May 11

6 Easy Ways to Go Green at School

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

International Walk to School Day (and Bike to School Day) promotes a healthy lifestyle and encourages students and parents to think about the effects that cars have on the environment.
Your Turn! – Sound off in the Comments:
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?

BNewingham040711_iStock32161690_GoGreen_s5. 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

Resources:

Check out our MHMS Green Team Scoopit PAGE!

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March 7

Women’s History Month at MHMS

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)

Non Fiction

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

 

Reference:

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

 

Fiction:

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

 

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February 22

Speed Dating with Books

Hello Book Lovahs!

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!
I first blogged about this with you back in 2013, added a genre twist last year, and now I’ve added a video and a few new tweaks!

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!

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February 6

We Need YOU!

Big thanks to our current volunteers, Mrs. Smith-Bacon and Mrs. Bailey (with student Library Media helper daughter Abby!) for their help this year and being so generous and amazing!

We’d love to have you join us in all the fun!  Look at these cute faces!

Contact Ms. Jones Gwyneth_Jones @at hcpss.org if you’re interested and for more information!

WE Really Appreciate ALL of our Family Volunteer!

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May 23

Summer Reading List!

The Summer Reading List is Here!

View the HCPSS Middle School Summer Reading List

or download the PDF!

middle-school-reading-list-2016

View ALL the Reading Lists on our HCPSS Media Homepage!

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 local library the Savage Branch & Hi Tech STEM Education Center this summer and FLIP over summer reading or flip over some amazing tech learning opportunities!

 

Kai & #mustache bookmark #Shelfie from @hcpss_mhms #celebratehcpss

A photo posted by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on


Bonus!

For a FREE ARC Book when we come back in August:

Take a Shelfie (selfie holding a book) and Instagram it tagging me @thedaringlibrarian

After School Ends, Look for the

Summer Reading List Display

in the Front Office!

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!

November 2

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!

 

August 24

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!

April 28

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!

 

June 12

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!