January / February 2017

January / February Edition at a Glance


  • New BCPS resources available
  • 😊 Emojis for learning?! 😲
  • Meet Oswald D’Learn
  • Teaching, learning, and media literacy in a world of “Fake News”
  • It’s coming…


Inside BCPS

Mobile Innovation Lab

The Department of Innovative Learning has officially launched the BCPS Mobile Innovation Lab, a converted school bus that serves as an innovation hub and makerspace for the district’s stakeholders. The Mobile Innovation Lab will be visiting elementary schools as part of its residency program and is also available for school events at any academic level. While the Lab’s schedule is full for the remainder of the 2016-17 school year, the 2017-18 request form will go live in August.

mil_1  mil_2

New Video Production Resources!

Please check out the new Video Production Guide published on the ODL Wiki.  This can be accessed through the Toolbox page for future reference.

The material in this new section was curated by a team of experienced BCPS teachers who have worked with video production both in and out of studio settings.  The guide is designed to help classroom teachers explore ways to use video projects with their existing curriculum, and allow students to create video projects along with their learning.

We look forward to seeing many great student and teacher created videos come from this work!  If you have an exemplar video that you would be willing to share with others, please contact Alex Wolf (awolf@bcps.org) to arrange to have that posted.

Have you Met Oswald?

This is no April Fools’ Joke…

Edcamp BCPS Is Coming!

BCPSedcamp_03Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 1, from 8:30 – 1:00.  The second annual Edcamp BCPS hosted by the Office of Digital Learning will be held at Cockeysville Middle School.  Registration isn’t open yet, but it’s never too soon to start planning for this unique professional learning opportunity.

What is an edcamp?  Edcamp is an unconference; where sessions are developed by the participants the day of the event.   It is an organic, participant-driven professional learning experience that is completely free of charge.  Everyone is welcome to propose and lead a session where conversation and collaboration are paramount.

For more information and to stay informed, visit http://tinyurl.com/edcampbcps17

Tips, Tricks, and Tools

Using Emojis in Your Classroom

You probably know what an emoji is; those little digital images used on your phone and online.  Many students use them in their personal communication every day.  So how can we leverage those little yellow faces to promote critical thinking?

Emoji Summaries: Have students summarize a text, science concept, or historical event using only emojis.  Students must clearly understand the main idea and use critical thinking skills to match it to available emojis.  As an extension, have peers try and decode each others’ summaries.

Emoji Summary of Photosynthesis

Emoji Summary of Photosynthesis from Eric Curtis

Emoji Summary of Charlottes Web

Emoji Summary of Charlottes Web from Eric Curtis

Emoji Writing Prompts: Instead of giving a traditional writing prompt, try giving students several emoji’s.  Each students will interpret the emojis differently and come up with awesome stories.

Random Emoji Prompt

Random Emoji Prompt created using Byrdseed.com/emoji

Emoji Rebus’– Rebus stories are created by replacing certain words or sounds with images.  Emojis are perfect for this.  Check out this fairy tale!

Sample Fairy Tale Rebus

Sample Fairy Tale Rebus from Davyhulme Primary School

Emoji Feelings: Use an emoji anchor chart to guide discussion of a character’s feelings throughout a text.  Students can also use emojis to respond to close reading questions about how a character’s feelings change throughout a text.  Students might also use emojis for annotating texts.

Emoji Anchor Chart and Responding Sheet

Emoji Anchor Chart and Responding Sheet from ERINtegration

Self Assessment– Use emojis to help students articulate how they are feeling about a particular standard.  This can help you identify students that need small group reteaching.

Self-Assessment Emojis

Self-Assessment Emojis

So how do students find emojis?  There is actually an emoji keyboard built into their device.  Students need to open the on screen keyboard and then switch to the emoji keyboard.


Students can also access the following sites to copy and paste additional emojis in a simplified form:

What are some other ways you can use emojis in the classroom?

Skype in Education

Want to connect with experts around the world?  Want to take your students on virtual field trips? Skype in Education makes it easy to leverage the power of Skype in your instruction.  Check out Skype in Education on the ODL Resource Wiki.

In the Media

How the Internet is Loosening Our Grip on the Truth

The New York Times · Farhad Manjoo

“Next week, if all goes well, someone will win the presidency. What happens after that is anyone’s guess. Will the losing side believe the results? Will the bulk of Americans recognize the legitimacy of the new president?” Read more

Most Students Don’t Know When News Is Fake, Stanford Study Finds

The Wall Street Journal · Sue Shellenbarger

“Preteens and teens may appear dazzlingly fluent, flitting among social-media sites, uploading selfies and texting friends. But they’re often clueless about evaluating the accuracy and trustworthiness of what they find.” Read more

Information Literacy Lessons Crucial in a Post-Truth World

American Association of School Librarians · Sara Stevenson

“In the aftermath of the US presidential election, I’ve been reflecting on what it means to live in a post-truth world. I was shocked to read several accounts explaining that a majority of Americans receive their news via Facebook.” Read more

For More on Fake News:

The Smell Test: Educators can counter fake news with information literacy. Here’s how. · School Library Journal

Faked Out | Editorial · School Library Journal

Upcoming Events:

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

  • (Ongoing) Digital Learning University Workshops
  • January 12:
    • Evidence-Based Practice Workshop for Library Media Specialists, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Greenwood, Board Room A&B
  • January 17:
    • Library PSD Day, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. @Dundalk High School
  • February 7:
    • Elementary Liaison Meeting, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @online
  • February 8:
    • Elementary Library Media Specialist Professional Development, 8:30 – 11:00 a.m. @Loyola Graduate Center, Room 39
    • Elementary Library Media Specialist Professional Development, 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. @Loyola Graduate Center, Room 39
    • Secondary Liaison Meeting, 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. @online
  • February 9:
    • Elementary Library Media Specialist Professional Development, 8:30 – 11:00 a.m. @Loyola Graduate Center, Room 39
    • Elementary Library Media Specialist Professional Development, 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. @Loyola Graduate Center, Room 39
  • February 10:
    • High School Library Media Specialist Professional Development, 8:30 – 11:00 a.m. @Loyola Graduate Center, Room 39
    • Middle School Library Media Specialist Professional Development, 12:00 – 2:30 p.m. @Loyola Graduate Center, Room 39
  • February 15:
    • Liaison Hangout, 3:00 – 5:30 p.m. @online
  • February 21:
    • MISA Refresher Course, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @online
  • February 24:
    • Deadline for CD 2017 Library Book Orders