August 2012 • Volume 16 • Number 1 • Pages 6-7
News to Use
Choose to Be Positive
A new youth-driven campaign aims to end bullying where it begins: with kids and the choices they make
The I Choose program, available free to schools and communities, asks young people to adopt one of five words that represent powerful social concepts: friendship, kindness, respect, compassion, and love.
Through teacher-guided discussions, students analyze the meaning of their word and then strive to use it throughout the day. When faced with a choice involving peer relationships, they're asked to put their word into action. A Lance Armstrong "Livestrong"-style bracelet imprinted with "I choose (their word)" serves as a reminder and a message to others.
I Choose was developed with the help of the youth community at Yoursphere.com, a kids-only social networking site. Apply for a free Anti-Bullying Challenge Starter Kit at www.WhatDoYouChoose.org. You will receive an information packet, Bullying Is a Choice poster, and I Choose bracelets.
Training Teachers to Teach
Training Teachers to Teach with Technology is a new website that addresses the importance of funding professional development opportunities to help teachers learn to teach with technology rather than using funds merely to provide more technology. Visit www.onlineteachingdegree.com and click on Training Teachers to Teach with Technology on the right-hand side of the page.
Young Adolescent Innovation
A portable bone analyzer kit, a robo trashcan, a magnetic tennis ball…. These inventions can only come from the mind of a middle grades student. And they did! These are just a few of the ideas young adolescents submitted to the Wouldn't It Be Cool If… national campaign.
The campaign, presented by Time Warner Cable's STEM initiative, Connect a Million Minds, and i.am FIRST, founded by artist and entrepreneur will.i.am, challenges young adolescents to dream up the "coolest thing" to make their life, school, community, or even the world better and then to think about how science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) could help bring those ideas to life.
The most recent campaign ended in March, but you can check out the great ideas students submitted at www.wouldntitbecoolif.com
The winning idea came from a 15-year-old student from Indian Trail, North Carolina, who developed a Baby Safe Rider, a baby seat that monitors a baby's body heat and sends out an electronic warning if the temperature is getting dangerously high.
Middle School Portal 2
The Middle School Portal 2: Math and Science Pathways (MSP2) project supports middle grades educators with high-quality, standards-based resources and promotes collaboration and knowledge-sharing. Educators use MSP2 to increase content knowledge in science and math and improve instruction for middle grades students.
A project of The Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology, School of Teaching and Learning, Association of Middle Level Education, and Education Development Center, Inc., and funded by the National Science Foundation, MSP2 offers a wealth of resources and information, including robust discussions about STEM topics. Sign on and participate often at www.msteacher2.org
Give a Shout Out
Are your students interested in solving environmental challenges? Shout is a multiyear global education initiative that offers
- Online events hosted by the Smithsonian Institution that feature leading scientists and environmental experts as well as representatives of other fields to talk about environmental issues. Watch sessions live or in an archived format.
- Access to Microsoft's Partners in Learning Network, a global community of educators who share education resources, experiences, and best practices with their colleagues around the world.
- Opportunities for students to participate in TakingITGlobal's online community, which provides resources, action tools, and the complimentary use of virtual classrooms and collaboration spaces to deepen understanding of environmental stewardship, enhance the development of 21st century skills, and communicate with Smithsonian experts.
- A web portal that provides access to additional tools and resources to support students' efforts to make a positive change.
Find out more at www.shoutlearning.org
Middle Grades Students Design Green
Six teams of middle grades students met in Washington, D.C., last spring to compete in the final stage of the School of the Future Design Competition as part of the Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI) School Building Week. The competition challenges students from across the globe to think creatively as they plan and design tomorrow's green schools to enhance learning, be healthy, conserve resources, be environmentally responsive, and engage the surrounding community.
Sponsored by CEFPI and the National Association of Realtors® in collaboration with AMLE, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the American Institute of Architects, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and more than 19 other associations and private companies, the annual competition strengthens public awareness of the importance of well-planned, healthy, sustainable school buildings that enhance student and teacher performance and contribute to community culture and vitality.
The Awards of Excellence went to Imago Dei Middle School, Tucson, Arizona, and Teeland Middle School, Wasilla, Alaska. Each team received $2,000.
Imago Dei students designed a school for the children of Niger in West Africa who did not have the same education opportunities they have. They constructed their school from local, sustainable resources, creating "polybricks" assembled from plastic water bottles and using bamboo walls to repel malaria-carrying mosquitoes prevalent throughout the area. Powered by solar energy, the building also uses natural light and shade sails of woven bamboo to offer relief from the extreme heat.
The Teeland Middle School team embraced "renew, reuse, recycle" by creating walls made of materials mined from a landfill and covering them with solar wallpaper. The cement building is constructed with carbon nanotubes, one of the strongest materials available, synthesized from carbon-rich compounds such as plastic, which act as rebar. The green roofs collect storm water and provide insulation. One of the three "aerodynamic" school buildings constructed to withstand the strong Alaskan winds houses the homeless, providing them with educational opportunities, an introduction to careers, use of all the community facilities, and three meals a day. Food for the facility and community was grown on campus.
Highfield Humanities College, Blackpool, Lancashire, United Kingdom, received the Award of Distinction. Newtown Middle School, Newtown, Connecticut, Seneca Middle School, Macomb, Michigan, and University Middle School, Waco, Texas, received Awards of Merit.
To learn more, visit www.cefpi.org
Free Education Applications
eSchoolNews suggests these four free education applications for Apple products:
- Word Lens instantly translates signage from one language to another through the camera application. Language teachers can use this program for scavenger hunts.
- Molecules allows users to view and manipulate three-dimensional models of different molecules. Great for science classes, this application helps visual learners see how protein molecules are composed.
- Today in History lists notable events in history as well as important figures who were born or died on a specific date. It's a great application for trivia quizzes.
- Math Ref Free, a free version of Math Ref, offers 600 formulas, figures, tips, and examples to help students learn and remember math concepts.
For a list of additional recommended applications, go to www.eschoolnews.com/2011/01/07/10-of-the-best-apps-for-education
All links were live at press time.
Copyright © 2012 Assocation for Middle Level Education