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November 2, 2012
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All About the Middle Grades

  Teaching in the Middle 
  • How to focus on the positive aspects of expectations
    A teacher's expectations influence how students learn, according to middle-grades educator Ariel Sacks. However, in this blog post, Sacks reminds teachers to focus on the positive connotations of the word, avoiding its use to imply control, punitive measures or inflexible demands. "It is equally important that teachers can be reciprocally influenced by the students' experience and response to conditions or tasks," Sacks writes. Teacher Leaders Network/On the Shoulders of Giants blog (11/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
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  Tweens & Young Teens 
  • Clubs foster supportive environments at Ill. middle schools
    Students at two Illinois middle schools have formed clubs focused on providing nurturing, supportive environments for students. The Friends of Rachel clubs stem from a national program, Rachel's Challenge, which encourages students to interact with each other in positive ways. Some student projects undertaken as part of the clubs include mentoring, putting nice notes on students' lockers and reaching out to bullies. Chicago Tribune(tiered subscription model) (10/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Researchers link teen pregnancy and literacy
    Pre-teens girls with low literacy levels were 2.5 times more likely than girls with higher levels of literacy to get pregnant as teenagers, according to a study by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine and the School of Nursing. The study, conducted over six years, included 12,339 Philadelphia school girls of an average age of 11.9 years of age. Researchers are recommending that health care providers consider literacy levels when they counsel young patients. (10/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News

"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 
  • S.D. district calls upon Socrates to boost math learning
    Some middle-school math teachers in the Sioux Falls School District in South Dakota are using higher-order thinking and nonverbal cues in their math lessons as part of the district's adoption of the Socratic method and transition to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. The district plans to roll out the strategy its other middle schools and some elementary schools over the next three years. "Student engagement and higher-order questioning are the two key focuses of this particular modeling," said Sioux Falls' assistant superintendent, Sharon Schueler. Argus Leader (Sioux Falls, S.D.)(tiered subscription model) (10/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Middle-school project promotes civic involvement among students
    Sixth-grade students at Westwood Middle School in Minnesota are assigned a civics-education project each fall that is designed to encourage them to become active in their community. "We want them to understand that as a citizen, you have a responsibility," sixth-grade teacher Bob Schneider said. The project, which can take up to two months to complete, has students engaged in activities such as performing service projects, attending meetings of the local school board or city council and writing letters to elected officials. (Coon Rapids, Minn.) (10/25) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Technology & Connected Learning 
  • 6 ways students use technology to help change the world
    Teachers can use digital tools to help students make a difference in the world, teacher Bill Ferriter writes in this blog post. He offers six ways students can use such technology to help support causes, including one at his own school in which students used the microlending service Kiva to assist entrepreneurs in developing countries. Ferriter also writes about students who have used blogging to spread the word about projects they are passionate about. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (11/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Middle Grades Leadership 
  • Why teacher coaches must advocate for more time to coach
    If teacher coaches are not spending 90% of their time assisting colleagues with instruction, they might be less likely to be effective as coaches, transformational-leadership coach Elena Aguilar writes in this blog post. Aguilar advises teacher coaches to advocate for dedicated time to accomplish their coaching goals instead of spending extended time on side tasks. "There's far more evidence that you can positively impact student learning by working with teachers on their instructional practices than by putting up bulletin boards," Aguilar writes. Education Week Teacher/The Art of Coaching Teachers blog (11/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  MiddleWeb News 
  • The creative lives of children
    "School Play," a documentary by Eddie Rosenstein and Rick Velleu, celebrates creative arts opportunities for all students, writes principal Lyn Hilt, who also reviews a companion professional development guide. The film follows fourth- and fifth-graders in their school's production of "The Wizard of Oz," capturing the children's views of demanding teamwork and reminding educators of the myriad talents students possess. The study guide, Hilt says, can help spur important discussions among faculty and can be tailored to fit your school's needs. Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • 4 critical conversations for co-teachers
    The best co-teaching partnerships grow out of discussions of "difficult truths," MiddleWeb blogger Elizabeth Stein writes. In this new post on the MiddleWeb blog, "Two Teachers in the Room," Stein suggests four places where co-teachers can begin these uncomfortable but critically important conversations. Learn more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It's self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can't try to do things. You simply must do things."
--Ray Bradbury,
American writer

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