Hey Mountain Lions! Check out our Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Month Resources on our Student Resource Course Canvas Page! OR, if you’re a visitor here from outside our school – Welcome! Here are the resources listed below minus the HCPSS district stuff!
Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month Resources
I’m not gonna lie, it’s kinda weird out there right now but I truly believe we’re going to be OK. Things will get back to normal. They always do. #History. I don’t know when, but they will. Practicing positivity is important and good for you! That, and washing your hands! In the meantime, HCPSS and our education partners have some cool and FREE resources for you!
Don’t forget we’re all in this together — even if we’re physically apart right now. I will try and update this post as I stay at home and help my community and to take care of my family. Starting with scrubbing all floors and not letting anyone inside with shoes on. It’s a slipper & sock zone only! I so heart fuzzy socks!
FREE Grab-N-Go Meals in the parking lot of Laurel Woods Elementary and 8 other locations throughout the county.
“I’ve had the opportunity to check in at a few of our meal distribution sites, where I have been proud to observe our Food Services staff members hard at work ensuring children continue to have access to nutritious meals while schools are closed. Today on our second day of distribution, 5,304 meals were served at our nine sites. I am grateful that HCPSS is able to provide this service and I’m even more pleased that we have been able to expand our typical meal offerings to include three meals each day. I encourage all families to take advantage of this service.” ….also from Dr. M
“On Friday, all students went home with a document that detailed ideas for engaging students in learning activities while schools are closed. These resources are posted online and have been translated into multiple languages. While the activity ideas do not represent the same level of instruction that occurs in our schools, they are intended to help keep our students stay intellectually active while they are at home during this closure.”
I have to confess, I’m an unabashed fangirl for our Sup! And it’s not to curry favor or kiss butt, I’m retiring in 3 or 4 years! He’s just all that, has his heart in the right place, and he brought back our School Library Media Assistants after they were cut by she who will not be named!
Oh and I gotta warn you, if you’re new to this blog or my Daring Librarian professional blog — I write in a conversational style and I use a lot of exclamation marks. Kinda like Elaine Bennis. Just. Like. That!
The last day before we left for this unexpected early spring break, I checked out a LOT OF BOOKS! There were no limits on how many books our readers could check out. From one book to 10, I encouraged our students to take as many home as they could hold! I even offered string bags to carry them in. Did I check out enough books? NEVER! lol
But if you didn’t get a chance to come by the Library Media Center and get some books, it’s OK….you have other resources! Keep reading!
ALL HCPSS kids can access great stuff using their school login.
Every HCPSS kid can log into hcpss.me – from there you can get to all kinds of great resources! FREE eBooks from MackinVia and more! The kid has to remember his/her Active Directory or school login & password. Outside our school server they may need to add @inst.hcpss.org to their regular login – see below.
example regular login: dvader9644 another way to login: firstname.lastname@example.org
3/30/2020 — NEW! Students now have the ability to reset their Active Directory HCPSS Network (Canvas, GSuite, & Synergy) passwords without intervention from HCPSS staff – please direct parents & students to this new resource:
Advanced Placement (AP) Online Review Beginning on Wednesday, March 25, the College Board will provide free, online, live AP review courses, delivered by AP teachers from across the country. These courses are optional, mobile-friendly and available on-demand, so they can be accessed at any time. The focus is on reviewing skills and concepts from the first 75% of the AP course, with some supplementary lessons covering the final 25% of the course. Access course schedules on theAP Students website.
Digital Resources for Elementary Students Elementary Students can log on throughhcpss.meto use:
Wixie: an online publishing and creativity platform that lets students share what they know through their writing, their voice, and their art.
Type to Learn: an online, research-based keyboard curriculum that includes pre-tests, lessons, assessments, and typing games and activities tailored to grades 3-5.
Naviance Resources for Middle and High School Students Naviance is a comprehensive college, career and life readiness program that allows students to explore career interests, begin their post-secondary exploration and discover careers matched to their interests. Find more details online. Students can log in through hcpss.me, then click Naviance.
DISCLAIMER:I am sharing these resources in good faith that at the time I curated this list the offers, logins, and sites were active. However, at any time, the companies listed could change their permissions. Access problems? Please contact the companies directly. I’m sorry I can’t troubleshoot for you. Mostly because I’m lazy. For the record: I have not NOT been sponsored or compensated (not even a cool T-shirt or swag!) for any inclusion on this list.
Don’t have eBooks, a Kindle device, or other Digital Reader
You can listen to loads of books read aloud on YouTube! Search for audiobooks & your favorite author, title, or subject. Here’s a great example from one of my favorite authors Neil Gaiman.
The 6 Best Audio Books You Can Listen to For Free on YouTube
From Katie Boone: Here’s a free access and resource from our partners Capstone and PeppbleGo “You have been set up with free remote access to PebbleGo and Capstone Interactive eBooks. This access is valid through June 30, 2020 (The majority of you already subscribed to PebbleGo can of course continue to use your school’s login credentials). We hope these resources are helpful to your school and your students during this sensitive time.”
Day-by-day projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing.
“Even when schools are closed, you can keep the learning going with these special cross-curricular journeys. Every day includes four separate learning experiences, each built around a thrilling, meaningful story or video. Kids can do them on their own, with their families, or with their teachers. Just find your grade level and let the learning begin! -The Editors of Scholastic Classroom Magazines.”
“As teachers, students, and families deal with school closures, PBS LearningMedia producers and educators have come together to curate a special collection of resources organized by grade and subject area. Find videos, lesson plans, and activities that support learning at home. Create a free account to save and organize content.”
From our partners in learning Follett School Solutions (PreK-12)
“Follett has created a resource page outlining the array of eLearning solutions, including Collections by Destiny, Follett Destiny Discover, WebPath Express, and more. Video tutorials, forums and instructions for accessing these solutions also are available.
To help schools with eLearning during the closures, Follett announced March 11 it is waiving the cost for current Destiny customers through June 30 for its Classroom Ready Collections (CRC), which are standards-aligned, educator-curated Open Educational Resources (OER) that include lesson plans, activities, videos and worksheets. More than 2,300 free CRC licenses have been activated in less than a week.”
“To help make eLearning easier, we are providing free access to eBooks from Lightbox™ and AV2 World Languages through June 30, 2020. You can register for access here.
Lightbox™ offers over 1000 PreK-12 titles in science, social studies, language arts, math and more. AV2 World Languages features high-interest titles in 10 different languages with full audio support.
Parents and students will find these resources interactive, easy to use and a great way for students to independently explore a new topic. We hope that you, your students and their families find this helpful during this challenging time.
Visit Follett Community for more details on this offer and other free eLearning resources available through Follett Destiny Discover®
OK, that’s a kind of a big statement. You may have heard of this, but I found this out right before Christmas and started this blog then…but, you know. Holidays. So….just in case you haven’t heard about this, here it is.
The Space Bar Cursor Trick on the iPhone / iPad in iOS 12 is a great time saver for every iPhone or Apple user.
You can press and hold (long press) the space bar on an iPhone / iPad to control the cursor as mouse pointer. You can easily move over to the exact spot where you want to edit the text.
How did I go years and years without knowing this iPhone keyboard trick? (I’m so tired the overused word of hack) Apparently, it’s not exactly new but little known. If you’ve ever felt the frustration of trying to move the cursor exactly where you want it when correcting (my increasingly less accurate -what’s with that, too?) voice to text results tapping here and tapping there, when texting or writing an email on your iPhone, this little tip will make your day.
I am an Apple Geek. How could they keep this from me?!
I love my Apple products. I’ve been an Apple fanatic since I created an Apple-Talk network of Apple IIe’s & Apple G3’s the first year I started teaching in 1992! Also, my first Ed Tech conference presentation was about integrating my new CD Rom & this thing called the Internet to a group research product centered around Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego! Sheesh.
(March 1996) Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego: A Fun Multimedia
Research Unit for Grades 4-8. Featuring the Apple IIgs, GeoSafari, USA
Atlas CD-ROM & the Internet.
Anyway, just had to share that with you friends. Hope it will help you out as much as it has for me! Did you already know about it? Do you have another great iOS tech tip to share? Hit me up in the comments, follow me on Twitter, & reach out! Thank you!
May the force be with you!
Book display for Speed Dating with Books activity.
Thanks for Visiting!
Twitter: @GwynethJones – IG: The Daring Librarian. Future Ready Teacher Librarian & Tech Leader. Mover, Shaker, Blogger, International Ed Tech Keynote Speaker, Blogger, & Google Certified. Author of the award winning Daring Librarian blog. ISTE Board of Directors PK-12 Representative 2010-2014 – Creator of Content. Meme & Trope Archivist. Coastal Cottage owner. Geek. Ridiculously Humble.
Spend $130 Bucks and Literally Give Kids the Power!
We’ve discovered that the mix of the digital divide, possible turbulent home lives, and general teenage forgetfulness can result in a loss of power. So, for vaious reasons it seems that some of my students who DO have devices (yes, there are still a lot who do NOT) show up to school with a low or no charge. Yes, they sometimes admit that they fall asleep with their phone next to them and not plugged in. Shocker.
A device that they LOVE to use for social connections and fun in the hallways and during free time. Oh yeah, and sometimes in class for learning, too! Without that device they feel a serious gap in their daily lives.
We Fill That Gap!
We want the kids to feel like the Library Media Center – Learning Commons and Makerspace Station – is a safe place to land and the place to go when they need things. Like finishing and priting out homework, relaxing and making something at our Makerspace Station, practicing mindfulness with our Coloring Zen area, or borrowing a charger to power up their devices. This is our third try with this concept, the first two were failures – if you interested you can read about this journey going back four years on my professional blog. So far, this is going GREAT!
Backstory: A few years ago, I was inspiredby the charging lockers I saw during a visit to theHillwood High School Library in Nashvillewith the ISTE Board of Directors and I wanted to support our BYOD pilot program and our kiddos by giving them a place to recharge their devices in school.
And of course that place was going to be our school Library Media Center — shameless how we will do just about ANYthing to get kiddos to visit our Library!
Because I think we’ve now hit on a really easy, relatively low cost, & popular way to give my kids the power they crave and need.
Piece of mind not worrying that kiddos will have their devices stolen or locked out on your watch?
• Kids (and staff) can request a charging device, first come, first serve anytime before 2pm. I also bought 2 flat chargers for staff to borrow. Kids come first. Always.
• We keep the chargers tucked away on a shelf behind the Circulation Desk.
• Kids must first show that their phone has less than 30% charge to get one. (We found at first some kids just wanted it for the cool factor – which was cool, but not cool for the kids who really NEEDED them!)
• We don’t lend them out for the charging of fancy headphones – these are for devices that could possibly be used in the classroom.
• Kids can borrow the charger alone or with a multi-device cord. They must initial to agree to pay for the loss or damage of the device & cord (Yeah, we know this isn’t really enforceable)
•We ask that kids agree not to let the device out of their sight – if they’re asked to share it – we trust them to keep track of it.
•We also ask that kids bring back the device at the end of the day. Do they always remember? Nope! That’s why we collect their last period class teacher (I, or my amazing Media assistant Kathi Bell, calls classrooms at the end of the day to get them back – or we track them down the first period of the next day.
Yeah, We’re Popular!
Some days we’re cleaned out of chargers within the first 5 minutes of school. I’m making a sign for our front door that says “Yes, We Have Awesome Chargers to Borrow!” or “Sorry, All Chargers Have Been Borrowed” withBitmoji cartoons.
• This is a complimentary service. We also reserve the right to not lend out a charger on an early dismissal day, after 1:30pm, or to a kiddo who has proven to be unreliable with the charger in the past. But that hasn’t happened yet. Frankly, I doubt it ever will. Don’t tell my students, for all my fierceness [snaps Z formation] I’m kind of a soft touch. But I gotta keep that leverage because we want to keep these chargers nice for everyone. So far though, the kids have been super fantastic and very enthusiastic about this new FREE perk we’re providing to them!
GOAL #1 MHMS provides a safe and nurturing school environment that respects our diversity and commonality.
Why do we do this?
You never know what kinds of things kids are struggling with at home. What if a kid doesn’t have a computer at home and just a mobile device and needs to do homework? This is important! We can help fill the gaps that the world & circumstance gives to these kiddos.
My kids tell me you can get these chargers at Five Below. I haven’t tried them yet. If we lose a lot over the year, I might give them a whirl. The multi device cords are CHEAP! Meaning, inexpensive to pick up (via Amazon) but they can sometimes stop working and can break. So far, so good, though and this has been a LOT less of a headache than those fancy expensive charging lockers.
This great idea was inspired by the amazing Teacher Librarian at Wilde Lake Middle School – Sarah Russo!
I should have started with that! [smacks forehead] but I wanted to give how we run this first.
Are you a Teacher Librarian, or educator and want to hear what problems we encountered with our previous attempts at charging stations and charging lockers?
So, if you’re a school – here’s my suggestion: Save 90% of your money and try the cheapo errr inexpensive portable chargers first.
Because, NO ONE wants to be responsible for a kids only device but it’s AWESOME to be responsible to give POWER to a kid and their beloved device!
What am I missing here? Any other suggestions? Successes? Do you like that we help out the kiddos? What other things could we add to our School Library to make it a more appealing place (Other than a Keurig -that would be boss!) Please hit me up in the comments and share your thoughts! Thank you for reading!
Buying information. If you want to get one of these for yourself or for your kiddo, check Amazon! So far, they’ve been great & I did have 2 die on my (after being used by kids…a LOT) but the company is sending me 2 replacements! I couldn’t ask for better customer service than that!
Again, if you’re in education and would like more information:
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.
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!
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!
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!
(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.
(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
Join HiTech Saturday December 15th for some fun NEW! offerings like 3D design, fashion design, and video editing with iMovie! You can sign up for either the morning or afternoons session by contacting:
Howard County Library System
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. 4. 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 Jolie O’Dell)
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 Jolie O’Dell)
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 asEdublogs 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!)