Interesting Ideas for Middle School

Yet another good profile in the NY Times about a middle school. It is a small school (about 400) and scores in the top 10% in their state scores. What's innovative or different about them:

-extra set of books so kids have one set at home and one at school (it does make a difference but I don't know how they manage the costs)
-smartboards instead of blackboards. I support this in middle and high school. In my husband's class at UW, they have some prototypes of handsets that are connected to the smartboard and so the prof can ask for answers to a question (anonymously submitted) and see where students are. Are they understanding the problem? Are there similiar errors? Many of the students have said they are more likely to give an answer if it is done anonymously than if they have to raise their hand and be wrong in front of others. This might be one more thing coming in the use of smartboards

Their most basic idea; motivational sayings. Sixteen of them to be exact that are supposed to bewhy successful people are successful. It sounds so hokey but apparently, it is a culture at the school. They also only hire teachers who want to be teaching middle schoolers.

Here's a link to one of the programs mentioned in the article, Tribe Learning Communities. Also, just to be perverse, a link to my favorite (joke) de-motivational posters. My favorite:

Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.


Anonymous said…
Ok, so give our kids "$24,738 per student" and "a relatively homogenous student body — 91.8 percent are white — and so well off that less than 1 percent qualify for free or reduced lunches" and let's see how well our middle schoolers do (with or without motivational posters everywhere).

Tomorrow I have to help budget our fundraising money (about $250 per kid) to cover all the art, music, new books, drama, tutoring,. . . and small group reading instruction they will get for the year. (and we are a very fortunate school) Feeling slightly cynical today. . .


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