Blogs on Middle (6-8)

Blogs on Middle (6-8)RSS
Ainissa RamirezDecember 2, 2013

More people watch the Super Bowl than vote in a Presidential election.

This fact stopped me in my tracks, and I wondered if the tremendous popularity of football could be used as a way to teach STEM. I took on this challenge with journalist Allen St. John when we wrote a book called Newton's Football, a new title from Random House.

What did we find in terms of science at work on the gridiron? Surprisingly, a lot, and many of the topics fall under the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Let me share a few items, which might be useful to you in your classroom.

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James Marcus BachNovember 29, 2013

Editor's note: Internationally recognized coding expert James Bach dropped out of school at age 16. A few years later, he was one of the youngest hires at Apple Computer. His book Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar shows how anyone can create their own education on their own terms.

Bite-Sized Logic

To teach critical thinking, start by bringing a box of Frosted Mini-Wheats to class. Hold it up. Shake it. Ask the kids, "Can you tell me what this is?"

"Cereal! Frosted Mini-Wheats! Mini-Wheats cereal," they will say. Some may call out other answers, even silly ones. Smile about that. Funny, irrelevant and unique responses are all good at this point in the exercise.

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Jon BergmannNovember 18, 2013

I have been asked on a number of occasions what is the biggest hurdle that teachers need to overcome in order to flip their classrooms. In my experience, the number one hurdle is that teachers need to flip their thinking about class time.

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Matt LevinsonNovember 13, 2013

The recent decision by Glendale Unified School District in Southern California to hire a private firm, Geo Listening, that will troll through the digital lives of teenagers has sparked widespread concern and reaction. Schools and parents, increasingly at a loss for how to ensure teens' online safety with the proliferation of social media and bullying, are beginning to outsource the work of monitoring.

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Rachelle VallonNovember 12, 2013

What if instruction could actually engage students and get them excited about learning? What if school could foster student creativity and support their expanding imaginations? What if educators around the world had the tools to provide students with the 21st century skills to imagine and create their own futures in our ever-changing global society?

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Ben JohnsonNovember 11, 2013

I tried every trick in the book: framing the lesson, detailed instructions, hands-on learning, proximity, hand signals, rewards, punishment, and ultimatums -- all to no avail. My middle school Spanish students continued to want to chat, throw paper airplanes, get out of their seats, and disrupt instruction. Only two things that seemed to work in getting my students to pay attention were total physical response (TPR) and worksheets.

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Mary Beth HertzNovember 6, 2013

Just recently, I was lucky enough to attend a "Sewing with Circuits" workshop run by The Hacktory, a local Philadelphia maker community focused on education and creation. (On a side note, they are located within the collaborative space rightfully named "The Department of Making and Doing.") It was Saturday night and an email caught my attention about a workshop on Sunday. I had nothing else to do, so I dropped the $45.

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Lessia BonnOctober 31, 2013

For almost a decade, I served as music teacher, songwriter and informal counselor to a crew of songbirds in Santa Barbara known as "Lessia's Crew." My warm-hearted pop choir -- made up of tweens and teens, all shapes and sizes -- gathered at my studio every Sunday morning. It was always fun – indeed, it was heavenly. Every voice mattered, mistakes were deliberate, and the music was exceptional.

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Heather Wolpert-GawronOctober 30, 2013

In my last post, I began a celebration of brains and made the argument as to why teachers need to brush up on their knowledge of brains in order to reach that all-too-allusive 'tween noggin.

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Troy HicksOctober 29, 2013

As a writer, I know firsthand how important it is for me to share what I've written and receive feedback on my work. And as a teacher of writing -- from my initial experience in the middle school classroom up to my current work as a teacher educator at Central Michigan University and director of our Chippewa River Writing Project -- I want my students to experience this, too. It is with this understanding in mind that I teach my methods course, ENG 315: Writing in the Elementary and Middle School.

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