middle school

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...
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? Our students need activities that mean something to them. Whether they relate to their experiences, interests, or simply their peer culture. I enjoy implementing activities that I feel that my students are...
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...
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.  grimm7.jpg...
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.
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?  In working with my co-teacher, Bob Smith, and a colleague science teacher, Lisa Rice, I think we were trying to...
Screen shot 2012-06-18 at 10.44.14 AM.png Kevin Hodgson, 6th grade language arts teacher in Southampton, Massachusetts, brought design thinking into his classroom this year with a video game design project. A collaboration with colleague science teacher, Lisa Rice, and co-teacher, Bob Smith, the project tasked students with the creation of a science-themed video...
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? DS106 is a now-legendary digital media production and story-telling course and nascent MOOC offered by its organizers and the University of Mary Washington that enrolls both university undergraduates and an online cohort of opt-...
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...
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...

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