Our Favorite Four Letter F-Word?

by

…and the answer is…FREE!

I’ll take a wild guess and say that you are interested in what works with middle level students and that you are always on the lookout for free, high quality resources. Am I right? If so, and if you haven’t subscribed to Middleweb’s “Of Particular Interest” newsletter, you should!. Here’s the list of this week’s topics to read and share with your colleagues. But first here’s not just one free book, here’s two from Stenhouse Publishers!

180 INSPIRING IDEAS FOR REFINING YOUR WRITING INSTRUCTION

New! DAY BY DAY–from the authors of the popular Two Writing Teachers blog–encourages reflective practice on key aspects of teaching writing: routines, mini-lessons, choice, mentors, conferring, and assessment. Click below to preview the entire book online:

http://www.stenhouse.com/0809.asp?r=mw110204

TIRED OF READING BORING STUDENT RESEARCH REPORTS?

WRITING TO EXPLORE gives you all of the structures and tools you’ll
need to carry out an exciting adventure-writing project in grades
3-8. Includes numerous examples of student writing and a section on using technology. Click below to preview the entire book online:

http://www.stenhouse.com/0787.asp?r=mw110121

WHY EXPLICIT STRATEGY INSTRUCTION WORKS
http://bit.ly/koenig-strategy-instruction
Author and new ASCD Edge blogger Rhoda Koenig applies the elements of coaching to explicit strategy instruction with students and suggests the technique can help “produce drivers instead of passengers.” In future blogs she’ll examine other research-supported strategies to push student learning. Her second post sets the stage with a discussion of classroom climate control. http://bit.ly/koenig2

READER’S THEATRE HELPS BOYS SUCCEED
http://bit.ly/eOkMH2
In less than six minutes hear how teacher-librarian Susan Grigsby
teamed with remedial reading teacher Gil Rodriguez to evaluate data about the reading deficits of 10 male students and create a reader’s theatre to help these middle schoolers enjoy and improve learning. (It’s YouTube, so see the next resource!) For more on data-driven collaboration and the work of Susan and Gil, see Toni Buzzeo’s School Library Journal article. http://bit.ly/data-collab And we just spotted this alterate link for the video: http://bit.ly/eicHLm

YOU TUBE SAFETY
http://bit.ly/youtube-safety-vusafe
If you follow teacher and edutech conversations on the Web, barely a day goes by when you don’t hear some sighing about the unavailability of YouTube video resources — blocked by cautious school administrators. The eSchool News is reporting on the development of a free website to work around that problem. VuSafe allows teachers to pull in video clips from YouTube (and other sites) without the ads or comments that may contain offensive material. VuSafe is ready for beta testing: visit to see a demo and sign up. http://www.m86vusafe.com/

NEW RESOURCES: BLACK HISTORY MONTH
http://nyti.ms/nytln-black-history
The New York Times Learning Network has pulled together a good
collection of Black History month resources, including historic front
pages all the way back to Dred Scott and the Emancipation
Proclamation. Plus a dozen or more NYTLN lesson plans. Check the
comments for info about how other schools and districts celebrate the month. Also see this list (compiled by media literacy guru Frank Baker) of related cable TV content, including several lesson plans: http://bit.ly/blkhist-cable

WHEN THE MIC IS POINTED AT YOU
http://bit.ly/rox-elden-media
More and more, teachers are called upon to share their insider views of school policy and practice. Be ready for your leadership moment with the media, with suggestions from Florida teacher-author Roxanna Elden. Her five points will help you prepare well, be alert to the preconceptions of media hosts, and stake out your position succinctly.

IF I SAY ASSESSMENT, WILL YOU SKIP THIS?
http://bit.ly/edutop-tchr-assessment
Smile. As math teacher Shawn Cornally says in this resources-oriented post at Edutopia, the word “assessment” has been a soft synonym for “accountability” long enough to make many teachers word-shy. But Cornally is among a growing number of teachers who have begun “a quest to discover a way to make the seemingly adversarial task of assessment turn into a rich and powerful tool for learning.” He points readers to several bloggers (including one focused exclusively on middle school) who may spark more interest in the art and science of measuring what your students are learning, while they are learning it.

CHEMISTRY NOW
http://bit.ly/chemistry-now
Middle grades science teachers will want to peruse the growing
chemistry-related offerings at the NBC Learn website, where they’ll
discover resources suitable for teaching tweens. You’ll find short
videos, charts, related news stories and lesson plans, all with the
aim to connect science topics to everyday life. Cheeseburgers, for
example. There will be a new topic posted each week of the school
year. This page shows resources for the Chemistry of Water, but you can click on the “Chemistry Now Home” to see everything that’s available so far and what’s to come.

GOOGLE INVITES DOODLE ENTRIES
http://bit.ly/google-doodling
This year parents as well as teachers can register students in the
Doodle4Google contest. With registrations due March 2 and entries on March 16, K-12 students still have time to compete and see their Google homepage logo designs online — and at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Forty regional winners travel to New York. Three finalists win scholarships. The grand prize winner takes home a $25,000 technology grant for his or her school.

Our Special Resources for New Teachers
http://www.middleweb.com/mw/PartInt/PartIntNewTchr.html

We continue to add new resources to our special page for teachers who are just beginning their classroom careers. Among recent additions: Links to Teacher Magazine’s Teaching Secrets series; ideas for new math and science teachers; and real-life videos from a U.K. series for novices. Check back often.

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE: Send a note to norton@middleweb.com with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line.

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