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Mark's Middle School Mind Meld

List of 10 news stories.

  • On Feedback and Formative Assessment

    Let’s play word association. What image comes to mind when you read the word “feedback”? A co-worker offering you some advice? An evaluation from a supervisor? A rocker standing in front of his amplifier stack with his guitar cranked up to ten (or maybe eleven…)?...
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  • Failure and Future

    In light of our recent E. Charles Sanborn speaker, Jessica Lahey, I will take this opportunity to offer some thoughts about how critical failure is to growth. Author of The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Kids Can Achieve, Ms. Lahey rekindled our long-held belief that no true learning comes without some degree of trial and error....
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  • New Year’s Resolution: Evaluating Technology Use

    Happy 2017, everyone! In case you didn’t hear, the middle school just completed our own version on new year’s resolutions in which students were asked to commit to two or three things they could do to make the world better for someone else. There were lots of thoughtful responses ranging from helping others in need to smiling and complimenting people more to donating clothes to helping more around the house. Feel free to come into the middle school to see their responses displayed (on the belly’s of snow people!) on the big bulletin board above the wave.

    For this month’s blog I would like to once again revisit a piece I wrote on “plugged in” and “unplugged” time for adolescents...
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  • A “Tradition”-al Time of Year

    This time of year brings with it some important traditions for middle schoolers. Students have wrapped up the first academic period of the year and are anticipating the holiday season. The three-week period between Thanksgiving and Winter Break is typically full of added energy and a number of important academic and community traditions....
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  • The Parent as Academic Coach

    Bases loaded. Suzy’s at bat in the last inning down a run. She’s just looked at strike two go by without even a flinch of her bat. She’s clearly nervous. All of a sudden Suzy’s mom sprints out of the stands to home plate. She gives her daughter a hug then promptly removes her helmet, takes her bat, and steps into the batters’ box. Suzy turns and walks slowly back to the dugout…
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  • Ready, Set, Train That Brain!

    Welcome to my first blog of the season! As in the past, "Mark's Middle School Mind Meld" gives me a chance to share some ideas, observations, musings, questions, etc., each week with all of you. My goal is always to elicit feedback from the community - that means all of you! In other words, this blog should become an ongoing conversation among the Derryfield middle school community...
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  • Summer Advice for Middle Schoolers

    “Summertime - and the living is easy...”

    Ah, thanks, Mr. Gershwin, for the timeless sentiment. In some ways summertime is easy when you are a student. No classes, no homework, no needing to get up as early. But an overwhelming sentiment that I hear from our middle schoolers is also one of sadness. They will certainly miss seeing all the people with whom they share their days for the majority of the year. Once the novelty of no school wears off, they will also go through an adjustment of not having days that are filled with lots of activity and different adventures. I have talked often about how “busy” our schedule is, but I also know that middle schoolers function best when their natural propensity for movement, discovery, and social interaction is fostered. Over the years I have asked our very experienced middle school faculty (many of whom have or have had middle school children) and middle school parents about what advice they would give to families as they seek to create a productive summer for their teens and tweens. I humbly offer up a top ten list below:
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  • Safeguarding A Bright Future

    Previously I blogged about how exciting it is to be preparing students to be engaged citizens in a media-rich world. As digital natives, their futures are filled with countless opportunities as they may find themselves taking key roles in shaping their world far earlier than previous generations. Our role as adults is to equip them with the skills they need and also to safeguard them against the dangers that they will face so their dreams are not derailed...
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  • Media Literacy - Going Beyond the Three R’s

    Noted writer and psychotherapist Louise J. Kaplan wrote, “As the conjugator of childhood and adulthood, adolescence is always a battleground on which the past and future contend for the soul of the individual.” Though I am not particularly fond of the “battleground” analogy (I’d prefer something a little more uplifting like “healthy tension”), the point that middle school is a nexus between past and future is well-documented and well-taken. The analogy easily extends to a transition in middle school education...
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  • Plugged-In Time: Quality vs. Quantity

    Happy 2016, everyone! For this month’s blog I would like to renew a piece I wrote on “plugged in” and “unplugged” time for adolescents. Certainly, however, thinking about how much time we spend - or should spend - with our electronic gizmos and gadgets applies to adults, too....
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