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Understanding Assessment Changes Everything

A commitment to understanding assessment for learning changed this school’s culture. Much of today’s conversations around assessment include discussions about standards-based grading. Missing from this dialogue have been anecdotes about schools that have successfully made the transition from “traditional” grading to something different. Rock Quarry Middle School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, did just that. Last year,

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Transporting Historical Figures from Past to Present

Perspective-writing activities bring “a bunch of dead guys” to life. To young adolescents, historical figures are a bunch of dead guys. Many students believe the issues, values, and perspectives of the people from the past hold no relevance to their lives in the 21st century. However, perspective-writing activities in the middle school social studies classroom

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PG-13 and Then Some!

How are middle grades educators supposed to act outside school? As a middle level educator (since prehistoric times), I am sometimes immune to the many behaviors, antics, and attitudes of early adolescents—those behaviors often interpreted by others as inappropriate, disrespectful, and unsuitable for public consumption. Imagine that! So after a recent outing to the local

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Middle School, not Junior High

We are a middle school, not a junior version of high school. To be effective in our teaching, we are developmentally appropriate for young adolescents, not for 16- to 18-year-olds nor for 8- and 9-year-olds. There is an expertise to teaching middle level students that is different than that needed to teach elementary or high

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AMLE Celebrates Inaugural Schools of Distinction

AMLE recognized its inaugural class of Schools of Distinction earlier this month, in conjunction with the organization’s 49th Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida. The twelve schools were selected for their fervent commitment to implementing the essential attributes and characteristics of successful middle grades schools. In addition to being celebrated during a special awards ceremony, each

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Reimagining School – What should it look like and who is it for?

Cornelius Minor and Kass Minor help #AMLE22 attendees find their bottom lines as educators Cornelius and Kass Minor believe that kids don’t just learn in school. They become. It’s an attitude reflective of what we know about middle grades best practice, making them the perfect keynoters for #AMLE22 and our return to in-person conference. We

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Kindness is harder than it looks.

Houston Kraft reminds #AMLE22 attendees that connection doesn’t happen by accident. Houston Kraft, author and co-founder of CharacterStrong, took the main stage at #AMLE22 yesterday for his keynote address on Deep Kindness. From the outset, he made clear that he had a mission for those in attendance. “If we want more kindness on our campus,

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