Posts Tagged ‘MAMLE’

Spring Middle Link Digital Newsletter

May 21, 2013

MAMLE publishes a digital newsletter for its membership three times a year.  The spring Middle Link has just been sent to member schools and individual members.  Please encourage your administration to forward it to all staff members!

Here is a preview of what is in the current Middle Link:

Scholar-Leader Dinner

Effective Practices Around the State

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Who Are These People?

Read Middle Link to Find Out!

Al Miller  Kevin Perks


If your school is a member of MAMLE, your principal received a digital copy–remind them to forward it to staff!  If your school is not a member, ask why not?

The Philanthropy Project

November 19, 2012

Mount Blue Middle School

When middle school educators and students find meaning in work it is so magical! As I sat at the MAMLE awards presentations at the fall conference at Sugarloaf recently I felt the urge to be back in the classroom. I miss those moments that are filled with energy, life, and bring out the best in all involved, students and adults. It is the work that young adolescents do when they have the opportunity to lead, contribute their creative ideas, and work collaboratively that are often the ones that form who they are and last forever. This intense feeling came on for me as I listened to the work taking place at Mount Blue Middle School. Below is a description of The Philanthropy Project.

Joel Smith, Maureen Oswald, Jayne Flagg, and Mark Simpson

The Philanthropy Project idea came about slowly and then took on a life of its own. Ninety-five students began their 7th grade year as ordinary, “I am a dot in this world? typical adolescents. As teachers noticed common courtesy had taken a back seat in our society, we encouraged them to ramp it up a notch. We discussed manners and practiced them, first in the classroom and then in the halls with simple phrases like “please”, “thank you”, “excuse me”, etc. We then took that to the hallways, adding other elements such as introductions, handshakes, and using a person’s name to address them when they said “good morning” (especially teachers). They began to get feedback from the staff in our building, who remarked frequently about what a polite, happy group of kids we had. We were all beaming.

As a small independent project, we purchased class journals and each class tried to fill their journals with random acts of kindness they h ad performed or witnessed. This became a daily check-in. Their parents were noticing, and some got in on it. We watched “Pay It Forward”. They were enthralled. They created goals (read to younger child, visit an elderly person, rake a lawn, take food to the animal or local food bank). We watched them unfold by the end of their 7th grade year.

By eighth grade, they were itching for more. This is when the idea for a Philanthropy Project truly sprang. Colleagues agreed to head up a focus group, each with a different theme. We had soldiers in Afghanistan/Iraq, The Less Fortunate, The Elderly, and Animals. Students met with the group they chose and brainstormed ideas concerning how to give of themselves to improve the lives of others. The animal shelter saw dozens of kids come in to not only bring items they collected, but also to spend time int he kitten room and outside walking energetic, appreciative dogs. We ended up with boxes upon boxes of collected items sent to Yap for needy children, our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan received care packages and letters, the food bank was filled, and my favorite was a huge “senior social” we put on in our cafeteria for local retirees and nursing home residents, where we provided a DJ and enough food to feed an army, but most importantly where these citizens got to know our students and relationships developed.

The Exemplary Practice Awards are presented to individuals, teams, and schools across the state of Maine who are incorporating “best practices” into their curriculum and instruction, and whose educational practices exemplify excellent middle level education. Please consider nominating middle level educators for this award. You can learn more about the application process at the MAMLE website

Leave Your Mark

October 25, 2012

Morning session at Sugarloaf

Patti Kinney

Patti Kinney’s keynote kicked off the MAMLE conference with her presentation called Leave Your Mark. What legacy do you want to leave as a middle level educator? What educators do everyday in the lives of students makes an impression and has the potential to make an impact.

  • It takes courage – courage derived from French word coeur which means “heart”. Risk takers and living a life of courage

What does it take to leave a legacy?

  • Shared vision – Yogi Berra said “If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else.”
  • Serving each student – look at the individual student and have high expectations and work to help them succeed
  • Communicating effectively – George Bernard Shaw said “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” C.A.R.E.S. – Communication, Appreciation, Respect, Encouragement, Student-centered “Crustaceans are at their most vulnerable when they are between shells.”

At one point Patti asked middle school leaders what we have learned from middle lessons from the past and the consensus was that we need to focus on both – academic and personal growth.

  • Modeling personal growth/learning
  • Advocating for middle level education – what are you doing to get the word out about middle level education for all students

The parable of the pencil –

  • Capable of many great things but only if you allow yours to be held by someone. (Whose are you holding and who do you let hold yours?)
  • Pencils have the ability to let the mistakes made be erased. (Do you acknowledge the mistakes that you make with your students?)
  • The most important part of you is inside. (Kids are like a box of Cracker Jax – they all have a prize inside.)
  • You will experience a painful sharpening once in a while but it is needed to become a better person. (The only thing that we have control over is how we respond.)
  • On every surface where used, it leaves a mark. (What mark will you leave?)

If the world would end in December, what type of legacy are you leaving behind?

Patti is the Associate Director of Middle Level services for NASSP. Formerly she served as a music teacher, middle level classroom teacher, assistant principal and principal.

Maine Association for Middle Level Education Awards

February 18, 2012

Exemplary Practice Award, Janet Nesin-Reynolds Outstanding Middle Level Educator Awards

Over the past fifteen plus years, I have had the good fortune of being the principal of three middle schools in Maine and during this time, I have worked with and met scores of teachers and administrators who do incredible work in their classrooms and within their schools and communities who are deserving of recognition.

It is apparent that throughout Maine’s middle level schools there are hundreds of innovative, creative, inspirational, passionate, compassionate, and fun teachers who are deserving of being honored as a recipient of either the Exemplary Practice or the Janet Nesin-Reynolds Outstanding Middle Level Educator Awards.

Nominations for these two awards come from you. If you know of an outstanding educator or program, please log onto the MAMLE website and fill out a nomination form and allow a colleague to be recognized for the great work they do for the students of their school and their community. The deadline for submitting nominations is April 15th!

Thank you to Jeff Rodman, Principal of the Middle School of the Kennebunks, for contributing this post.

Teacher and Students Collaborate

June 1, 2011

Maine Scholar Leader Dinner

This post was written by and photographs taken by Lisa Gilman, art teacher from Winthrop Middle School.

Attending the Maine Association for Middle Level Education (MAMLE) conference every Fall gives me a morale boost about working with middle school students. At one of the conferences I learned about the Maine Scholar Leader Dinner. The event happens annually each Spring and Maine middle schools are invited to send two students for recognition.  I learned that the two students contend for the one table favor. In a moment of sentiment, I offered to make pottery for each of the 80 students. That was two years ago and 160 pots later.

Seeing all the work has generated interest from students in my own school. They want to know how they can get this coveted recognition. This year, on the next day after the banquet, the students representing my school let me know  how thrilled they were about the recognition. They couldn’t wait to tell me which color pottery they had taken home.

I throw all the pottery and my middle school students glaze them. After the work is glazed I use a glaze pen and write the words, “Laugh, Dream, Create, Imagine” on each piece. I include a card with a poem with the following for each student.

Laugh today

Dream for tomorrow

Create without worry

Imagine your possibilities

Scholar Leader Dinner

May 6, 2011

Just a reminder…

A reminder that the Maine Scholar Leader Dinner is quickly approaching and the registration deadline is today, 
Friday, May 6, 2011.

This program is intended to give public recognition to the two representative students from each middle level school in Maine who has distinguished themselves in terms of outstanding scholarship and leadership. The selection of these two students will be the responsibility of each school in accordance with the Selection Criteria available at
Please visit for more information and/or to register.  Hope to see you and your 
students there!

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