinking skills. Powerful Learning Practice/Voices blog (3/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Ore. school devotes "teach-in" to energy, science
    Middle-school students at Sunnyside Environmental School in Portland, Ore., recently spent four days focused solely on the science of energy as part of a teach-in that included field trips and visits by industry professionals. Students studied energy forms, the physics of energy, fracking and coal transport and visited a nuclear reactor at Reed College. Teachers said they appreciated the administration support to plan for the event as well as time off from the standard curriculum for the teach-in, which in past years have focused on the Iraq war and climate change. The Portland Tribune (Ore.) (3/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

New from Jeff Anderson & Debbie Dean! Revision Decisions gives teachers in grades 4-10 ten lesson sets with printable handouts that help students develop a repertoire of revision techniques such as asides, interrupters, sentence branching, and more.
Click here to read Chapter 1 online!

  Technology & Connected Learning 
  • SimCityEDU aligns gaming with common core
    The creators of the new SimCityEDU, designed for sixth-grade students, expect it to be a powerful tool for teaching and learning -- helping to engage students and provide a type of formative assessment aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Students will be challenged to decide what kind of power plant to build in the town while the game assesses their choices, providing a tool for teachers to see how students' knowledge matches up with the standards. KQED.org/Mind/Shift blog (3/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Tonight's homework: Play Minecraft
    A growing number of teachers are using the computer game Minecraft -- a building game similar to Legos -- to help teach students lessons in history and math. Two social studies teachers in the District of Columbia use the game to help sixth-grade students develop a Roman city. Now, TeacherGaming is helping educators integrate Minecraft into their teaching -- solving technical problems and helping teachers get set up with the program. The Washington Post (3/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Middle Grades Leadership 
  • Teachers at sister schools take training on the road
    Teachers at schools in Alabama and New York City are learning from each other through a sister-schools program, which has included visits to each school site. Already teachers say they have benefited from the visits, with teachers in Alabama able to reach students in New York City and their teachers observing high-performing teachers in Alabama. "Even though we are very different I think that's exactly what makes it a good partnership," said Chris Birkel, a New York City history teacher. GulfCoastNewsToday.com (Robertsdale, Ala.) (3/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  MiddleWeb Recommends 
  • 6 fun ways to encourage kids to read more
    Maddie Witter, author of "Reading Without Limits: Teaching Strategies to Build Independent Reading for Life," shares six kid-friendly strategies that can boost fiction and nonfiction reading engagement in the middle grades. Her ideas include book-related playlists geared to individual student interests; teachers sharing their own reading histories; read-a-thons; book "blind dates," and more. A MiddleWeb guest article. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Science: Introduce your students to live Raptors in the City
    What's the fastest creature on earth? What cliff-dwelling raptor, once near extinction, has adapted to city life on skyscrapers across North America? The fascinating peregrine falcon is the subject of an environmental education program called Raptors in the City, connecting students with a rare species in real-time via the Internet. Creator Deborah Mathies describes the program, which runs during spring nesting season, following one falcon couple through courtship, rivalry, survival, new life & parenting. Read more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  SmartQuote 
You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it."
--Margaret Thatcher,
British prime minister


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