Archive of Inaugural Middle School Chat 8/9

Here is the link to the archive of the inaugural #mschat on storify. Thanks to @tchrmom2boys for helping archive.

It was a great chat, with a large group of middle school educators discussing: How to start the year off right in the Middle School. There are many great ideas and good links.

Hope you can join us for chat #2 on 8/23 at 8 pm EST.


Why I am look forward to first #mschat 8/9 at 8pm EST

Our Twitter poll has closed, our first topic will be: How to start the school year off right: ideas for the first weeks in a middle school.

For some teachers school has already started, others of us are starting in the next few weeks. This is a great topic for all educators. I always have mixed emotions about starting the school year. I am excited to meet and work with a new group of students. I am nervous about how the students will respond to my teaching. I am a bit sad to not have my former students in class. I know the hardest weeks of the school year are the first few, because it is so important to establish the student/teacher relationship. I am always look for new ideas to help me engage ALL of my students.

I am looking forward to sharing and learning from all the teachers and leaders that join us Thursday for the first #mschat of the 2012/2013 school. I hope it will be the first of many learning opportunities for me/us. 

Middle School Chat Poll

The Middle school chat poll is out at

Topics are:

1. How do you connect with your student at the beginning of the year to develop a positive relationship?

2. Start of the new year right; Ideas for the first few weeks.

3. How to engage the wandering middle schooler’s mind.

4. Tech in the Middle School- The do’s and don’ts

5. Goal setting in the Middle School- The How, when and why.

Chat will be August 9th at 8 pm EST. We hope to have a positive chat specific to middle school issues. We have a great list of topics for the year. Looking forward to connecting with great middle school minds.

Why I am a Connected Educator

 As I begin this journey of starting #mschat (August 9, 8 pm EST every other week), I have been asked by friends and colleagues Why? 


The simple answer is to get off the “island of teaching” and into a collaborative group. It really goes back to my first year of teaching: I was struggling getting a grip on the what and how to teach. I asked my veteran grade level teaching partner if we should meet with teachers in another building to discuss the issues. She answered: “No we have to figure it out, our principal would not like that.” I felt isolated and alone. Teaching has traditionally been this way sadly. Teachers, schools and districts have been hesitant to share what the are doing (The good, bad and ugly). Education is not a competition, we all have the same goal so we need to collaborate.  


Last year I stumbled upon educational value twitter at the suggestion of a friend. On twitter all of the educators are helping each other reach the common goal of student learning and quality teaching. Over the past year I have participated in many chats that have help me grow. The chats make me reflect on my teaching and give me insight into what other teachers are doing in their classroom.  I have found great tools and lesson ideas by being a connected educator. Better yet I have forged relationships with other educators from around the world. I have a large group of teachers to ask advice of, share ideas with, and collaborate. Observing a void in the conversation specific to the middle school needs, I along with my principal (@wwmsprincipal) have decided to start #mschat. Topics will be picked using a twitter poll, focusing on Middle School issues.


I encourage all educators to become connected. Start slow by following people you know. Lurk in chats, until you feel comfortable. I feel it is best just to try it out and find your comfort level. The community is welcoming and full of help. If you don’t understand how something works, tweet a question and the community will answer. Educators that feel isolated and want to get off the “island” need to explore all of the social media options and become connected.


Middle School Chat Starting Aug 9th 8 pm EST

I have been on actively on twitter as an educator for a little over a year, in this time I have found wonderful connections to educators from around the world. I have found incredible resources and insights from educators of all levels. I value all of the people in my growing PLN. One thing that seems missing is a chat/group dedicated solely to Middle School Issues. So after conversations with members of my PLN and encouragement from my principal. I am going to moderate a #mschat starting August 9th at 8pm. This chat will   be a twice monthly chat focusing on current middle school issues. I hope this will be a time where middle school teachers can share the great things that are going on at their schools and also talk about the challenges of teaching at this level. I look forward to learning and growing with all of the connected educators out there. See you in 2 weeks.


For the past 2 years or so the political world and educational world have be colliding due to the state of our educational system. Many are touting new ideas to “Fix” education. Fingers are being pointed at different parties to blame. Businesses are circling like vultures to pick at the billions of dollars spent in the system.

So how do we fix education? Is there a silver bullet/ one size fits all/ quick fix?

Well the answer to the second question is easy: NO it will be situational fixes that take time.

How: well that is the hard one. Why is the system in need of a “Fix”?

Well in my opinion it is due to our culture shifting away from valuing education and knowledge. Our society let education become what it is today. We as a collective value pop culture, material possession and entertainment over education.

Just look at where the money goes and this is evident. This value shift from hard work and education of earlier generations has had great impact on the educational system. Society needs to shift the focus back to education. Here are a few ideas to get started in the shift:

  1. Hold teachers in high regard, respect what they say like you do your doctor or lawyer.
  2. Businesses need to partner with schools to set up programs to assist students.
  3. Address the hidden curriculum, teacher teach so much more that the core. Poverty needs to be addressed.
  4. Have pop-culture reflect education as a “must needed value” instead of  stars sharing that they made it despite dropping out. Or showing education locations as a “party” back drop.


To truly fix education we need to change society to value education!

Should there be an ISTE?

The International Society for Technology in Education is currently holding there annual conference in San Diego. For all accounts, ISTE does great things and for what I know of it the conference helps great minds connect (IRL). THe question I have is do we need a group promoting technology in Education? Is there one promoting tech in business? It really seems like all educators would want to use more technology in their classrooms and instruction. To me it seems like “Best Practices”. Sure 20 years ago this group was needed at the dawn of personal computers and the rise of the internet. Similar to the invention of the overhead projector and the chalkboard, they probably needed a society in their day.

I feel any education conference needs to have technology as a major player. We use tech for reading, writing, math, science, social studies… heck everything we do in the classroom. Grade books and attendance are mostly done on the computer these days. So isn’t it time to merge ISTE with other educational best practice organizations? The conference should just be Best Practices in Teaching!

Ok, I know some teachers are still struggling with Technology, this reinforces my position. Technology needs to be in every classroom and should not be separated out as something “special’ or extra. We need to make sure all teachers are knowledgeable in core teach essentials. This is way it needs to be a focus included in all conferences not just one focused on tech. Technology needs to be better incorporated into all subjects everywhere.

I leave you with this question: Would we have a conference for the use of pencils in Ed? Whiteboards in Ed? Books in Ed?

Great ideas going on that need to be shared everywhere.