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January 29, 2013
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All About the Middle Grades

  Teaching in the Middle 
  • How to use musical chairs in a lesson on irrational numbers
    Educator Marsha Ratzel describes how she transformed the familiar game musical chairs into a lesson on the properties of numbers for eighth-grade students. Ratzel had students dance until the music stopped, scramble for a chair and then discuss with a partner the answers to eight questions about rational and irrational numbers. "These are conversations where students must risk taking a stand on something that can be pretty daunting ... and you want to convey to them that it's the process of the discussion not if they got it right or wrong," Ratzel writes. Reflections of a Techie blog (1/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • A guide to successful project-based learning
    For successful project-based learning, teachers should use best practices from other schools, use real-world issues, allow time for feedback and revision, and build student ownership, writes education consultant Suzie Boss. In this blog post, she urges teachers to avoid making project-based learning an afterthought and not to forget to allow time for students to reflect on their work as a way to set goals for future projects. Education Week Teacher/Classroom Q&A blog (1/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Practical strategies teachers can implement now
This quick-guide puts key psychological principles and classroom-ready strategies at every K-12 teacher's fingertips, so they can provide effective support for students with emotional or behavioral issues and recognize when outside help is needed. Download a free chapter!
  Tweens & Young Teens 
  • Baseball players advise middle-schoolers on addressing bullying
    Students at Royal Oak Middle School in Michigan were given advice on creating a culture of support and addressing school bullying from Detroit Tigers baseball players, a federal prosecutor, FBI agents and classmates during a recent school-wide assembly. The event was held through the Major League Baseball program, "Strike Out Bullying," and comes as the school is preparing to implement the Olweus anti-bullying program next month. The Macomb Daily (Mount Clemens, Mich.) (1/24) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Hands-on science in a digital world
Science education is no longer confined to the pages of a textbook. Students are interacting with science concepts through physical objects and digital platforms, and using this knowledge to solve real-world issues. Get insights for making this work in your classroom in this SmartFocus on Hands-on Science.
  Classroom Innovation 
  • Resources to teach students about African-American history
    This blog post includes several resources to help educators address Black History Month. Included among the six teaching tools recommended by Matt Davis, an editorial assistant at Edutopia, are resources that focus on February's theme of "At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington." He suggests interactive resources and timelines that focus on African-American heritage, the Civil Rights movement and other topics. Davis' blog (1/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Students spend a day getting hands-on lessons in financial literacy
    After spending five weeks in their math and social studies classes learning about gross and net income, investing and other money matters, eighth-grade students spent a day at the Junior Achievement Finance Park in Fairfax County, Va. The students take on the roles of working adults and parents, moving from station to station, to confront real-world challenges such as buying a home and a car along with making other spending and investment decisions. The Washington Post (1/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Technology & Connected Learning 
  • Grants help fund high-tech classroom lessons
    About 20 teachers in Richmond County, Va., recently were awarded $2,000 grants intended to help educators purchase technology to upgrade projects already under way or initiate new learning programs. Among those receiving grants were two elementary-school teachers, who initiated the Roots Across the Curriculum program using flashcards and PowerPoint presentations to teach Greek and Latin root words to fourth-grade students. The Augusta Chronicle (Ga.) (1/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Middle Grades Leadership 
  • Teachers seek greater influence in education policy
    Educators nationwide are becoming more involved in teachers' organizations to reverse what they see as poor education policy decisions and are working to improve the future of the teaching profession. So far, the movement has sparked greater influence in education policy, giving teachers more opportunities to take on leadership roles and helping local teachers' unions become more effective. Education Next (Spring 2013) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  MiddleWeb Recommends 
  • Review: A passionate guide to promoting a love for reading
    In recommending "Book Love: Developing Depth, Stamina and Passion in Adolescent Readers," reviewer Kevin Hodgson concludes that author Penny Kittle "delivers on many levels." Her new book "is a both an ode to the power of reading to expand our interests and intellect, and a guide to encouraging even the most reluctant readers in our classrooms to read and enjoy more books." Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Anne Jolly: My chat with a veteran STEM teacher
    MiddleWeb blogger and STEM expert Anne Jolly chats with a middle school science teacher who's been blending in-depth STEM units into everyday instruction since 2007. Paige Till's conclusion: Kids engage and learn more when they use the engineering design process in authentic ways. Take the bio-engineered puppies unit, for example. Read more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse."
--Florence Nightingale,
British social reformer, nurse and statistician

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