I’ve Spent My Life In The Middle And There Is Not A Better Place To Be


nmsa

I have filled this posting with some great information, including a new site from the people at the census, a contest in the fine arts, and a free online curriculum about the wise use of money. This is the first of a two part blog as I network and learn at the national Middle School Conference in Indianapolis. The content I provide will cover all levels, so read on! – Mike

I have been trying to determine a way to include the National Middle School Conference – Making A World Of Difference  in this week’s 21stcenturyedtech Blog. I have the honor of presenting at this conference and  I am already  contemplating speaking at a conference that is not totally dedicated to educational technology. I know I should feel comfortable because I have had a long lasting relationship with the middle. I am well into my own middle age, I was born in the middle class, as a middle child. I have taught middle grades for over thirty years in Fort Wayne, Indiana which can be considered middle America. I will travel one hundred miles south to Indianapolis, which is in the middle of the state, and join nearly seven thousand other middle level educators as we approach the middle of another school year.

I know the experience will be far from middle. Still, I have many questions as I prepare to network with others in the middle. Will I find out that they don’t tweet? That’s really alright because I have been slow on the twitter. Will I be NINGless? I don’t think so because I have already found a great NMSA Conference Connection Page. I know both sides of my brain will be challenged as I listen to Daniel Pink discuss the half of the brain that will conquer the world. As I dig deeper into the program I discover that Alan November will be part of a spotlight session that highlights the NMSA Technology Day!  In fact, Will Dagget will bring great comfort as he discusses rigour, relevancy, and relationships. Hold on,  Rick Wormeli will be speaking about a journey into the non-linear fourth dimension. Wow, I am really starting to feel comfortable! As I look through the concurrent sessions I am seeing terms such as UDL, differentiation, 21st century skills, and multiple references to the word technology.  A glance at the main conference web page reveals an awesome reference to the National Middle School 21st Century Classroom!  I even noticed my session  entiltled  21st Century Project Based Learning – No Cost and Low Cost Investments with Rich Results for Students. I am really starting to feel comfortable since I note my wife Jane will co-present with me.  But wait,  it is not on Tech Saturday, instead it is on Friday! Presenting on a different day than Tech Day  really is alright with me since it is, after all, on the middle day of the conference. If you happen to be at the conference please stop by Friday at 2:00 PM and meet me in the middle! I am sure that this will be a conference that puts students in the middle of their learning with the facilitation of technology way above the middle.

I will be publishing my next Blog from  the NMSA09 Conference in Indianapolis. It is my intention to share best educational practices highlighted at this year’s conference. I thought I would give a quick preview by sharing some awesome information found on the National Middle School Asociation Main Home  Page. This is information that can be used at any level. To start off, take a look at the new Census In Schools Page. You will find a population counter with links for teachers, elementary kids, and teens! On the teacher page you will find a wealth of activities and lesson plans! I was amazed at the sixty second radio shows highlighting each day of the year! How about a set of 22 maps  highlighting the geographical distributional changes in the US from 1790 until 2000. Perhaps you will enjoy the lessons provided for grades k-12. For elementary kids there is a great Flash Web Site filled with fun activities. The teen site has great state facts, engaging activities, and statistics that relate educational attaintment and income. There is also material for schools and the facts for feature area provides a wealth of data for those wanting to create relevant graphing and charting opportunities.

Do you have any students interested in  the Arts? The National Middle School Association is  calling for the submission of original student artwork in the online publication Expressions from the Middle and on a poster that will be sent to more than 25,000 people worldwide. Students choose their favorite type of media to work with including oils, watercolors, charcoal, colored pencils, sculpture, computer generated graphics, or multimedia. View past years winning entries of this highly engaging contest. You will note as you look through the different years that there is not just art work, but also Podcasts; cool!

Looking for a multi-curricular unit on finances, money, and economical survival with great resources and activities? Talk about timeliness and relevance! Then check out Saving Our Futures: A Financial Responsibility Program for Young People It is an exciting online curriculum teaching young people in middle and high school  financial responsibility. It also advocates for smarter money management in the home, communitiy and government. It was developed by the Academy for Educational Development for the America’s Promise Alliance. This specific curriculum was written to be integrated with the documentary film I.O.U.S.A. Best of all it is free! What I have included is just a small sample of what can be found on the main homepage of the National Middle School Association.

Please join me for my next posting from NMSA09 in Indianapolis. If you happen to be at the conference feel free to attend my session on Friday at 2:00 PM entitled  21st Century Project Based Learning – No Cost and Low Cost Investments with Rich Results for Students. If you can’t make it to Indianapolis please join me at the 21centuryedtech Wiki filled with even more information regarding 21st Century Learning!

-Mike

2 Comments

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2 responses to “I’ve Spent My Life In The Middle And There Is Not A Better Place To Be

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