August 23

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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April 18

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!

March 7

The Way of the Lego

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: 
Share 
 Be willing to create and build with another student. 
Be neat 
Put ALL STRAY LEGO Pieces away 
before you leave- That’s nice! 
Celebrity Status
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. 
Have Fun! 
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!

December 14

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