Happy 20th Anniversary Murray Hill! For real this time!
That means, the 8th grade kiddos I taught when we opened Murray Hill back in 1997 would now be in their 30’s! Whaaaat? That’s Crazy! But seriously, I am SO honored to have been a part of this community since the beginning. I never thought I was one of those teachers who would stay in the same school for like, forever!
But here I am, still happy, loving our quirky middle school kiddos and the vibrant and rich diversity of our amazing neighborhood! I also like that I live near our community and only have to drive 7 minutes to get here!
This year is going to be fantastic and challenging! Ms. Bell, our amazing Media Assistant is BACK full time! Thanks to our new interim Superintendent, Michael J. Martirano for bringing back our much needed (and loved!) library paraeducators. WE really appreciate having our Library & Literacy program fully staffed – because we serve about 800 people! 730+ kiddos & 80+ teachers and staff!
A post shared by @GwynethJones (@thedaringlibrarian) on
And #Makerspace Fun!
Speaking of making and working I’m excited to set up again our ever evolving Makerspace Station at MHMS in our Daring School Library Media Center for the fourth year! We’re going to be adding more stations, robotics, technology and opportunities to create, make, craft, design, code, and construct in our school!
Thanks to our our A+ partner Librarians at the Howard County Library and two of our local HCPSS Middle School Teacher-Librarians we have created this Super Fun Reading List for all the kiddos in our district! (or the world!)
Visit our Howard County local Savage Branch Library & Hi Tech STEM Education Center this summer and FLIP over summer reading or flip over some amazing tech learning opportunities! ((Pssst!
The 8th Grade Slide Show is at the bottom of this post!))
For twenty years here at MHMS, we’ve tried to be GREEN as possible. We started a recycling program the first year we opened (1997), spray painted Chesapeake Bay Run-Off outside on parking lot drains. In 2000 we partnered with the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory to conduct a ground-truthing survey of permeable and impermeable surfaces with GPS.
But now, we’re going to make it official!
This year, we’re working on getting GREEN School Certification. We’re working with the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) to fulfill several objectives. The team I’m working with is student-driven sustainability practices. “MAEOE encourages, engages, and empowers the community to understand, responsibly use and promote the natural world.”
Here are 6 Easy Ways to Go GREEN at Your School!
1. Start a Student-Run Recycling Club
Have Science classes do a “trash inventory“ where kids go get a sample waste basket from different classrooms and different grades and, wearing plastic gloves, divide it between trash and recyclable materials. What’s being thrown away already that could be recycled? Murray Hill has started a Recycling Program – but we can always do better!
Your Turn! – Sound off in the Comments:
What are 3 ways we could recycle MORE in our school?
2. Participate in International Walk (or Bike!) to School Day
Have you ever ridden your bike to school? OR What’s the longest you’ve ever ridden your bike?
From 2011: Example of a paper maché Alebrije. The Alebrije was created by Pedro Linares Lopez in the 1930’s. Pedro was a cartonero (papier maché crafter) from La Merced a neighborhood in Mexico City.
3. Recycle Newspapers & Magazines to Create Fabulous Art Projects
Another way to support your school’s “going green” effort is to get your ART teacher involved. The art teachers here at MMHS have had a long history of cool student projects using entirely recycled, newspapers, paper, books and materials.
Your Turn! – Sound off in the Comments:
What are 3 cool school ART projects you can think of using recyclable materials?
4. Adopt an Endangered Animal
Take a look at the WWF Adoption program and raise money in the school to help save an endangered animal. For only $55 you can get an adoption kit that includes a plushy, a species card, adoption certificate, photo, and gift bag. Each grade or classroom can strive to adopt a different animal. You can display your animals in the classroom or in the Library Media Center!
Your Turn! – Sound off in the Comments:
What are endangered animals that you would like to adopt in your school?
5. Go Paperless
Consider reducing the amount of paper you use in the school by going paperless!
We’ve been distributing our Murray Messages online via, text, Twitter, email, and our website for at least five years now.
We’ve also been using Google Apps for Education since 2012 and kids can create documents, work on at school or at home, and share with their teacher since 2012.
Your Turn! – Sound off in the Comments:
What are ways you could go paperless in your school? Do you like Google Apps or GAfE?
Flickr Creative Commons Photo by Dana & Ron
6. Create a Birdhouse Habitat Around Your School & Playground
Why not get together either Scouts or an after school group and create a birdhouse habitat around your school or playground.?
Birdhouses “provide nesting space in the birds’ increasingly threatened habitat. An increased bird population is not only pleasant for the eyes and ears, but is also important to our ecosystem. Birds scavenge wastes, pollinate plants, and search for food in the garden. They help our garden habitat by eating greenflies, caterpillars, and snails: a huge benefit for the organic gardener.” Plus, they’re pretty and could be an ongoing SCI-venture for kiddos to monitor.
Your Turn! – Sound off in the Comments:
Would you be interested in having a birdhouse colony at MHMS? Have you ever made a birhouse? Would you be interested in decorating or painting a birdhouse? What ways to go green did we miss? What else would be good to start at MHMS to help the environment?
Photo by Mrs. Simpson – Artwork by Karla – 7th grade
We celebrated Women’s History Month at MHMS by creating a book display and daily feature news stories on MHTV about famous and significant women in history! Here are the scripts we wrote for this, feel free to use with attribution and a link back.
Here’s our Google Doc: You may copy this, but please make sure to give proper attribution. Thank you!
Women’s History Month Book Display – Pull List
(not perfect by any means, much like me! LOL)
Women’s suffrage : a primary source history of the women’s rights movement in America – 305.42 ADA
Failure is impossible! : the history of American women’s rights (2000) by Kendall, Martha E. Series: Nonfiction – 305.42 KEN
The good, the bad, and the Barbie : a doll’s history and her impact on us – 688.7 STO
Take it to the hoop : 100 years of women’s basketball (2003) 796.323 STE
Winning ways : a photohistory of American women in sports (1996) by Macy, Sue. 2 Available Add to List Shelf Location: Call Number Nonfiction – 796 MAC
Outrageous women of the Middle Ages (1998) by Leon, Vicki – 920 LEO
I am Malala : (2014) 921 YOU
Gold rush women (1997) by Murphy, Claire Rudolf. Lexile Measure: – 971.9 MUR
Black women of the Old West (1995) by Katz, William Loren. – 978 KAT
Encyclopedia of women’s history in America. (1996) by Cullen-DuPont, Kathryn Reference Collection – REF 305.4 CUL
Women of achievement in Maryland history (2002) by Stegman, Carolyn B Reference Collection – REF 920 STE
Audacity (2015) by Crowder, Melanie. – F CRO
Mare’s war by Davis, Tanita S. – F DAV
The clockwork scarab : a Stoker & Holmes novel (2013) F GLE
I want to share with you a favorite book selection activity that I did with the kiddos here at MHMS dig around Valentines Day, it’s super silly and fun, creates a lot of excitement, and makes the books fly out of the library!
With my middle school kids this activity is guaranteed to make them grin, giggle, and cringe a little. Give yourself permission to really ham it up. Because prepare yourselves, book lovahs, this is super cheezy!
Sort of like musical chairs, but with books! Encourage kids to try a new genre or type of book. Make suggestions! Let the cooperating ELA to Reading teacher wander around making suggestions or pointing out a “good lookin possibility!”
After a couple turns I’ll call out that the first 6 kiddos checking out books will get a scratch and sniff bookmark and then they can go, put up their feet, read their new book and hang out in our READING LOVE LOUNGE. (“VIP: Space is limited – hurry kids!”)
If you’re an English, Reading, or School Librarian who would like to do this activity, click on over to TheDaringLibrarian blog for all the resources!
As Sophia (the delightfully cheerful girl above) reported on MHTV News we must share something distasteful with you.
Why? Because I recently awoke feeling a dreadful malaise and a lingering doleful fear about something I just uncovered. When I say “uncover” imagine turning over a mossy rock expecting cute wriggly earth worms and rolly polly pill bugs only to find a suspect piece of butterscotch candy wrapped in a soggy cellophane wrapper…well, read below for our news story.
Oh, and don’t be angry with me OR with the smiley Sophia…we HAD to give this news to give you pause!
Here’s the Script:
We here at #MHTVNews usually like to share uplifting and heartwarming stories about young people who joyfully create amazing things and are rewarded for their Scientific, Literary, Artistic, and or Academic Achievements.
Today not so much.
We’re here to give a warning that there is a pernicious, which means here deadly, and terrifying new series now available for streaming onthis thing called The Netflix.
The Series of Unfortunate Events
by Lemony Snicket.
(And as a wry aside, may I add that this is surely a silly name for a terribly sinister author! I met him once in 2004, at the Howard County Public Library – He signed a book for me and though I was introduced to him by one of my favourite students as the Evil Daring Librarian Ms. Jones – he said I was only Allegedly Evil! As if! [snit] /a)
Please don’t watch this next video if you are sensitive by nature.
You can look away now.
Of course, we have all the books in this horrid series in the Murray Hill Daring School Library Media Center, we consider that fair warning so that you may read them, if you are so inclined, to be properly prepared. They are terrible books of horrible events and only appreciated by those who are slightly tetched in the heid (Scottish variety) or bloodthirsty.
Again, you’ve been warned.
Oh and Count Olaf? We’re keeping a weather eye on you, you can be sure of that! No more sneaking around and hiding in my Library Office.
I was touched by this timeless Huffington Post article from Mr. James Perry, once mayoral candidate and the the Executive Director of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center:
“Among the most important lessons I’ve learned from Dr. King is the example of servant leadership. A servant leader is one who offers an inclusive vision; listens carefully to others; persuades through reason; and heals divisions while building community.
It is easy to spot servant leaders. In a room where others are jockeying for attention, they are the ones listening to someone others might consider unimportant. When faced with a problem, they look for solutions that benefit everyone. When something goes wrong, they take the blame. When things go well, they share the credit. They tell everyone the same story, even when it is inconvenient or difficult. They know that they don’t have all the answers, so they seek advice from others. They work hard and inspire others to do the same.
Martin Luther King, Jr. is an example of a servant leader. His life shows the extraordinary power of servant leadership to radically transform a nation.
Our communities and our country need servant leadership more than ever. Deepening economic woes threaten the American dream for far too many working people. Racial divisions are embarrassingly persistent in too many aspects of our economic and social lives. Political despair is battering the uniquely American optimism that has made us a great nation.
There are precious few servant leaders in our current political environment. Many elected officials are more interested in personal power, individual legacy, and financial gain than in the sacrifice and commitment that servant leadership requires.”
As educators, we have the honor to teach the next generation of servant leaders. It is our job, duty, and privilege to instill in them the passion to effect change and the empathy to think outside themselves. To inspire them to think not of the “me” but of the”we.”
I passionately believe that we also must be a model for these values and these practices for our students. So that the kids can see that we, as teachers, administrators, and all staff, follow these values and give of ourselves for the betterment of others and the world.
To take responsibility for our own actions and mistakes. We’re human. We stumble, we fail, we make mistakes and we fall on our face. Show the kids that we pick ourselves up, acknowledge our fails, apologize, and move on. How can we ask them to be accountable and take responsibility if we don’t do that, too? I knew a teacher once (now, thankfully retired) who said he would NEVER apologize to a kid or a class even if he was wrong because he would lose “power.” I heartily disagree! I think we are seen as more powerful when we say, “Wow, I was wrong about that, I’m so sorry!” Or try the classic “You were right and was wrong” [you can also add a pretend heart attack] to a kid or a class. But do we always remember or take that high road. Nope.
It’s OK To Make Mistakes! I do it all the time!
Case in point. This morning, I was a blockhead and messed up part of our daily #MHTVNews program by forgetting to queue up and show an inspiring video (embedded above) that our Principal Mr. Wilson shared with us last Sunday for today’s Friday show. After the show, when he asked me about why it wasn’t shown, I drew a blank for a few seconds then I totally threw Mr. Dunbar under the bus (’cause it was his show today & he forgot, too!) I was mortified! Is it just old age? GAH! How did I, or we, forget that!? (See? how humans try to make excuses and push the blame around?)
But Mr. Wilson, was SO kind and understanding, and said we could show it on Tuesday. Whew! Sorry Mr. Wilson! Sorry Mr. Dunbar! It’s on me! It was my fault! See? Even when we know it’s the right thing to do, or forget, taking responsibility for a gaffe is difficult. Especially with a boss (or a parent!) It’s a lifelong struggle to be a good person and do the right thing! But it’s SO worth it! Let’s share that with our kiddos and admit our occasional (or, in my case, daily) foibles and move on, lesson learned. Again.
Model Charity and Good Works
Our students should also see us as being charitable with our community, helping others, giving of time, effort, or funds to support those that need it. Not in a flashy or “look at me” kind of way, but just to help get things done because it’s the right and good thing to do.
Over the years I’ve seen our students rally to raise funds for the Hurricane Katrina victims, Haiti relief, and yearly for crisis intervention in our community by supporting Grassroots of Howard County. I am SO proud of our kiddos, we’ve done well…but we can always do better!
This is why I posted the words from page 333 of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secret on our library wall:
“It is our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities”
~ Albus Dumbledore
Let’s be inspired by the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr not just on his birthday – but every day – throughout the year!
More inspiring words on responsibility:
“Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will – his personal responsibility.” ~ Albert Einstein
“It is a painful thing to look at your own trouble and know that you yourself and no one else has made it.” ~ Sophocles
“A sign of wisdom and maturity is when you come to terms with the realization that your decisions cause your rewards and consequences. You are responsible for your life, and your ultimate success depends on the choices you make.” ~ Denis Waitley
Objective: Capitalizing on the engagement of the PokemonGo App game, students will use digital devices and QR Codes to explore the Library Media Center and discover important sections, features, and resources and reveal hidden and very RARE (& beloved) Pokémon. Kids got a real big kick out of it!
After Media Orientation, kiddos used their BYOD devices to search out the clues and find these rascally Pokemon by scanning QR Codes!
Searching for the QR Codes that revealed the hiding Pokemon, they also learned about all the important areas of our School Library Media Center!
If you’re a Teacher Librarian or a Classroom Teacher and would like to learn more about this activity, along with lesson plan and printables, visit The Daring Librarian blog!