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

Five Minutes Longer

May 05, 2015 by Bill Ivey

In the MiddleTalk educators’ group, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School has become inseparably entwined with the question “What would you do if you were brave?” since my answer to that question when asked by group member Brenda Dyck more than a decade ago was “I would start a middle school.” One year later, of course, I became part of the committee that helped found SBMS.

Check “starting a middle school” off my to-do list!

Filed Under: Middle School, girls' education, education reform, Middle Level Education, Education, This We Believe, MiddleTalk

Not So Terrifying

March 19, 2015 by Bill Ivey

In light of my recent post on North Branch School, here's the letter to the editor I wrote to Middlebury Magazine back in Spring 2010 (just before we graduated our first-ever six-year Seniors). Enjoy!

To the editors:

I very much enjoyed reading the description of North Branch School and its dynamic head teacher, Tal Birdsey in the article “School Building” (Spring 2010). In his quest to create “a house where wisdom would flourish,” where “mistakes [could] become part of the discussion,” where students were acutely aware that “the only thing of lasting value was what they created in the liminal zone between who they were and who they were becoming?”, Mr. Birdsey is clearly meeting his fundamentally important goals. I would love to visit his school some day.

Filed Under: Middle School, Middle Level Education, Education, MIddle Level Education Month