Students create design plan for overcrowded school | School to deliver free meals to students during holiday break | Parents ask middle schools to crack down on phones
December 5, 2019
Middleweb SmartBrief
All About the Middle Grades
Teaching in the Middle
Students create design plan for overcrowded school
Students on the robotics team at Steamboat Springs Middle School in Colorado were asked to apply their STEM skills to a community problem. They addressed overcrowding at their school, and their solution -- a design plan for building an addition to the school -- took first place at the regional FIRST LEGO League competition last month.
The Steamboat Pilot & Today (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) (12/4) 
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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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Tweens & Young Teens
School to deliver free meals to students during holiday break
Hendersonville Middle School in North Carolina will keep its kitchen open during the holiday break as employees volunteer their time to prepare free hot meals that will be delivered to more than 500 students in six neighborhoods. Funding for the initiative came from a local donation to the Meals on the Bus summer meal program.
WLOS-TV (Asheville, N.C.) (12/3) 
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Broaden your idea of what it means to compose.
In her new book, Writing, Redefined, Shawna Coppola challenges us to think outside the traditions of writing to go beyond pen and paper. By allowing ourselves and our students to redefine writing, we redefine what it means to be a writer.
Classroom Innovation
Ky. students make meals fit for Neolithic menus
Ky. students make meals fit for Neolithic menus
Social studies students at an Owensboro, Ky., middle school recently served up a tasty class project with the help of Nicholas Rose and his Tri-R-Tips BBQ food truck. The sixth-graders created menus based on the diets of the early people of Neolithic times, seventh-graders voted on their favorite menus, and Rose worked with students to prepare and serve the winning dishes.
Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer (Ky.) (12/4) 
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"Earthquake Shake" projects engage students in STEM
"Earthquake Shake" projects engage students in STEM
A 1989 San Francisco earthquake killed hundreds and damaged structures including this house that crushed a parked car. (Adam Teitelbaum/AFP via Getty Images)
STEM students in a Pennsylvania high school have been studying seismology and spent a month building models of earthquake-resistant structures. Students in the project-based class could use materials such as coffee stirrers and popsicle sticks to build their "Earthquake Shake" structures, which had to withstand testing on an earthquake simulator plate.
The Herald (Sharon-Farrell-Sharpsville-Wheatland, Pa.) (12/3) 
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Technology & Connected Learning
Teacher bringing esports to the middle grades
Teacher bringing esports to the middle grades
Amy Brudin, who teaches technology to fourth- through eighth-graders at the Peabody School in Virginia and also serves as the school's director of educational technology, is working to create an esports program for middle-grades students. Brudin, whom the North America Scholastic Esports Federation recently named a middle school scholastic fellow, says she hopes to interest more girls in esports and introduce all students to potential careers in the gaming industry.
C-Ville (Charlottesville, Va.) (12/4) 
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Teacher shares how to harness AI to teach writing
Teacher shares how to harness AI to teach writing
Teacher Robert Comeau used to grade papers with a ballpoint pen, but says that artificial intelligence offers opportunities for assisted writing feedback. In this commentary, Comeau shares how he uses the platform Quill and how it has freed more time for advanced lessons and individualized learning with students.
The Hechinger Report (12/2) 
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Middle Grades Leadership
Middle-school PE teacher invents, sells game
Randy Watts, a veteran middle-school physical education teacher in Georgia, creates games to get students excited about being active in class. Watts sold the rights to one game that he called aerodisc -- created by combining elements of disc golf and Ultimate Frisbee -- to a sports company that has rebranded the activity as Target Duel, with Watts receiving royalties from each sale.
The Marietta Daily Journal (Ga.) (tiered subscription model) (12/2) 
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MiddleWeb Recommends
Book clubs and personal narratives help students explore identity
As a grades 7-9 ELA teacher in a rural community, Brent Gilson feels a duty to help students "begin to see the world as it is and can be" before they leave high school. Using a book clubs strategy and narrative writing projects, he aims to "help them develop a sense of empathy and acceptance for those who at first glance do not seem at all like them." Read more.
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What teachers can learn while they're grading papers
Grading never goes away. But what if teachers approach it less as a chore and more as an investigation - a form of professional development? Veteran teacher Lauren Brown traces the evolution of a history assignment over four years as she used the grading process to uncover flaws in her lesson design and adapt her instruction to deepen student learning. Read on.
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Ansel Adams,
landscape photographer, environmentalist
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