Newbies: A Week with Rick

A MiddleWeb Classic

Background: In the early days of “social media,” MiddleWeb supported a middle grades discussion group that grew to almost 700 members. The group conversed entirely via email through something called a list server (for you youngsters).

It worked like this: you sent an email to the list server email address and the server/computer sent that email to everybody on the participant list. If you replied, the computer sent your reply to everybody on the list. Sometimes it made for a LOT of email, so participants could choose to get a daily digest instead — everything packed into a single, if somewhat lengthy, email packet.

It was quaint but effective, and folks who didn’t mind long reads and busy inboxes loved it. Admittedly, that wasn’t everybody. Here’s one product of our MiddleWeb Listserv.

Day One and Beyond: A Week with Rick Wormeli

In 2003, in the last weeks before school began for another year, we staged a five-day listserv chat with our friend Rick Wormeli, who has generously contributed his time to MiddleWeb for many years. We discussed his then newly published book Day One and Beyond: Practical Matters for New Middle-Level Teachers (still in print and relevant today). The rich conversation included both new and veteran teachers.

Rick has gone on to become a leading proponent of whole-child learning and a popular teaching consultant across in the USA. He says that Day One is still a favorite among his growing list of practice-oriented books. It’s full of practical tips that new teachers rightfully see as “lifelines.”

This lightly edited transcript is based on five daily Digests from our listserv book chat, covering many matters great (homework, grading, pencil sharpening) and small (are there any, really?!). As you will see, in addition to great comments and advice from Rick, many veteran teachers in our MiddleWeb community pitched in with tips from their large store of classroom experience. We’ve also added quite a few “modern” links to related resources (including the portions of Rick’s book available in Google Books!)

Click here to download our Five Day Chat with Rick Wormeli


MiddleWeb is all about the middle grades, with great 4-8 resources, book reviews, and guest posts by educators who support the success of young adolescents. And be sure to subscribe to MiddleWeb SmartBrief for the latest middle grades news & commentary from around the USA.

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