We do more than just check-out books.*
*Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Reading, literacy, libraries, and students are my passion. During the past 12 years at Windsor Mill Middle School, I have been given an opportunity to gain more knowledge about these passions.
I learned that that the joy of reading isn't something that everyone has in their heart but they can acquire it with guidance and opportunity. I've learned that literacy comes in a variety of forms (music, drama, art, etc.) and offering students a chance to access those different genres of literacy can provide students with a chance to acquire skills that will allow them to engage and connect with others throughout the world. I learned that libraries are an integral part of any school community. With teacher collaboration and staff support, all things are possible.
I have also learned that I love working with students. They provide me with so much joy. When I see a child's eyes light up when they discover a new book, my eyes light up. When I hear a child talk excitedly about a book, I become excited. When a parent thanks me for working with their child, my heart is full of thanks. To me, being a librarian is one of the best jobs in the world and I am grateful for the opportunity to do something that I am passionate about and that I love.
This will be my last year Windsor Mill Middle School. I wish everyone success in their efforts to bring joy and light to the students of Windsor Mill. I am excited about what the future brings and look forward to opportunities for collaboration and community engagement at Loch Raven Technical Academy (LRTA). As the library media specialist at LRTA, I hope to utilize the lessons learned at Windsor Mill to provide a hub of learning inside and outside of the walls of the school library.
Live long and prosper and remember to keep on reading!!
End of Year Issue (SY 2017-2018)
Summer Reading: We all Have a Part
Students and teachers are reminded to take part in the Summer Reading program. Offered by BCPL, students and parents have a chance to receive rewards for their summer reading efforts.
BCPS and BCPL have had a partnership to promote summer reading for a number of years. Whether students have had a chance to meet Sneaks at their school or students were given a chance to sign-up for summer reading in the school libraries, these two partners realized long ago that the way to prevent the summer slide was to work together and make summer reading an exciting option for students. This year, the entire family can join in the fun when it comes to summer reading. Parents and students are encouraged to sign-up for the summer reading program.
Before the school year ended, students at WMMS were given the option to check-out books for the summer. Students in the sixth and seventh grade were able to come to the library with their classroom teachers and check-out books for summer reading. We had a wonderful time and it was exciting to see students eager to get books of their choosing.
Eighth graders were encouraged to come and check-out books independently. I used this time as an opportunity to chat with them and offer some words of encouragement for high school. The future high schoolers were excited about summer reading, too. This was another example of the joy our students have when it comes to reading and student choice.
BCPL also offers a variety of programs during the summer, such as Lunch in the Library , the #BWellRead Challenge, and Summer Teen Workshops. Take a moment to look at the links provided to get more information. Flyers promoting the BCPL Summer Workshops are also available in the front office.
Whether you are a parent, a teacher, an administrator or a community member, we all have a role in promoting summer reading to our students. Let's take part in summer reading by reading and discussing our reading experiences with younger people. Together, we can prevent summer slide and make summer reading fun for everyone.
The link below has more information regarding the summer reading check-outs at WMMS.
SMaRTZone Smore (Spring Issue) Volume 5
At Windsor Mill Middle School, all students have the opportunity to sign-up for the BCPL Summer Reading Program. Students in grades 6 will receive an overview of the BCPL Summer Reading program. They will also receive a BCPL summer reading card as an incentive to take part in the summer reading program. Students in grade 7 learned about the importance of summer reading last year. This year, they will receive a quick overview of the prizes associated with the BCPL Summer Reading Program, as well as sign-up for the program. Eighth graders who wish to take part in the BCPL Summer Reading Program will be able to get the BCPL Summer Reading information for high school students and check-out books, during their lunch period. All students will receive a reminder to bring the books back and check them in by September 20, 2017. *
One of the primary suggestions for students this year will be e-books. Our school has one of the largest collections for BCPS middle schools (703 to be exact). This year, students received several lessons on how to access the ebooks, how to search for the e-book that suits their needs, and how to read and listen to the ebook. Students even discussed the benefits of e-books and determined whether they prefer e-books or print books. While the results seemed 50/50, many of the students enjoyed the interactive e-books which had visuals, as well as a narrator who read the books to them. The biggest take away from our discussion was that it doesn't matter what or how you read as long as you read something and exercise your brain.
During the summer, use some of the resources below as you work with your child and help us prevent the Summer Slide.
*NOTE- Any student who transfers to another BCPS school can return the books to the BCPS school library. Students who transfer out of the county should return their books to the Windsor Mill MIddle School front office or mail the books back to the school.
Take a Look!!!
How do you read an e-book?
Capstone e-books add excitement to your reading.
SMaRTZone Smore (Spring Issue) Volume 4
Classroom Visits (Part 2)
With the support of the administration and the grade 8 team, there was a day of reading. On February 27, 2017, during mods 1 and 2, eighth grade students were able to listen and view an e-book titled, Freedom Riders. By answering questions which related to each assigned chapter, students and classroom teachers were able to discover information about a group of civil rights activists who are not commonly known. At the close of each thirty minute lesson, students and teachers had time to share insights and end with an open discussion which tied the information they learned to themselves and today's society.
During mod 4, students completed their closing chapters of the e-book and discussed whether the Freedom Riders impacted today's society. One of the formative assessments for the day required that students read an excerpt of the preamble from the Declaration of Independence. Students then had to explain whether the preamble applied to the Freedom Riders quest for "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness". Students also had to determine whether the words in the preamble apply to the American citizens in today's society and explain their reasoning.
Students and staff on the eighth grade team had a chance to experience the features of an interactive e-book in a different way. Based on the feedback from the students and teachers, we hope to do similar e-book readings in the future.
Classroom Visits (Part 1)
The past few months have been a whirlwind. It has been exciting to witness the various ways the library program can make a difference outside the library's walls. I would like to take a moment to share three examples.
In February, there were two opportunities to work with students and expand their knowledge of key people and groups in Black History. For the sixth graders, I had a chance to work with Mr, Macek, a sixth grade teacher. Using Flocabulary, we shared a video with students that provided information about Ruby Bridges in a fun and engaging way. Students had a chance to listen to a hip hop infused story about Ruby Bridges and learn about her struggles and successes. Selected students then discussed Ruby's traits; the class ended with an online discussion using Padlet. With this online tool, students had a chance to use a new technological tool as a way to share their learning in a safe environment.
It was a great lesson; many of the students loved the fact that we used music and visuals.. Some students asked that we incorporate art work in a future lesson. I truly enjoyed working with Mr. Macek and his students.
Students had a chance to f ind evidence in the rap lyrics that supported their opinions of Ruby's traits. Students were able to work with a partner, a group or on their own.
Based on time, a reflection question was given to some of the classes. This was a chance for them to share what they liked about the lesson and what form of media they would like to see used in a future lesson.
Students had a chance to respond to a broader question. How is Ruby Bridges a positive example for others?
SMaRTZone Smore (Winter Issue) Volume 3
e-Books Part 2
1. Readers can access the information 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
2. The interactive e-books meet the needs of varied learning styles (visual, aural, etc.)
3. Copies that are unlimited in their numbers are great for group and class assignments.
4. Teachers can use e-books as a way to flip or blend the learning.
5. The students LOVE the interactive features in the e-books.
Students in all grades have received information regarding e-books and the various ways they can use them for personal enjoyment. Thanks to their enthusiasm, our school has seen an increase in the number of students reading e-books.
The next step is to share with students how they can use e-books as a way to gather information, as well as to access e-books that are located on several BCPS databases.
With the continued promotion, I hope to see students, teachers and the entire school community accessing the information that is available in The SMaRTZone.
Grade 6 and 7 students recently completed a lesson regarding e-books and reading for personal enjoyment. Take a moment to look at some of the positive comments the students shared in a Parking Lot activity.
Members of the S.T.A.R. Book Club were featured in a segment on BCPS TV. Take a moment to check-out the segment and see the great opportunities our students can have when they read.
During the following months, students will take part in a B.Y.O.S. (Bring Your Own Story) program. This will give the students a chance to create their own masterpieces by learning from Mr. Smith and other experts in the field of writing.
Any WMMS student who is interested in taking part in B.Y.O.S. can see Ms. Love for more details.
Click the area below to see the segment on BCPS TV.
Look at our improvements!!
Below are the statistics from LibraryTrac. LibraryTrac is an online scheduling system that maintains data regarding library usage. It's an invaluable resource. With LibraryTrac, school librarians can show the number of student visits to the library, as well as the purpose for the students' visit. Information regarding the number of class visits, the number of times the classroom teacher collaborated with the library media specialist (LMS), taught a lesson with the LMS, or used the library for another purpose (testing and meetings come to mind) is accessible, as well.
Take a moment to compare the statistics November to January. In a year, we have seen a large increase in independent student usage. Increased independent student usage is one of the goals for this year. Due to the BCPS Digital Citizenship lessons there has also been a marked increased in the number of classroom visits.
Going Outside the Library's Walls and into Classrooms
Ms. Rankin's students received a quick overview of Animoto and the various ways to use the technological tool to present information for their candy project. Mr. Gaul's students received information regarding VoiceThread. His students even had a chance to use the text feature, within VoiceThread, in order to respond to a question and use their responses to further class discussion.
Teachers are encouraged to continue to ask for collaborative efforts and library media in the classroom.
SMaRTZone Smore (Fall issue) Volume 2
Hoodoo and the Book Club (Part 1)
An initiative that combines the students love of reading, as well as enhances their communication and writing skills, the WMMS S.T.A.R.S. Book Club is appreciative of this chance to provide students with a creative outlet and work with Mr. Smith
Any student who wishes to join the book club should see Ms. Love for details. The next meeting will be held in December. During the session, students will be able to discuss the novel and have an opportunity to enhance their writing skills.
Mr. Ronald Smith
Mr. Smith shares his craft with our students.
Me and Mr. Smith
I don't know who was more excited... me or the students.
Sharing the craft of writing
Kendra receives writing advice from Mr. Smith.
First Quarter Focus - Digital Citizenship
SMaRTZone Smore (Back to School Issue) Volume 1
BCPS Online Resources
All think links you will need. This is the tool you start with to share information with your students, parents, and school community.
BCPS ODL Wiki-
An online resource where a variety of tech tools and up-to-date news is shared.
Access print and non print materials. You can determine which books we have on the shelves, as well as locate e-books (individual and multi-person/class use), professional journals, and much more.
NOTE- Teachers should also use this portal to check-out textbooks to the students, as well as to locate and refer student research to age appropriate websites. See Ms. Love for more information if would like a training session or refresher lesson for your students.
NOTE- Take a moment to look at the ways BCPS is promoting reading in schools. Check out the information related to the BCPS Reading Relay.
Do want your students to be able to read information outside of class? Available 24/7, WMMS has over 500 e-books that teachers and students can use in and outside of the classroom. View this video to determine how you and your students can access these e-books and use this individually, in a small group setting or as a classroom. Click this link in order to share and display information for students who wish to access the ebooks.
Partnership is what BCPS is all about. BCPS has a partnership with the Baltimore County Public Library. With a teacher card, teachers can request materials, as well as check out resources for online use. Teachers are also able to access a a variety of tools that can help enhance the learning for their students.
Students (who have a BCPL card) are able to access these materials, as well.
You don't have to reinvent the wheel. Each content area has a research model that has been created by BCPS. Go to this area to locate the research project for your content area and grade. As stated in your curriculum, teachers should utilize the library and the library media specialist to ensure that students develop the research skills that they need in order to be productive.
An online research tool, EasyBib is a resource that students can use as they gather and sift through the information that they collect for research assignments. There is also a feature where students can create note cards and complete an annotated bibliography. See Ms. Love for more details.
Check us out on various forms of social media.
Self-selection of materials
When our students are able to select books based on their interest, they are excited about reading. Let's make sure our students have a chance to check-out books based on their interest.
Individual Reading Time
Sometimes s you just want a quiet place to read.
Small Group Instruction
With teacher collaboration, we can create a lesson where students work with each other to complete a task.
Self-selection of materials
6th grade orientation
Students complete a Gallery Walk to learn about the variety of materials in the SMaRTZone.
When given a chance to select books based on their interest, our students love to read.
After trying to determine the answer for among their group, students ask Ms. Love for guidance and clarification. Small group instruction happens in the library, too.
6th grade orientation
Classroom Visits (Part 1)
The first highlight occurred at the beginning of February. For the sixth graders, I had a chance to work with Mr, Macek. Using Flocabulary, we shared a video with students that provided information about Ruby Bridges in a fun and engaging way. Students had a chance to listen to a hip hop infused story about Ruby Bridges. With the use of "sick" beats and colorful visuals, students had a chance to learn about Ruby Bridges' struggles and successes. Students then discussed her traits and shared how Ruby made a difference in the world. It was a great lesson; many of the students loved the fact that we used music and visuals to teach the lesson and asked that we do another lesson like this again.
Thoughts and Observations
At the close of the lesson, students had a chance to share what they enjoyed about the lesson. This will help me as I work to deliver lessons that are engaging and use a variety of media (video, music, art, etc.)
Students were given time to write the traits that Ruby exhibited by selecting evidence from the lyric sheet for the video. Some students worked with partners and some worked on their own.
There were a number of formative assessments in the lesson. One assessment gave the students a chance to use Padlet, an online discussion board. At the end of the lesson, students shared their observations.