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! 

 

Happy NEW School Year!

Welcome Back Kiddos, Parents, & Families!

 




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!

That’s a lot of people and we love it!

Please follow us on Instagram!

I will try and share all the amazing things that happen every day here at MHMS – the cool kiddos, the fun times, the Science, the ELA, the Social Studies, MHTV, ART, Drama, well – as much as I can ! 

Like the fun we have during recess in the Library Media Center! Here are some of my fun kiddos!

The MHMS Daring School Library Media Center #Makerspace & Recess Fun! #coloring #legos #shelfie #reading

A post shared by @GwynethJones (@thedaringlibrarian) on

We also LOVE Instagram Shelfies!

Cammy & Precious giving me a great #SHelfie

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!

Princess A showing off her princess picture! I love it when kids get me there and drawings!

A post shared by @GwynethJones (@thedaringlibrarian) on

3 #makerspace builders in our @hcpss_mhms school library! #cool ! #loud

A post shared by @GwynethJones (@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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Summer Reading on the Hill

The Summer Reading List is Here!

View & Download the  Middle School Summer Reading List

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!))

Recommended Summer Reading Lists

Middle School – #1 Most Awesome Teens

Kindergarten – Grade 1 – Baby Squirts

Grade 2 – 3 –  Little Kiddos

Grade 4 – 5 – Minions

High School – Cool Kids

Great Books for Grown-Ups!

Black Eyed Susan Nominees

I Mustache You To Consider This Challenge!

I #mustache you to enjoy these #shelfie pics! @hcpss_mhms #CelebrateHCPSS

A post shared by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on


Bonus!

For a FREE Paperback Book of your Choosing when we come back in August:

This summer, take a Shelfie (selfie holding a book) or share a picture of you reading and Instagram it tagging me @thedaringlibrarian or @GwynethJones on Twitter

After School Ends, Look for the

Summer Reading List Display

in the Front Office!

8th Grade Slide Show!

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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!

 

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!

Star Wars and the Hour of Code

Murray Hill Middle School has been supporting coding, creating, & robotics for years – so when the National Hour of Code week was announced we were stoked to support and join in! This year’s theme tapped into pop culture and the latest Star Wars frenzy and as long time fans of the franchise were were saying “Yes, Please!”

I had an offer to buy an early release of the Sphero BB8 – so I nabbed one for our school (don’t worry parents, I used my own money! lol) Kiddos LOVE BB8 – check out our Vine Videos showing kids in action learning how to program and run BB8!

Hour of Code week may be over but it’s never to late to explore how cool it is to learn computer code and have fun with it. The links to games and coding challenges are below!

Corralling BB8 in Mr. Dunbar’s room with our Robotics Team!

Hour of Code Themes

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Star Wars: Building a Galaxy with Code

MineCraft_Hour_Code.png

Explore a Minecraft world through Code

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Angry Birds – Games 1-11 (2014)

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Plants Vs. Zombies Games 12-20 (2014)

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

Edgar Allan Poe Museum
& Haunted SMART House!

Welcome to the 2015 Edgar Allan Poe Museum

& Haunted SMART House!
WARNING! This post will probably take a while to load because there are all kinds of cool embedded Vines, Instagrams, & Tweets! This post also might be a bit scary for our younger readers – read further at your own risk! To hear a Vine video remember to click on the microphone in the top left of the embed.

Last year I blogged about how the 7th grade team rocked this amazing interactive museum, display of student artwork & projects, and haunted house experience! This year it was even better! Partly because Amazon was watching & Amazon cares about kiddos!


Out of the blue I got a direct message or DM on Twitter saying that they had seen my blog post There’s an Echo in our Library with our Vine videos about our Library Amazon Echo & wanted to invite us to participate in as special Haunted House Campaign. Since we were planning to do the Poe Museum again anyway we jumped on board & were so grateful that they gave us some smart home products & decorations to add to our experience in exchange for this post, some Tweets, Vines, & Instagrams (which we woulda done anyway!) We embrace total Tech transparency here at MHMS, so it was a total Win/Win! W00t!

  @hcpss_mhms 7thGr #EdgarAllanPoe Haunted Smart House partially sponsored by @AmazonEcho #echoholidays   A video posted by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on

Experience the FUN and the TERROR!


 

@hcpss_mhms 7thGr kiddos #EdgarAllanPoe Haunted Smart House partially sponsored by @AmazonEcho #echoholidays A photo posted by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on

 

  @hcpss_mhms 7thGr #EdgarAllanPoe Haunted Smart House partially sponsored by @AmazonEcho #echoholidays   A photo posted by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on

If you have an Amazon Echo, you can connect all your SMART devices to it to help run your Haunted house! Here’s an example of some commands you can give it – provided by Amazon:

Make Halloween Parties More Fun with the Amazon Echo

Echo can play Halloween Music. Examples of how to ask for music:

Alexa, play Haunted House Sounds Playlist on Prime Music

Alexa, play Kids Halloween playlist on Prime Music

Alexa, play Halloween Party Soundtrack on Prime Music

Echo can tell Halloween jokes and answer questions:

Alexa, tell me a Halloween Joke

Alexa, what is a Jack-O-Lantern?

 

 

A super big thanks to all the 7th grade team, Ms. Galloway-Smith, Ms. Sheppard, & the Amazon Echo for helping to make this a truly hair-raising, interactive, and SMART experience!

Look! Even HCPSS SLA liked what we did!

 

Banned Book Week 2015

Celebrating the Freedom to Read!

MHMS Celebrates National Banned Book Week with a display highlighting some of the books that have been banned throughout the years in American school and public libraries.

From the American Library Association:

Banned Books Week is the national book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. The 2015 celebration will be held September 27-October 3.

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association.”

To celebrate banned book week here at MHMS we created a book display covering up some of the most banned books with strategic tear outs. We also created a couple QR Code resources for kiddos to learn more about Banned Books!


We here at the MHMS Daring School Library believe in the freedom to read without censorship!

Middle school is a WONDERFUL but quirky time for kids with wide ranges of maturity and reading levels. (and that’s why I teach middle school – because, LOVE IT!) But, I must admit, there are a few books that we have that I consider maybe to be more 7th or 8th grade in subject matter than right 6th graders. That’s when I sometimes exercise my judgement as a certified school librarian to say to a 6th grader – this may be too mature for you, wait till next year. But I wouldn’t EVER want to take that book off the shelf and not let a kid “grow into it” nor do I approve of forcing a kid to read a book. It’s all about the Freedom of Choice! Read more about Banned Book Week!

[she now tries to get the 1980’s Devo song out of her head]

Download the FREE QR Code PDF Signs:

Banned_Books_WARNING PDF

QR Code links to the ALA Top 100 Banned Book from 2000-2009

7_Reasons_Banned_Books PDF

QR Code links to the Huffington Post article 7 Reasons Your Favorite Books Were Banned

How to Make a QR Code in 3 Easy Steps!

MHMS isn’t the only school library to celebrate #BannedBookWeek! Check out these Timehop pics from her friend Ms. Sherry Gick, a Teacher Librarian & Tech Specialist at Rossville Consolidated Schools in Indiana!

Also check out the cool display from Maine! Mr. jonathan r. werner

Welcome Back to School!

Welcome Back Kiddos, Parents, & Families!

I’m so happy to come back to Murray Hill for my 19th year! 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 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! Due to HCPSS budget cuts Ms. Bell, our amazing Media Assistant, will not be working with us full time. We’re grateful for any time we’re given to support our awesome Library and Literacy program here at MHMS. A big thanks to Mr. Wasilewski for valuing our program and letting Ms. Bell work with our kiddos in the mornings and during 6th period.

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

Speaking of making and working I’m excited to set up our The Makerspace Station at MHMS in our Daring School Library Media Center for the second year! We’re going to be adding more stations, robotics, technology and opportunities to create, make, craft, design, code, and construct in our school!

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

For the latest school resources, check our our Back to School Night Wikipage!

This page will also feature our new HCPSS Parent Portal – HCPSS Connect

And don’t forget our Tech Help at Home Wikipage this is a helpful site for all those pesky techy troubles & queries!
Research_Databases3.jpg

Our Research Databases Wikpage helps with homework & school projects!