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Recent Content (middle school)

  • Mathematics and Turtle Art

    We’re a K–12 school, with K–12 makers, and we treat that making as a way of driving student learning, rather than simply showcasing it. What that means is that we let students tinker, discover, and hit walls with a project before giving them instruction, then use these successes and setbacks as learning tools. Driving our curriculum through our making requires shifting our roles as educators. We often take a step back from teaching directly, so students can teach themselves.

    Tag: middle school
  • Grimm Architecture

    Which came first?  Visual Art or Literature?  I relate more to a cave man drawing on the walls than Shakespeare writing a sonnet.  But both tell a story.  Stories throughout history have inspired visual art (Ex. The Last Supper).  But how many times have I asked my students to create a visual art piece that is an interpretation of a piece of literature?  Not very often. 

    Tag: middle school
  • Mathematics and Turtle Art

    We’re a K–12 school, with K–12 makers, and we treat that making as a way of driving student learning, rather than simply showcasing it. What that means is that we let students tinker, discover, and hit walls with a project before giving them instruction, then use these successes and setbacks as learning tools. Driving our curriculum through our making requires shifting our roles as educators. We often take a step back from teaching directly, so students can teach themselves.

    Tag: middle school
  • Rube Goldberg Project

    Fun and play can create a more engaging learning environment. One of the units in eighth grade science that exemplifies learning through creative, playful, engagement is the Rube Goldberg unit. A Rube Goldberg device is a machine that uses a chain reaction of steps to accomplish a simple goal in a complex and whimsical way. At Friends’ Central School (FCS), the eighth grade students, in groups of 2-3, build Rube Goldberg devices to learn about energy.

    Tag: middle school
  • Using Your Noodle in Science Class

    In the first month of school, I was wondering how to introduce connecting learning in my classroom. Do I start with informing them of the concept, or do I let them explore at their own risk?

    Tag: middle school
  • Connecting, Creating, and Changing the Attitude Towards Middle School Language Arts

    As a first year teacher, still enthused about the idea of teaching language arts to a group of 100+ eighth grade students, I was quickly saddened by the lack of interest that the students seemingly shared with each other. At E.B. Aycock Middle in Greenville, North Carolina, we serve students who come from two completely different ends of the socioeconomic spectrum.  We certainly have our share of gifted students, but we also have our share of students who are simply doing well for themselves just to get to school everyday.

    Tag: middle school
  • Infographic Unit Grade 8

    This unit introduces middle school students to infographics, what they are and are not, leading to a mini-research project where students create their own infographics.

    Tag: middle school
  • Re-making middle school: lessons from DS106, the MOOC, & democratizing composition

    I'm not quite sure what I'll be teaching this Fall, but I am sure that I want to make my classroom look and feel more like ds106 and Camp Magic MacGuffin.

    What is DS106?

    Tag: middle school
  • Using Digital Media to Enhance Student Experience with Poetry at the Middle Level

    You've probably heard it before, that collective groan that comes with the mere mention of poetry. By the time I get to work with students at the beginning of 7th grade, many have developed some very definite feelings about poetry.  Since I deal with students for two years, I decided to see if I could get more of my 7th graders excited about this genre.

    Tag: middle school
  • Inquiring into the digital inquiry project

    Driving home from a weekend Writing Project retreat with my colleagues, Cindy and Lacy, I didn’t have much to say. Even though for the first time all weekend the conversation had nothing to do with the intense professional work we were doing, I was too tired and too frustrated to talk.

    The purpose of the retreat was to give us all time and a supportive environment to work on developing a collection of resources to be published on the National Writing Project’s Digital Is website.

    Tag: middle school
  • Gaming Science and Writing

    Tag: middle school
  • Germantown Academy MS Technomancers at Back to School Night

    GERMANTOWN ACADEMY MS “TECHNOMANCERS” AT BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT

    "Technomancer" is a term a number of my students adopted during their 6th grade year that combines "technology" and "necromancer" and reflects their comfort with and ability to manipulate technology and apply it in new, transformative ways in education.

    Tag: middle school
  • Banksy and the American History Classroom: student-led curriculum creation

    Originally Posted Here: BANKSY AND THE AMERICAN HISTORY CLASSROOM: STUDENT-LED CLASSROOM INQUIRY

    Tag: middle school
  • "With The End In Sight"
    The original posting and image can be viewed at


    Tag: middle school
  • Transitioning From Middle School to High School

    Top 10 Things I've Learned From ISearch
     
    1. Communication, communication, communication!
    2. Visits from middle school students to high school are important to make students comfortable
    3. Visits from high school students to middle schools are important to dispell high school rumors
    4. Cluster 9th graders
    5. Encourage extra-curricular participation with freshmen
    6. More professional development centered around adolescent development
    7. Promote activities for freshmen and upper classmen

    Tag: middle school
  • A Conversation with Kevin Hodgson

    I had the pleasure of speaking with Kevin Hodgson about his video game design unit and the companion website. Here are some highlights from that interview.

    Why game design? Why choose that medium instead of something more text-based or more traditional for the language arts classroom? 

    Tag: middle school
  • Redesigning Curriculum for the Digital Age

    I like to think of myself as a thoughtful practitioner. When designing learning activities, I refer to state and national standards, consider the needs of my students, and scaffold instruction to nudge my students toward independence and higher order thinking skills. But lately I have been troubled by my reliance on technology to keep my students engaged rather than to support learning goals.

    Tag: middle school
  • Reflections on Integrating Inquiry with Technology in Middle School

    Whenever I'm asked what I like about teaching, I often comment on the pace and variation of the school day. I like that I see a different group of students every 45 minutes; it suits my restless temperament. A beloved colleague, whose energy level makes me look sluggish, is often heard appealing to her students to, "Let's just bang this out." My sentiments exactly. Who doesn't like to get things done? But like many other educators, I am becoming more and more concerned about my students' lack of stamina for learning, the kind of stamina required for deep reading, writing, and thinking.

    Tag: middle school
  • Using Wikis to Foster Authenticity in Middle School Writing: (Wiki) Pro's

    Pro's for (Wiki) Prose:

    Students who wouldn’t ordinarily share their work felt comfortable sharing.

    As you read in my first blog journal entry, one of the “lows” of Day 1 was a students asking if she “Had to put her work on there.” I can remember the fear and uncertainty in her eyes as she quietly asked the question. There were many like her—students who just don’t like sharing their stuff. I can relate—I was one of those students for most of my life.

    Tag: middle school
  • Using Wikis to Foster Authenticity in Middle School Writing: Success?

    Experiment Success?

    So, was my experiment a success? Did implementing a wiki in my classroom increase student authenticity in the task and process of writing?

    Tag: middle school