Got Charge?

 

Spend $130 Bucks and Literally Give Kids the Power!

 

We’ve discovered that the mix of the digital divide, possible turbulent home lives, and general teenage forgetfulness can result in a loss of power. So, for vaious reasons it seems that some of my students who DO have devices (yes, there are still a lot who do NOT) show up to school with a low or no charge.  Yes, they sometimes admit that they fall asleep with their phone next to them and not plugged in. Shocker.

A device that they LOVE to use for social connections and fun in the hallways and during free time. Oh yeah, and sometimes in class for learning, too! Without that device they feel a serious gap in their daily lives.

We Fill That Gap!

We want the kids to feel like the Library Media Center – Learning Commons and Makerspace Station – is a safe place to land and the place to go when they need things. Like finishing and priting out homework, relaxing and making something at our Makerspace Station, practicing mindfulness with our Coloring Zen area, or borrowing a charger to power up their devices. This is our third try with this concept, the first two were failures – if you interested you can read about this journey going back four years on my professional blog. So far, this is going GREAT! 

Backstory: A few years ago, I was inspired by the charging lockers I saw during a visit to the Hillwood High School Library in Nashville with the ISTE Board of Directors and I wanted to support our BYOD pilot program and our kiddos by giving them a place to recharge their devices in school.

 
And of course that place was going to be our school Library Media Center — shameless how we will do just about ANYthing to get kiddos to visit our Library!
 
Because I think we’ve now hit on a really easy, relatively low cost, & popular way to give my kids the power they crave and need. 
 
 Approximate cost for 8 chargers & 10 cords = $130 bucks
Piece of mind not worrying that kiddos will have their devices stolen or locked out on your watch? 
Priceless!
Procedure:
Kids (and staff) can request a charging device, first come, first serve anytime before 2pm. I also bought 2 flat chargers for staff to borrow. Kids come first. Always. 
We keep the chargers tucked away on a shelf behind the Circulation Desk.
Kids must first show that their phone has less than 30% charge to get one. (We found at first some kids just wanted it for the cool factor – which was cool, but not cool for the kids who really NEEDED them!)  
We don’t lend them out for the charging of fancy headphones – these are for devices that could possibly be used in the classroom.
Kids can borrow the charger alone or with a multi-device cord. They must initial to agree to pay for the loss or damage of the device & cord (Yeah, we know this isn’t really enforceable) 
We ask that kids agree not to let the device out of their sight – if they’re asked to share it – we trust them to keep track of it.
We also ask that kids bring back the device at the end of the day. Do they always remember? Nope! That’s why we collect their last period class teacher (I, or my amazing Media assistant Kathi Bell, calls classrooms at the end of the day to get them back – or we track them down the first period of the next day.
Yeah, We’re Popular! 
Some days we’re cleaned out of chargers within the first 5 minutes of school. I’m making a sign for our front door that says “Yes, We Have Awesome Chargers to Borrow!”  or “Sorry, All Chargers Have Been Borrowed” with Bitmoji cartoons. 
This is a complimentary service. We also reserve the right to not lend out a charger on an early dismissal day, after 1:30pm,  or to a kiddo who has proven to be unreliable with the charger in the past. But that hasn’t happened yet. Frankly, I doubt it ever will.  Don’t tell my students, for all my fierceness [snaps Z formation] I’m kind of a soft touch. But I gotta keep that leverage because we want to keep these chargers nice for everyone. So far though, the kids have been super fantastic and very enthusiastic about this new FREE perk we’re providing to them! 

GOAL #1 MHMS provides  a safe and nurturing school environment that respects our diversity and commonality.

Why do we do this?

You never know what kinds of things kids are struggling with at home. What if a kid doesn’t have a computer at home and just a mobile device and needs to do homework? This is important! We can help fill the gaps that the world & circumstance gives to these kiddos.

My kids tell me you can get these chargers at Five Below. I haven’t tried them yet. If we lose a lot over the year, I might give them a whirl. The multi device cords are CHEAP! Meaning, inexpensive to pick up (via Amazon) but they can sometimes stop working and can break. So far, so good, though and this has been a LOT less of a headache than those fancy expensive charging lockers.  
 
This great idea was inspired by the amazing Teacher Librarian at Wilde Lake Middle School – Sarah Russo!
I should have started with that! [smacks forehead] but I wanted to give how we run this first.
 
Are you a Teacher Librarian, or educator and want to hear what problems we encountered with our previous attempts at charging stations and charging lockers?
If so,
So, if you’re a school – here’s my suggestion: Save 90% of your money and try the cheapo errr inexpensive portable chargers first.  
Because, NO ONE wants to be responsible for a kids only device but it’s AWESOME to be responsible to give POWER to a kid and their beloved device!
Your turn! 
What am I missing here? Any other suggestions? Successes? Do you like that we help out the kiddos? What other things could we add to our School Library to make it a more appealing place (Other than a Keurig -that would be boss!)  Please hit me up in the comments and share your thoughts! Thank you for reading!

Our ever evolving BYOD Policy.

Buying information. If you want to get one of these for yourself or for your kiddo, check Amazon! So far, they’ve been great & I did have 2 die on my (after being used by kids…a LOT) but the company is sending me 2 replacements! I couldn’t ask for better customer service than that!
 Again, if you’re in education and would like more information:
Check out my professional blog.  Thank you for reading! 

 

FREE eBooks for Winter Break Reading!

This is a really nice FREE offer from our friend Katie

at Capstone!

When I first heard this, I thought it was too good to be true! I thanked her vaguely on Twitter then I thought – could I possibly share it with everyone?  So, I called her to double check that I could share it with you, the world, and his wife – and she said YES!

Students (and your kids!) can choose FREE eBooks from a library of over 3,200 to download & read over the break****

From Mythology, Scary Stories, Fiction, to Graphic Novels – there’s more than enough interesting titles to choose. You can even access interactive books to read to your little siblings or to your pets! (They always deserve it!)

Middle school kiddos can filter by grade level.

Below there’s even a letter to for parents (in English & Spanish) or students AND Bonus: a printable bookmark with login & password.

*****(Download FAST offer ends Jan 15th)

Visit our Library Media Center to load up on books for the Winter Break! Take home as many as you want! (as long as you don’t have any overdue books, cause – you know – I ain’t THAT crazy!) We have many readers in our school (you know who you are!) who can read a book a day — ok, sometimes even more! We want to make sure you’ve got great stuff to enjoy!

Don’t forget to visit our lovely local Savage Branch Library, too!

Tis the Reading Season!  

 

Download Interactive Bookmarks

Capstone Interactive eBook Bookmarks- winter break-18ejij3

Letter for parents

CI Home Letter-1lbxo5j

Letter for parents in Spanish!

CI Home Letter Spanish-1dvr000

Why not Tweet a Thank you to Katie & Capstone for this generous gift to all our reading families!? That would be Awesome! Please say you heard it from @GwynethJones the Daring Librarian! Maybe if we show our gratitude enough, we’ll get even more FREE trials! W00t! Who doesn’t like FREE?

Fall STEM Opportunities at HiTech

Here are the splendid FALL FREE Offerings at our local STE(A)M HiTech Center at the Savage Branch Library!

Here are the related links since the graphics above aren’t clickable!

Registration & More Information

Got Questions? Ask our friendly neighborhood Teen Librarian:

Sarah Cooke
Teens’ Instructor
Howard County Library System — Savage Branch
410-313-0760 main
410-313-0752 office

Hey Kiddos! Try the FREE Escape from Detention Game App!

Read about it!

GET IT!

 

Welcome Back to School!

Welcome Back Kiddos, Parents, & Families!

Happy 20th Anniversary Murray Hill!

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 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 both fantastic and challenging! Ms. Bell, our amazing Media Assistant, is still not with us full time. But, we’re grateful for any time we’re given to support our awesome Library and Literacy program here at MHMS. A big thanks to our wonderful new Principal Mr. Wilson for valuing our program and letting Ms. Bell work with our kiddos in the mornings whenever she can in between her other duties as a paraeducator.

We’re both a “cup half full” kinda people! And our mantra for this  and every year is borrowed from the esteemed fashion educator & Project Runway mentor, Tim Gunn – WE like to  “Make it work!

Please follow us on Instagram and on Vine!

I will try and share all the amazing things that happen every day here at MHMS.

Like the fun we have during recess in the Library Media Center! Here are some of my wacky 8th graders from last year who are now Freshmen in High School!

We also LOVE Instagram Shelfies!

Shrutina & her #Shelfie for #springbreak reading! @hcpss_mhms kids LOVE to read #CelebrateHCPSS

A photo posted by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on

Dom & his #Shelfie a Mike Lupica book! @hcpss_mhms #tlchat #celebratehcpss w/ mustache bookmark!

A photo posted by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on

 

Creations and highlights from our Makerspace Area!

Josiah & his. Awesome #Lego creation at the @hcpss_mhms

A photo posted by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on

and our Coloring Corner!

Nyah G in 8th grade showing off her #ColorMyFro artistry! @hcpss_mhms #STEAM #MAKERED #makerspace #art

A photo posted by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on

Updated Coloring Corner Guidelines- let’s see if my six graders notice! LOL #MAKERED #makerspace

A photo posted by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on

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 third year! We’re going to be adding more stations, robotics, technology and opportunities to create, make, craft, design, code, and construct in our school!

One of the BEST Things Ever? When former students come back to visit!

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Awesome high school peeps come back to visit make every librarian and very happy!

A photo posted by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on

Former @hcpss_mhms student Carlos comes back to visit he’s off to NYU next year! w00t!

A photo posted by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on


Especially when they’re teachers now, themselves!

Happiness is: Having a former student come back as a graduate & a sub in your school! ❤️ @shawada22

A photo posted by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on

But wait! There’s More!

The following are student, parent, and community resources I want to bring to your attention.

hcpss-connect-banner16This page will also feature our new HCPSS Parent Portal – HCPSS Connect

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Don’t forget our Research Databases Wikpage helps with homework & school projects!

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Charging Lockers & BYOD

The MHMS Library Media Center has a cool new feature! BYOD Charging Lockers – so you can securely charge, store, & retrieve your electronic devices!

Still the same small print: Your Device, Your Responsibility.

But it’s super cool – like a hotel room safe you enter a 4 digit code of your choice, lock, and then put in that same code to unlock!

But don’t forget your 4 numbers – I do have a bypass key but this charging community is going to count on your remembering your numbers. ALL lockers will be opened at the end of the day – any leftover cell phones or tablets will be sold on eBay! This is my retirement plan…Muuwaaaa!

Just kidding. Please remember to take your device home with you.

Enjoy!

For more information about these charging lockers check out the Touchboards website or the main LockNCharge website!

The Zen of Coloring

 

There’s a NEW! feature in our Library Media Center Makerspace area!

It’s Coloring!

I have to admit when I first heard about how coloring books for adults and teens are all the rage, I was a bit skeptical. Then I saw the beautiful new coloring books with loopy, fabulous, mesmerizing line drawings and I was sold! I also just like the smell of a new box of Crayons!

I then did some research on the Zen of Coloring and found out that teens find coloring very relaxing, meditative, and stress relieving – perfect for middle school! I also think in this world of multi-tasking, coloring keeps our hands busy and let’s our mind wander free- it’s also related to another hot topic mindfulness.  I know that when I’m in a group setting without technology, say a staff-meeting, a conference, or a lecture, I find myself doodling and making line drawings.

So, I got permission from our principal Mr. Wasileswski and bought a variety of coloring books, a huge box of Crayons, and a passel of colored pencils. I tried to get a good mix of coloring books – for boys, girls, grownups, and also appealing to the rich multi-cultural tapestry and different interests that make up our student body.

Star Wars, Minecraft, Dragons, Ocean, Hispanic & Celtic heritage, Indian Mehndi henna designs, Afro and Luv My Curly Hair designs… a cornucopia of creative coloring books! See?

After a few weeks, I did find that we had to have some guidelines for the coloring corner – I don’t like to call them rules! (Teachers & School Librarians: You may want to read the more “How To”  blog post here on my professional blog)

Some of the guidelines are: claiming a page, sharing a page, giving us permission to Instagram or blog about the artwork & most important – not tearing out the pages. Because there are designs on the other side of the page and that would just wasteful and not fair.

Download the High Rez or poster version of this for your class or Makerspace. Click to see all sizes! All Creative Commons, Take, Use, Share!

Coloring Bookmarks!

Want some FREE Coloring Sheets to Download? We’ve got you covered!

From the website:

Download Many Sizes Here:

As seen above – used with permission from Dawn Nicole

Get More! FREE Printable Bookmarks

Winter Bookmarks Coloring Page | by Dawn Nicole Designs

Don’t believe coloring can be good for you?

Here’s some of the cool research I found!

“There are plenty of studies on the effectiveness of art therapy in reducing stress, and coloring seems to offer some similar benefits, as William Brennan wrote in this magazine when he noted the coloring books’ particular popularity in France. And doodling is a way for people to organize their thoughts, and focus. Coloring offers that relief and mindfulness without the paralysis that a blank page can cause.”  – Julie Beck of The Atlantic

Coloring has also been used to “gently ease veterans suffering from PTSD into art therapy. (5)”  One study on college students found that “coloring pre-drawn patterns significantly reduced signs of stress and depression. (6)”  Coloring before bedtime can even help you sleep!” (7)

“One of the first psychologists to apply coloring as a relaxation technique was Carl G. Jüng in the early 20th century” reports the Huffington Post.

2D Mandala Flickr CC Computer by RunnerFrog

“Mandalas are concentric circle drawings that originated in India and mean “sacred circles” in Sanskrit. (10)  Buddhist temples, Muslim mosques, and Christian cathedrals all incorporate mandalas into their architecture.” – By of BeBrainfit

Mandalas and similar circular or spiral designs are thousands of years old. Look around and notice how abundantly the circular pattern of the mandala appears in our environment. You can see this geometric shape in all aspects of life. The sun in the sky, the nucleus of the cells in the body, and the unique design of a snowflake.

Kids are loving the coloring! Boys, girls, and grown-ups!

Now it’s YOUR turn! 

What do you think about coloring for teens and adults? Please share your thoughts in the comments!


Resources:

Zen and Anti stress | Coloring Pages for Adults

Anti-Stress Coloring Books for Adults: The Latest Way to Relax

Mindfulness and the Popularity of Adult Coloring Books

How Colouring Books Are Helping Adults Beat Stress

Summer Reading & Celebrations!


Hot off the Presses!
Get your Summer Reading List!

by scanning the QR Code below

or Click HERE!  You can also visit our Wikispaces Page!

WARNING: This post contains an abundance of exclamations marks. No characters were hurt writing this post, however, the ! key is giving me the side eye!

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Be a Super Hero (cape optional) and Join the Summer Reading Program at your friendly neighborhood Howard County Library, Savage Branch!

SRP-teens-WP
You can read anything!

“You may read books, magazines, graphic novels, newspapers, and web sites. You may also listen to audio books. For ideas and suggestions, check out the links below for a list of books for Middle School and High School students developed by Howard County Library System teen specialists in conjunction with the Howard County Public School System.

To get started, register at the research desk at any Howard County Library System branch. We’ll give you all of the materials you need to get started: a reading log, instructions, and even your first raffle ticket just for signing up.  You may then earn raffle tickets for reading and completing other fun, library related activities”

Grades 6+ REGISTER Online!
You can also pick up a Summer Reading List flier in the MHMS front office!
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As always, if you would like to request a book for purchase
for the MHMS Media Center for next year, fill out this Google form!

Field Day 2015!

8th Grade Slideshow Movie!

8th Grade Slide Show Pictures!

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MHMS Pocket Guide to Cell Phone Use in School

I’ve been teaching long enough to remember when kiddos were NOT allowed to bring a cell phone to school…at all. They were contraband!  Then Columbine and 9/11 happened, and parents wanted and needed to make sure their kiddos were OK.

So Howard County Schools were one of the FIRST school districts in our state to create a policy where kids could keep their cell phones – turned OFF and stored in lockers. These phones would be available in an emergency and could only turned back on as they left the school. That was huge!

Fast forward about 13 years….yes, that policy above lasted thirteen years,  from a cellasaurus to the smart phone.  But then…

an amazing AWESOME thing happened, we evolved! Now, we are one of the only schools in our state to have a new, more liberal, cell phone & communication policy!  About two years ago HCPSS decided to relax our policy and to baby step it towards BYOD. And boy, was I on board with this! Wooo hooo!

Our new policy allows our students to use their cell phones in the mornings, during hallway transitions, and at recess. More details can be found below but we here at MHMS want to come to the kiddos from a standpoint of…


WE TRUST YOU!

We trust you to make good choices. We trust you to follow basic guidelines, good manners, and common sense. We trust you to be an ethical member of our community and to choose civility.

Watch our Zombie Cartoon for Cell Phone Recess Etiquette

Hey Kiddos & Parents! Want more info? Click through these slides!

See our Cell Phone Wikipage for more!

Next, I am hoping, we will allow students to use their Cell Phones as connected tools in their classes (and in the library) for academic reasons! I Can’t wait for that day and my students are ready for it!

I’m so fortunate, that my awesome principal, Mr. Wasilewski, has given me permission to pilot test cell phones used collaboratively in Media center for lessons such as my Media Orientation using the AWESOME Kahoot quiz feature!  With admin permission, we’ve also used mobile devices in the Media Center for digital discoveries & QR Code Scavenger Hunts!

 

Got Poe?

Edgar Allen Poe Lives on at MHMS!

The 7th grade team came together to create a super engaging and interactive Edgar Allen Poe museum last week!



In the words of 7th grade Team Leader, Mrs. Kristin Cullison:

“We created the Poe Museum to showcase our students’ hard work and creativity with their Research Projects about Edgar Allan Poe.  It came to life when Mrs. Smith was listening to Mrs. Cullison explain the project to students and pictured this fun and interactive way to display their projects.  We wanted to create a memorable experience for our students.  We also wanted to help them gain a better understanding of Poe’s life and how it influenced his famous short stories and poems.

Word on the Street:

“Excellent educational experience!”  – Mr. Gibson

“Wonderful collaboration!! Students and staff!!”  – Mrs. Evans

“To all those who participated, YOU ARE AMAZING!!!” – Mrs. Bright

“It was absolutely out-of-this-world, amazing, sensational, stupendous, the greatest! Great job!!!!!!  You all flat out rock!  Thank you so much for making sure we all got to see some of the extra special work you all do!  Hooray for all of you!” -Ms. Adams – School Counselor
Enjoy all the Pictures!

Click for our Smugmug Gallery

Thanks Mrs. Cullison, Mrs. Krieger, Mrs. Smith (aka the Crone), and our own Mr. Tillery as the man himself, Poe!

Vine Video Summer Book Trailers

14297311842_bbf5ea9fc8_o(Warning: This blog post may load slowly because of all the embedded videos. 
To hear the audio, click on the tiny speaker in the top left of each video)
Every year I get excited to share with my kiddos the Summer Reading List and to generate new ways to catch their interest in reading over the break. This year we decided to create video book trailers using the Vine App! 6 second videos that loop with sound. No editing needed just creativity!  See what we did embedded below along with our downloadable Howard County Public School System and Howard County Public Library Middle School Summer Reading List! Summer2014MiddleSchool Reading List PDF  We wanted a fun, easy way to share video book trailers! With so many of our computers being used for testing, and knowing how long editing takes on iMovie, Vine sounded like the perfect solution! With the added benefit of easy stop action filming built into the App means that kids can experiment and be super creative! Everything we create is Creative Commons so feel free to Take, Use, & Share! The Danny and the Dinosaur Treasury: Three Huge Adventures by Syd Hoff

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky NOTE: This is a High School book & available at our local library – get your parent’s permission to read it! Percy Jackson and the Olympians Hardcover Boxed Set (Percy Jackson & the Olympians) by Rick Riordan Riordan is pronounced – RYE-or-Dan  
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two by Joseph Bruchac 
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green NOTE: This is a High School book & available at our local library – get your parent’s permission to read it!

Super thanks to Mrs. Vanderveen’s first period ELA class for their creativity, talent, fun, & daring to try something new!

Want to do this lesson with your students & kiddos? Visit our Video Book Trailer Wikispace Page for more directions, tips, a FREE Downloadable Storyboard, & More!

No Featuring: 8th Grade Slideshow Pics!