Makerspace@MHMS

The hot new Makerspace Movement is NOT new to Murray Hill Middle School. We opened the school with the idea that we would have creation labs in the Media Center, GT room, and the TV studio. We started with video production, iMovie, Specular LogoMotion, Hyperstudio, and animation with Hollyood High kids. Here’s an example of an EARLY (2003) video production called Bookfellas, featuring some Guy Ritchie-esque film direction techniques. These kids are now all grown up and we’ve kept evolving, too!

We have, however, expanded upon our Makerspace offerngs.  We’ve now added a Lego Creation Station, a Duct Tape Craft Cubby, and a Makey Makey Coding Corner. Kids can come in during lunch or when they’ve finished their work to explore and create in the Library Media Center. All this for about $350.oo. Teachers & Librarians – I invite you to see my professional blog next week for more info on how to get this setup in your library or classroom!

Next year, any donations of novelty duct tape rolls to the Media Center would be greatly appreciated!

Here’s an example of a cool stop action animation video by our Advanced Digital Media Team for the Environmental Fair. Created by MHMS 8th graders: Drew H, Prerana K, Joonseo P, & Gloria O.  This was created under the direction of GT Teacher, Mr. Mark Dunbar.

Meet Alexa!

We also have a new information tool in the library! (OK, I bought this with my own money and brought it into school) It’s the Amazon Echo! Have you heard of it? Since I’m not going to have an assistant full time next year, (don’t get me started!) I thought this could be a cool way to answer basic questions. Kids are delighted to discover Alexa, living in the Amazon Echo. Not only is it a fun way for kiddos to learn how to ask the right questions, to speak clearly, it also introduces them to the Internet of Things.

Yeah, sometimes we dance in the Library! That’s how we roll!

Get your charge on!

We also have a new Courtesy Mobile Device Charging Station in the MHMS Daring School Library Media Center! Moving closer to BYOD means that kiddos often come to the media center at lunch to charge up. Nothing too fancy, two super fast charging UNITEK 10 USB port hubs and a 4-in-1 USB Charging Cord.  This is just a start!

 

 

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!

 

HiTech STEM Symposium

MHMS Digs STEM!

(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)

photos of students with quadrotor, music, weather balloon, computers

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
  • Gamification
  • 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.
Date:
Monday, November 3rd from 2 – 5 pm
Location:
Details and Registration:
Call 410.313.7750
Sponsors:
HiTech is funded in part through a federal grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and IMLS.
Sponsors include Friends of Howard County Library, Frank and Yolanda Bruno, and M&T Bank.
BONUS!
image of Cyborg Glitch game
 
Download the latest HiTech game!
Visit hclibrary.org/hitech to download Cyborg Glitch, the newest interactive mobile game created by HiTech students.

Available FREE for iPads, iPhones, and Android systems.

Photo Credit: HCL

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!

10 Super Geeky Tips for the New Year


Resolutions are usually hard to keep..but there are a few easily done things that feel great for a SUPER GEEKY SAFE….errm Aware! New Year. (There is no *safe* on the Interwebs, only Aware!)

(click above for a larger size or download PDF it here)
1. Change your passwords. Yes, ALL of them.
According to CNN Tech an 8 digit password can be hacked in 2 hours but a 12 character password would take 17 years. Use this handy NEW! Comic Tutorial to create a really super new password for every website….don’t worry, there’s a trick! Oh and in the small print I said 3 important things – Change your passwords twice a year, have a different password for Facebook that you don’t use for ANYwhere else because FB’s security is notoriously unreliable (and the bank, too), and as a disclaimer – I’m not a security expert and nothing is foolproof.

2. Check your Browser’s History & Dump your cache, cookies
Parents: If you’re a concerned & want to see what is being viewed on your home computers – check your browser history. Then, at least once a year (I try quarterly) go around to every computer you use public & private -and dump the cache, clear your cookies, & browsing history. Just in case visitors or workers in the home can get into your private business. Also, I would not recommend instant password acceptance on your email, social networks,  or banking institutions.

3. Consolidate your Flashdrives
We all have a gajillion flashdrives floating around from 128mg’s to 16gb’s. Lazy Way: Gather them all up and create a folder on your external HD called flashdrive backups (or one folder per flashdrive) and drag all the stuff in there. Smart Way: Go through all those flashdrives & trash anything you really don’t need & save only the archive worthy stuff. While you’re at it – are those drives named? Do you have an .RTF doc on it that says “If found, Please Read” with your contact information? This might be a good time to get those on there. I give every new teacher to my school a new 4G flashdrive and yeah, sometimes they lose them. So, even though it’s super easy to carry around & save stuff in a pinch, you wanna give yourself a chance to get it back if lost. Now… throw some of those old flashdrives away & go on to the next tip.
dropbox.JPG4. Forget the flashdrive try the cloud!
Now that you’ve backed up your flashdrives consider using Dropbox, Amazon Prime storage, iCloud, or Google docs to save your stuff! Don’t have Dropbox? Get it by using THIS SPECIAL SECRET SQUIRREL LINK to register for dropbox & and you’ll get EXTRA FREE SPACE!  (it’s a geeky pyramid scheme but so worth it!) Dropbox allows you store your files online, easily share files with others, and sync your documents with multiple computers and mobile devices. I have it on my iPad and all my Macs both home and at school! This is a must have tool for educators! It’s Free, Convenient, and Saves Time!
5. Edit your privacy settings & friendships
Facebook is notoriously changing their privacy settings – Google “latest facebook privacy settings” to read blogs with advice to double check that you’re sharing what you want to share. Consider what you share and who you share it with. Also, look at your friends – are you really friends with them? Or are they friends of friends? Friends of friends are NOT friends. “While considering what’s private and public, take time to evaluate what a “friend,” “contact” or “follower” means to you and what types of information you share with different groups.” (Quoted from the super AWEsome )

6. Walk wisely. We all should be good role models for our kids & students about what kind of footprints we’re leaving on the Intarwebs. Google your name, your child’s name, (“your name” add state) and see what comes up. It is up to us to create a positive digital footprint, one that we can show future education institutions, employers, and the future.

7. Buy your name. (or your kids name!) 
For $10 bucks a year you can own your own domain through Google Apps. You don’t want to be the last person who has their own domain or let someone else get it. I was lazy in this, I considered it back in the late 90’s – went with Angelfire instead. That was stooopid. Wish I had grabbed Gwyneth Jones before the Welsh Opera singer & the Sci Fi YA Author! Ahh well! Now I have 2 domains!

8. Clean out your Apps!
If you have a smart phone, iPad, or tablet review the APPS you have downloaded. Are you still using them? If not, they’re taking up valuable memory & space and could be slowing down your phone or tablet. Also delete old versions of Apps. I had a lot of “lite” FREE versions of Apps I later went & bought. (Like yes, Angry Birds & Air Penguin) Save space  and get better performance by cleaning once a year!

9. Go digital with your photos
Using a site like Flickr or Picasa you can save your digital moments & share them with family and friends. Uploads can be either public or private (or to family, friends, groups, etc.)  “Flickr has some similar qualities to Facebook, such as “contacts” (friends), comment postings, private messages can be sent, there are groups anyone can join, blogs can be maintained, Flickr can be operated via cell phone or computer, and there are even more mutual features.” Directions from:  Setting Up an Online Photo Gallery with Flickr


10. Back up your data.
“Hacks and hardware failures happen. Before this year gets going, make sure as much of your data as possible is protected. From calendars and contacts to blog posts and work projects, more and more of us are relying on networks of servers and startups to keep us running. So, now might be a good time to download and back up files of your contacts and blog posts – anything that’s valuable to you and portable.” Get a big external HD but also burn to CD or DVD the really important stuff because I’ve had externals die on me. And yeah, the cloud is awesome, but I’m not ready to give over yet completely! LOL “Think of it this way: You – or at least parts of you – live in the Internet. If the Internet caught on fire, what would you grab to carry with you out of the blaze?(Quoted, inspired & adapted from the super AWEsome )

What are the geeky things that you do that we can learn from?
Please comment your suggestions, corrections, & additions! Thank you dear readers!

And……Happy New Year!
BEST Christmas Presents EVER!
Oh and though Santa got me an iPad2 for Christmas, don’t tell him but here are the best presents I got this year from 2 students featuring a Ninja Squirrel & Ninja Bacon, & one fabulous kid blogger – my friend Hagan! (click for larger images)


(check out Ninja Bacon! My kids know I love Ninjas!)

Lastly, thank you to everyone who voted for this blog as Edublogs Best Librarian Blog– we were only 16 votes away from winning! Maybe someday! But seriously, having this conversation with you is the real prize! For reals! Thank you!
(not that I’m not gonna pimp my blog with those fab badges! Love me some badges!)

–Credits & Resources
Creating and Remembering Complex Passwords by Alex Jones (not my nephew!)
The Ultimate Guide for Creating Strong Passwords – Some of these suggestions seem impossible but I got great ideas here.
The top 50 passwords you should never use | Naked Security
8 Things Every Geek Needs to Do Before 2010
Five New Years Resolution Suggestions.
Baby Cthulhu Squishable a gift from my dear friend Dr. Gelving Obolensky of New Babbage. Thanks darlin! He, I will NEVER Prune from my PLN tree!

Flashdrive pic from: bamalibrarylady Tamara Evans