Blogs on Middle (6-8)

Blogs on Middle (6-8)RSS
Heather Wolpert-GawronOctober 24, 2013

In honor of October's most awesome of holidays, I am going to begin a three-part series about the gentlemen zombie's choice of cuisine: the 'tween brain. However, I need to be frank. I'm not going to be able to teach you deeply about the 'tween brain here. I'm not a neurologist. What I am going to do is make an argument, hopefully a darn good one, as to why you should educate yourself further about it.

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Heather Wolpert-GawronOctober 21, 2013

There is a panic amongst writing teachers that is based on the myth that our baby, narrative writing, is shunned by the Common Core standards. I'm here to encourage everyone to take a deep breath and repeat after me: "Nobody puts baby in a corner."

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Maurice EliasOctober 16, 2013

Did you know that when reading, one's mind will wander 20 to 40 percent of the time while perusing a text, regardless of whether it is a book, blog, email, narrative, essay, or anything else? This is one of many fascinating findings reported in Dan Goleman's new book, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence and it calls us to remember that students can't learn what they are not paying attention to.

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Matthew FarberOctober 14, 2013

In early September, my sixth grade social studies students began playing the SimCityEDU beta. Around the same time, my seventh graders began playing a non-digital debate game -- complete with teams, a point system and a leaderboard. All of my students are rewarded for their growth and accomplishments with a digital badge system. After one month, I find that my students remain highly engaged in their learning. Gamifying my classroom has truly been transformative!

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Bob LenzOctober 8, 2013

More than 20 years of teaching and leading schools that rely on project-based learning (PBL), I have heard many untruths stated as "PBL gospel." These fallacies survive as myths that get in the way of opportunities for students to learn and prepare for the world outside of school. To counter these logical fallacies, I have created a list of the most common fallacies and provided arguments for debunking each.

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Maurice EliasOctober 8, 2013

In Dan Goleman's new book, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, he shows the importance of being able to direct and sustain our attention on everything from, well, everything! Not paying attention is downright dangerous. The inability to focus and sustain attention can rob us of relationships, deep knowledge, career accomplishment, peace of mind, and high test scores. But, as Goleman's book makes clear, we can learn to focus.

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Matt LevinsonOctober 3, 2013

A parent shared a wonderful story recently about his 24-year-old son letting him know that he was going to change his passwords and asking if it was OK with him. The father chuckled as he shared this story, but he was also in a state of bewilderment that his son was still honoring their agreement from ten years ago -- the one where his dad would have access to the 14-year-old's passwords. Sure, the son had stumbled and misstepped, sometimes without the father's knowledge, but the trust factor was sealed with a safe agreement between parent and child, and that bond had lasted in to early adulthood. Impressive.

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Beth HollandOctober 2, 2013

I vividly remember how I first learned to take notes. My sixth grade geography teacher lectured in outline style: "Roman Numeral one - China. A - Qin Dynasty. 1 - Rulers . . . " We wrote down precisely what he said, and to this day, I still take notes in outline form. However, consider Sunni Brown's TED Talk, "Doodlers Unite." She argues that engaging in sketching while listening to complex ideas further supports learning.

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Philip McIntoshOctober 1, 2013

The quality and skill of the teacher is one of the most important factors (if not the most important) influencing the success of any learning environment. But you can stand at the front of a classroom and teach until you are blue in the face, and it doesn't guarantee that any learning actually happens. So what separates successful teachers from less successful ones? Anyone will tell you that it's relationships. That's why it is critical to establish and maintain positive relationships with students throughout the school year. It's also not a bad idea to get some learning to happen while you're at it.

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Ben JohnsonSeptember 25, 2013

Squirrels. That is what they remind me of. We were all that age once and we were all just like squirrels! Have you ever watched a squirrel? Zoom, freeze for two seconds, flick tail, and repeat. The trick for being a successful middle school teacher is holding their attention for more than just those few seconds. Believing that that is possible requires a huge leap of faith and trust.

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