Great Young Adult Novels for 2014

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The American Library Association has released their 2014 list of best fiction for young adults:

All the Truth’s That’s in Me by Julie Berry

Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark

Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle

Far Far Away by Tom McNeal

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Winger by Andrew Smith

Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Jeff Wilhem, Michel Smith and Sharon Fransen have written Reading Unbound: Why Kids Need to Read What They Want–and Why We Should Let Thema good resource if you need to provide evidence for Silent Sustained Reading and/or allowing your students to read fiction.

Reading Unbound

Kahoot! Features Bonny Eagle Teacher

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Ms. Touroney, an art teacher at Bonny Eagle Middle School, is being featured on the Kahoot! site for her interactive lesson: See it here at  Congratulations Ms. Touroney!!!


Lindsay Mahoney wrote about Kahoot! on the Instructional Practices page of this website.

CyberDay at Auburn Middle School

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Student works on iPad keyboard

iPad Keyboard

High school students, central office administrators, community members, and teachers led workshops for Auburn Middle School students on CyberDay. Each student was able to choose 3 workshops to attend.

Like many middle schools in Maine, students and staff switched from laptops to iPads this year.  CyberDay was a time to share what had been learned and explore new possibilities.

Some students opted to learn how to make commercials in a session entitled “Welcome to Hollywood” led by Jake Bazinet, a high school junior.  The best student commercials were showcased on the Lewiston-Auburn local access channel.



Everyone got involved!

Music and movie making sessions were popular:

Makiing Movies

Making Movies

Making Music

Making Music


Sharing and collaboration characterized the event.

Collaboration CyberDay


Classmates collaborate and share ideas and products.

Classmates collaborate and share ideas and products.

The Day was featured in the Lewiston Sun Journal.

At the end of the day, it was obvious that CyberDay was a grand success!

BigShare CyberDay

Share with MAMLE members what’s happening in your school.  Write a comment below and we’ll be in touch!

Madison Junior High’s Community Blood Drive

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This post was written by Kathy Bertini, an eighth grade teacher at Madison Junior High School

The annual Madison Blood Drive takes place each February at the junior high to replenish critically low blood supplies for the American Red Cross during the winter months. This particular interdisciplinary unit was created after a colleague attended the annual MAMLE conference and participated in a session put on by the Frank Harrison Middle School of Yarmouth that blended academics with community service.

The sixth grade was assigned the tasks of letter writing to encourage people to donate blood as well as learning what constitutes the parts of blood. The eighth grade completed detailed presentations about the cardiovascular system, showcased activities that keep your heart healthy and made 3-D versions of human blood based on a liquid’s density. In Art classes students created clay models of the human heart that were then painted and labeled with correct names.

Image of the Tree of Donors

Tree of Donors

This year a new idea was added to the blood drive called the Tree of Donors. The Tree of Donors idea began with a visual of a caricature of a tree without any leaves. Then the sixth grade students cut out blood drops to represent leaves for the tree. After donors gave blood at the drive, their names were placed on each leaf and hung on the tree. The tree symbolized the importance of each blood donor as they became part of the donor tree. Sixth and eighth grade students were vital in assembling the initial tree and adding names to leaves as volunteers gave blood that day.

On the day of the blood drive, students were responsible for greeting people at the door, registering blood donors, escorting those who have given blood to the snack table, running the snack station, as well as the final break down and clean up. The Madison Junior High Blood Drive was showcased this year on WLBZ Schools That Shine segment for the academic connection to community service. This learning experience was made possible because of the MAMLE experience and resources available.

Community Involvement

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Middle schools across Maine contribute to the well being of their communities.  Here are just a few examples!

  • Recently recognized as a School That Shines (Channel 6–WCSH program), Madison Junior High School students organized and ran a community blood drive at their school.  Teachers were inspired to support this effort after they attended a Harrison Middle School (Yarmouth) presentation on the topic at a MAMLE Annual Conference.
  • Another School That Shines honoree is Georgetown Central School.  Their 4-8th. graders are actively involved in Project Canopy.  Students are learning data collection procedures as they gather information on tree growth and health, tree identification, and and local ecological issues.  They will share this information with town officials responsible for creating policy impacting the town’s woodlands.
  • Anyone who lives in a coastal community has heard about the European green crabs, an invasive species that threatening the clamming industry.  Two schools–Yarmouth’s Frank Harrison Middle School and Woolwich Central School–have been studying this immense problem and looking for solutions to share.
  • Becoming an United States citizen is a lengthy and sometimes arduous process.  The smiles on newly naturalized citizens’ faces say it was well worth it.  Students at the Middle School of the Kennebunks hosted a naturalization ceremony in March. The band played, the chorus sang, and Senator Angus King spoke!

We would love to hear how other schools are connecting with their community.  Leave us a comment and share your school’s story.

Mainers Honored at NELMS Annual Conference


Two of Maine’s newest  and brightest middle level teachers were honored this week as Promising Practioners at the 2014 NELMS Annual Conference.  The criteria for the award are:

  • Enjoys teaching middle level students
  • Makes a positive difference in the school
  • Fosters community connections
  • Seeks professional development and implements innovative ideas
  • Meets the needs of individual students, using effective middle level practices such as:
    • Incorporating activity-based learning
    • Developing a sense of student ownership in their learning
    • Integrating higher order thinking
    • Fostering curriculum connections
Congratulations to…
Photo of SaraSara Donahue, Special Education Teacher at Presque Isle Middle School










photo of MollyMolly Brewer, Spanish teacher at Medomak Middle School










NELMS also presented two Distinguished Service Awards, also known as the James Garvin Award.  Criteria for this award:

  • A record of service that reflects a high level of dedication and commitment to the cause of quality education for early adolescents.
  • A life that models the human qualities which, one day, we would want early adolescents to emulate.
  • A record of scholarship invested in helping others to better understand the unique needs of early adolescents.
  • A record of activities that clearly demonstrates a concern for those less fortunate, in need of special leadership.
  • A record of leadership in organizing and directing others to excellence in middle level education.
This year’s recipients of the Distinguish Service Award are Chris Toy and Jill Spencer.
Chris Toy and Jill Spencer Recipients of 2014 NELMS Distinguished Service Award

Chris Toy and Jill Spencer Recipients of 2014 NELMS Distinguished Service Award