header image

Archive for schoolstuff


Posted by: | 10 March 2009 | 10 Comments |

What is the most frustrating thing about school?by SisterPhotographer

Stick to recent events.

Mention no names.  MadWords Then respects all people.

Be honest.


under: schoolstuff

What is that racket?!

Posted by: | 4 February 2009 | 12 Comments |

Okay, so I may have asked this at some point in this blog before, but, do you think that allowing students to listen to music while doing classwork helps some kids?

I am allowing this on a limited basis, as a social/educational experiement, I suppose.  I hypothesize that, for some students, the background tunes will close out the surrounding stimuli, and they will be able to focus with greater attention to the task at hand.

In other words:  Ear-bud kids will be more interested in listening to tunes than chatting with a neighbor.

So far, the results are positive in my recent observations.  In fact, some of the most distractable kids are more on task when plugged in than when they are not.

What do you think?

I know that some of your teachers allow it.  Have you taken advantage of the offer?  What was your reaction?  What do you see in your classes–leave out teacher names, thank you–do you see kids benefitting from the deal?

Sing back with a reply!

under: schoolstuff

Hey, what’re you reading?

Posted by: | 6 January 2009 | 8 Comments |

It seems to me that enough time has past that a new or more recent book recommendation posting should be published.

With that spirit in mind, I would love to hear about any worthy titles that you have read over the past year.

Any genre, any length, any author, any level (I still read big books!).

Photo by suchitra print on flickr

You get the idea.

Me?  A book that I have read recently, Wild Trees, is a non-fiction title about redwood trees.  

The book tells true stories about people’s experiences with the giant trees–climbing them, discovering new species of animals and plants–and along the way I was blown away with the descriptions and ideas.  (Did you know that possibly half of the species of plants and animals on earth live in the canopies of these mammoth trees?  And, they remain for the most part, undiscovered.)

So, very simply:  Read any good books lately?

under: schoolstuff

Merry Christmas, one and all!

Posted by: | 25 December 2008 | 11 Comments |

Have a merry and cheery day!

-Mr. M

under: schoolstuff

I have a comment!

Posted by: | 17 December 2008 | 5 Comments |

There is now a new feature on the blog.  It is a “threaded comment” option that I took advantage of thinking that it might make commenting more interesting and direct.

As you read the postings on MadWords Then, many of you like to respond not just to the posting itself, but also to react to a comment that was written by one of your peers.  

Well, to do so just click on the “Reply” button underneath their comment and create a reply comment to that person.

Check out the Jing video below for a visual version of these directions!  (Click on the image, then click again once you get to the Jing site.)

under: 6th grade, literature, MadLinks, schoolstuff
Tags: , , , , ,

Air’d photo by booleansplit

As you all probably know by now, the teachers at Hayes now have a MacBook in their classrooms. This is awesome–no other word for it.

In addition, teachers also recently received those sweet data projectors for classroom use.

And, in my classroom, at least until EO’08 break, I have fairly amazing document camera. I haven’t navigated on the doc cam enough to master its utilities, but I will!

So, yes, teachers have become rich in technology of late.

Next week, during my English department’s monthly meeting, I will be training some teachers on how to create their own blog. This is now most cool because instead of heading into the computer lab inside the media center, we can simply meet in one of our classrooms, open up our MacBooks, and get online–wirelessly! (Don’t tell anyone, but my plan is to have the teachers do a department meeting while staying in each of our classrooms. We will do a Skype-conference, or another type of live meeting online!)

All right, all right, enough boasting.

The point here is this: I would absolutely love to be able to teach classes to a group of kids, each of whom has their own computer, preferably a MacBook or at least a laptop. Of course the students would have wireless access to the network and the Internet.

None of you have had the experience of taking a class where everyone is plugged in, or have you? Please spill if you have.

Would student achievement increase? Would class management be easier or tougher for the teacher?

How would being a plugged-in student affect the future for each kid? Positively? Negatively? How?

Do you think this would help students learn better? Does a plugged-in class have advantages over the typical classroom classes we have at Hayes?

Would kids become more interested in a topic, or school in general, if they could do the majority of their classwork on a computer while at school? I am including all core classes here–English, math, science, social studies.

I just deleted a paragraph of typed text just now because I began to give my ideas of what my classroom would look like plugged in. That was deleted because I want your ideas and reactions to be untainted by what I think about the topic.

I would like to hear what everyone has to say about this vision. I want to then compare your ideas to reality when we begin to receive the portable computer labs, and you people are given the opportunity to experience being plugged in for a class. Then, I can compare your thoughts from this posting to what you feel after the experience.

I can tell you this, what you write here will be read by adults who are very curious about how kids view classroom technology, especially a plugged-in class. So, give it some serious and honest thought, and leave a comment or five with your own perspective. Of course, read your Hayes’ mates comments, and make comments on comments!

Speak up!

Laptop class photo by S.C. Asher

under: schoolstuff

Breaking Dawn release party

Photo by cordeman licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

So, it is out.

I have not seen the flick, probably by the end of the year.  What about you?  Have you seen the film version of Stephenie Meyer’s novel, Twilight?

Was the movie faithful to the book?

Was Edward portrayed well by Robert Pattinson

Did Kristen Stewart bring Bella to life for you?

Did you scream at the screen during the movie (be honest)?

Is there to be a New Moon?  Should there be a New Moon movie version?

What about Stephenie Meyer, what will her opinion be of the film?

Just some non-random questions to spur conversation.

(Post title is a direct quote from the Epilogue, p. 497, of Twilight)

under: schoolstuff

Click on this!

Posted by: | 17 November 2008 | 3 Comments |

You know, I know that many of you people navigate the Internet somewhat frequently. Maybe a few of you surf more than you would like to admit here.

But, here I sit, typing away on another posting, and it occurred to me that I have never asked you what some of your favorite web sites are to visit.

So, how about if you do some sharing of either little- or well-known sites! Leave a comment with the names of your site(s), the URL for the site(s), and a brief explanation of why you like the site.

For example, here is one from me:

One site I like to drop by is named Delicious. It is a social bookmarking web site where I have a free account, and I can store all my bookmarks online so that I can view them from anywhere in the world as long as I am online. It is great for placing bookmarks of web sites that I just happen to link to, but I can never remember their name or URL. The site is located at http://delicious.com.

So, drop a comment by and maybe something will grow out of it! Remember that you can add as many comments as you wish to keep the list growing!

Domino address photo by inju

under: schoolstuff

President-elect Obama

Posted by: | 11 November 2008 | 6 Comments |

Barack Obama mosaic portrait

(Experimental mosaic portrait of Senator Barack Obama made out of American State flags.
Original photo taken by BarackObamaDotCom Flickr photo stream and could be seen here.)


A week ago today, the people who voted in the US elected Barack Obama president of our country, starting on January 20, 2009.

It will be, many educated people will continue to tell us, one of the most historic days in our country’s history–in the world’s history.

Myself, I waited in line at Fairview Elementary in Lansing for almost two hours in order to cast my vote. (Ms. Storm was five people ahead of me in line. I tried to pass her up, but she busted me. It was pathetic.)

You will be able to vote in a very few years. Probably, for most of you that means the 2016 general election. That is actually exciting because the people who will run are possible not very well known currently. Maybe.

So what! You are young. What, you suddenly don’t have an opinion to share? Hah, I say! You have never hesitated to share your thoughts before on this blog–don’t you dare start now.

What are your thoughts, impressions, ideas, gut feelings about this news? What kind of change, if any, do you think will occur in our country, our world, because of this election?

What do you think this choice says about our country, if anything?

Remember, your children, and your grandchildren will ask you what it was like in our country when the first African-American person was elected president. It can only happen for the first time once, right? And you were there, taking it all in.

So, what does the youth of the nation think about all this?

under: 6th grade, schoolstuff


Posted by: | 28 October 2008 | 10 Comments |

Ready for a simple question with apparently no simple answers?  Good!

Question:  Can cell phones be used as learning tools in classrooms?

I would like to know, really, what your thoughts are on this sticky topic, so could you go beyond a yes/no kind of response and give some ideas about pros and cons?

Teachers do not all agree on how cell phones should be used in classes.  So that you know, this is a MAJOR issue in education that is approaching like a hurtling comet towards the Earth.

I have some thoughts on this myself, but I don’t wish to influence any one of you, so that trivial information will come later.

What are your initial reactions?  Think about this one.  Your voices will give me ideas about how students view cell phone use.

Like I say, if you want to know what kids think about something, ask the kids.


under: schoolstuff

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »