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March 15, 2013
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All About the Middle Grades

  Teaching in the Middle 
 
  • 6 ideas for teachers to improve their school climate
    Teachers seeking a good school environment should start by giving and seeking positive feedback themselves, education consultant Allen Mendler writes in this blog post. Mendler shares six ideas, such as asking a colleague to observe a class or keeping a daily log of accomplishments, to help teachers feel more appreciated. "You won't be able to influence everyone or affect everything, but you may have more power than you think to make your school more of what you want it to be for yourself and others," Mendler writes. Edutopia.org/Allen Mendler's blog (3/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
 
  • How to engage students in inquiry learning
    Students can discover their own paths to learning -- a process known as inquiry learning, writes former history teacher Diana Laufenberg. Among her eight suggestions for accomplishing this process is for teachers to be flexible, encourage curiosity among students, set ways for students to participate in class and teach students, not subjects. Laufenberg, speaking at the recent SXSWedu Conference & Festival in Texas, also recommended providing opportunities for experiential learning and embracing failure as part of the process. KQED.org/Mind/Shift blog (3/11) 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 17,000 educators. Sign up today!
  Tweens & Young Teens 
  • Why prevention begins with knowing what is and isn't bullying
    Parents, educators and lawmakers need to be wary of labeling every childhood conflict "bullying" because overuse of the term makes it seem like it is an impossible problem to solve, author and journalist Emily Bazelon writes in this opinion article. Using a proper definition of the term -- repetitive, physical or verbal abuse by someone with more power or status than the victim -- is a good starting point for enacting effective bullying prevention programs, she writes. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (3/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
 
  Classroom Innovation 
  • Using interactive games to teach students about money
    Games can be used to improve students' understanding of money, writes Andrew Miller, an educational consultant and online educator. In anticipation of Financial Literacy Month in April, Miller shares a list of games, compiled by Ohio educator Brian Page. In one game, students -- or players -- manage a "day club" for vampires, while another game, Financial Football, allows students to score points by correctly answering financial questions. Edutopia.org/Andrew Miller's blog (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Technology & Connected Learning 
 
  • Skype helps Okla., Tenn. students collaborate for Bill of Rights lesson
    A fifth-grade class in Oklahoma recently connected with eighth-graders in Tennessee via Skype for a lesson on the Bill of Rights. Students used the technology to participate in joint presentations on the topic, using PowerPoint, interactive whiteboards and classroom computers. The teachers found each other while doing online research on the topic and joined forces on the lesson, in which one class created slides demonstrating uses for the Bill of Rights, while the other created slides with background information and limitations. The Duncan Banner (Okla.) (3/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Pa. school converts classroom into role-playing simulator
    Shaler Area Elementary School in Glenshaw, Pa., is using an $80,000 grant to transform a classroom into the "IKS Titan," an interactive simulator for classroom lessons and special "missions" for students in grades 4 to 6. The room will be outfitted with iPads, an interactive whiteboard and other technology that can help students take on a part, such as biologist or ship captain, in various interdisciplinary role-playing lessons on topics ranging from history and literature to concepts in science, technology, engineering and math. T.H.E. Journal (3/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
Student's Ambition Sparked by Academy of READING
Academy of READING provides an individualized approach to developing foundation skills. This CASE-endorsed online intervention program targets critical skill gaps and helps students make fast, permanent gains in reading proficiency. Watch this video to hear a student and his mother discuss how Academy of READING impacted his life.
  Middle Grades Leadership 
  • Ind. district devotes time for teachers to work together
    Shane Robbins, superintendent of Northwestern Consolidated School District, says he has been impressed by the results of teachers' weekly collaboration sessions. Each Wednesday, the start of school is delayed by one hour so teachers at each school can meet to discuss student data and evaluate students' progress and needs. Officials say the meetings have informed discussions on curriculum and also allowed teachers of different subjects -- and in different schools -- to learn from each other. The Shelbyville News (Ind.) (3/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  MiddleWeb Recommends 
  • Review: The Advisory Book can help build strong support programs
    "Advisory" is one of the hallmarks of the middle school model of social, emotional and academic support, says MiddleWeb book reviewer Amanda Wall, an experience teacher and doctoral student. The newly released second edition of The Advisory Book updates a classic and comprehensive guide to creating quality advisory programs, she says, offering both a research-based argument for the model "and more than one hundred pages of thematic ideas and plans." Read more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Motivating learners in co-taught classrooms
    Students' attitudes play a crucial role in learning, writes special educator and co-teacher Elizabeth Stein. "And we also know our decisions about how to use class time can either propel or shut down a positive learning attitude." Stein has deepened her thinking about motivation after reading "Self-Driven Learning," a new book by Larry Ferlazzo. She says Ferlazzo's insights are important for all educators but have "additional value for co-teachers." Two Teachers in the Room blog. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  SmartQuote 
Adventure is not outside man; it is within."
--George Eliot,
British writer


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