Mock trial challenges middle-school students | MiddleWeb: How educators can make researching matter to kids | How to get students to engage with active lessons
December 6, 2019
Middleweb SmartBrief
All About the Middle Grades
Teaching in the Middle
Mock trial challenges middle-school students
Middle-school students in gifted programs in Lorain County, Ohio took part in a mock trial designed to test their communication, strategy and teamwork skills. Students in grades five through eight spent about a month preparing for the mock trial, which took place at the county justice center and was presided over by a retired judge.
The Morning Journal (Lorain, Ohio) (12/5) 
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How to get students to engage with active lessons
Students may incorrectly assume that assignments incorporating active learning -- such as projects -- are less rigorous than those which are passive, such as lectures, writes Jordan Mattox, a middle-school technology and history teacher. Mattox outlines three ways teachers can help students adjust their thinking about their progress and better engage with the assignment.
Edutopia (12/5) 
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The Power of Inquiry in Your Classroom
How can educators harness students' natural curiosity to promote meaningful learning? Focus on inquiry! Researcher's Workshop—an instructional approach for any content area—does just that. Watch how one teacher uses great content to maximize engagement and learning. Watch the video
Tweens & Young Teens
Disordered eating more likely in young teens with social media use
Young adolescents with Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr and Snapchat accounts, but not girls who had Facebook and Instagram, scored significantly higher in a test measuring disordered eating thoughts, while those with more social media accounts had higher scores for disordered eating thoughts and behaviors, according to an Australian study in the International Journal of Eating Disorders. Researchers also found elevated prevalence of disordered eating behaviors, as well as weight and shape overevaluations, among boys with Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat and among girls with Tumblr and Snapchat.
Healio (free registration) (12/5) 
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Education is in a constant state of change, buffeted by state and federal standards, emerging technologies, teacher shortages and funding crises, to name a few. Successful change initiatives require strong leaders, led by uncompromising integrity and confidence.
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Classroom Innovation
Event engages middle-school girls in politics
Event engages middle-school girls in politics
A nonpartisan event aimed at middle-school girls in Ohio aims to pique their interest in the political process and give them information about running for office someday. The Girl Power Politics event is the brainchild of high-school junior Anna MacLennan, who recruited local female politicians to speak at the seminar.
WCPO-TV (Cincinnati) (12/5) 
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Ky. district expands agriculture education program
A Kentucky school district is expanding its agriculture education program to middle schools -- feeding into the high-school program and FFA. Students enrolled in the program will study food science, forestry, floral design, where their food comes from and other topics.
The Kentucky Standard (Bardstown) (12/3) 
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Technology & Connected Learning
TikTok suppressed videos it claims were susceptible to "cyberbullying"
TikTok officials confirmed that platform moderators were instructed to suppress videos it says were "susceptible to bullying or harassment," such as those featuring people with facial disfigurement, autism or Down syndrome after a report appeared in Netzpolitik. "While the intention was good, the approach was wrong and we have long since changed the earlier policy in favor of more nuanced anti-bullying policies and in-app protections," a TikTok spokesperson told Netzpolitik.
Slate (12/4),  Netzpolitik (Germany) (12/2) 
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Middle Grades Leadership
Educator: Bingo helps diversify classroom books
Educator: Bingo helps diversify classroom books
Classroom libraries should include books that offer students a view of themselves and others, according to Kathryn Fishman-Weaver, director of academic affairs and engagement at Mizzou K-12. In this blog post, Fishman-Weaver offers a bingo card to help teachers audit books included and being considered for inclusion on classroom bookshelves.
Edutopia (12/3) 
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MiddleWeb Recommends
Review: Helping students discuss race related issues
In "Not Light, But Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom" Matthew Kay shows how to establish and maintain a positive classroom community that allows teachers to begin to broach racial discussion with our students in a healthy and productive way. Nicole Warchol finds the book smart, supportive, and necessary. Read more.
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Review: A succinct primer on practical teaching strategies
"The Elements of Education for Teachers: 50 Research-Based Principles Every Educator Should Know" offers 100 concise pages, jam-packed with easily accessible, well vetted pedagogies and practices. Authors Austin Volz, Julia Higdon and William Lidwell present each element in a crisp two-page format, complete with do's and don'ts. Teacher Diane Kaplan has selected several strategies to implement right away. Read on.
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Resource: Teaching faith-based holidays
Facing the "December Dilemma" of how to include winter holidays in the instructional day? This MiddleWeb resource offers a multi-faceted look at religious and non-religious aspects of the season, legal issues, and ideas for seasonal lesson planning. Read more.
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