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!
Murray Hill kids – If you read any of these books this summer, we would LOVE to hear what you thought in the comments! Follow us on Instagram to see pics of kids being AWESOME every day in our library and throughout the school!
Recommended Summer Reading Lists for the Whole Family!
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!
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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!
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
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.
For more information about these charging lockers check out the Touchboards website or the main LockNCharge website!
I wanted to highlight another aspect of our new Makerspace area – an area for creation and creativity. For making, coloring, and relaxing with investigative play. The LEGO station has been very popular!
When I started up the area, I didn’t have any rules, I just said to the kids “here’s all this cool stuff, some books for inspiration, play with it, figure it out, and have fun!” …..but after a couple months of a wasted materials (ex: uncompleted duct tape raincoats that ended up in a huge sticky ball) and some messy LEGO behavior, I realized we did indeed need a few guidelines.
Here they are:—–
(View all sizes – feel free to print & use – it’s Creative Commons!) Here’s what it says:
As part of our Lego Creation Station Community, we have a few guidelines that you must agree to:
Be willing to create and build with another student.
Put ALL STRAY LEGO Pieces away
before you leave- That’s nice!
You must agree that your creations belong to the Library Media Center and with the understood permission that we may Instagram, Vine, Photograph, Blog, Tweet, & share your creations to the world. They may also be taken apart by another student to make another creation. That’s the way of the LEGO.
If you’re not having fun, being nice, neat, generous, sharing, and cool – we may ask you to leave our Makerspace community. That’s on you.
So be cool – don’t be all uncool! Thank you!
Simple stuff, really! So the kids would feel ownership & a buy into these guidelines, I crowdsourced with the kiddos during recess to make the list, & then added my own twist to it – with a little help from the Countess LuAnn De LesSeps for the all uncool part!
When Can Kiddos Visit the Makerspace?
Kids can come to the Library before home room, during any class with a pass when they finish their work (standardized testing permitting), and during most all recess times – coverage permitting. (I have 7th grade lunch duty so I rely on volunteers during my shift) This is a time for them to check out books, read, recharge their devices, play games, and work with the Makerspace stations! It’s not quiet. And thats….OK!
There is no “makerspace class” per se, it’s a resource kids can come to when they have time. It’s been used as a reward for some of our kids who need a little educational bribery err….incentives! (and LEGOS’s & coloring cause cavities!). Most of our kiddos really respond to it very positively. I even got a kiddo to to finish his MAP test who was ready to give up by saying he could work with the LEGOS afterwards if he did his very best.
Come visit our LEGO Creation Station and Makerspace area the next time you’re in Murray Hill and if you have any old unwanted LEGO pieces laying around, and you feel compelled to donate them, we’d be super grateful!
(To hear audio click the top left corner & unmute the Vine X)
Sign up for a FREE HiTech Symposium for students, parents, and educators
(This blog post generated from an invitation)
Join us for a dynamic HiTech Symposium, featuring STEM industry thought leaders and hands-on classes.
Panel discussions feature representatives from Mindgrub Technologies, Hopkins’ Applied Physics Lab, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), Howard County Public School System, and LifeJourney. Topics include:
STEM: Past, Present, and Future
STEM Resume Building and LifeJourney
Learn how your middle and high school students can participate in this STEM education initiative that teaches cutting-edge science, technology, engineering, and math via project-based classes that include computer programming, 3D animation, nanotechnology, music/video production, e-books, game apps, cybersecurity, green energy, and robotics.
We love connecting with other kiddos in schools in other cities and states. Our sister library is Central Middle School of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and we had a great time the other day chatting with them about books!
Our friend & my librarian mentee Mrs. Tiffany Whitehead was being filmed for a local news segment about Making a Difference and she wanted to show off our long distance cooperative relationship and cool tech with a Google Plus Hangout! And though the segment says Washington, DC we know we’re Laurel and just part of the DC Metro area! Thanks to Mrs. Krieger for jumping on board with this cutting edge conversation! It was lots of fun!
View the actual segment on the WBRZ Baton Rouge, Louisiana site – you can catch a quick glimpse of our class!
Mr. Wasilewski even Tweeted about our class!
We also learned from Stephanie about Wattpad – a fan fiction open forum for writers and readers!
Or as Wikipedia says it’s “a writing community in which users are able to post articles, stories, and poems about anything either online or through the Wattpad app. The content includes work by undiscovered and published writers. Users are able to comment and like stories or join groups associated with the website. Around half of the users are U.S. based; most users also come from the U.K., Canada, the Philippines, Australia, and more.”
The Empty Bowls Project is a service learning opportunity for 8th grade students at MHMS. Students have created hand-made ceramic bowls in Art class and prepared food in FACS class as part of this project. On May 15th, we will hold our Empty Bowls Event that will include a meal, artwork and entertainment. For the price of a ticket, attendees will receive a 3-course meal and get a hand-made bowl to take home as a reminder of the empty bowls in our community.
MHMS students/families must fill out the Empty_Bowls_Ticket_Order_Form completely and return it with money to your student’s homeroom teacher. Community members interested in tickets for the event just need to print the order form, write name(s), quantity of tickets and send or drop off the order form with money at the MHMS office on or before May 8th.
Students interested in volunteering to work at the Empty Bowls Event must complete an application with Mrs. Abrams or Mrs. Ludlow.