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November 20, 2012
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All About the Middle Grades

  Teaching in the Middle 
  • Simplified learning goals help students gauge progress
    Writing learning goals in a language that students can understand helps them to assess, for themselves, how well they are understanding the material, middle-grades educator Bill Ferriter writes in response to a reader's questions about student-friendly learning goals. Ferriter offers three tips on why they are useful and how to incorporate them into lessons. For example, he creates overview sheets that give students ways to rate their own progress in achieving learning goals before and after a lesson. Teacher Leaders Network/The Tempered Radical blog (11/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Students learn what it means to be thankful
    Teachers at the U.S. territory of Guam's Tamuning Elementary School are using the Thanksgiving story to help students understand about being grateful for what they have and why giving back to the community is important. Annie Arevalo's class of fourth-grade students who are gifted and talented are learning the history of Thanksgiving and are being encouraged to think about why they are thankful. A food drive is part of that lesson in helping the students become more aware of their community and what they can do to help others, Arevalo said. The Pacific Daily News (Guam) (11/19) 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 16,000 educators. Sign up today!
  Tweens & Young Teens 
  • Md. middle school trains students to mediate peers' disputes
    Principal Amin Salaam is training students at Kettering Middle School in Upper Marlboro, Md., on how to mediate peer conflicts in anticipation of launching a peer mediation program at the end of November. Once active, students will help peers solve conflicts with the supervision of a guidance counselor. "I wanted the students to learn how to solve these problems themselves, using adult strategies," Salaam said. The Gazette (Gaithersburg, Md.) (11/19) 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 
  • How to help students learn to write through practice
    Students must practice writing in short, daily exercises to develop the fluency needed to become better at writing formal, graded papers, says high-school English teacher Mary Tedrow, one of three educators who contributed to this blog post. One writing exercise Tedrow suggests is to lecture for five to nine minutes, have students write notes for that lecture and then have students read it to a class partner. Tedrow also says students will be less reluctant to write when the subjects are familiar. Education Week Teacher/Classroom Q&A blog (11/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Technology & Connected Learning 
  • Free apps give teachers tools to record student behavior
    Educator Richard Byrne writes in this blog post about three free software applications that teachers can use to track positive and negative student behaviors. Two of the programs are in beta, but the third, ClassDojo, is a free app being used by teachers across all grade levels to track attendance and behaviors. Teachers using the app can assign access codes to parents so they can look in on their child's progress. School Library Journal/The Digital Shift blog (11/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Why Wikipedia could have a place in the classroom
    While some educators have rejected the use of Wikipedia in an academic setting, there are occasions when it makes sense to use the user-generated content on the site, writes Rhett Allain, an associate professor of physics at Southeastern Louisiana University. He writes in this blog post that the content on the website has become more reliable over the years, and if the goal is for students "to process and synthesize information" it makes sense for Wikipedia to be used. Science blog (11/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Middle Grades Leadership 
  • Report supports training, career growth for teachers
    A recent report released by Accomplished California Teachers has found that fewer new teachers would leave the profession and the quality of teachers would be improved if teachers were provided with additional training and a clearly defined career path. Among other things, the group suggests in the report that a "third tier" be established for teachers, who would earn additional pay, help struggling teachers and take on some managerial roles. EdSource Extra (11/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  MiddleWeb Recommends 
  • 12 steps to great STEM lessons
    Awarding-winning middle grades science teacher Anne Jolly writes STEM curriculum for an NSF funded district-foundation partnership in Mobile, Ala. Who better to give advice about writing a great STEM lesson plan? We're not saying it's easy, but if you follow her 12 steps, you'll have success. MiddleWeb's STEM Imagineering blog. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • The Walking Classroom promotes exercise and the Common Core
    Middle grades teacher Mary Tarashuk says the engaging podcasts provided by The Walking Classroom program, which allow students to exercise while they learn, blend well into the skills and content targeted by CCSS literacy standards and other subjects. Second in a two-part series. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Editor's Note 
  • SmartBrief will not publish Friday
    In observance of Thanksgiving in the U.S., MiddleWeb SmartBrief will not be published Friday, Nov. 23. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
A good man with a good conscience doesn't walk so fast."
--Georg Büchner,
German writer

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