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November 16, 2012
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All About the Middle Grades

  Teaching in the Middle 
  • How social media can help struggling readers find favorite books
    Social media can be used to help struggling readers by providing a tool for them to discuss favorite books with their peers, educator Bill Ferriter writes in this blog post. Media specialist Pete Caggia introduced Ferriter's sixth-graders to Destiny Quest -- a site for students that is similar to Goodreads -- after both educators noticed some students had a hard time selecting books. "The simple truth is that Destiny Quest has made sharing titles with friends easier -- a key to engaging middle grades readers who ALREADY get most of their book recommendations from peers," Ferriter writes. Teacher Leaders Network/Tempered Radical blog (11/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Should teachers stop assigning homework?
    Middle-school teacher Mark Barnes gave up on assigning homework. The results, Barnes writes in this blog post, were positive, with many students still choosing to complete academic work -- of their own choosing -- after school. Assigning homework, as he did for years, could be a tradition that needs to be re-evaluated, Barnes suggests, adding that the nightly assignments actually could lead more students to dislike school and learning. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (11/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • N.C. infuses math curriculum with real-world problem-solving
    Algebra students at Contentnea-Savannah K-8 School in Kinston, N.C., are learning the subject in a whole new way this year with a curriculum that stresses real-world math. For example, students are learning high-level math skills while performing water-testing experiments and learning sports statistics. "It's not like you're just doing busy math work," seventh-grader Anne-Wesley Taylor said. "You're not just copying down problems. You're actually solving regular-day problems." WNCT-TV (Greenville, N.C.) (11/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Empower Students by Implementing STEM
At its heart, STEM education aims to inspire learners to meet the challenges of the 21st century through innovation, collaboration, and problem solving. In other words, it's about doing. Learn how CPO Science engages students in doing the practices of STEM through hands-on, inquiry-based lessons.
  Tweens & Young Teens 
  • How are students younger than 13 using social media?
    Finding out how students younger than 13 years old use social media is challenging and the lack of research makes it difficult to manage younger students' use of social sites, according to "Kids Online," a report issued by The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. Most studies look at the usage of teens, whose habits can't be applied to younger students, in part because they are able to use adult sites such as Facebook. Children younger than 13 typically network through games, and sharing and creating projects online, the report found. School Library Journal (11/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News

New edition! Strategies That Work has helped over a million teachers explicitly teach comprehension strategies so students become engaged, thoughtful, independent readers. The 3rd edition includes 30 new lessons and new and revised chapters that tackle close reading, close listening, text complexity, and critical thinking. Preview the entire text online!
  Classroom Innovation 
  • How some teachers mix fiction, nonfiction in the classroom
    Some teachers are blending fiction and nonfiction materials in the classroom as they shift to Common Core State Standards, which emphasize informational texts, such as essays and historical documents. Some educators and experts question whether fiction will be completely squeezed out of the classroom. An elementary-school teacher in Baltimore used a blended approach for a unit called "fall fun with friends," in which she read to students from two versions of "The Three Little Pigs," as well as books on weather, pumpkins, apples and friendship. Education Week (premium article access compliments of (11/14) 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 
  • Teacher turns flipped instruction on its head
    A middle-school teacher in Amherst, N.Y., has adopted the flipped instructional method -- with a twist. Rather than creating instructional videos for his students, Rob Zdrojewski has his students use screencasting technology to create instructional videos for teachers. In the videos, which serve as professional development for teachers, students offer instruction on technology, such as using Gmail and Google Drive. Each video is 90 seconds or less. T.H.E. Journal (11/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Middle Grades Leadership 
  • Colo. school district seeks way to improve ongoing teacher training
    Officials in Colorado's Falcon School District 49 say they want to grow a professional-development program that focuses on a teacher's first few years on the job, but still provides continuous mentoring and training opportunities. Part of the district's plan is to encourage teachers to become master teachers and mentors to fellow educators, and empower them to innovate and make more decisions about their classes. The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.) (11/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  MiddleWeb Recommends 
  • The walking classroom
    New Jersey middle-grades teacher Mary Tarashuk often yearned to spend more time outside, learning with her students. Her discovery of the Walking Classroom Institute program, featuring MP3 players and standards-friendly podcasts in a variety of subjects, now makes that possible. "Research shows that increasing cardio function increases cognitive function. The program is especially effective for my kids who have attention issues, but they all seem to prefer to move while they learn. Me too." Read more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • The needs of co-teachers come first
    It's radical to say so, special-education teacher Elizabeth Stein concedes, but co-teaching's first priority should be about what each teacher can do for the other. "My focus has always been on what I -- and we -- can do for the students (with my attention zoomed in on our students with disabilities). My new perspective places the needs of my co-teacher at the top of the agenda." Skeptics will want to read her explanation. Two Teachers in the Room blog. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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One thing I am convinced more and more is true and that is this: The only way to be truly happy is to make others happy. When you realize that and take advantage of the fact, everything is made perfect."
--William Carlos Williams,
American poet and physician

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