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Betsy - there are plenty of great middle school minds out there. Let's see if we can get some dialogue going!

Betsy - I am so proud of you for continuing to speak for the Brighton children who need more advocates like you! Your commitment and love for those children will make a difference. I'll forward copies of this blog to several middle school educators that I know. I'm sure they'll have some ideas and words of encouragement for you.

Betsy,

I am a math teacher at Cedar Ridge Middle School in Decatur, AL. I would love to have a conversation about middle schools with you. I do not claim to be a middle school expert, but I love working with this age group.

I am trying to create some online resources that you might find helpful. I have been keeping a blog to communicate with parents and students (7westmath.blogspot.com). I have also started a wiki with ideas to implement the ACOS (http://7math.wikispaces.com/). I hope this will grow as I work with teachers this summer at AMSTI training.

I highly recommend AMSTI for your math and science teachers. It is probably too late to get involved this summer if you haven't already, but you could start looking ahead to next summer.

Good luck. Middle school is a very exciting place to be. I would love to help in any way I can!

Betsy,

I have enjoyed reading your experiences in the Brighton School. I am currently a Middle Childhood Ed major at Western Goveronrs University (Online). Of course I am no expert on Middle Childhood Education, but I have been in a few classrooms and have raised two teenagers of my own. If there is one thing I know is teens and pre-teens like to have fun. Maybe a good exercise would be to utilize the local newspaper (most are written at about an eighth grade level anyway)and have the kids present the news every morning in class. Each could read something that would interest them. Sports, Headlines, Features ect. Just getting them to read with a purpose might be a good start, and maybe some fun as well

Betsy,
I would really say this....use what you already know about building teacher community b/c the make-it/break-it piece to middle schools is the ability of the faculty to "see" something and then pursue it. You already know this, I'm sure. It's no different in MS than in elementary.

One thing that seems to be huge for teachers the older their students get is data. The ability to analyze and use student work....again this isn't rocket science and you probably already know how to do this. If your teachers not only take ownership of their data, but then start to use it for the purposes of doing things individually with students and collectively with small group interventions....you'll have powerful instruction beyond your wildest dreams. Data analysis and its application seems to be tricky....but I always believe that what you can see at a gallop on horseback should start to inform you about where your kids are on anything. Getting bogged down in the details is the death of many teachers....so KISS. Then as they get the hang of the trends, you can drill down. But less is way better. Again, I know you already know this.

If the faculty can just pick off 2 things to work together on and find some success, then you could build some momentum to doing all the radical changes that you think are needed.

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