Category Archives: Middle School


Well, it’s been a while, but Adequate Yearly Progress is back after summer vacation! To honor the beginning of the (Seattle) school year, I’m posting a special round table episode. This episode features teachers I’ve interviewed before (Chris Bach, Paul Cavender, and Hillary Graham) discussing last year, specifically around testing, Common Core, standards-based grading, and technology. It’s a long episode, but a good one.



Welcome to Adequate Yearly Progress, episode 15. In this episode, I interview Adam McDonald, a relatively new computer science teacher. Adam just started teaching at Eckstein with me this year and has an interesting background: he studied history in college, taught in Thailand for a few years, worked at a nonprofit to get students into computer science, and on a non-teaching but generally interesting sidenote, is the youngest of 12 kids!  Listen to Adam talk about his optimistic outlook on teaching, what computer science education at a middle school looks like, and how history and computer science go hand in hand.

Download Adequate Yearly Progress Episode 15 Adam McDonald


Welcome to Adequate Yearly Progress, Episode 14. In this episode, I finally interview a school librarian so you can understand what we do and why we do consider ourselves teachers. TuesD Chambers is an energetic, enthusiastic, dynamic school librarian at McClure Middle School in Seattle, WA who has years of experience as a language arts and social studies teacher and who transitioned into a school librarian a year and a half ago.  Listen to TuesD talk about the day-to-day life of a middle school librarian, why this profession brings her so much joy, and the impact she has had on a few students in particular.

Download Adequate Yearly Progress Episode 14 TuesD Chambers


Welcome to Adequate Yearly Progress, Episode 13. In this episode, I interview Paul Cavender, another friend of mine who works with me at Eckstein Middle School. Some of my teachers friends call him Papa Bear because of his big heart, goofy nature, general likeability, and ability to connect with students, often at their level. Paul is also an incredibly smart Renaissance Man who can wax poetic on any number of topics while also offering practical advice and handy tools to fix things around school that need to be fixed, such as helping me jury-rig the cases of my library iPads so that a USB connector would fit in. (But that’s a story for another day.) Listen to Paul talk about why he stopped being a chef to become a teacher who has taught everything from high school biology and math to middle school language arts and social studies and how to avoid teacher burnout.

Download Adequate Yearly Progress Episode 13 Paul Cavender


Welcome to Adequate Yearly Progress, episode 12.  This episode features Chris Bach, a teacher and friend of mine who only started at Eckstein last year but is someone who I feel like I’ve known for a long time. Chris has taught high school, has his principal credentials, is now teaching middle school and what comes across in this interview is his full commitment to education, love of teaching and how he tries every day to make learning both relevant and fun for students. Listen to Chris talk about how he transitioned from someone who was not engaged in school into someone completely motivated to change the world through teaching.

Download Adequate Yearly Progress Episode 12 Chris Bach


Welcome to Adequate Yearly Progress, episode 11. Today’s interview features Jessica Levine, a compassionate, musical, energetic science teacher at Eckstein Middle School.  Jessica and I not only have a shared interest in using theater and music in the classroom, but also love John Green novels, sharing books of all types we’re reading with each other, and we both went to small liberal arts colleges. (I went to Carleton College and she went to Oberlin). Listen to Jessica talk about how she transitioned from working in environmental after-school nonprofits to public school, the power of song and rhythm in teaching, and a new way she’s engaging students in their own assessments this year.

Plus, a bonus! In this episode, instead of using the normal intro and outro music,  you get to listen to Jessica singing and playing the ukelele for a science parody of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Bad Moon Rising that explains the concepts Conduction, Convection, Radiation. A great test for you who haven’t studied science since high school. (I’ve put the words below). 

Download the episode here: Adequate Yearly Progress Episode 11 Jessica Levine

Download a copy of just the song parody here


Conduction, Convection, Radiation

I see the temperatures a-risin’

I see the heat move away

I see particles move like lightning

I see heat transfer here today



Cause you can’t get cold tonight

Heat’s bound to leave your life

When heat transfer’s on the rise


Conduction, convection, radiation

I know the heat is coming soon

I know the way that heat’s a-flowin’

I know it’s hot to cold it’s true




Conduction, convection, radiation

I hope that you’re getting this all right

Looks like we’re in for nasty weather

Losing heat til equilibrium




Welcome to Adequate Yearly Progress, Episode 10! Today’s interview features Josh Hanson. Josh is a P.E. teacher at Eckstein who has also taught social studies, language arts, science, and tech at a middle school level, which just goes to show you his breadth of knowledge and excitement for teaching.  Listen to Josh talk about his vision for P.E. curriculum, how on earth he has so many endorsements, and about the benefits of substitute teaching all over the district.

Download Adequate Yearly Progress Episode 10 Josh Hanson


Welcome to Adequate Yearly Progress, episode 8.  In this episode, I interview Sam Huckabee, who also used to work with me at Eckstein Middle School and now teaches special education at Jane Addams Middle School in Seattle. Sam is one of those compassionate, super-organized, and confident teachers who forges strong relationships with students. Listen to her talk about her how she transitioned from teaching theater to special education, how she deals with the sometimes frustrating bureaucracy that education and special education in particular can be, and her future career aspirations.

Download Adequate Yearly Progress Episode 8 Sam Huckabee


Welcome to Adequate Yearly Progress, episode 7. In my seventh episode, hear from my friend, Kendra Hoerst, who used to work with me at Eckstein Middle School as a language arts/social studies teacher and now works at Whitman Middle School. She is a warm and caring person who I share book recommendations with and can be found laughing with her students, and (bonus!) also plays roller derby. How cool is that?? In this episode, Kendra talks to me about growing up in a nontraditional school environment, strategies to teach struggling students, and a learning experiment with clay.

Download Adequate Yearly Progress Episode 7 Kendra Hoerst





Welcome to Adequate Yearly Progress, episode 6. In my sixth episode, hear from a friend of mine, Amity Gann, who used to work with me at Eckstein Middle School as a science teacher and has since moved to Philadelphia. She is a teacher who is thoughtful, intelligent, nerdy (in the best of ways), and a true science educator. Listen to Amity in this conversation talk about the challenges of being seen as an expert by parents, her delight in being able to share nerd culture with students, and how she loves it when a student finally gets a concept.

Download Adequate Yearly Progress Episode 6 Amity Gann

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