Monday, June 29, 2009

Advice From A Runner!









Bob Kennedy

champion distance runner

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Quote of the Day!


Rob Gilbert

MiddleWeb's 10 Great Websites for Teachers


We were listening in on a virtual teacher chat and someone mentioned the Thinkfinity website. "Fabulous!" exclaimed one middle grades teacher. "I go there all the time." A curriculum coach replied: "I always ask teachers who are searching for a different angle: 'Have you looked on Thinkfinity yet?'" Thinkfinity is an amalgam of the earlier Marco Polo and Thinkfinity Literacy Network sites and is now partnering with other stellar resources like Illuminations and Read/Write/Think. There's a super search engine, right on the homepage, and by dragging your cursor over the appropriate button, you can see the special offerings for Educators, Parents, Students, and Afterschool.

Teacher To Teacher Lesson Resources

Goodness, it doesn't get much better than this. Vetted teaching ideas and lesson plans from across the curriculum, nicely organized for easy searching, and presented by accomplished teachers across America. The Teacher To Teacher workshops have been sponsored at various locations around the nation by the U.S. Department of Education since 2004. Read about the program at this page and then click in the left margin to examine presentation-clusters from the most recent summer sessions by subject area and theme. Scroll to the bottom of the subject list to find links to presentations from previous years. If you open a presentation PDF, you'll likely find an email address for the teacher-author (usually at the end), if you'd like to query for more information. PDF files of handouts are also provided.

Edutopia - George Lucas Educational Foundation

One of the best sites on the Web for information and ideas about cutting-edge teaching and learning. There's an emphasis on technology, but the resources here go far beyond the tools. You'll find stories about innovative middle schools, videos that show ideas in action, interviews with experts, and whole sets of information around themes like Project-Based Learning and Technology Integration. See all of Edutopia's priority topics. You'll definitely want to explore this site -- it's worth a couple of hours!

Awesome Stories

If you’ve been a MiddleWeb visitor for long, you know we’re BIG fans of the Awesome Stories website, where students and teachers can access hundreds of stories from history and current events, all peppered with links to primary resource material. The site is the passion of Carole Bos, a successful trial lawyer in Michigan, whose intellectual hobby has turned into a most amazing educational tool. In early 2009, Carole and her colleagues completely revamped the site with lots of new functionality. You can read about the improvements here. We think you’ll agree that new interactivity makes the site a core resource for educators.

Education World

Supported by advertising and corporate contributions, the Education World site just gets better and better -- it's both broad and deep, offering original material on important education topics, lesson plans and teaching ideas, a massive index to internet sites, and -- most important -- an energetic and innovative staff that continues to search for ways to best serve educators. This link leads to a site guide that will ease exploration of this large site.

PBS Teacher Source

Includes more than 1,000 free lesson plans (matched to standards), teacher guides and online activities--and you can explore these resources by subject or grade level or with keywords. The site includes information about how teachers and media specialists can legally tape PBS shows for classroom use. The site allows you to set up a free account and receive newsletters about upcoming PBS offerings, tailored to your local viewing area. There's also info about ordering PBS videos. Want to learn more about teaching with technology? PBS offers PD programs. for Teachers

Lesson plans, teaching tools, chat listservs, classroom customizers, a clip art gallery, a puzzle generator, and access to Kathy Shrock's famous collection of education weblinks in every imaginable category. Then there's the brainbuster feature (great for daily startups), the Science Fair Central, etc. etc. Impressive!

Middle School Portal

This K-12 site, developed with National Science Foundation support, offers teachers a direct path to resources from the National Science Digital Library. Enter the Science or Math subject pathway to browse a list of topics and take an in-depth look at teachable concepts.The resources have been selected by math and science educators and can be searched by topic, keywords, etc. The Portal is supported by folks at Ohio State University, who regularly add new themes and activities built upon the vast database. Look at these in-depth science topics and these in-depth math topics to see for yourself! Also, while the main focus here is on math and science, you’ll find useful ideas about integrating those subjects with history, art, social studies, and more. We’ll just say it – this is one of the most awesome resources we know about, and it’s designed with middle school in mind.

Teachers.Net Gazette

Teachers Net Gazette is the major feature of a vast website created by and for educators. Each monthly issue of the Gazette (laid out in colorful newspaper style) offers major features by middle grades teachers and by authors like Harry Wong, Alfie Kohn, brain expert Eric P. Jensen, principal leader Todd R. Nelson and many more. The Gazette has gained new energy under the leadership of editor Kathleen Carpenter. Check out, for example, the December 2008 issue, featuring a story by Bill Page on “Teaching At-Risk Students.” Subscribers (it's free) receive regular email reminders of new content.

Apple Learning Interchange
Microsoft Lesson Plans

Here are materials of interest to teachers, offered by both Apple and Microsoft. Both sites include lesson plans and other resources, often technology-oriented or web-based. We found the Microsoft materials to be more product-oriented, but they often included more details (including handouts, etc.). Both Apple and Microsoft include lesson plan search engines, and you can also search how-to articles at the Microsoft site. Apple offers a free membership to the ALI Community and users can subscribe to RSS feeds that alert them when new material of interest is added.

Framework for 21st Century Learning Print
A framework that presents a holistic view of 21st century teaching and learning that combines a discrete focus on 21st century student outcomes (a blending of specific skills, content knowledge, expertise and literacies) with innovative support systems to help students master the multi-dimensional abilities required of them in the 21st century.

Oh, you counted? OK, make it 12 great sites!

Source: MiddleWeb

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Advice From Steven Jobs

“Your time is limited,

so don’t waste it living someone

else’s life.

Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions

drown out your own inner voice.

And most important, have the courage

to follow your heart and intuition.”

Steven Jobs
co-founder of Apple

School's Out!

Wow, what a great year! Thanks to all of the students, staff and parents for making this year so special. I wish for each of you a great summer vacation. I hope you make time to have fun, learn something new and rejuvenate for the coming school year.

Please be safe!

All the best,
Mr. S.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

What Are The Real Handicaps?

For years, Professor [W. Page] Pitt headed the Department of Journalism at Marshall University.

Although he was offered salaries of two to three times what he made as a college professor,

Pitt’s first love was teaching journalism.

Pitt’s success is enviable because of the record he has made, but what is most remarkable about

Professor Pitt is that he accomplished all of this practically blind. When he was only five years

old, he lost 97 percent of his eyesight. Though almost blind... he played baseball, first base, catching

a low ball by the sound of it whistling through the grass. He played football as a second-string tackle.

He worked his way through college and graduate school....

When he became a professor, Page Pitt earned the reputation of being a “slave driver.”

But he also earned the reputation of being a top-notch professor. They did not come any better than Pitt.

One day, a somewhat thoughtless student asked the professor which he would consider

the worst handicap: blindness or deafness, or no arms and legs, or what?

There was a smoldering, ominous quiet... then Page exploded. “None of those things!

Lethargy, irresponsibility, lack of ambition, or desire: They are the real handicaps.

If I do not teach you anything but to want to do something with your lives,

this course will be a magnificent success!”

No one could challenge Pitt. Constantly he would growl at his students,

“You’re not here to learn mediocrities, you’re here to learn to excel.”



Harold J. Sala

Promise Press

Friday, June 12, 2009

Off To A Wilde New Adventure

Wilde Lake Middle School

After 8 wonderful years at Elkridge Landing Middle School, I am returning home to Wilde Lake Middle School. I had the pleasure of serving as Assistant Principal at WLMS from 1996-2001. I am looking forward to my new assignment and getting re-acquainted with the WLMS community, students, parents and talented staff.

While I am happy to be returning to WLMS, I am sad to leave ELMS. I want to thank the entire Elkridge community for embracing and supporting me over the past 8 years. Together, we have done some pretty amazing things! I feel very fortunate to have been the Principal of ELMS and for having the opportunity to work with so many wonderful students and families.

No matter where I go in my career, I will always have a special place in my heart for the ELMS students, staff and community.

Please wish me luck and happiness, as I embark on a Wilde new adventure!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Secretary Duncan Outlines President Obama's Education Reform Plan

In order for state's to receive a portion of the $39.5 billion being allocated from the federal government, they must:

1) Increase teacher effectiveness and address inequities in the distribution of highly qualified teachers;
2) Establish and use pre-K-through-college and career data systems to track progress and foster continuous improvement;
3) Make progress toward rigorous college- and career-ready standards and high-quality assessments;
4) Support targeted, intensive support and effective interventions to turn around schools identified for corrective action and restructuring.

To read more about this plan, click here:

Quote of the Day!

Pain is temporary.

It may last

a minute,

or an hour,

or a day,

or a year,

but eventually

it will subside

and something else

will take its place.

If I quit, however,




Lance Armstrong

Friday, June 5, 2009

What are you Rewarding?

Designing Incentives: What Are You Rewarding In Your Classroom?

19th century palaeontologists traveling to China used to pay peasants for each fragment of dinosaur bone (dinosaur fossils) that they produced. They later discovered that peasants dug up the bones and then smashed them into multiple pieces to maximize their payments.

Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything, 2003

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hat Day Is A Huge Success!

This past Tuesday, students were encouraged to wear hats in school if they made a donation of .50 and if they knew someone who had cancer. I am proud to report that our Hat Day was a huge success! We collected over $1,000.00 in donations from students, staff and families. In addition, Kaufman's Funeral Home in Elkridge, Maryland donated another $1,000.oo for a grand total of $2,005.60. The students who organized this event have decided to give the money to the Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation (CBTF) in memory of Ricky Knight, a friend and student, who died last year from complications of a brain tumor. Below is a picture of our Hat Day organizers. Way to Go!

I also want to thank Ms. Fusco and Ms. Smith for working with these students and serving as their advisors! We will present the CBTF donation check to Ricky's parents next week.

Below are some pictures from Hat Day.