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!

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!

 

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!

Books Beyond Borders with Google Plus Hangout

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!


What’s Up with Wattpad?

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.[3]”

Let’s look at the Wattpad stats!

  • 85 percent of its traffic and usage comes from mobile devices
  • 25 million unique visitors per month
  • over 1,000 story uploads per day

For more information about this App read: What’s Up With Wattpad? | David Gaughran

Google Hangout TIPS:

• Practice beforehand!

• Make sure your plugins & browsers are updated & use Chrome!

• Sign in early

• Consider recording via YouTube it to embed or view later

• I added clip-on TV Studio lights nearby to improve the camera shot

• Have kids talking sit close to the laptop for better sound quality

• Practice with your kiddos speaking slowly & loudly – consider recording with a flip camera & previewing their performance

Summer Reading: WEIRD!

It’s almost summer reading time again!    And for this year, we’ve got a fun idea for you to show off your summer travels & reading destinations! Or just wacky & creative reading position! Think of it as —READING XTREME! Our “Weirdest Reading Destination” contest & challenge invites you to take a picture of you reading in an strange, odd, fun, exotic, silly, preposterous, or even WEIRD place or position!

Are you reading on the sand “Downy Ochen, hon?”(for non-Baltimoreans that’s on our Chesapeake Bay Eastern Shore of Ocean City MD, & Fenwick, Bethany, Dewey, & or Reohoboth beach DE!) Are you reading in a camping tent? On the top of the Empire State building or Eiffel Tower? Are you reading on a trampoline? While skateboarding? (watch out!)  Are you reading on a bench outside MHMS with the yellow Angry Bird plushy friend? Oh no, that’s Alex!  Or are you reading upside down while eating an apple?! Oops! Nope, that’s Maya!  YAY! You don’t need to travel far to be creative because you can read ANYWhere!

Send your picture to Ms. Jones’s summer email at gwynethanne@gmail (dot) com giving your name, grade, location, & book title! Coolest pics will win an iTunes gift card, be featured on THIS BLOG,  & a get bundle full of  Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) paperback books! (Only valid for registered MHMS students incoming 6th, and rising 7th & 8th graders)

Summer Reading Lists Are Below!

You can download our summer reading list PDF’s from our MHMS Learning Wiki! Or Click on the PDF’s below

2012 Summer Reading Lists

Summer Reading for Middle School Peeps
 Final MS 2012 Summer Reading.pdf

Summer Reading List for Short Fries (Grades 4-5)
 Final 4-5 2012 Summer Reading.PDF

Summer Reading List for Parents & Teachers
 Final Adult 2012 Summer Reading.PDF

Download FREE Bookmarks!

external image 7295363290_73b5d57d6d.jpg

 Summer_Reading_Bookmarks12.doc

Visit our A+Partners & Good Friends at the Howard County Library for their Summer Reading Game!

June Jamboree Pics!

Credits:

So, I got the idea of the title of this blog from the movie: Ghostbusters II– a Classic!
Peter Venkman: “Next week on “World of the Psychic”. Hairless cats… weird”.

“Weirdest Reading Destination”  idea inspired (and totally pilfrered!) from the London Public Library! Who kindly put the picture at left on Flickr Creative Commons!

Thank you!

Follow them on Twitter @londonlibrary!!!!

A Shout Out to Our Library Peeps!*

We here at the MHMS Daring School Library have the most AWEsome media helpers!  They apply for the job, interview with Mrs. Black, and are assigned a day where they come in during Seminar to check in books, shelve, and help students find books & audio that appeals to them!  Without them, we would have a hard time meeting all the needs of our customers….our kids! (and teachers, too!)  Click the photos below for larger sizes to view or download!

A super thanks to the awesome kids at MHMS for being wonderfully generous, talented, smart, & fun people to work with!!!!

Visit the MHMS Daring School Media Helper Wikipage, too!

Here’s a flashback!

Our media helpers from 2003! Serious pic ….then NOT so serious!

I bet some of these kids are prolly graduated from college now!!!

*Yeah…. I said peeps! I’m old school & proud of it!