April / May 2017

April / May Edition at a Glance

  • Recap of Edcamp BCPS
  • School Library Month is in full swing!
  • Food for Thought on Equity and Libraries
  • A new resource for Discovery Education
  • Book recommendations
  • Plus upcoming professional learning opportunities!

Inside BCPS

EdCamp BCPS

On Saturday, April 1, 2017 the Office of Digital Learning hosted over 80 teachers, leaders and staff from around Baltimore County for the second annual EdcampBCPS.  These TeamBCPS members gave up a Saturday morning to participate in this unique professional learning experience.  Participants proposed and facilitated learning in 28 different sessions with topics ranging from “behavior and discipline in the classroom” to “online, real-time collaboration.”  Participants ended the day with a Smackdown where they could share their biggest takeaway from the day.

So what did participants think about their experience?  Check out this feedback!Edcamp Banner

  • “I loved the freedom you gave us to explore topics that would be beneficial to us.”
  • “This was a very cool experience. What better way to have meaningful PD than to allow the learner to be responsible for his/her own learning.”
  • “Sharing ideas was fantastic!”
  • “I was motivated to start a maker movement at my school.”
  • “I was able to collaborate with other teachers to learn meaningful technology and skills that I was able to use in the classroom right away.”

If you were not able to attend and are interested in learning from your colleagues, check out the crowd-sourced notes taken during the event and participant Tweets curated just for you!

Because School Libraries Empower Students

BCPS is in the middle of celebrating School Library Month; the American Association of School Librarians’ celebration of school librarians and their programs. Every April school librarians are encouraged to host activities to help their school and local community celebrate the essential role that strong school library programs play in transforming learning.  This year’s theme is “Because School Libraries Empower Students.”  On the BCPS website, library media specialists Timothy Thomas, Lauren Magnuson, and Lashon Moseley were interviewed and spotlighted.  The Office of Digital Learning has also been hosting a School Library Month Twitter Challenge.  By using the hashtag #bcpslms and the official National School Library month hashtag #slm17, library media specialists are showcasing their work with students and highlighting the quality of our school library program.  You can check out their tweets to see how they are doing with the challenge!

National Recognition for Commitment to Student Data Privacy and Security

Baltimore County Public Schools has been awarded the prestigious national Trusted Learning Environment (TLE) Seal by the CoSN (Consortium for School Networking).

The TLE Seal, awarded on April 4 to five school systems, is a mark of distinction for school systems that demonstrate a strong commitment to student data privacy and security by meeting a rigorous set of standards. BCPS was part of the second group of school systems to earn the national TLE Seal, raising the total to 12 districts nationwide. BCPS is the only TLE Seal recipient in the State of Maryland. The honor was presented at the CoSN 2017 Annual Conference in Chicago, IL.  Read More


Food for Thought

These articles continue our district conversation about diversity in libraries & literature and our ongoing work on developing school library collections, curriculum, & programs through an equity lens.

  • Comfort Zone (SLJ, March 22, 2017) “An early lesson in empathy inspired Gene Luen Yang. In this original comic for School Library Journal, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature depicts the inspiration for his Reading Without Walls program, which challenges readers to read beyond their comfort zone.”
  • New Crop of Young Adult Novels Explores Race and Police Brutality (New York Times, March 19, 2017) *For secondary LMS.
    “Teachers and librarians across the country have embraced the new body of children’s literature dealing with racial bias and injustice. Some educators see fiction as a particularly potent tool for engaging with volatile topics and instilling empathy in young readers.”
  • “Rock Star” Librarians Article Hits Sour Note (SLJ, March 20, 2017) “An article entitled “The ‘Rock Star’ Librarians Who Choose What Your Kids Read” published in the Wall Street Journal on March 5, 2017, caused some school librarians to question how the general public perceives our profession. The fact that diverse voices weren’t heard, valued, or represented in the WSJ article made us look more closely at the people we look to as leaders, the authors and role models we invite to our schools, the books we choose to read, review, and purchase. We need to do more, and we need to be better. If we want our students to see themselves on our bookshelves and in our programming, we need to actively work toward that goal. How can we expect the world (or the Wall Street Journal) to see school libraries as places where diversity is honored and celebrated if we are not working to make them that way?”

Tips, Tricks, and Tools

Spotlight on Discovery Education

Teachers love using Discovery Education to find streaming media to integrate into lessons. Students enjoy using Board Builder to demonstrate their knowledge on a topic. Did you know that Discovery Education has resources to support lesson planning? The Office of Digital Learning has curated additional resources and strategies on our new Discovery Education Wiki Page. Currently, this page has resources for: Discovery Education Streaming, Board Builder, Lesson Resources, Events & Experiences, and Techbook Support.

This month we are focusing on Virtual Field Trips. Take your students beyond the classroom walls and into some of the world’s most iconic locations for rich and immersive learning experiences — no permission slips required. Tour the National Archives, see how an egg farm works, explore NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, or hear from the President of the United States. Discovery Education Virtual Field Trips are fun, educational, and free! Particpate in a Virtual Field Trip live or access the archive. For a complete list of Virtual Field Trips coming up, check out the Discovery Education Events Calendar.

Upcoming Virtual Field Trip

Discovery Education is sponsoring Careers that Count: A Virtual Field Trip with the NBA on Thursday, May 4 at 1 p.m. ET. Not everyone will be an NBA player, but anyone with a passion for sports and math can pursue a career in professional athletics. Don’t miss this special opportunity to open your students’ minds to viable and exciting STEM careers. Register your classroom today for this free 30-minute virtual field trip, brought to you by Discovery Education Math Techbook and Jr. NBA. Find out more information and register at http://www.discoveryeducation.com/CareersThatCount/.

Build your Professional Library

BCPL’s Summer Reading pre-registration begins on May 8.  Why not get a head start on building YOUR summer reading list?  Here are some titles to consider (the links below take you to the book’s Amazon page so you can read the full description):

  1. The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier
  2. Better Conversations by Jim Knight
  3. Teach Like a Champion 2.0 by Doug Lemov
  4. The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros
  5. Launch by John Spencer and A.J. Juliani
  6. Integrating Technology in the Classroom by Boni Hamilton and ISTE
  7. Kids Deserve It! by Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome

Professional Learning Opportunities

Preventing the Summer Slide with Audiobooks (edWeb.net Webinar): May 8, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Listening to professionally narrated audiobooks is a great way to prevent the “summer slide.” Children in low-income households fall behind an average of two months in reading during the summer, and summer learning loss accounts for two-thirds of the ninth grade achievement gap in reading between students from low-income households and their higher-income peers. Mary Ann Scheuer, Teacher Librarian at Berkeley USD, CA, will discuss key research findings from a 2016 study looking at the effect of adding a listening component to literacy instruction in school and at home, and share the benefits, excitement and engagement of students listening to high-interest audiobooks that she has experienced first-hand. With new digital technologies, it’s never been easier to support year-round student reading and learning. This live, interactive session is designed for PreK-12 librarians as well as reading coaches, ELL specialists/teachers, Title I teachers and administrators, district librarians, and classroom teachers.

Designing Interactive Library Spaces on Limited Budgets (DEMCO Webinar): May 11, 2:00 p.m.

The success of libraries in the future will be determined by their ability to create stories and engage their communities in new and exciting ways. One way to accomplish this is by putting technology, people and spaces together so that patrons can become creators and innovators. Join Brian Pichman from the Evolve Project as he covers tips for success when designing interactive library spaces and experiences on a limited budget. Brian will offer ideas for your library, from programming for all ages to display tips to makerspaces, that will help you engage your community without spending thousands of dollars. You’ll learn about furniture and design concepts, which maker technology to include, and how to find additional funding to turn your dream into reality.

Summer Reading 501; Helping Generation App Read This Summer (edWeb.net Webinar): May 24, 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

As we release our K-12ers for the summer, are we adequately psyching Generation App up for…wait for it…READING? Oh sure, there’s a list. You know the list, right? The summer reading list? Is this really the most effective way to promote independent reading for Generation Next? Is it the most effective way to improve reading skills? Research indicates that attention spans are waning for learners of all ages. In this session, facilitators will highlight strategies to engage school-aged learners with summer reading. This webinar will benefit K-12 librarians.

Common Ground 2017: May 4 – 5 @Ocean City, Maryland

Grow.  Share.  Join approximately 1,200 education colleagues from across the state and surrounding areas for the fifth annual Common Ground, Maryland’s top professional development event of the year. Thought-provoking speakers, hundreds of inspiring sessions, and demonstrations of the latest products and services will provide you the 21st century know-how you need.  It’s not too late to register!  If you’re attending, check out these BCPS-led sessions:

Thursday, May 4:

  • 8:20 – 9:20
    • Room 205: Mystery Skype in the Classroom, Katie Cox and Lauren Caplen
    • Room 208: Lead. Make. Repeat., Doug Elmendorf
    • Room 215A: Targeted Small-Group Instruction for Secondary Schools, Christine Roberts, Niamh McQuillan, Maggie Cummings
  • 9:30 – 10:15
    • Round Table: Do you want to be a “tagteam-teacher”?,  Byron Rouse
    • Round Table: Designing a Teacher-Centered Professional Development Program, Gail Klaben
    • Round Table: How is flex blended learning supporting your at-promise students in recognizing and accessing their potential?, Stacy Bryan
  • 12:45 – 1:45
    • Room 207: Stop Ubering Your Way to Professional Development and Get Into the Driver’s Seat with Micro-credentials, Jill Snell, Angela de Guzman (MSDE)
    • Room 215A: Enriching the Math Class Through the Use of Technology, Florence Falatko
    • Mobile Innovation Lab: Creating 21st Century Learners through Authentic Learning
      Experience, David Robb, Christina Cumberland
  • 2:20 – 3:30
    • Room 214: Reaching the Unreachable: Relationships and the At Risk Student, Natasha Wilson
    • Mobile Innovation Lab: Making is Science: It’s About Thinking and Not About Stuff, Eric Cromwell
    • Conference Room Level 1: Collaboration in a Statewide Organization, James Corns
  • 3:30 – 4:30
    • Room 204: Restorative Practices: Positive Culture through the Power of Circles, Jennifer Pilarski, Michael Gorecki
    • Room 208: Hacking #EdTech: Tools to Survive & Thrive the Digital Revolution, Joquetta Johnson
    • Mobile Innovation Lab: “Making” Student Research Meaningful, Justin Hennaut, Valerie Schaffer

Friday, May 5:

  • 8:30 – 9:30
    • Room 201: Spanning the Digital Divide- Inquiry in the Mathematics Classroom, Matthew Doty
    • Room 208: ELLs in the Digital Age: Integrating Technology to Enrich Instruction, Stephanie Harkins, Andrea Parrish (TU)
    • Room 209: Book Buffet: A Tasting Menu of PD Books to Wet Your Palate, Kim Culbertson, Leah Wolfe, Leah Warble
    • Room 212: Balancing Access, Safety, Security, and Innovation, James Corns
    • Room 215A: M.A.T.H. Program for the Learner-Centered Environment, Shannon Pope, Megan Haberkam
    • Mobile Innovation Lab: Redefining Technology Integration: Curriculum and Coding is a Natural Fit, Michele Delaney, Anne McManus,  Rachael McLaren, Flo Falatko, Jill Dunham Wright
  • 9:50 – 10:20
    • Round Table: What challenges do you and your students face in providing IEP accommodations and
      modifications in flex blended programs and
      how are you overcoming those challenges? Stacy Bryan
  • 10:30 – 11:30
    • Mobile Innovation Lab: Incorporating Meaningful Maker Lessons into ELA Instruction, Diane Christadore, Melissa Forester
    • Featured Speaker PAC: Now Is the Perfect Time for Future Ready Libraries! Fran Glick
  • 12:45 – 1:45
    • Room 202: Explore and Create-The First Steps in Creating a STEM Themed Makerspace in the Library Media Center, Dana Novotny
    • Room 209: Breakout EDU: Escape the Ordinary, Justin Hennaut, Valerie Schaffer, Jennifer Weaver, Amanda Lanza
    • Mobile Innovation Lab: Windows and Mirrors: Building Equitable School Library Collections, Fran Glick, Chimere Neal
  • 2:20 – 3:10
    • Room 202: Student Research Gets Personal: The Independent Research Seminar, Kelly Ray, Joquetta Johnson
    • Room 209: Maker Space 101: The What, Why and How, Rachel Pfister, Karen Harris

Upcoming Events:

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

  • (Ongoing) Digital Learning University Workshops
  • April 26: Deadline for BCPS LMS to submit completed MSDE Annual School Library Media Center Reports
  • May 2: Showing of Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age, 6:30 p.m. @Catonsville HS, Towson HS, and Dundalk/Sollers HS
  • May 4 – 5: Common Ground MD Conference @Ocean City
  • May 8: BCPL Summer Reading pre-registration begins. Stay tuned for more details, coming soon!
  • May 9:
    • HSA May Refresher Webinar, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. @online
    • Liaison Hangout, 3:00 – 5:30 p.m. @online
  • May 16:
    • Elementary LMS Professional Learning, 8:30 – 11:00 a.m. @Pulaski Suite 307 e-Classroom
    • Elementary LMS Professional Learning, 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. @ Pulaski Suite 307 e-Classroom
  • May 17:
    • Elementary LMS Professional Learning, 8:30 – 11:00 a.m. @Pulaski Suite 307 e-Classroom
    • Elementary LMS Professional Learning, 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. @ Pulaski Suite 307 e-Classroom
  • May 18:
    • 5th Annual Student Independent Research Symposium, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. @ Pikesville HS Library
  • May 24:
    • High School LMS Professional Learning, 8:30 – 11:00 a.m. @Pulaski Suite 307 e-Classroom
    • Middle School LMS Professional Learning, 12:00 – 2:30 p.m. @ Pulaski Suite 307 e-Classroom
    • End of the Year Liaison Meeting, 4:30 – 6:30 @ Perry Hall Middle School
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