Intersections: Quietly Revolutionary

October 26, 2016 by Bill Ivey

Varied Assessment: Continuous, authentic, and appropriate assessment measures, including both formative and summative ones, provide evidence about every student's learning progress. Such information helps students, teachers, and family members select immediate learning goals and plan further education. - from This We Believe, the 16 research-based characteristics of successful middle schools, published by the Association for Middle Level Education

Dear Middle School Team,

I sit here with a feeling of quiet pride. What we accomplished yesterday would be considered revolutionary in many schools, not just the decision we took but also the means by which we came to this point. And, as is always the case with us, it was a decision that put our students front and center while also keeping in mind and having consideration for the multiple perspectives of everyone involved.

Filed Under: Middle School, Middle Level Education, Education, Assessment, Intersections, Rick Wormeli

Intersections: Highlights

October 18, 2016 by Bill Ivey

I use Facebook as much as a professional networking resource as a means of keeping in touch with family and friends. I recently shared for anyone who may have been interested how proud I was of the students who recently made the GLSEN presentation in housemeeting, beginning my post by saying, “I know I say it perhaps more than I should, but students are amazing.” My mother-in-law said, “Never more than you should,” a friend added, “Never too much. Keep posting these anecdotes. It's a soothing balm to the ills of all the other junk we're seeing now.,” and Mark Springer said, “Students never cease to amaze, and we should never cease to say so.”

Filed Under: Middle School, Middle Level Education, Education, Democratic classroom, Intersections

12 Things

July 05, 2016 by Bill Ivey

Normally, I’m not big on articles with titles like “12 Things That Will Disappear From Classrooms In The Next 12 Years.” But the link had been shared by Leslie Farooq, whom I’ve gotten to know and learned to trust through ongoing interactions and Twitter chats, and she had included an enticing quote - so I decided to click through and read it.

Filed Under: Middle School, Innovation, Middle Level Education, Education

In Search of More Student Voice & Agency

June 06, 2016 by Bill Ivey

republished with the kind permission of MiddleWeb

Every spring, we ask our middle schoolers to look at each of their courses as well as other areas of their life, think back to September, and reflect on how far they’ve come and what they’d still like to accomplish before the year’s end.

(read more here)

Filed Under: Middle School, MIddleWeb, student voice, Middle Level Education, Education, student agency

A Matter of Pride

May 06, 2016 by Bill Ivey

I first attended the Northampton Pride celebration in 2013. For me, for a number of reasons, it was more of a lower-case pride day, but 2014 was truly a day of Pride - one that gave me Goosebumps.

Filed Under: Middle School, Pride, LGBT Support, Middle Level Education, GSA

A Sense of Optimism

April 03, 2016 by Bill Ivey

Imagine a room full of thousands of middle school teachers, our students at the forefront of our minds, singing “I hope you dance” along with Tia Sillers, the co-composer, various Nashville-area musicians, and Ms. Sillers’s brother-law, Monte Selby, who had chosen to sing his keynote address at the 2006 National Middle School Association Annual Conference. It was deeply moving, and something I can still very clearly play back in my mind.

Filed Under: Middle Level Education, Education, NELMS, Annual Conference

What a Good Teacher Does

September 07, 2015 by Bill Ivey

Today was our first day of classes, and the beginnings of this year's 2015-2016 Humanities 7 class coming together as a community. As always, we began with Jonathan London's wonderful jazz poem "Hip Cat" with its theme of "Do what you love to do and do it well." These kids, at least some of them, have definitely figured out already that learning is a process, something at which you might steadily improve but also something that involves challenges and roadblocks and stuckness. Equally important, they view that kind of attitude as fundamental to who our school is.

Filed Under: Middle School, social justice, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, Middle Level Education, Education, Democratic classroom

Valuing Young Adolescents

July 13, 2015 by Bill Ivey

This We Believe, published by the Association of Middle Level Education, lists the 16 research-based characteristics of successful middle schools. It also includes information on young adolescent development - cognitive-intellectual, physical, moral, psychological, and social-emotional. We as a faculty, along with any interested staff members, are reading the book this summer.

Filed Under: Middle School, Middle Level Education, Education, This We Believe, MiddleTalk

What did you learn this year?

June 09, 2015 by Bill Ivey

(originally written on May 31, 2015)

I’ll be honest - this is not normally the time of year when I feel the best about my work. As much as I try hard to make every minute count (a refrain I share with my students throughout any given school year), the sudden absence of the cushion of “Okay, she did better in these ways, but she’s still got to work on this. That’ll be for the next unit!” hits hard. Luckily, the sadness my students generally express as we prepare to go our separate ways over the summer, and the kind words they say about my class in the process. go a long way toward helping me keep the faith to some extent. And with time, and rest, and more time, perspective returns.

Filed Under: Middle School, student voice, intersectionality, Feminism, Middle Level Education, Education

Along the Light of Day

May 19, 2015 by Bill Ivey

By the time I got to our usual table for Monday’s Middle School Advisory Lunch, three of my advisees had already sat down and were deeply engaged in conversation. As new advisees arrived, they joined in, and as I listened in, smiled, and nodded, I couldn’t help but think that everyone was in a good mood today and also that through the year everyone had become really, wonderfully, comfortable with each other.

Filed Under: Middle School, Middle Level Education, Graduation, Moving Up, Education