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MIDDLEWEB'S "OF PARTICULAR INTEREST"

Posted Jan 07 2009 6:27pm

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MIDDLEWEB'S "OF PARTICULAR INTEREST"
JUNE 28, 2007 (#321)
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NEW TEACHERS: HARRY WONG'S MAJOR CONCEPTS
http://www.glavac.com/harrywong.htm
What's the most common answer to the new-teacher question: "What
should I do first?" We suspect it's "Read Harry Wong." The author
(with his wife Rosemary) of the perennial best-seller "The First Days
of School" is sometimes criticized for over-simplification but more
often praised by new teachers (occasionally on bended knee) with
comments like, "That was the most memorable, exciting and fascinating
book on classroom management I ever read." This link leads to a Harry
Wong "cheat sheet" -- a one-page summary of major concepts found in
the First Days of School and other resources. For more detail you can
buy the book (and you probably should) or visit this index at
Teachers.Net to explore a three-year series of Wong articles:
http://teachers.net/wong/JUN04/

REDUCING DROPOUTS: AMERICA'S SILENT CRISIS
http://snipr.com/jhudropoutsolutions
This 29-page paper presented in May 2007 at the National Summit on
America's Silent Crisis summarizes a decade's worth of learning about
dropout prevention at Johns Hopkins' Center for Social Organization
of Schools. Written as a "practical guide" by Robert Balfanz, it
draws on the work of many leading scholars in the field and also on
the insights of school-based educators involved in the Talent
Development middle and high school models. A colleague who brought
this guide to our attention describes it as a "wonderful paper (with)
both research and very practical suggestions for concrete strategies
that schools can undertake to affect immediate changes in student
outcomes." As the title suggests, dropout reduction requires a
community effort, and Balfanz describes (in detail) a three-step
process essential "to ending the dropout crisis in our communities."
(PDF file)

ALL SUBJECTS: MARCO POLO AND THINKFINITY
http://snipr.com/thinkfinityresources
We've just returned from the NECC conference in Atlanta, where this
resource was highly visible at a large booth in the Exhibitors Hall.
And deservedly so! For quite a few years, the MarcoPolo program has
provided no-cost, standards-based Internet content for the K-12
teacher and classroom, developed by national content experts. Online
resources include panel-reviewed links to top sites in many
disciplines, professionally developed lesson plans, classroom
activities, and materials to help with daily classroom planning.
Marco Polo has now been integrated into the Verizon Thinkfinity
search engine, making it an even more accessible and powerful
resource. Check out the New Resources page for the latest
contributions from teachers and curriculum developers. Or go directly
to the search interface and select content and grade levels you're
interested in:  http://snipr.com/thinkfinity_search

SCIENCE: SOUTH POLE STATION
http://snipr.com/southpolestation
Here's a cool link for a hot day. This multimedia site offers the
opportunity to explore research underway at the new U.S. South Pole
Station, located on Earth's least hospitable continent. The station
sits at the Earth's axis, atop a constantly shifting continental ice
sheet nearly two miles thick. The NSF site can help students
understand what makes the South Pole a unique place for studying
astronomy, air and ozone, seismic science, and off-world simulations.
You'll find videos and panoramic images, plus stories about the
station and its crew and the instruments they use. During "summer"
(beginning in October) there's a live webcam. Meanwhile, there's an
eerie video featuring the colorful "aurora australis."

SOCIAL STUDIES: MANDATORY COMMUNITY SERVICE?
http://snipr.com/mscommunityservice
Should schools encourage -- or even require -- students to
participate in community service activities? This lesson plan from
the New York Times Learning Network gives students the opportunity to
debate this question and to consider whether current community
service activities are more about helping others, or helping
yourself. The lesson builds on an NYT article, "A Better Society? Or
a Better Resume?" and begins by describing supermodel Naomi
Campbell's arrival to serve her community service (sentence) at an
NYC sanitation depot -- wearing a gray fedora and chinchilla coat and
riding in a black Cadillac Escalade. Despite the wry touch, the
article raises thoughtful questions about community service, college
admissions requirements, and the difference between caring and going
through the motions.

21st CENTURY SKILLS: WEB DANGERS OVERBLOWN?
http://snipr.com/websafety
Here's a very interesting column at the PBS blog "MediaShift" which
offers considerable evidence that the Web is not as scary and
threatening as television, print media and some over-the-top IT
directors might suggest. Anastasia Goodstein, a guest expert for PBS
Parents and author of "Totally Wired: What Teens And Tweens Are
Really Doing Online," writes that much of what we hear is "fear-based
and divorced from reality." She includes a link to recent testimony
by academic researchers about online youth victimization. This should
be required reading as school systems work to develop Internet usage
policies that balance safety with the access needed to help students
build 21st Century skills. http://www.netcaucus.org/events/2007/youth/

INDEPENDENCE DAY: CHARTERS OF FREEDOM
http://snipr.com/uscharters_freedom
This special website at the National Archives serves as a portal for
easy access to the primary documents that shaped U.S. history,
including images of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution,
and Bill of Rights. The site has many cutting-edge features and
students will enjoy the easy navigation as they explore the stages of
development of these "charters." They'all also learn more about the
Articles of Confederation, the Constitutional Convention, Marbury v.
Madison, Louisiana Purchase, slavery, Civil War, 13th Amendment,
immigration, and women's suffrage.

HEALTH: PSA COMMERCIALS BY SEVENTH GRADERS
http://snipr.com/psayouthvoices
The poor nutritional habits of teens and their consequences have
become headline news. But obesity and diabetes aren't the only health
threats facing kids. Here are four 60-second public service
announcements produced by New York City middle schoolers about
pressing health concerns facing their neighborhood, including air
pollution and asthma, domestic violence, and automobile injuries. The
students are involved in the Lang Youth Medical Program, and their
PSAs combine photography and audio that they composed, performed and
edited. You'll find this example of students doing real work for a
real audience at a special section of the What Kids Can Do website,
part of a Youth Voices collection sponsored by Adobe. To see this
particular entry, go to the link above and scroll down to the third
entry, titled "Kids' Health Matters."

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