The SMaRTZone

We do more than just check-out books.*

*Not that there's anything wrong with that.

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SMaRTZone Smore (Spring Issue) Volume 5

For this final issue of the school year, the focus is summer reading. For ten years, I've touted the benefits of summer reading to our students and staff members. Those who listen are surprised to learn that summer reading has an impact on student performance. The idea that students lose valuable reading and analytical skills when they do not read during the summer seems unbelievable to some; however, once they learn about the research and hear the thinking behind the initiative, many are supportive of efforts to lessen the Summer Slide.

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!!!

Click the link below each picture in order to access the nonfiction ebooks that are available to Windsor Mill Middle students. Make sure you use your BCPS username and password to access these titles.
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How do you read an e-book?

If you are new to Windsor Mill MIddle School, you might not be familiar with e-books. Take a moment to look at the picture below. You can also click the link below the picture to get more information.
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Capstone e-books add excitement to your reading.

With a dramatic narrator and vivid images, Capstone e-books are a great way for students to read. A special collection that is also available in our Destiny portal, students who want to access the Capstone portal and receive extra features must get the password and username from Ms. Love.

SMaRTZone Smore (Spring Issue) Volume 4

Classroom Visits (Part 2)

It's amazing how many people think that library resources can ONLY be acquired in the library. As a Future Ready Librarian, I try to make sure that learning opportunities occur inside and outside the walls of the library. Whether it's sharing a skill that will help students in the twenty first century or giving students a chance to access information that will help them grow, I see library media as a chance to engage students and teachers in a variety of ways. One collaborative effort in the classroom involved an entire grade level and one e-book.

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.

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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.

SMaRTZone Smore (Winter Issue) Volume 3

The information below is evidence of the third volume of The SMaRTZone Smore.

e-Books Part 2

WMMS has one of the largest collections of e-books in BCPS. There are many positives associated with e-books.

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.

Great News!!

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.

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Click the area below to see the segment on BCPS TV.

Comparison Contrast

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.

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Going Outside the Library's Walls and into Classrooms

Take a moment to look at the areas that are teal colored on the LibraryTrac image titled, December, 2016. With prior planning, teachers can request classroom visits and library media instruction in the classroom. In December, Ms. Rankin and Mr. Gaul both asked for information to be shared with their students.

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

6th grade P2 First Quarter Assembly Fall 2016 360p 2

Hoodoo and the Book Club (Part 1)

Students at Windsor Mill Middle School were excited to spend time with Mr. Ronald Smith. The author of the novel, Hoodoo, Mr. Smith visited members of the book club to share the inspiration for his novel. During the meeting, students had time to ask questions and listen to an excerpt from the book.

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.

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First Quarter Focus - Digital Citizenship

Students in BCPS are focused on increasing their Digital Citizenship skills. By completing a series of Slam Dunk lessons, students are able to gain knowledge about online safety, online searching techniques and much more.

SMaRTZone Smore (Back to School Issue) Volume 1

The information below is evidence of the first volume of The SMaRTZone Smore.
2016-2017 Black Eyed Susan Nominees

Check out the current titles that have been nominated.

Intro to The SMaRTZone 2016

BCPS Online Resources

BCPS has a large cache of online materials that teachers can use. From research models, to approved online tools, they have it all. Use this area as a place for one-stop clicking.


All think links you will need. This is the tool you start with to share information with your students, parents, and school community.


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.

BCPS Research models -

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.

More info?

Through Twitter, you can keep track of what Ms. Love is working on, as well as the learning and fun that is occurring in The SMaRTZone.

Check us out on various forms of social media.

Mr. Robinson, what do you love about The SMaRTZone?
Dr. Holt, what do you love about The SMaRTZone?
What do love about The SMaRTZone?
What do you love about The SMaRTZone?
What do you love about The SMaRTZone?
What do you love about The SMaRTZone?
Officer Barney, what do you love about The SMaRTZone?

Classroom Visits (Part 1)

The past few months have been a whirlwind. It has been exciting to see how the library program can make a difference outside the library's walls. I would like to take a moment to share a few examples.

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.