Media Matters & Tech Tidbits

December 2015

Season's Readings!

In this issue: December events with links, Hour of Code information, AASL's List of 2015's Best Educational Apps & Websites, Google updates, and computer and equipment care reminders for the holiday break.
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Media Matters

December Goings-On

December 1st: Rosa Parks's Birthday. Check out Scholastics online exhibit "Rosa Parks: How I Fought for Civil Rights" .

December 6th - 14th: Hanukkah. Browse NCWiseOwl's Hanukkah resources, such as eBooks. (Password is wiseowl15).

December 14th: George Washington died on this day in 1799. Browse George Washington's papers on the Library of Congress website.

December 15th: Bill of Rights Day. Take a look at "Ben's Guide to the Government" from the US Government Publishing Office Website.

December 17th: Wright Brothers Day. Explore the lives of Wilbur and Orville on the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum Website.

December 25th: Christmas. "Though I've grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe." - Chris Van Allsburg, The Polar Express

December 26th - January 1st: Kwanzaa. Visit the Official Kwanzaa Website.

December is....

Write to a Friend Month: Use the ReadWriteThink "Letter Generator" to teach students about the five key parts of a letter.

Read a New Book Month: Use the SJHS Library Catalog & links on the MC Homepage to find a new eBook to read.

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Reader's Anonymous & Writer's Block Clubs

Student Clubs Busy Reading and Writing

Reader's Anonymous is our student book club that meets on Fridays during POWER A. Students are reading 11 nominees for the North Carolina School Library Association's Young Adult Book Award. In March, each student will cast his or vote for one of the 11 books that he or she feels should win the award. Please let students know it is not too late to participate.

Writer's Block is our student writing club that meets each Tuesday during POWER B. Students participate in group and individual writing activities with opportunities to share work. Our goal is to publish an online literary arts journal featuring student writing and art. Please let students know that it is not too late to join. We have been having fun with the Writing Exercises website!

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Media Center Reminder

If you are bringing your class to the media center, please remind them that there is no eating or drinking in the media center.
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Tech Tidbits

BEST Websites & Apps for Teaching and Learning 2015

The list is out! Each year the American Association of School Librarians submits and votes for the top educational apps and websites. 2015's list is a nice one! There are several relevant tools that you might like to try with your students. In January, I will offer a few sessions that will guide you with the integration of some of the ones that would work well with 9-12 graders. Click the links below for the complete lists that include descriptions of each tool as well as ideas for integration.

AASL Best Apps for Teaching and Learning 2015

AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning 2015

Digital Learning Team to Visit SJHS

The JCS Digital Learning Team will be at SJHS on Thursday, December 3rd to "Lunch, Laugh, and Learn" with students. They will be set up in the cafeteria and have some fun activities for students (and teachers). Please stop by the cafeteria and spread the word to your students!
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Hour of Code in December

Please help support computer science in our school!

The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics. Every student should have the opportunity to learn computer science, as it helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity. By starting early, students will have a foundation for success in any 21st-Century career path.

Students will start with a 30-minute Angry Birds tutorial and continue building skills if they are interested. This year's newest themes include Minecraft and Star Wars, and will be appreciated by students who want to advance! Teachers can preview Hour of Code activities and tutorials all week long on's website.

SJHS will use the 2nd and 3rd weeks of December to introduce students to coding. For students who do not have access to the Internet or devices at home, they will have the opportunity to visit's Hour of Code practice during POWER A and B in the Media Center during the two-week period. Fourth Block teachers will also have the opportunity to sign their class up in the Media Center for one of the following dates: 12/7, 12/8, 12/9, 12/10, 12/1, 12/14,12/17, and 12/18. Just let us know and we will book your class for coding time!

Great Videos from

Hour of Code 2015 - WORLDWIDE
Star Wars - Hour of Code: Introduction
Minecraft - Hour of Code: INTRO
Hour of Code - Mark Zuckerburg teaches Repeat Loops
Hour of Code - Bill Gates explains If statements

Google Goodies

Have You Tried Google Classroom?

Google Classroom has proven to be a wonderful tool for many teachers. This recent article by Margaret Blackwell, highlights some of the benefits of using Google Classroom:

EdTech Tips: Promoting Engagement Through Google Classroom

Great read! If you would like to get started with Google Classroom, below is a great tutorial.

Getting Started with Google Classroom

Speech Recognition in Google Docs

The Speech Recognition Add-On for Google Docs lets you use voice typing on your computer, or lets ESL students voice type in the destination language. See the short video below if you are interested in trying this out.
Speech Recognition Add-On for Google Docs

Equipment Care Reminders for the Holidays (and Beyond)

Teachers Make Students Accountable for Equipment

Please make sure that you are assigning devices to the students using them. When you check out device carts from the media center, please be sure to use the device sign out logs for each class every time. This makes it easy for administration when devices are stolen or damaged (on purpose). As always, thank you for your help with this!
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Please Log Off and Power Off Equipment at End of Day.

At the end of each day, it is super important that devices, desktops, SmartBoards, data projectors, etc. are all logged off and shut down. This allows for necessary daily updates as well as conservation of resources. Computers that are regularly updated will start up more quickly. Teachers using the computer labs during 4th Block, please shut down all computers at the end of the block.
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Holiday Break - Equipment Checklist

Please be sure to do the following before leaving for the long holiday this month:

- Make sure your equipment is accounted for

-Power off


-Cover (if necessary)

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