Blogs on Middle (6-8)

Blogs on Middle (6-8)RSS
Joshua BlockJanuary 7, 2014

Learning is a messy process -- and authentic, project-based learning immerses us in unique parts of this mess. There are days when my check-ins with students reveal that many young people are lost or unclear about how to proceed with the early stages of a project.

"What topic are you going to focus on?" I ask Keith as I kneel down next him.

"I can’t decide. I’m stuck," he mumbles, leaning forward and staring straight into his computer screen as he talks.

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Todd FinleyJanuary 2, 2014

"Change your language and you change your thoughts." -- Karl Albrecht

Understanding Academic Language

Academic language is a meta-language that helps learners acquire the 50,000 words that they are expected to have internalized by the end of high school and includes everything from illustration and chart literacy to speaking, grammar and genres within fields.

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Ted HasselbringDecember 30, 2013

With 1:1 computing initiatives occuring in school districts across the country, never before have students had such universal access to information. Pedagogical innovations like "blended learning" and "flipped instruction" are changing the way teachers and students interact and learn. Even schools are becoming virtual -- without physical buildings or classrooms. At the same time, millions of students cannot benefit fully from these innovations because they struggle with reading. Our national challenge is to close the gap for struggling readers at all levels, especially among those with disabilities.

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Beth HollandDecember 27, 2013

It's my fault. I'll admit it. During my eight years in the classroom, I ruined at least two amazing literary works by assigning horrifically dull reading projects. My only hope is that those middle school students, whose enthusiasm I quashed, found another way to become passionate about literature.

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Damian MarlowDecember 23, 2013

Editor's note: Mary MartinezSmith, an eighth grader at Axtell Park Middle School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, co-authored this post.

Not very many people really know what it's like to do something that affects not only hundreds, but thousands. Some would say those with big dreams, simply put, are just dreamers. Others might say teenagers who dream big are trying to do something beyond their power. Many people would like to say they not only had that dream, but they accomplished it. Yet few actually can. We, Mary MartinezSmith and Damian Marlow, are proud to say we are two of those few people. The catch? We did it just by putting sticky notes with positive messages on every locker in our school.

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Caroline TrullDecember 16, 2013

Students are taught that a closing paragraph should accomplish three things:

  1. Restate an essay's thesis
  2. Summarize main points
  3. Provide a finished feel

In response to this information, young writers often exhibit confusion. "Aren't I repeating myself if I copy the same content from the first paragraph? And what's a finished feel?"

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Nicholas ProvenzanoDecember 13, 2013

Students want to be engaged in class. They really do -- but sometimes other things get in the way of their natural instincts. A few changes to how a teacher runs a classroom can make a huge impact on how engaged students will be in that classroom. It's an issue that every teacher has to face, but it can be addressed in some very simple ways. Here are just a few of my strategies for dealing with low levels of student engagement. They've made a major difference in my classes over the years.

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aaronkaioDecember 11, 2013

Two years ago when my wife and I moved to Madison, Wisconsin, I was lucky enough to get a job at a new project- and environment-based charter school, Badger Rock Middle. After a tough first year of learning and experimenting (sometimes with the help of Edutopia and sometimes with the help of other teachers like Sara Krauskopf, on whose project the following lesson is based), I have become more confident in assigning projects and letting students take them as far as possible.

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Stacey GoodmanDecember 6, 2013

I am an eye. I am a mechanical eye. I, a machine, am showing you a world, the likes of which only I can see. -- from Dziga Vertov's (1896 - 1954) "I Am Camera."

This September I watched anxiously as Dylan, my student in the Personal Projects class, lifted a jagged, ruby-colored shard of glass over the worktable while wearing computer-in-an-eyeglass technology known as Google Glass.

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Maurice EliasDecember 5, 2013

As we edge towards the end of the calendar year and the first half of the school year, we can benefit from taking stock of what has happened thus far and also, put aside regretful events or actions that might hold us back from a good start in the new year. I have explored these aspects of reflection with staff members, and my dear colleague, Rachael Kessler, of blessed memory, used it with students.

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