December 2014/ January 2015

December/January Edition at a GlanceDec_Jan

  • New workshops for DLU Inside BCPS
  • Food for Thought: Daydreaming vs. Grit
  • Get to Know Chimère Neal, Resource Teacher
  • Tips, Tricks, and Tools for Makerspaces, Apps, and Flipping
  • Follow BCPS Elementary Schools on Twitter
  • Plus news articles, upcoming events, and more!

Inside BCPS

Digital Learning University

The Office of Digital Learning announces a one (1) CPD credit professional learning opportunity to support educators and improve teaching and learning. Digital Learning University currently offers 23 different modules on topics from ActivInspire to Creating Interactive Assignments in BCPS One. Participants must complete five modules by the end of the school year to be eligible for CPD Credit. Workshops begin January 13.

Visit the ODL Wiki for more details on Digital Learning University.

New Year, New Workshops: Parent University Events Kick Off Jan. 7

Included in the lineup is a workshop on Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow (S.T.A.T.), the school system’s digital learning initiative. To be presented at Cockeysville Middle School by the BCPS Office of Innovative Learning, the event will offer parents and community members alike a look at the role of technology in the preparation of globally-competitive graduates. Registration is not required to attend the workshop, which will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 4.

See the Full Schedule and Learn More about Parent University

Other Highlights:

  • BCPS, S.T.A.T. take center stage at FCC hearing on E-Rate funding increase; Read More
  • Serendipity– Reflection post by Yvonne Barhight, Principal at Hawthorne Elementary; Read More
  • Nights of Innovation held at Fort Garrison Elementary, Hawthorne Elementary, Joppa View Elementary, and Lansdowne Elementary; Read More

Food for Thought: Daydreaming vs. Grit

Developing globally competitive graduates forces us to change the way we teach. Tom Vander Ark in his article talks about some of these changes: emphasis on P21 skills, the need for students to have grit and self-control, and the need for all of us to have a growth mindset.

At the same time that learning is becoming more rigorous and ubiquitous, we’re discovering that multitasking is inefficient and can be a detriment to learning. Katrina Schwartz explains that teachers will have to help students learn to “tune out” so they can focus on priorities. She identifies daydreaming as the brain’s way of “giving itself a break.”

Does the mantra of grit and self-control contradict the idea that daydreaming is necessary? What do you think?  Please share your thoughts via our comment box.

Why Daydreaming is Critical to Effective Learning

Global Digital Citizen Foundation · Katrina Schwartz · October 27, 2014:

“There’s no doubt there are more distractions bombarding students than there were 50 years ago. Most kids have cellphones, use social media, play games, watch TV and are generally more “plugged in” than ever before. This cultural shift means that in addition to helping students gain the transferable skills and knowledge they’ll need later in life, teachers may have to start helping them tune out the constant buzz in order to get their message across. It’s never too early to learn smart strategies to focus in on priorities and tune out what’s not immediately necessary.”  Read More…

Global Employment Markets Reward Competence & Initiative

Getting Smart · Tom Vander Ark · December 21, 2014:

“Globalization is being driven by increased migration, trade, investment, and especially by technology–communications, cloud-based information systems, workflow management and transaction management. Now that most intellectual work can be done anywhere, there is a big return on competence and initiative–and that is changing what, how, when and where we learn.”  Read More…


Getting to Know: Chimère Neal

Library Media Resource Teacher, Office of Digital Learning

Education and Teaching Background:

  • Bowie State University, MA English Literature
  • UMBC, MS Instructional Systems Development
  • Towson University, MS Instructional Technology- School Library Media
  • Teacher, Grades 4 and 2 at Winfield ES
  • Library Media Specialist at Winfield ES (4 years) and Wellwood ES (1 year)

Family: 2 year old guinea pig named Jandi

Hobbies and Interests: Reading, playing chess, watching Jeopardy or Doctor Who, and building computers.

Unusual Fact: Chimère can recite the alphabet backwards in less than 5 seconds!Recently Read: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, Currently Reading: The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

Favorite Technology Tool: “Edmodo is an online educational social network for students and teachers to connect with their class during and after school hours. It has many features that keep students engaged in collaborative work, encourage discussion, and provide ways to submit work. It’s also great to keep educators connected through virtual learning PLC.”

Tips, Tricks, and Tools

Library Makerspaces

School librarians, would you like to join the Makerspace movement, but have limited space in your Library?  Check out this SLJ post on Pop-Up Mobile Makerspaces in the Library.

You Want Apps?  Check Edmodo!

Check out the Edmodo Store for free apps which you can add to your groups for student use.  Here are four free apps you could try…

AudioBoo– Allows you to create audio podcasts which can be added to an Edmodo post.  Also allows students to create audio files and turn them in as assignments.

Photos for Class– Search for images under Creative Commons licensing.  Automatically cites the image.

NoRedInk– “NoRedInk helps students improve their grammar/writing skills using their personal interests through personalized content generated using each student’s favorite celebrities, friends, and personal interests and adaptive testing which adjusts questions based on what students get right/wrong.”

Actively Learn– This enables teachers to create reading assignments with embedded questions, videos, images, etc. in order to help encourage close reading by students.


You can turn your device into a tool for read aloud simply and easily.  Just press the windows button and start typing “narrator.”  Select “narrator” and a blue box will appear on your screen.  Highlight the text you wish to have read aloud.  If you are using text from the web, use Internet Explorer for best results.

Flip It!

Interested in trying a flipped classroom model?  Try EdPuzzle.  This tool allows teachers to embed questions into a video to check understanding.  EdPuzzle gives teachers detailed feedback and allows you the option to lock the video so students can not fast forward.  Check out the ODL Resource Wiki for more information.

In the Media

Giving Data Some Soul

Carolyn Foote (the Keynote Speaker at the August 2014 Professional Study Day for school library media specialists) writes an excellent column called Project Advocacy for School Library Journal.  In her December 2014 column Giving Data Some Soul she discusses how librarians can present data more persuasively.

Top 10 of 2014, No. 1: Libraries, Reinvented

eSchool News · January 2, 2015:

Each year, the eSchool News editors compile 10 of the most influential ed-tech developments and examine how those topics dominated K-12 ed-tech conversations. No. 1 on our list for 2014 is the new role of school libraries.  Read More…

Why Schools Must Move Beyond One-to-One Computing

November Learning · Alan November · February 10, 2013:

“As many schools and districts are now rushing to buy every student a digital device, I’m concerned that most one-to-one implementation strategies are based on the new tool as the focus of the program. Unless we break out of this limited vision that one-to-one computing is about the device, we are doomed to waste our resources.” Read more…

The Problem Isn’t Getting Rid of Teachers, It’s Keeping Them

Forbes · Nick Morrison · December 3, 2014:

“Judging by the tenor of the education debate in recent weeks, it would be easy to assume that the biggest challenge facing school leaders is how to get rid of bad teachers. But any problems caused by teacher tenure pale in comparison with the difficulty in getting teachers to stay.” Read more…

Giving Voice to End Users in Districts’ Technology Decisions

edSurge · Richard L. Gay · November 20, 2014:

“In Baltimore County Public Schools, where I’m the purchasing manager, we’re underway on a strategic plan to prepare students for their chosen college or career path. We’re providing flexible, learner-centered, blended learning environments, including access to interactive curriculum for teachers, students, and parents.” Read more…

Tablets proliferate in nation’s classrooms, taking a swipe at status quo

Washington Post · Michael Alison Chandler and Hayley Tsukayama · May 17, 2014:

 “One-to-one computing — in which each student receives a computer for Internet access and digital learning — took root with laptops in schools well over a decade ago, but it has gotten a huge boost in recent years with the advent of lower-cost tablet computers. U.S. schools are expected to purchase 3.5 million tablets by the end of the year, according to industry analysts, giving students access to an array of modern educational opportunities that come with the technology. Worldwide, K-12 spending on tablets has increased 60 percent over last year.” Read more…

Folks to Follow

Twitter BCPS Elementary School Twitter Accounts

Upcoming Events:

(check the Online Registration System for registration information and availability)

  • January 6: Liaison Hangout, 3 – 5:30 p.m. @online
  • January 13: Kidblog Workshop, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @online
  • January 12 – March 2: Book Study: Teaching with the Brain in Mind @online
  • January 14 – February 11 (Wednesdays, Snow date February 18): Microsoft Office 2013 Overview, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. @Villa Cresta Elementary School Library
  • January 15: What’s New in Wixie Workshop, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @Scotts Branch Elementary School
  • January 20 – February 17 (Tuesdays, Snow date March 3): Using Pixie and Wixie in the Teaching and Learning Process, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. @Rodgers Forge Elementary School
  • January 21: Introduction to Wixie Workshop, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @Stoneleigh Elementary School Library
  • January 21 – May 13 (Wednesdays, no class April 8): Integrating Web 2.0 Technology into the K-12 Classroom, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. @Pulaski Park Suite 307 Lab
  • January 25 – March 8: Tools and Strategies for Learning and Teaching with the Read/Write Web @online
  • January 26: BCPS Library Media Specialist PD (System-wide Professional Development Day) 9 – 11 a.m. @ BCPL Libraries, assigned branch
  • January 27 – February 24 (Tuesdays, Snow date March 3): Microsoft Office 2013 Overview, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. @Villa Cresta Elementary Library
  • January 28:
    • Liaison Hangout, 3 – 5:30 p.m. @online
    • Screenshots and Screencasts, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @online
  • January 29: Edmodo Workshop, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @Dundalk High School Room #1052
  • February 3: Communicating with Students and Parents in BCPS One, 4:15 – 6:14 p.m. @Fort Garrison Elementary
  • February 3 – March 3 (Tuesdays, Snow date March 10): Microsoft Office 2013 Overview, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. @Edmondson Heights Elementary School Library
  • February 3 – May 19 (Tuesdays, Mandatory Face to Face Sessions 2/3, 3/3, 3/31, and 5/12): Technology Innovation, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. @online and Pot Spring Elementary School
  • February 4 – March 4 (Wednesdays): Using Pixie and Wixie in the Teaching and Learning Process, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. @Gunpowder Elementary School
  • February 5: 
    • ActivInspire Workshop, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @Dundalk High School Room #1052
    • Introduction to Wixie Workshop, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @ Gundpowder Elementary School

3 thoughts on “December 2014/ January 2015

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