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March 12, 2013
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All About the Middle Grades

  Teaching in the Middle 
  • Why YA literature is a good fit for middle-grades students
    Well-selected books from the young-adult genre can help students build the skills they need to tackle more challenging, classical literature, middle-grades language arts teacher Ariel Sacks writes in this blog post. A majority of middle-school students might not able to read and analyze most classic literature on their own, but assigning rigorous and developmentally accessible YA books when teaching whole-novel units allows them to have an "authentic" reading experience without the need for teachers to "dumb down" the material, Sacks writes. TransformED (3/10) 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 
  • Helping students to change negative thinking
    Teaching students about the eight, common "thought holes," or negatively skewed perceptions such as personalizing and jumping to conclusions, and giving them three steps to reason out of these cognitive patterns can build their emotional resilience, positive psychology consultant Renee Jain writes in this blog post. "Above all, they learn that one can choose which thoughts to focus on, and in this, there is power," Jain writes. Jain's blog (3/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

Are your students bored? Beat Boredom gives you proven, out-of-the-box strategies and activities for engaging high school students in any class. You'll see how to generate active engagement and move way beyond traditional passive memorization of information. Informed by a survey of 800+ high school graduates. Preview the entire book!
  Classroom Innovation 
  • Ore. students turn history project into community asset
    The history project that fourth- and fifth-graders at Camas Ridge Elementary School in Eugene, Ore., have worked on since last year isn't limited to Donna DuBois' classroom. The students gathered old photos and historical information about 20 sites in their city, such as the train station and the public market, and made short videos about each one, as well as QR codes for smartphones. The project earned the support of Mayor Kitty Piercy, as well as business owners who posted signs to alert visitors to the QR codes for each site. The Register-Guard (Eugene, Ore.) (3/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Parents, students learn about lighter side of math, science
    An elementary school in Virginia recently hosted an event for parents and students to learn about the fun side of math and science. Educators also highlighted activities they use during the school day, so that parents have a better understanding of what happens in the classroom. Participants used geometry when making pizzas and had an opportunity to interact directly with marine life. Suffolk News-Herald (Va.) (3/11) 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 
  • Maine students learn about STEM careers from Vanderbilt researchers
    Fourth- and fifth-graders at Surry Elementary School in Maine, and in other schools throughout the state, are learning how scientists do their work through a weekly teleconference with researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The curriculum is part of the center's Aspirnaut program, created to interest students in science, technology, engineering and math. "Every Vanderbilt instructor starts the lesson by discussing with the kids his or her own personal interest in science or math and what career field they're in. Kids start to think, 'Hey, that could be me,'" principal Cathy Lewis said. Bangor Daily News (Maine) (free registration) (3/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
Intensive, Multisensory Reading Intervention with Proven Results
S.P.I.R.E.® is a comprehensive and multisensory reading intervention program. It is designed to prevent reading failure and to build reading success through an intensive, structured, and spiraling curriculum. It integrates phonological awareness, phonics, handwriting, fluency, vocabulary, spelling, and comprehension in a 10-Step lesson plan that is specifically designed for the way struggling readers learn. Learn more.
  Middle Grades Leadership 
  • Gates: Why teachers should use technology to connect, collaborate
    Bill Gates used his recent keynote address at the SXSWedu Conference & Festival in Austin, Texas, to champion the use of social media and other technology to connect educators and allow them to learn from each other, SmartBrief's senior education editor, Melissa Greenwood, writes in this blog post. "The fact that these platforms let you categorize and talk about what your challenges are and sort of reach out to experts anywhere in the country who will be able to give you examples of what works with that type of student, it's really breaking down that isolation in a really strong way," Gates said. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Education (3/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Getting teachers, superintendents to relate to each other
    Teachers and superintendents should walk in the others' shoes to get a better understanding of each side, writes Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. Social studies teacher and author Larry Ferlazzo had asked readers of his blog to offer suggestions for how teachers and superintendents can best relate to each other and Weingarten responded. Among Weingarten's suggestions is developing constructive relationships built on mutual respect. "In short -- what the education world needs today are fewer John Waynes and more John Deweys," Weingarten writes. Education Week Teacher/Classroom Q&A blog (3/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  MiddleWeb Recommends 
  • Ethical and effective preparation for standardized testing
    High-stakes testing is a current reality, writes teacher-author Larry Ferlazzo in this excerpt from a new book, "Self-Driven Learning: Teaching Strategies For Student Motivation." While teachers argue for better evaluation tools, "what are the most effective and ethical ways we can help prepare our students do their best on these tests and...develop strategies to cope with other high-stress situations they may face in the future?" One research-based idea: writing or talking about a successful family member, just before testing. Read on. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • STEM Launchers: Get the year off to a great start
    In schools everywhere, more and more educators are introducing students to STEM and engineering. How we do this is critical, says guest blogger Carolyn DeCristiphono, a STEM curriculum developer and trainer and author of several popular science books for kids. DeCristofano describes a set of "Launcher" lessons she and her colleagues have developed to introduce the engineering design process and the secrets of teamwork to students in grades 6-8. MiddleWeb's STEM Imagineering blog. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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We are all worms. But I do believe that I am a glow-worm."
--Winston Churchill,
British prime minister

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