Category Archives: Developmentally Appropriate ML Curriculum

Leveraging iPads, laptops, and other Technologies to Differentiate Learning & Teaching

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Leveraging iPads, laptops, and other technologies to differentiate learning & teaching #edtech #edchat #middlchat

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Increase Student Engagement by Getting Rid of Textbooks | Connected Learning #elearning #middlechat #WIedu

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Editor’s Note: Today’s guest blogger is Shelly Blake-Plock a high school classroom teacher from Maryland, who blogs at Drool in the textbook.

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How Do You Teach Passion?

One of the (many) things that has consistently baffled me about me is my level of passion.  Why do I get so dang worked up about a political commercial?  Why do I train for triathlons, even though I am clearly not (repeat three times) what most would define as a true triathlete? Why does (insert Disney flick here) get me every single time?


It’s the reason I come to work in my middle school every day. With a smile on my face. Happy doing something I truly love.


how do I share this with my students on these April-soon-to-be-May-soon-to-be-summer days? How do I get my students as fired up as I am about learning this late in the game? How do I get them excited about learning new things? Expanding their brains? Trying (and sometimes failing) new endeavors?  How?


Digging through my ever-expanding bag o’ tricks, I decided to pull out the Love and Logic gems from years back when we were trying to raise healthy, responsible children in my home. If it worked for them, it certainly can’t hurt with my “family” at school? Right?

It might be a long shot, but for now, I am determined to spend the remaining days of this school year sharing my continued passion for learning, passion for learner success and passion for developing positive, accountable young adults as they leave my little, middle world and venture into the bigger world of high school and beyond.

Keep the Passion!


Despicable Me

I’m a bad teacher.  I’m rounding the third term bases, rallying the troops for the “home stretch,” and quite frankly, running out of steam. I’m dusting off my white flag…just in case.

I face my 8th grade minions with all vim and vigor of a Ford Prius in a NASCAR race. Defeated with their low term achievements (don’t get me started on grades), defeated with their lack of passion and self-caring, defeated with the overall morale ditches that budget scares and uncertain “next years” create.

White flag in hand, I confess to my minions:

I care more for your educational success than you do. I will stay after school and get you caught up if that’s what it takes. I am contacting your adult units to share my concerns about your apathy, your disorganization, your lack of self-respect.

My white flag is now with blazing hot streamers flowing from it.

Deflated, I go home.

I get on my bike.

Eighteen miles and over an hour of soaking in the hills and simplicity of my Wisconsin homeland allow me to I ponder and think and scheme and cajole myself into believing that nothing is ever as good as it seems and nothing is ever as bad as it seems. Screaming through tight corners and climbing steep inclines, songs of random inspiration burst into my head:  “There’s Always Tomorrow” (of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer fame), “Eye of the Tiger” (big-hair 80’s favorite), and “Dreamer” by Chris Brown…and no, I do NOT wear an mp3 while riding my bike.

Drenched in sweat, I return home.


Today, the same ears that listened to my ranting confessions of frustration the day before showed up, some even smiling.  They came back. I hadn’t scared them off.

I apologize for airing my ills to them. I share my goals for last term and encourage discussions about theirs. We take a deep collective breath and refocus. We talk about realities and dreams and steps it takes to get where we need to go. We get serious about choices for research papers. We debate appropriately over our arguments.

I gain some believers. I renew my faith in youth.  I remember why I have loved this awful, excruciatingly painful, mind-draining, heart-breaking career path I’ve chosen for the past 20-plus years.

**Sigh**  Maybe I’m not as despicable as I thought. Maybe I’m just human.

Parents & Teachers Speak Up About Digital Learning In Ohio

Via Scoop.itPurpose-Driven Technology Integration

This Wednesday, Tom Vander Ark, students, teachers, and parents testified in front of the Ohio House of Representatives’ Education Committee in support of digital learning.

Handbook aims to aid transition to electronic resources

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Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Federal Communications Chairman Julius Genachowski on Wednesday unveiled the 67-page “Digital Textbook Playbook,” a handbook for educators on transitioning to electronic resources.

Schools see potential with BYOD programs

Via Scoop.itPurpose-Driven Technology Integration

More U.S. school districts are experimenting with Bring Your Own Device programs as a way to bring mobile technology into the classroom without the cost of one-to-one laptop programs.