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The Take Care of Me List

Edutopia – Erin Ott

“I’ve taught enough middle schoolers to know that setting the right tone in the classroom is the foundation of joyful learning. I want students to walk out of my classroom understanding one simple thing immediately: They matter. Their preferences, their individuality—I want all of it, and I want them to understand that their learning environment should represent a partnership between students and teacher.” (more)

Positive reinforcement leads to school-wide change

E-School News – Dennis Pierce

“As the largest middle school in the state of New Jersey, Lincoln Middle School has struggled at times with student discipline. Chronic tardiness and fights on campus have been a problem for this school, which serves 1,800 7th- and 8th-grade students. Traditional approaches to student discipline haven’t worked to change the school’s culture. Not only has punishment been largely ineffective as a deterrent, but it also erodes the critical relationship between students and educators. When teachers are constantly meting out punishment, their relationship with students becomes confrontational instead of supportive—and this isn’t the type of environment in which students can learn most effectively.” (more)

Preserving the Early Excitement of STEAM

Edutopia – Kamalisha Green

“STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math) encourages investigation, hands-on learning, and creativity and incorporates interdisciplinary learning. I often say that STEAM education happens the most in early childhood, and has been for decades: Young students often gather for circle time and begin their day with songs that focus on academic content. Walls are covered with art that students have produced to learn about shapes, colors, or sight words.” (more)

Survey: Just over half of middle, high school students feel safe at school

Education Dive – Linda Jacobson

“As students continue to call for tighter restrictions on guns and ask policymakers to do more to prevent mass shootings on school campuses, a new survey of 35,000 5th through 12th graders in eight states shows that about two-thirds of students feel safe in their classrooms, while a smaller percentage — 59% — say they feel safe at their schools in general, according to data released today by the YouthTruth Student Survey.” (more)

Reigniting a Passion for Reading

Edutopia – Kaye Newton

“Research shows that reading for pleasure leads to success in school, the workplace, and life. It helps students empathize with their peers and reduces their stress levels. Unfortunately, as children age, they read less. Parents and teachers report that kids read much less in middle and high school than they did in elementary school. Common Sense Media’s “Children, Teens, and Reading” 2014 research brief reflects this distressing trend:” (more)

Most middle school math assignments fall short, report says

Education Dive – Linda Jacobson

“Less than 10% of math assignments in the middle grades require “high levels of cognitive demand,” and only about a third of tasks expect students to show their thinking when providing their answers, according to a new analysis of more than 1,800 assignments, released today by The Education Trust.” (more)