The Monday Minute

December 8, 2020 Indiana Middle Level Education Association

Time for Some Good News & Fun Engagement Ideas!

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This picture struck me as emblematic of the great efforts made by educators to engage students. From the backdrop, to the lighting, electronics, and enthusiasm, Merritt Boling conducts her choir classes at Creston Intermediate and Middle School in Indianapolis, her first year there.
Jingle: Impossible (aka: Jingle: ImPAWsible)

Benjamin Franklin Middle School Posts Holiday Treat

What did the 6th grade orchestra and their director, Mr. Marolf, come up with for the holidays?

(BTW, Zoe is BFMS's therapy dog. You can read more about her and Valpo's program to put a dog in each school here.) Benjamin Franklin MS is a School to Watch!

We'd love to share any videos created at your school. Feel free to share!

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The 6th grade Team Avengers from Clay Middle School (Carmel) raised over $13,000 for Make a Wish (Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana) under unusual circumstances. Since 2015, they have raised over $70,000 during their annual Request-A-Thon.
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Paula Martinez, the genius behind Slides Mania, has done it again! She creates so many inventive slides for teachers to use freely. In this presentation, you can go to slide 16 to see how to put yourself into a snow globe. Links to her other presentations can be found here. Her ideas go beyond simply fun; she has many templates with solid pedagogy.

Horace Mann is at It Again: BIg Giveaways Next Week

You can start entering now for Horace Mann's Apple Giveaways next week, from AirPods to iPads. You also have free access to their tools to calculate opportunities for student loan forgiveness.
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Unified Classroom Introduction
Adding to extracurricular/athletic opportunities, Special Olympics has added many ideas for ways to make classrooms more inclusive. You can watch the video introduction above, and sign up to receive their packets of activities, many of them suited for remote learning. You can access complete lessons via Google Drive or Dropbox. And as we look toward 2021, remember that you can contact Tori Batson at Special Olympics Indiana for information about becoming a Unified Champion School.

Looking for Fun Activities for Online Collaboration?

Stick Together started out by offering large-scale pictures that students would put together sticker-by-sticker in person. They now offer virtual images put together by students in a similar manner to pixel-by-pixel. The first one you order is free. (Ordinarily $5)

When you purchase a Stick Together, you will also get some tips on how to use it with students online or in person. Some teachers are using it as an incentive.

Speaking of Stickers.....

This was spreading like wildfire last month. Teachers offered to put a sticker on their face for each student who participated in their online class, turned on their camera, answered in the chat, orally, etc.. Some people said, "Oh, that will work for younger students, but not middle school." Guess what some middle school teachers said: "mine loved it, and I heard from students who rarely spoke otherwise!" 7th grade math teacher Diane Moon shared it on Twitter and it was viewed over 363,000 times; she ultimately found that Taylor Dale had first shared it on TikTok. They even ended up in a story in the Washington Post.
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Free Pear Deck Templates

Do you use PearDeck? Here above are100+ free google slide templates you can use, with links to even more from You can substitute your own Bitmoji or photo where needed. Thanks to Jessica Frenchik and Carla Ganim for freely sharing; please give credit where appropriate.

Recommendation from Katie Powell (@Beyond_the_Desk)

"...I’m EXTRA thankful for @gimkit’s new Among Us-inspired game mode, Trust No One. We LOVED it! The imposters won in both classes!" Gimkit is similar to Kahoot and quizizz, but has more strategy involved.
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I have heard nothing but rave reviews from teachers who have attended the Infosys Institutes. Although the basic cost is $850, several of the courses are free for the first 15-30 teachers to apply to some of the programs, the cost is lowered if your school contributes, and they triple match Donors Choose projects. (everyone I know had theirs fully-funded by one of these methods) Look over the programs and learn more details here. If you chose the Donors Choose Option, you must start that process by December 11.

Offerings for Grades 6-8 include:

Free Learning Opportunities (all times EST)

December 8: NASSP Virtual Tour: Student Agency: Designing Achievement at the Margins with Kathryn Procope of Howard University Middle School (DC), 10 am

December 8: AMLE/PAMLE Webinar, "Designing Online Instruction for the Middle Grades: What Makes for Effective Learning, 4:30 pm

December 9: New Kahoot Features Webinar, 4 pm

December 9: AMLE/PAMLE Webinar, "Getting the Most Out of Google Slides," 4:30 pm

December 9: Tips for Cross-Curricular Coding for Elementary & Middle Schools, 6 pm

December 10: AMLE/PAMLE Webinar, "How to Do Virtual Teaching--Even If You Have a Face for Radio" with Jack Berckemeyer, 4:30 pm

December 11: Leslie Fisher Gadgets Webinar, 7 pm (Gift ideas?)

December 12: Writing, Coding, & Sharing for All Grades with Elementari, Noon

December 14-January 8: Matt Miller's Ditch Summit, new sessions with access to past ones

December 17-January 19: Free, asynchronous PD from Region 8 ESC

December 18: Uncovering King Tut: Busting Egyptian Myths(for Students), 7 pm

January 2-3: 3rd Annual Teacher Reboot Conference

January 11: Letters about Literature Entries Due (Grades 4-12)

January 11: Corwin Webinar: "What Ahead in US Education?" 6:30 pm

January 14: Virtual Indiana STEM Education Conference

January 23: Middle Grades Collaborative Conference, 9-4:30

January 29: Applications Due for Laura Bush Library Grant

2021: IMLEA Conference-Now Virtual!


DOE Digital Learning Series

PATINS Trainings for Accessibility for All

Corwin Monday Afternoon Webinar Series

Indiana eLearning Lab (Must Register to See Live Schedule; Tutorials always available. This week's sessions are about coding.)

Leslie Fisher Webinars

National Geographic Online Courses (several start on January 20)

That's All for 2020!

Because many schools are wrapping things up next week, this is the last edition of the Monday Minute for 2020. If we come across more worthwhile professional opportunities, we will add them into the calendar section above, so free to check back over break. We hope that you will have some time to recuperate after a challenging semester.

If you have time eventually, please explore our website, including the materials for service learning through INSPIRE3, Champions Together, Schools to Watch, and more.

You can access past Monday Minutes via this link on our webpage, and you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Principals and others: Feel free to forward this newsletter to your staff, and email us at any time. Share your good ideas and resources with us, and all best wishes for the end of 2020 into 2021!