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February 5, 2013
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All About the Middle Grades

  Teaching in the Middle 
  • What makes an "innovative" learning environment?
    Innovative classrooms are places where students not only master content but also learn how to be adaptive learners, according to researchers at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. "Adaptive expertise tries to push beyond the idea of mastery," said educational engineer Jennifer Groff. The OECD has identified seven principles of innovative classrooms, including creating a learner-centered environment, and recognizing that learning should be connected across disciplines. blog (2/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Teacher: "We must slow down"
    There are ways to help teachers refresh from burnout, writes Megan Allen, a 2012-13 "teacherpreneur" with the Center for Teaching Quality and Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida. Among the ideas Allen suggests in this commentary are to schedule breaks, set goals unrelated to work and prioritize tasks. Allen also suggests knowing when to slow down, talking with colleagues, gaining momentum by completing easy tasks first and understanding that the path to finding balance will not be easy. Education Week Teacher (premium article access compliments of (1/29) 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 
  • School bullying is linked to popularity in middle school
    U.S. researchers surveyed almost 1,900 middle-school students in Los Angeles and found that those who were considered the coolest were frequently reported as being the most aggressive, and vice versa. Since bullying appears to raise popularity in school, antibullying initiatives should be subtle and sophisticated to be effective, lead author Jaana Juvonen said. The findings appear in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. HealthDay News (2/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News

"Wakes us up and challenges us to infuse new life, depth, and joy into the warm-up segment of our math block."Lucy West. Number Sense Routines for grades 3-5 shows how routines like Today's Number, Quick Images, and Counting Around the Circle can help students learn to think in more sophisticated ways. Preview the entire book!
  Classroom Innovation 
  • Fourth-graders learn economics through classroom community
    Fourth-graders at Sope Creek Elementary School in Marietta, Ga., track their behavior and class work in a check ledger that is used to earn money in the classroom. Called "Smartieville," the project and classroom management tool helps students learn how the economy works by earning money and paying bills such as rent on their desks. WXIA-TV (Atlanta) (2/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
SmartBrief’s 5th Annual STEM Pathways Summit
Join us Thursday, Oct. 18 in New York City for the 5th annual STEM Pathways Summit, a FREE high-powered one-day event for K-20 STEM leaders and decision-makers. Develop a STEM toolkit, build a learning network with peers and share success stories and lessons learned. Register to request your seat.
  Technology & Connected Learning 
  Middle Grades Leadership 
  • Why instructional coaching improves instruction
    Instructional coaching assists teachers by asking open-ended questions and modeling practices that guide teachers to developing their own solutions for classroom dilemmas, educator Ben Johnson writes in this blog post. "Through coaching, true teacher empowerment is possible, but perhaps most importantly, the skills that are modeled by the administrator on the teacher are exactly the constructivist skills that teachers can employ with their own students," Johnson writes. Johnson's blog (1/31) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • How PLCs can improve instruction schoolwide
    Principal Jonathan VanderEls writes in this blog post how his school used professional learning communities to improve students' literacy skills. Staff implemented a K-8 continuum for assessing writing and learned how to provide targeted interventions. "The key was getting all staff to understand what this focus was, include them as participants in the process of determining our needs as we moved forward as a school, and make the commitment to assess our work and respond in a timely manner," VanderEls writes. Connected Principals blog (2/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  MiddleWeb Recommends 
  • Learning More about the Movies
    Oscar season is a perfect time to introduce students to film careers and explore fascinating behind-the-scenes jobs associated with movie production. Media literacy expert Frank Baker highlights one such job -- the Foley artist -- with links to cool video clips of award winner Gary Hecker creating sounds for Twilight, The Hunger Games and 2010's Robin Hood. Baker also alerts teachers to Oscar's free introductory film curriculum, including a teacher's guide to cinema literacy. Read more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • STEM PD: Get Some Expert Advice
    Suppose you were a school leader and you set out to deliberately send your STEM initiative into a nose-dive. How would you do that? Simple. Just make sure your teachers are underprepared, under-resourced, and under-supported. If you want your STEM program to fly high, says MiddleWeb blogger Anne Jolly, take some in-depth advice from veteran STEM teacher coach Judy Duke. Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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Failure changes for the better, success for the worse."
--Seneca the Younger,
Roman philosopher, statesman and playwright

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