Middle School Portal

the network for middle school math and science teachers

Tom Jenkins
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  • Enon, OH
  • United States
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Welcome Bianca,   I first place that I would go is "Cool Tools" under MSP2 Resources on the homepage.  Wonderful tools for the classroom- most (if not all) are free!!   Take Care, Tom    
December 16, 2010
We still do frogs and worms in our middle school. That being said- it does comsume a large portion of the budget. I like it because even with the wonderful simulations that are available dissection is a gross, smelly, and almost always a memorable…
November 28, 2010
So many great ideas....... The main ones that I try to focus on: Always have more stations than groups. Laminate and fasten the directions so that they don't get written on, ripped, carried off, etc. In larger groups it is sometimes helpful to a…
November 28, 2010
MSP2 wants to create opportunities for teachers to collaborate locally or globally and form PLCs around science and mathematics. This group provides educators with a forum to create student collaboration projects around STEM concepts.
November 28, 2010
Interesting. I think many teachers do try to help students understand where the man made materials they depend upon originate, and even the non-manmade! For example most students cannot tell you the origin of their foods. As a life science teacher,…
November 19, 2010
Again- It was one of those sessions that you didn't walk away with anything to specifically to use in your classroom, but rather it made you think about the larger picture.
November 19, 2010
Sorry I missed that one! Those are all very good point!
November 18, 2010
Great stuff! I missed this one.
November 11, 2010
Tom Jenkins added a discussion
This session was one that you attend and don't necessarilly come away with any set plans or specifics, but rather you leave with a better sense of the whole picture.  It kind of reaffirms what many of us are trying to accomplish as educators and lea…
November 11, 2010
Tom Jenkins added a discussion
This presentation will introduce the Middle School Portal 2: Math and Science Pathways project which provides opportunities for teachers to create, connect, and collaborate with colleagues using Web 2.0 tools such as wikis and a social network. SMAR…
November 5, 2010
Thanks for sharing this opportunity. My kids will be excited about giving this a shot!
October 26, 2010
Good read.....Here's a link to the Dayton Regional STEM Center in Ohio where I serve as a lead fellow if you are interested in learning more about the subject. If you look at the preview videos, you can get an idea of some of the types of STEM lesso…
October 4, 2010
I agree that engaging the student should be a top priority. The modern student is used to being entertained and having choices. While, I'm not suggesting that we dress up and dance around for your classes (that's entirely up to you), it is very impo…
September 9, 2010
I think that parent perception is a big deal as they are the ones that are paying the taxes and can help apply positive pressure to cause a paradigm shift within districts. In my experience as an educator- things won't change unless they are pushed…
July 5, 2010
Educational message boards/forums work really well in my middle school setting. We use Moodle and I set up a forum entitled "Help while i'm out." I check it a few times throughout the day and post responses to their questions, so they don't get as f…
July 5, 2010
Hi Karen. You know, in my experience students are much easier to motivate when compared to adults........I generally lay out the project and am really open with my kids (what and why) whenever we take on a new project. The amount of empathy that you…
July 5, 2010

Profile Information

Which best describes your position?
Classroom Teacher (preK-12)
What discipline(s) do you teach?
Technology, Other
I need help with
Instructional strategies, Integrating technology
I can help with
Assessment/Testing, Classroom management, Content knowledge, Gifted and talented, Instructional strategies, Integrating technology, Managing labs (including safety), Being a new teacher, Involving parents/caregivers, Science fairs/competitions, Special needs students, Standards, Student misconceptions

Tom Jenkins's Blog

Tom Jenkins

Service Learning- Why not in Math, Science, and STEM?

I recently attended a conference aptly named Forging New Links in Columbus, Ohio. While going through several sessions, I started to notice a trend........Almost everyone that presented or shared taught History, Language Arts, or was involved with a school service group such as student council. I remember in the middle of the second session, thinking to myself- "Where are the Math and Science people!?"

At a certain point, we broke… Continue

Posted on April 13, 2010 at 10:30pm — 3 Comments

Tom Jenkins

Use MSP To Network Your Classroom

Okay......Let's say person "A" is in Dayton, Ohio and person "B" in Bakersfield, California. Person "A" is teaching their class about the San Andreas Fault. Person "B" about the invention of flight. Assuming that both of these people are on MSP2- Why not have the classes work together and share their area of expertise/local interests? Contact folks in our on-line community and make the world a smaller, more interesting place. I've done this several times and its something that is fun for the…


Posted on March 11, 2010 at 1:32pm — 9 Comments

Tom Jenkins

MSP2 Tech Talk: Moodle II

On September 23rd, I moderated a Tech Talk on the use of Moodle in the classroom. During the session, we discussed some basic tips and tricks on how to use Moodle in the Middle School Classroom. Many of the attendees were already Moodle users and shared some of their experiences with the group. The session was meant to serve as a follow up to my original Introduction to Moodle session from this past August. Below are both webinars for your convience. If you have any questions or would like to… Continue

Posted on September 24, 2009 at 8:30pm —

Tom Jenkins

Classes without grade levels…….Why not?

As the school year approaches, the science teacher inside of me wants to perform an experiment. Over the course of the school year, I would like my technology class to evolve into a class of choice and without limits. Last year, I had a conversation with our districts director of technology. He mentioned that in his opinion, teachers would eventually become like doctors in which we would test each student and then write a “prescription” in the form of an IEP. The student would then use… Continue

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 9:59pm —

Tom Jenkins

Session Archive: Tech Talk: Moodle for Middle School

On August 5th, I moderated a Tech Talk for MSP2 using Elluminate via LearnCentral.org. Over 50 people were in attendance. Throughout the whirlwind session, we discussed some of the basics in using Moodle in the middle school classroom. Since we covered so much information, we thought that it might be valuable to those that were unable to attend or those that wanted a reference tool to post the slide show in its entirety. There are 2 links below. The first is the Elluminate presentation (with… Continue

Posted on August 5, 2009 at 4:00pm — 5 Comments

Comment Wall (22 comments)

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At 10:56pm on March 18, 2010, Rebecca Lawson said…
OH ... what happened to the opportunity to Edit our comments? Today it doesn't seem like I have seen that prompt.
At 10:55pm on March 18, 2010, Rebecca Lawson said…
Hi Tom,

Thanks for the shout out. Things are going well .. just busy, as usual.

I have an idea ... which I don't think I sent you tonight.

Davilla has been asking new members questions using the info they have posted. Ex. She asked some of the new NASA members for suggestions about tech integration.

...was thinking it might be an idea to create forum topics around these questions ... thinking that perhaps we could ask people to make a comment on the forum .. and get more interaction going on the site. What do you think?
At 11:16pm on October 15, 2009, Rebecca Lawson said…
Tom, Evelyn Abaygar- Erum just joined MSP2. She mentions that she needs some help with science fairs. I thought you might like to welcome her and give her some pointers.

Looking forward to seeing you soon!
At 9:26pm on September 29, 2009, Bernita Zhang said…
Hi Tom,
Thanks for the welcome. Right now I am involved in a graduate program and do not have a whole lot of free time but I will take some time soon to look around at the groups. I am excited by what I see!
At 7:05pm on September 24, 2009, Caroline Hall said…
Hi Tom,
May be a moot point. I don't think anybody has signed up. Do these usually get late registration traffic?

Anyway, I will be practicing the presentation within the MS Portal Elluminate staging area. Kim is showing me the ropes Monday. I would LOVE for you to join me sometime over the next week in the "practice" venue and be my guinea pig. I can work around your schedule.Thanks so much!
At 2:20pm on September 21, 2009, Caroline Hall said…
Hi Tom,
I'd like to ask if you would be a panelist on the webinar. Kim and I both feel that your expertise in the classroom would add a great dimension to this event. The date has changed: it's set for Thursday, October 8, from 4:00-5:00 ET.

The plan is that I will spend about 10 minutes introducing ComPADRE and The Physics Front. ("Why would a middle school teacher use a web site called "Physics" Front? I don't teach physics." "What kind of stuff do you have on the web site?" "Is it free?" "Can I comment or contribute?", etc.) Then, I will show them the two model units for middle school: "The Nature of Light" and "Light, Vision, and Color". I'll briefly cover the new AAAS Benchmarks on light, some common student misconceptions on the topic,and the need to address light as a wave in the middle grades.

I would be honored if you would join in as a panelist. Thank you for everything!

At 6:17am on September 14, 2009, Caroline Hall said…
Thanks so much for the kind words! Could I ask you a few questions?
Do you teach a unit on light, and if so, at which grade level? What have you found to be typical misconceptions held by your students about the nature of light?

Did you feel adequately prepared in your degree program to teach this topic (I ask because I was not prepared......my two physics courses focused on force, motion, and electricity). I really had to beef up my own content knowledge.

If high school teachers include a unit on light/optics, they often cover only geometric optics, which doesn't account for phenomena like diffraction & polarization. The physics education research is indicating that even gifted kids are coming to college without a mental model of light as a wave. Consequently, it's really hard for them to transition into modern physics. Tom, do you think we should be introducing kids to these concepts as early as middle school to lay foundations? Thanks so much for the help!
At 12:59pm on September 10, 2009, Caroline Hall said…
Hi Tom,
Here is a link to the unit elements for middle school science on the broad topic "Nature and Behavior of Light":

Here is a direct link to the model unit we compiled for grades 7-8 titled "Nature of Light":

I have not quite finished the standards alignment for the model unit, but all the resources are there. It is a multimedia approach that explores the essential nature of light, how it travels, and some of its special properties. It is intended to give middle-grade students a foundation for understanding the wave nature of light and the electromagnetic spectrum: essential to a later understanding of modern physics. Thank you so much,
At 8:44am on September 9, 2009, Caroline Hall said…
Hi Tom,
Kim Lightle invited me to present a webinar October 6 to introduce middle school teachers to The Physics Front digital resource collection. I've followed your posts, and would really like to get your feedback as I plan this web seminar. Primarily, I'll be showcasing the features & tools of The Physics Front, and highlighting a model unit on the nature of light, specifically developed for grades 7-8. Would it be possible to talk about this sometime? I'm located in Centerville, Ohio, and the best number to reach me is (937) 567-0085. Many thanks,
At 8:50pm on August 10, 2009, Glenys Martin said…
Tom I am intregued by your picture. We have mini donkeys and that sure looks like one, but it also looks like it is on a hardwood floor, that is not something we do with our donkeys.



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