Weekly Links #16


Happy Friday! Here’s hoping your weekend is filled with fall-like temperatures, coziness, and plenty of rest. Snuggle up with a few of our favorite reads from the past seven days.

If you weren’t able to make it to the Alabama Conference on Grading and Assessment for Learning last weekend, check out the #ACGAL hashtagged tweets.

You can also peruse our tweets of Thomas R. Guskey’s keynote.

Media Literacy Week is coming up soon. Here’s a roundup of resources.

Why is middle school so hard for so many people? (h/t to Alabama ASCD for sharing this link with us)

Octopuses are incredible.

And finally, we spent some time this week with 8th graders at the Worlds of Work Career Expo. It is AMAZING. See the image above and follow along as we tweet about it this weekend.

Weekly Links #15


Happy Friday! We hope to see many of you at the Alabama Conference on Grading and Assessment for Learning tomorrow. But if we don’t get to hang out face to face, we hope these links will keep you learning through the weekend. Have a good one!

Have you tried Be Internet Awesome for teaching digital citizenship?

Next Friday is the International Day of the Girl Child.

Check out EduProtocols. We’d love to know what you think!

A teacher’s love letter to Notice and Note.

We know about Greta Thunberg. Let’s talk about some more young activists fighting for the future of the planet.

And we hope you’ll follow along this weekend as we learn and connect at ACGAL. Be sure you’re following us on Twitter and Instagram!

Weekly Links #14


Happy Friday, everyone! We hope your weekend is filled with tailgating or homegating or just hanging out and enjoying these last few days of September. Here are a few items to send you on your way.

Weeknight dinners around the world could yield rich classroom conversations and writing opportunities.

We need to speak up about climate change.

Loop looks like a handy system for gathering student feedback.

Let’s brush up on the impeachment process.

Imagine what school could be. (Hat-tip to Amber Chandler for this link share!)

You’re coming to ACGAL, right? It’s next weekend! LET’S GO!!

And we hope you’re planning to join us at the AMLE Conference in November, as well. If you’re headed to Nashville, be sure to join fellow Alabama educators at a meet & greet on November 7.

Have a great weekend!

Weekly Links #13

We did it again. One more week in the books. We hope it was filled with that weird kind of silliness and sweetness only adolescents can bring. But if it was a tough one, know that you’re not in it alone. We feel you, and connection to a gang of folks who do this gig every day is only a hashtag away.

Global Collaboration Week starts Monday! Are you joining in on any of the connective projects and events?

Get it, Greta Thunberg!

Related: Youth all over the world took to the streets today to demand action on climate change.

Do you use single-point rubrics?

There are some pretty rad YA titles on the longlist for the 2019 National Book Awards.

Have a great weekend!

Weekly Links #12


It’s Friday. The 13th. And there’s a full moon tonight.

Are you okay? Did you make it through the day in one piece?

Okay, good! Whew!! That was a close one! Recuperate with our selection of links below.

Next Tuesday is Constitution Day. Are you celebrating?

Got students who obsess over Fortnite, Overwatch, and League of Legends? You might be interested in this free e-sports curriculum.

Or maybe you could use the OK Go Sandbox to spark some engineering and design challenges.

And while we’re talking about creative challenges…

Inequality in America is an undeniable fact.

Get a PDF of the 1619 Project for your school or classroom.

Follow Friday: Do you know Sarah Marzullo? We think you should. She’s a 7th grade ELA teacher at Northridge Middle School in Tuscaloosa, she’s passionate about literacy, and she’s a pretty great singer to boot. Connect with her here!

Weekly Links #11

Happy Friday, everyone!

Are you getting good sleep? Eating right? Keeping hydrated? Deleting work email off of your phone? Remember, the school year is a marathon (that’s somehow also filled with lots of sprints).

Stay healthy, breathe right, and stick with us. We’re in it together.

And while you’re at all of that, check out some of the odds and ends we’ve gathered from across the interwebs this week.

Get your kids solving real-world problems.

This topic could yield lively classroom discussion.

Do you use Google Slides for sharing content during your lessons? If so, check out these two handy new features.

Let’s be talking about this in our social studies classes, shall we?

How not to go crazy reading students in-process writing.

And while we’re on the subject of grading and assessing, will we be seeing you at ACGAL? We sure hope you’ll join us. It’s going to be an amazing day!

Weekly Links #10

Hey, guess what! You made it through August! Kick back this long weekend, and maybe enjoy some college football along with our roundup of links below.

Any of us who teach with Shakespeare’s works should take a listen.

Got a great idea for using tech in the classroom? The ISTE call for proposals is now open!

Nonprofit OpenSciEd recently released free middle school science materials.

Upcoming Events: There’s so much great stuff happening in September. Be sure to check out our ALAMLE Calendar, and consider participating in some of the events below.

International Literacy Day

Dot Day

Constitution Day

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Banned Books Week

International Podcast Day

Global Read Aloud

Weekly Links #9


It’s Friday! Have you settled back into the school year routine yet?

Kick back with the offerings below, and have a restful weekend!

Teens who created Adopt A Book are looking for more passionate young readers to take over.

3 on a YA theme: Books about family businesses.

Teach writing with the New York Times: A free school-year curriculum in 7 units.

Interested in doing Genius Hour or 20% Time with your students? Here are some resources.

Breaking out of the white teacher bubble.

Upcoming Events: It’s almost September! Check out our calendar for the good stuff coming soon. And don’t forget ACGAL and AMLE. We want to learn with you!

Weekly Links #8

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It’s Friday, and we’re halfway through August, and we’re probably maybe not 100% melted yet. These are good and important things! Here are some other good and important things from around the web for your weekend reading. We hope it’s a happy one!

The 1619 Project, an initiative from The New York Times, marks the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. “It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”

5 things every new teacher needs to know. What would you add to this list?

Google is adding an “originality checker” to Google Classroom. Have you used similar services like TurnItIn? Will you try Google’s new tool?

A beautiful piece in remembrance of Toni Morrison.

Upcoming Events: You’re registered for ACGAL and the AMLE Annual Conference, right? We need your awesome brains there!

Follow Friday: We think you need to know Hannah Moore. She’s an ELA teacher at The Alberta School of Performing Arts in Tuscaloosa who shares snapshots of her readers and writers as well as reflections on her professional learning. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram!

Weekly Links #7


Whew! It’s the weekend!

Happy Friday, y’all. Put your feet up, take a few deep breaths, and have a look at our picks from around the interwebs.

Do you play Kahoot with your students? They’ve added new features we should all know about.

And CommonLit, another one of our favorite tools, now has an annotation feature!

What are you reading right now? We’re currently loving Lies My Teacher Told Me (for young readers) and An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States.

And finally, Mississippi ICE raids occurred on the first day of school. What do we do when it happens in our areas?

Upcoming Events: Make sure the Alabama Conference on Grading and Assessment for Learning is on your calendar (October 5 in Tuscaloosa), and grab your promo code for a $50 discount on registration to the AMLE Annual Conference (November 7-9 in Nashville).

Weekly Links #6


Happy August! And Happy New Year! We believe 2019-2020 will be AMAZING for middle grades teachers and students in Alabama. Here are a few items from around the web for your weekend.

Many thanks to Charlsie Wigley, who recently recommended two new books for our Middle Grades Reads. Check out her summaries below:

Internment by Samira Ahmed: Set in a futuristic America not too far from our present, Layla Amin and her family are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens in California. The seventeen-year-old must learn first hand the trials of discrimination and the power of revolution. Layla must also confront her emotions regarding her boyfriend, a Jewish teenager back in her hometown, and the alliances she makes with others being held captive at the internment camp. If you are into drama, dystopian young adult lit, and/or books with a social justice flair, you will appreciate the topics covered and pace of this novel's plot. Due to language, it is recommended for ages 15+.

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary K. Schmidt: Joseph is in trouble. A product of the foster care system, his home instability and difficulty with dealing with his pent-up anger lands him in a tense situation with a teacher. Kicked out of school, he is placed with a new family including a scrawny kid named Jack. They are an unlikely duo, but the two become thick as thieves. Their bond is put to the test when Jack learns that Joseph has a baby daughter named Jupiter. Will he be able to help Joseph find his daughter? What will happen if he does? Find out in Orbiting Jupiter.

AMLE recently welcomed their new CEO, Stephanie Auditore. Connect and learn from here here!

In the coming weeks, teachers will be establishing connections with families so we can keep in contact about our students throughout the year. Have you tried ClassTag? We love this communication tool that offers options for reminders, weekly newsletters, class photo galleries, conference and event scheduling, and more!

Do you practice mindfulness in your school? If so, or if you’d like to get started, you’ll be excited to know that the Calm app is now free for educators. This includes their full library of guided meditations, as well as Calm Kids, which is geared specifically for children in grades K-12. Learn more here, and thank you to Michele Downey for the recommendation!

Upcoming Events: Are you registered for the Alabama Conference on Grading and Assessment for Learning? Be there on October 5! And don’t forget that the AMLE Annual Conference is in November. Grab your promo code, and meet us in Nashville!

Follow Friday: Do you know about West Smiths Station? Great things are happening at this school serving some of our younger middle level kiddos in Lee County. Follow along with them this school year via Twitter!

Weekly Links #5


Happy Friday! Are you gearing up for the new year yet? Savoring and soaking up these last few beautiful days of July? A little bit of both?

We hope the week has treated you well and that the weekend manages to treat you even better. Grab some lemonade or a popsicle and enjoy a little reading!

The 3 things our middle schoolers need the most.

How do your classroom lessons and discussions counter bigotry and create a safe and welcoming learning space? US vs Hate offers lessons to assist.

Need to create posters and print them from your standard classroom printer? Here’s how.

Oh, hey! Shark Week starts this Sunday! Here’s a shark-y video from on of our favorite YouTube channels.

And speaking of YouTube channels we love, check out our roundup of favorites on the ALAMLE “What to Watch” page.

Mark your calendars: The Alabama Conference on Grading and Assessment for Learning is coming up on Saturday, October 5, at Paul W. Bryant High School in Tuscaloosa. Registration is now open, so go get signed up! And the AMLE Annual Conference is happening on November 7-9. Grab our promo code for $50 off registration, and see us there!

Follow Friday: We think you should know Reeivice Girtman. He’s the Director of Elementary Curriculum and Instruction for the Phenix City Schools, and he’s consistently sharing his learning and perspectives as a district leader. Connect with him on Twitter!

Weekly Links #4

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Happy Moon Week! On July 16, 1969, the Apollo 11 mission launched on its journey to the moon. Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the lunar surface on July 20. This week we mark the 50th anniversary of that momentous achievement. Celebrate and learn with us via the links below.

"My friends, there was dancing here in the streets of Huntsville when our first satellite orbited the earth. and there was dancing again when the first Americans landed on the moon. I'd like to ask you don't hang up your dancing slippers," said Wernher Von Braun. Grab your dancing shoes and crank up our “We Put a Man on the Moon” playlist this weekend (also available as a YouTube playlist here). And be sure to tag @alabama_amle in your photos and videos. We’d love to see and share your celebrations!

Check out these Apollo 11 resources from one of our favorite educational curators.

And in non-lunar news…

These teens started podcasting as a hobby, then it turned into serious journalism.

Flipgrid is one of our favorite resources for student creation. But sometimes our kiddos get a little camera shy. Here are some tips for helping them overcome their anxiety so that they can be a part of this powerful form of collaboration and sharing.

Follow Friday: We want to make sure you know Michele Downey. She’s a National Board Certified teacher working in the Piedmont City Schools, as well as a self-described space nerd. Join her learning journey and connect with her on Twitter!

Weekly Links #3


Happy Friday! Are you surviving and thriving in this month’s heat? Kick back and cool off with these offerings from around the web. Have a great weekend!

Why are you grading that?

Speaking of grading, mark your calendar for the second annual Alabama Conference on Grading and Assessment for Learning!

What does career readiness look like in middle school?

Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher chosen to go to space, died along with the crew of the Challenger when the space shuttle exploded 73 seconds into flight. Now her “lost lessons” have been updated and made available for teachers.

9 questions that help get at student agency and personalization.

What if teachers didn’t focus so much on individual achievement?

We’d love to connect with you on Instagram. Tag us in your summer fun as well as your photos and stories as you start thinking about heading back into the classroom!

Follow Friday: We think you need to know Keiosha Quarles. K teaches robotics, coding, and computer science at Westlawn Middle School in Tuscaloosa. She’s spent her summer presenting at conferences and learning at Project Lead the Way training, and she regularly shares videos, photos, and reflections from her school and professional learning experiences. Connect with her on Twitter!

Weekly Links #2


Happy Friday! We hope that you’re having a safe and relaxing 4th of July weekend! Here are a few links from around the web for you.

How to teach kids to talk about taboo topics.

You can now create rubrics in Google Classroom! Request to be a part of the new beta.

A post worth reading on the pressure to spend money on flashy decor and activities at the expense of pedagogy and paycheck.

Connect with ALAMLE on Instagram, and tag us in your posts and stories! We’re sharing resources and ideas, and we’d love to see your summer learning and self-care strategies as well as your classroom setups as we start thinking about the new school year.

Are you headed to the AMLE conference in Nashville this fall? Click here to grab a code to save $50 on your registration!

Follow Friday: Do you know Sophie Phillips? We think you should! Sophie is a self-contained/exceptional ed teacher at McAdory Middle School. She frequently posts glimpses into her classroom and school activities, is dedicated to building relationships and school culture, and shares lots of creative ideas and reflections on teaching practice. Check her out on Twitter!

Weekly Links #1

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This is the first installment in a weekly series here on the blog in which we share a round-up of some of our favorite bits and pieces from around the internet. Happy reading, and have a great weekend!

The most stolen books of 2018-2019.

History Class: It’s about the people, not the dates.

It’s Democratic primary season. Did you watch the debates this week? Here are the candidates’ policy positions.

Adobe Spark now has a collaboration option!

Pixar’s secret for making perfect films.

Do you use Instagram to connect with your school community? Caption your stories to make them more accessible.

We all need mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors.

Are you at ISTE? #NotAtISTE? Either way, here’s a collection of “the next big trends” in ed tech.

Need some listening material for your summer travels? Check out our podcast recommendations.

Follow Friday: If you’re not already, you need to be following Charlsie Wigley. She’s a 7th grade ELA teacher in Shelby County, a consummate learner, and an active participant in ongoing education conversations in-state and beyond. Connect with her on Twitter!

AMLE 2019


Mark your calendars! The 2019 Annual Conference for Middle Level Education is coming up this fall, and it doesn’t get any closer than this year’s venue - Nashville!

The Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) invites you to participate in the most comprehensive and valuable professional learning opportunity available to any educator who works with students ages 10-15. The 46th Annual Conference for Middle Level Education is coming to Nashville, Tennessee, November 7-9, 2019.

With more than 400 of the brightest minds in education presenting research-based practices in more than 30 different topics, you will return to your school or classroom inspired and equipped with proven strategies to improve instruction and help students achieve. Among the 300 conference sessions, you’ll find sessions on using Technology for learning, understanding Young Adolescent Development, student-driven Assessment, Social Emotional Learning (SEL), helping At-Risk Students, STEM, Project-Based Learning, and more.

We hope you’ll join other ALAMLE members at the conference! Click here for more conference details, and save $50 with promo code A19ALAMLE. See you in Nashville!


Welcome the the ALAMLE blog!

Here we’ll be sharing community-created content including teaching tips, in-depth experiences with resources and strategies, and information about upcoming professional learning opportunities.

Read along and learn with us and consider becoming an ALAMLE content contributor in the future!