February 2015

February Edition at a GlanceFebruary

  • BCPS@BCPL: building a strong partnership Inside BCPS
  • Food for Thought: Student Centered Learning
  • In the Media; changing classrooms, teachers, and libraries
  • Tips, Tricks, and Tools for formative assessment and adaptive instruction
  • NEW! Test your knowledge with a S.T.A.T. crossword puzzle!
  • Check out our list of Upcoming Events

Inside BCPS

BCPS@BCPL Collaborative PD Day

BCPS@BCPL PD DayIn the spirit of the SAIL Partnership with the Baltimore County Public Libraries (BCPL), Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) Library Media Specialists met at their school’s local BCPL branch on January 26 for a morning of professional development and collaboration. Each of the nineteen BCPL branches hosted at least 5 schools, providing informational folders and breakfast for the participants. School Library Media Specialists were able to have a round table discussion with their colleagues and the School Liaison Librarian(s) from the branches that serve their school community. This unique opportunity allowed for vertical collaboration among the BCPS Library Media Specialists as well as a chance for BCPS and BCPL Librarians to determine ways that they can continue to foster the BCPS/BCPL partnership while continually assisting our school communities as instrumental and vital resources of information and education.  Follow all BCPS library media specialist information and events on Twitter at #bcpslms.

Flipping the Elementary Classroom: How to do an “in-class” flip with young learners

“As a first grade teacher at a ‘Lighthouse’ school in Baltimore County, I work with young students who each have their own digital learning device. My colleagues and I are also working to create models of digital, personalized, and blended learning for students using these new tools.” Read More

Interested in learning more about flipped learning? Register for the Digital Learning University Module- Flipped Learning.

  • 2/18/15, 4:15-6:15 @ Loch Raven Academy Lab
  • 4/21/15, 4:15-6:15 @ Pine Grove Middle Library

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 began January 13 and run through May 19.  Visit the ODL Wiki for details about Digital Learning University.

Other Highlights:

  • 7 Lighthouse middle schools announced:  Read More
  • What’s Trending in BCPS Lighthouse Classrooms- Deliberate Excellence Blog Post: Read More

Food for Thought: Student Centered

Each school in Baltimore County has a S.T.A.T. teacher who is tasked with providing the professional development that will transform instruction from teacher directed to student centered. This month’s Food for Thought features two articles by the same author, Rebecca Alber, an instructor at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education. Her first article provides guiding questions for reflection and talks about balancing the role of the teacher between providing direct instruction when appropriate and facilitating student centered learning. Her earlier article below provides a great example of how to take a traditional lesson and revise it to be more student centered. Where are you in this transformation? Please feel free to share your insights in the comment section at the bottom of this newsletter.

How Student-Centered Is Your Classroom?

Edutopia · Rebecca Alber · January 29, 2015:

“Whether you instruct first grade or university students, take some time to think about where you are with creating a learning space where your students have ample voice, engage frequently with each other, and are given opportunities to make choices.”   Read More

Tools for Teaching: How to Transform Direct Instruction

Edutopia · Rebecca Alber · July 23, 2013:

“Let’s first take this direct instruction on the topic of imagery: The teacher begins by presenting students with a definition for imagery and gives an example of it. Then the teacher instructs students to read a short story and underline sentences and passages where the author used imagery.  Now, let’s transform that scenario into a lesson of student-centered discovery:”  Read More

Tips, Tricks, and Tools

Formative Assessment with Kahoot!

Jan Chappuis writes that formative assessment only occurs when the information gathered from the assessment is used to “adjust teaching and learning as needed.”  Data from Kahoot! quizzes is a great way to get instant feedback on individual student’s progress.  The results of the Kahoot! quizzes are available “in time to take action with the students who generated them.”  Use the data from a Kahoot! quiz to inform the creation of small groups, provide guidance for enrichment or re-teaching activities, and identify and address common misconceptions.

Find a tutorial for accessing Kahoot! results here and other tutorials for using Kahoot! can be found on the ODL Resource Wiki.

Rewordify your Text

rewordifyRewordify.com simplifies difficult English. Simply enter hard sentences (or whole chapters) into the yellow box at the top of the page. Click Rewordify text and you’ll instantly see an easier version, for fast understanding. The reworded words are highlighted— click them to hear and learn the original harder word.” Rewordify also creates learning activities like vocabulary lists, matching activities, quizzes, and cloze activities at the press of a button.  Check it out.

Simple Screen Shots

PrintScreenWindows 8 makes the whole process of taking a screen shot a lot easier. You can just press the Win+PrntScr keys together and Windows 8 will automatically save the screenshot in your Pictures library folder. The screenshot is saved with the name Screenshot.png. If you take more screenshots, they are saved with an added number such as Screenshot (2).pngScreenshot (3).png and so on.

In the Media

ISTE Librarians Network Awards

The ISTE Librarians Network has opened nominations for their annual primary and secondary awards! You may nominate yourself or a colleague between now and February 28 for the chance to be recognized at the ISTE Conference and Expo 2015 in Philadelphia. Nominees will be judged on:

  • Use of technology to help students develop higher order 21st century skills.
  • Strong, clear explanation of a successful collaborative technology project.
  • Reflection and recommendations for similar future projects, as well as ability to replicate the project.
  • Evidence that the librarian is a technology leader in their school setting.
  • Ample support from the school administration and staff for the school’s library program.
  • The nominee’s work may be used as a model for colleagues.
  • The nominee’s work reflects the mission and purpose of ISTE.

See this posting for more information and links to nomination forms (ISTE account login required).

Join LMC@ the Forefront

This free online collaborative community focuses on all aspects of being a K – 12 library media professional. This professional learning community (PLC) offers school librarians a place to explore together the challenges, opportunities and resources that make school libraries vibrant, vital research and learning environments. Share insights, answers and encouragement to help you transform your school library into a thriving hub for 21st century learning and teaching. Check out these upcoming webinars; you can sign up to view archived webinars as well.

What Makes a Great Teacher?

Washington Post · Valerie Strauss · February 2, 2015:

“I know, because Lauren is incredibly modest, that she is going to want to kill me for writing about her, but she’s going to have to deal with it, because what she did is amazing—and it helps me understand the most important lesson I have learned, which is that great teaching is much, much more than a set of techniques.” Read more…

Teaching Essential 21st Century Skills

eSchool News · September 18, 2014:

“Today’s students need more than just instruction in the core topic areas. They also need to learn key 21st-century skills that will serve them well in a globally competitive, information-based society, such as problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration—as well as digital literacy skills such as how to find, evaluate, synthesize, and present information. These skills will be critical for success on the new Common Core assessments set to begin this year.” Read more…

Why School Libraries are Transforming into Learning Commons

eSchool News · Paul Schott · February 4th, 2015:

“Once-quiet libraries are turning into dynamic learning centers!  There is no “shushing” in the International School at Dundee’s library.  Students can talk; they can even get a little noisy while tapping away at keyboards, peppering a guest speaker with questions, or giving a presentation to classmates. Head over to the Makerspace and you will hear the rumbling and beeping of 3D printers churning out their latest creations.”  Read More

S.T.A.T. Crossword Puzzle

How well do you know the following terms associated with the BCPS S.T.A.T. initiative?  Click the link above for an interactive version or click on the image below to print one out.



1.  The continuous process of acquiring new knowledge and skills that relate to one’s profession, job responsibilities, or work environment.
5.  A time during the school day when a small group of teachers visit other classrooms to observe teaching and learning in action with the purpose of identifying practices and methods that work.
8.  The title given to a school designated to become a model demonstration site for the S.T.A.T. initiative.
14.  The measure of fairness and inclusion in providing a 21st century education to all students.
17.  Number of years planned to fully implement the S.T.A.T. initiative.
19.  Number of lighthouse elementary schools.


2.  Instructional design in which the student takes an active role in their learning through choice in sequence and selection of learning experiences based on standards, interests and learning preferences.
3.  An environment that creates authentic experiences to motivate learners to construct their own meaning and accept responsibility for learning.
4.  Instructional design in which the sequence and selection of learning experiences for each student is driven by teacher decisions based upon student formative assessment data and learner profile.
6.  A learner and teacher co-created resource to record students thinking and highlight really important parts of a lesson.
7.  School-based positions that provide support for the professional development process by facilitating job-embedded professional development.
9.  The degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students show when they are learning or being taught,
10.  A technology initiative in which every student has a computing device to use during the school day.
11.  Digital portal for curriculum and instruction, assessments, student data, reporting, and analysis.
12.  Common nickname for the computing device provided to students and teachers.
13.  Learning that is a mix of independent work, peer-to-peer group work and teacher directed instruction in both online and face-to-face environments.
15.  Number of lighthouse middle schools.
16.  Number of conversions needed to ensure all schools have an equitable, effective digital learning environment.
18.  Team members who regularly collaborate toward continued improvement in meeting learner needs through a shared curricular-focused vision.

Folks to Follow

Twitter BCPS  Middle and High School Twitter Accounts

Upcoming Events:

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

  • February 10:
    • Elementary Liaison Meeting, 9 – 11 a.m. @Pulaski Park II e-Classroom Suite 307
    • Elementary – Facilitating Instruction in BCPS One through the Lesson Tiles Workshop, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @Joppa View Elementary School
    • Elementary Liaison Meeting, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Hillcrest Elementary School
  • February 11:
    • Elementary Liaison Meeting, 9 – 11 a.m. @Pulaski Park II e-Classroom Suite 307
    • Elementary Liaison Meeting, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Cromwell Valley Elementary School
    • VoiceThread Workshop, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Woodholme Elementary School
  • February 12:
    • Secondary Liaison Meeting, 9 – 11 a.m. @Pulaski Park II e-Classroom Suite 307
    • Online Research Modules and Slam Dunk Lessons Workshop, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @Randallstown High School
    • Elementary Liaison Meeting, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Joppa View Elementary School
  • February 17:
    • Secondary Liaison Meeting, 9 – 11 a.m. @Pulaski Park II e-Classroom Suite 307
    • Secondary Liaison Meeting, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. @Pulaski Park II e-Classroom Suite 307
    • Leveraging Technology in a Learner Centered Classroom Workshop, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @Franklin Middle School
    • Creating Interactive Assignments in BCPS One Workshop, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @Fort Garrison Elementary School
  • February 18: Flipped Learning Workshop, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @Loch Raven Technical Academy
  • February 19:
    • S.T.A.T. Teacher Professional Development Meeting, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. @Loyola Graduate Center
    • Introduction to Social Media Workshop, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @Owings Mills High School
  • February 19 – March 19 (Thursdays, Snow date March 26):  Microsoft Office 2013 Overview, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. @Dundalk High School
  • February 24:
    • Liaison Hangout, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. @online
    • Elementary – Facilitating Instruction in BCPS one through the Lesson Tiles Workshop, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @Fort Garrison Elementary School
  • February 25:
    • Audio Tools in Instruction Workshop, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @Joppa View Elementary School
    • Infographics in the Classroom Workshop, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @Loch Raven Technical Academy
  • February 26:
    • S.T.A.T. Teacher Professional Development Meeting, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. @Loyola Graduate Center
    • Introduction to Wixie Workshop, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Woodholme Elementary School
  • February 26 – April 2 (Thursdays): Using Pixie and Wixie in the Teaching and Learning Process, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. @Oakleigh Elementary School
  • March 4
    • Basic Excel for Data Analysis, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @Edmondson Heights Elementary School
    • Basic Excel for Data Analysis, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @Charlesmont Elementary School
  • March 5:
    • Transforming Instruction with SAMR, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @Vincent Farm Elementary School

One thought on “February 2015

  1. Pingback: March 2015 | ODL Digest

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