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New from Jeff Anderson! Patterns of Power invites elementary teachers to devote a few minutes each day to meaningful grammar instruction and watch as their students' understanding of how language works for readers and writers deepens. Filled with over 70 classroom-tested lessons; full color; free study guide. Get details now!
December 18, 2012
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All About the Middle Grades

  Teaching in the Middle 
  • 7 "essential" components for pacing lessons
    Educator Rebecca Alber in this blog post offers seven tips for pacing a lesson to help teachers -- especially new teachers -- avoid making awkward transitions or spending too much time on one activity without leaving time for another. For example, Alber suggests teachers ensure all materials are ready ahead of time and instructions for an activity be presented visually, either on the board or as part of a PowerPoint or Prezi. "This helps keep that pace uninterrupted," she writes. Alber's blog (12/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Middle-school students discuss writing with authors
    Seventh- and eighth-graders at Tiverton Middle School in Massachusetts discuss writing with their favorite authors via Skype as part of the Meet the Author Book Club, a collaboration between school and town librarians. Students prepare for the monthly author interviews by reading a book by the author, then developing questions about the writing process and other topics. "A lot of the students are budding writers, and it's a chance for them to see what it's like on the other side ... and really step into the author's shoes," librarian Kasia Piasecka said. The Herald News (Fall River, Mass.) (12/17) 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.
  Tweens & Young Teens 
  • Tenn. middle-school students mix etiquette with history
    Seventh- and eighth-graders at Bowman Hills School in Tennessee learned some of the finer points of etiquette before a recent field trip to see "The Nutcracker" ballet and eat at a Chattanooga restaurant. The lessons include table manners, history about the women's movement and treating others fairly. The program is the sixth year at the school, organized by teacher Valerie Hunt. Cleveland Daily Banner (Tenn.) (12/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Students might need mental-health services in school
    More resources should be devoted to the mental and emotional health of students, particularly those with disabilities, education consultant and former special educator Jennifer Cerbasi writes. Often targeted for budget cuts, full-time counselors and psychologists are needed in schools to assist students, she writes in this commentary. "I believe children with special needs benefit from counseling to support their emotional development and enhance their understanding of the challenges they may face," she writes. (12/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Classroom Innovation 
  • Educator: Digital tool helps students collect sources
    Sixth-grade language arts teacher Bill Ferriter writes in this blog post about his students' experiment with -- a resource to help users curate collections of resources. Using the tool, students entered search terms related to New York City's ban on large, sugary drinks, then selected sources on the topic they thought should be shared. allows students to evaluate sources, build collections and publish content, Ferriter writes. Teacher Leaders Network/Tempered Radical blog (12/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Technology & Connected Learning 
  • Ideas to get parents on board with tech in the classroom
    Parents might question the need to use technology in the classroom, but emphasizing the career skills students will learn can help bring them around, educator Jennifer Carey writes in this blog post. Carey presents ideas on getting parent buy-in such as emphasizing the skills students learn as they use computers and tablets for projects. "While a parent might balk at their child learning to 'make a movie,' they all want their child to develop core skill-sets that will help them both in school and 'the real world' of college and careers," Carey writes. Powerful Learning Practice (12/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • How technology can help students learn
    In this blog post, educators and experts share their insights and advice for integrating technology into the classroom in ways that improve student learning. "The best way to use tech in the classroom is when the technology primarily supports the process of student learning, not the product," said Sylvia Martinez, president of Generation YES. Tina Barseghian, editor of MindShift, offers examples of how technology helped facilitate group work, improved Latin lessons and was a part of creative play. Education Week Teacher/Classroom Q&A (12/16) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Middle Grades Leadership 
  • Fla. teachers' book club empowers members to reform
    A group of Miami-Dade, Fla., educators gather each month for a book club, in which they discuss chapters on school reform and bring their own experiences to the debate. Through discussing the book, the teachers say they are helping each other improve their own practice and reform schools from the bottom up. "Part of this is to empower educators to stop waiting for others to solve their problems. How we can do this ourselves and support each other," asked Stephanie King, co-founder of the book club and a former Florida teacher of the year. The Miami Herald (free registration) (12/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  MiddleWeb Recommends 
  • How to find real-world STEM problems that challenge students
    Providing STEM students with real-world challenges fuels their curiosity & investigative interests, writes science educator Anne Jolly. But where do teachers find problems worthy of investigation? In a new post at MiddleWeb's STEM Imagineering blog, Jolly makes the case for real-world problem solving and points to Internet resources that can help teachers find suitable challenges in science, math and engineering. Read more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Book review: A valuable common core lesson resource
    "Common Core Literacy Lesson Plans (Grades 6-8)," a new book by Eye on Education editor (and former ELA teacher) Lauren Davis, is "a valuable resource" for all middle school content area teachers, literacy coaches and curriculum leaders, writes MiddleWeb book reviewer Linda Biondi. The book "is well organized by the strands of the Common Core State Standards for reading, writing, speaking, listening and language," Biondi writes, and "All lessons are well researched and contain differentiation strategies that are applicable and attainable." Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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There are two things that one must get used to or one will find life unendurable: the damages of time and injustices of men."
--Nicolas Chamfort,
French writer

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