IMLEA Monday Minute

January 22, 2018

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Even if your school is not applying, you may register now for a free STW Workshop, held at IASP on February 22 or April 10. In addition to learning more about the program, attending a training makes you eligible to:

  • Be a reader of STW applications
  • Participate in visits/evaluation of schools that apply
  • Apply to be a STW once the principal & three other educators have attended.

"Schools to Watch" is an initiative launched by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform in 1999. The National Forum is an alliance of more than 60 educators, researchers, and officers of national associations and foundations dedicated to improving schools for young adolescents across the country. Schools to Watch are:

- academically excellent – these schools challenge all students to use their minds well.
- developmentally responsive – these schools are sensitive to the unique developmental challenges of early adolescence.

- socially equitable – these schools are democratic and fair, providing every student with high-quality teachers, resources, and supports.

More information is available on our website. You can always contact Shirley Wright with any questions. An important thing to remember about STW: the entire application process is free, and you may use the self-study even if you do not end up applying. (There are costs to accept the designation in Washington, D.C.)

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Valentina Gonzalez has a popular blog for Middleweb, "The Unstoppable ELL Teacher." This post, "Read Alouds are Great for Middle Grades!" includes great suggestions and proved to be very popular! Read alouds are not just for ELA class.

An educator for twenty years, she has many other posts and graphics to check out; thanks to Valentina for giving me permission to use these graphics.

Additional Reading Resources

nErDcampMI has become one of the premier events celebrating reading-- and it's free! It is a great opportunity for educators to interact with numerous children's and YA authors. Last year was the first time they had to close registration. Registration for this July 9-10 event in Jackson, MI begins on February 1. I have attended three times and would be happy to answer any questions. Learn more on their website.

Dollar General offers numerous grants for reading programs and materials, some with February application deadlines. See this page for more information. They award several grants in each category.

The Youth Media Awards (including Caldecott, Newbery, Coretta Scott King, Printz) are webcast live on February 12, 10-11 am ET. Anyone may watch the livestream at this site, no registration needed. (Many librarians & teachers watch it with students, especially the end.) It's like the Academy Awards, with people cheering for books and authors!

One of the most quoted, posted, and retweeted recent articles about reading is this NY Times piece by Daniel Willingham, "How to Get Your Mind to Read" It points to a lack of vocabulary and background knowledge for low student comprehension. This article could lead to some interesting conversations among your staff.

Dates to Note

February 1: World Read Aloud Day (Many schools connect with authors this day.)

February 1: Registration opens for nErDcampMI

February 3: CS Essentials Workshop at UIndy

February 5: DOE's Winter eLearning Book Club Begins

February 15: Applications due for Gilder Lehrman Summer History Seminars

February 16: IMLEA Board Meeting, IASP Office

February 22: Digital Learning Day

February 22: Schools to Watch Training, IASP office

Time's Up!

Thanks for taking the time to read this update. Feel free to forward it to your staff or anyone who might benefit from the information.

Past Monday Minute issues can be found on our website under 'Publications'.

Please note: our website can once again be found at, but we still need to rearrange some of the photos, graphics, and tabs.