Monday Minute

Indiana Middle Level Education Association, March, 2023

It's Middle Level Education Month!

Finding (and Sharing) the Joy in Middle School

This article by Andrea Smith, EdD, from AMLE's Colorado affiliate, CAMLE, has some great examples of why teaching middle school can truly bring joy. What would you add?
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Celebrating the Month, including students

AMLE has many resources and suggestions to recognize and celebrate being middle level educators. These would be great to share with your community as well.

And, there is a student "Sound Off" contest. They can use these prompts for inspiration:

  1. Being a middle schooler is like…
  2. I feel happiest when…
  3. I feel safest at school when…
  4. I wish the adults in my life better understood….
  5. Something that really matters to me is…
  6. One of the biggest challenges or opportunities of being a middle schooler today

Submissions can be, but are not limited to:

  • Through a piece of artwork or photograph
  • Through an essay or poem
  • Through a video or song
Entries are due April 7.


The call for presentations is now open for the AMLE conference at National Harbor, MD (DC area), November 1-4. Keynote speakers include Jason Reynolds and Phyllis Fagel, and there will be special recognition for the 50th anniversary of NMSA/AMLE conventions! Presenters receive discounted registration; proposals are due April 16.

News from Special Olympics

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Polar Plunge, Unified Champions, and Carl Erskine EPIC Curriculum

  • Students from Brownsburg's Middle Schools, East & West, participated in the Special Olympics Polar Plunge at Eagle Creek in Indianapolis. Brownsburg East's photo above also includes four high school students who continue to come back and plunge with BEMS.
  • Spring holds great opportunities for Unified Champion events. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Tori Batson at Special Olympics. Several schools hold track meets and invite other schools.
  • You can still obtain information and use the Carl Erskine Personal Impact Curriculum (EPIC) This website has an explanation, links to request information or books, a video from an educator's point of view and sample lesson plans. There are still public screenings of the complete film throughout the state, listed on the page.
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Many March Madnesses!

March Madness Brackets for Books have become very popular, but it doesn't stop there! Tri-West science teacher Rachel Patton had her 8th graders create March Mammal Madness brackets!

If you are interested in using books, there are several brackets and systems already created. One of the longest-running ones, with students across the country voting can be found here. Follett Learning also has bracket templates and samples here. (Scroll down for their middle level suggestions; you can even change which books are used.)

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It's Civic Learning Week

Inspired by local & regional events last year, the national Civic Learning Week (CLW) is hosted by iCivics, site of many useful classroom activities, and seeks to highlight the importance of civic education in sustaining and strengthening constitutional democracy in the United States. There are several additional resources on the site. Some of these resources could be very useful for the new, mandated 6th grade civics course.


Pi Day (3.14) is one of the more flavorful holidays! Here is a page with many activities and links. I found these facts from the Exploratorium pretty interesting: "As of 2019, π had been calculated to 31.4 trillion decimal places... If this statistical randomness is unending, then π must contain all finite sequences of digits, including the birth dates of everyone ever born and yet to be born. It would also contain every winning lottery number—too bad we don’t know how to identify them."

Image credit: Mykl Roventine, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 License

Interested in More special Calendar days?

Have you ever wondered who comes up with these days, and how they get "approved" and publicized? This site doesn't have the answers, but it is a fun resource, including ways to celebrate. We've featured Anne Anderson in MiddleWeb before; here is her spring edition of special days to incorporate in learning.

STEM Special Event Grant

If your school has a certified librarian who is a member of AASL, you are eligible to apply for a STEM event grant, worth up to $3000 through the Danaher Foundation. Applications are due April 11. The STEM special project or event must take place during the fall of the 2023-2024 school year, with a final grant report due December 15, 2023.

Nominate an Educator for the Classroom Quarterback Award

Nominate an educator for this award, worth up to $2500. A committee will select ten finalists, with the big winner chosen at random from that group. It does not say you have to be a resident of the Indianapolis area, or even Indiana; nominees must be 18 and over and citizens of the US. Part of the prize packages includes tickets to a Colts game.

A Great Tool for Student Self Evaluation

Bill Ferriter recently shared this simple tool for students to reflect on their work. You can link to the complete rubric and make a copy here. While self-evaluation is considered to be helpful for student metacognition and reflection, it's often easier said than done. Hopefully, this tool can help.
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Learning Opportunities & Resources


March- Women's History Month, Middle Level Education Month

March 8- Gaming for Democracy Webinar, 3 pm

March 9- 7 Steps to Lead Inclusive School Transformation (ASCD), 3 pm

March 13- IASP Webinar on Spring eSports, 2 pm

March 13: ChatGPT: To Ban or Not to Ban, 3 pm

March 13- Teaching Vocabulary with Doug Fisher & Nancy Frey (Corwin), 6:30

March 14- Pi Day

March 14- Empower Critical Thinking and Informed Reasoning in Your Social Studies Curriculum with Primary Sources, 3 pm

March 14-Teach Reading Comprehension with Explicit, Whole-Class Instruction, Kristina Smekens, 5 pm

March 15- Digital Learning Day

March 20-“Show Your Work”: How to Use Mind Mapping to Avoid Cheating w/ ChatGPT, 3 pm

March 20- Critical Comprehension, incl. Lester Laminack (Corwin), 6:30 pm

March 27- Matching Titles to Readers with Teaching Books (IDOE), 4 pm

March 28-AI in Schools: Allow or Prohibit? Ethical Considerations for Educators, 1 pm

March 30- UDL & Learner Variability: Using Both Frameworks to Design Classrooms so Each Learner Meets Their Potential, 3 pm

April 7- Entries Due for AMLE's Student Sound Off Contest

April 11- Applications for Librarian STEM Grant Due, 1 pm EDT

April 11- Effective Feedback for Student Growth (OK2Ask), 7 pm

April 12- Nominations due for Colts Classroom Quarterback Award

April 13- Bring NGSS to Life with Tech at CIESC, 9-11 am

April 14- Proposal Deadline for KIL's Virtually Different Conference (June 13-14)

April 16- Deadline to Submit Proposals to Present at AMLE23

June 21- Hands-On and Minds-On STEM Summit at Children's Museum ($40)

June 29-30- Building Thinking Classrooms Conference, Franklin, IN ($300)


IN LearningPartnership (Includes Wednesday PD with IDOE)

Indiana Learning Lab Workshops (Requires Sign in for Registration)

Teachers First OK2Ask Online Workshops; (past on-demand sessions)

Keep Indiana Learning (KIL) Free Events & On-Demand Recordings Webinars (if sponsored, "commercials" are at the end)

PATINS Trainings for Accessibility for All

AMLE Podcast Series

AMLE Events (some free, some paid)

Corwin Webinars

Please note: Webinars and events mentioned in this space are not an endorsement of commercial products; on the contrary, we try to avoid listing events that appear to be commercial in nature. Every effort is made to strip social media/tracking data from provided URLs. In many cases, you can register and receive a recording later.

A note about our canceled conference

We sincerely apologize that we had to cancel the conference scheduled for this past Saturday, March 4. We were privileged to have Jack Berckemeyer and many other great speakers lined up, but registrations did not meet expectations. We plan to consider other possibilities, and certainly hope to have these speakers at a future date.


The only organization in Indiana devoted to promoting, improving, and supporting middle level education. We are the Indiana affiliate of the national organization AMLE, and administer the Schools to Watch program for the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform.

Join us! Membership Benefits and Application

Susie Highley, Executive Director

Shirley Wright, Schools to Watch Consultant

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