Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Walla Walla Webcast With Jon Scieszka

The super cool author of some of my most favourite books The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stoopid Tales & The True Story of the Three Little pigs will be holding a live webcast for kids in March! It's FREE to sign up (and yes, to my MHMS Kids, we're so there!) and uber cool author of Trackers & friend of the MHMS Media Center - (see his signed poster below!) Patrick Carman will be the host!
From the website:

"Walla Walla Kids Read will webcast JON SCIESZKA, one of America’s most beloved children’s authors. This FREE event is hosted by Patrick Carman. Consult the events page for exact times, then sign up below if you would like to broadcast the author appearance in your classroom or library. All presentations last approximately 45 minutes and are presented on the web as they happen"

Visit the site for FREE Downloads:Learn more & Sign up your school today!

Which is your favourite Jon Scieszka book?

Walla Walla Webcast With Jon Scieszka

tags: Jon Scieszka, Patrick Carman, walla walla kids read, webcast

graphics & photos: © 2010 Walla Walla Kids Read

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cool QR Codes in the Classroom & Library

In our hallway - promoting our Google Form Book Reviews!
QR Codes are popping up everywhere! On the back of my Sephora catalog, windows of shops, and in my library! They're already big in Japan - and now in New York & LA.

On our Recent Arrival Display - Promoting this Blog!

They look cool, matrixy, and very graphic...
but what heck ARE they?

A Quick Response (QR) code is a two-dimensional or 2D bar code which can be interpreted by any mobile phone with camera capabilities. Unlike traditional barcodes, which feature a series of straight lines these barcodes QR Codes are laid out in a matrix and can hold much more information.
Through “scanning” the code by way of photographing it, and installing a a FREE APP or simple piece of software to your smartphone, anyone can access the information behind the QR which might contain images, easily launched website links, and text.

Simply use your smartphone's camera to scan a QR code (via a reader app, such as Barcode Scanner or QuickMark), and you'll instantly be rewarded with whatever content has been embedded in the code, whether it's a URL that you can auto launch to the site, a friend's contact information, or a text message.

QR Codes in the Classroom - and the Library! From a recent article I contributed to at the Innovative Educator blog - txtN N d library: Ideas for Librarians Who Want to Embrace the Power of Cell Phones (btw, feels weird to post this in the third person and do I use quotes if I wrote it?!)

"QR codes can also be used to conduct a treasure hunt of information in the school library. Middle school teacher librarian Gwyneth Jones, aka the
Daring Librarian, uses QR codes to engage students in what she calls “digital discoveries.” Asking the students to bring their cell phones to the library, in small groups or pairs, the kids hunt for sneaky QR codes posted around the library (programed with a free QR code generator) to discover clues that can be scanned that lead to other clues - some asking questions, some that lead students to wiki or webpages with further information, some that require the students to perform a task to discover the final clue and the “treasure” which is a special key code to be submitted to a Google form. Once on the Google form wikipage students input the “key” to a drawing for a chance to win an iTunes gift card or a bundle of free books. Another use is posting QR codes next to book displays & pubic access catalog computers that lead students to wikipages where they can write and read student book reviews.

Because students work in groups or pairs, only about a third of the class needs Smartphones and because she’s done a student survey in advance she knows how much technology her students have. If necessary, being ever cognizant of the digital divide, Jones has purchased a couple iPod touch Generation 4 mobile devices that students may use in the library or check out to use at home with the preloaded Kindle app and several books, music, & library pics." - Read the rest of the article by Tamara Cox and check out her AWEsome Eliterate Librarian blog

Buying information for the iPod Touch 4th Generation
Now with FaceTime, Retina display, HD video recording, and Game Center.

Shopping ALERT! Amazon price beats Apple teacher discount!

An 8G Apple iPod Touch 4th Gen is on sale on Amazon for $215 last week... and the Apple Educator price was.....wait for it....$229! What the what!? So like I mention on my
check Amazon's price before you decide to buy - and remember the low price today could raise higher tomorrow - and vice versa.

QR Code Jewelry -
If I weren't so busy (and so indolent) I'd start a cottage industry of Customizable QR Code jewelry or buttons on As it is - I bought the last one from BarcodeArt this morning. Heh heh. I have shopping issues.

QR Code Resources & Articles:
A Time to Give Thanks

It's true the more you give the more your receive... Since I've started sharing more...I've gotten more back. Thank you everyone who has so generously shared with me this year! Thank you students who voted for us for the Edublog nominatios...sorry, no we didn't win...but we loved having you visit us here & see more of what we do for you! Don't be a stranger & always feel free to leave comments with your screen name or first name!

In this season of light & giving- let's all please remember to be generous, supportive, positive, & INCLUSIVE of each other!
/lovefest bah humbug! LOL
Photo credits:
Calvin Klein billboard Mashable
QR Code on Door: Tailor Made Hotel
Flickr Creative Commons QR Code on a Stick - photo by See-ming Lee - Photo shop by me!
iPod Touch 4th Gen from Villa State
QR Code Custom button photo by BarcodeArt
Photo of the Philly Museum of Art - ME!

Monday, December 06, 2010

We've Been Nominated! Edublog Awards 2011

Every year Edublogs, an international committee of technology educators opens up nominations for the very best blogs, wiki's, webinars, virtual world events, use of educational social media & more for that year. The hundreds of nominations are tallied up and a "short list" of nominations are announced for voting from the parents, students, teachers, public & community. There's no money involved..but it's a great honor! And we made it!

To be even nominated is an honor, flattering, and award enough - but what the heck, let's see if we can win this thing!

Vote for the MHMS Tech Wiki!
Click HERE to Vote for the Best Educational Wiki - Please Look & Vote for MHMS Tech Wiki - Visit the MHMS Tech Wiki which was started in 2006 and provides professional development technology help & tips for staff and visitors worldwide!

On an exciting side note....Vote for Ms. Jones!
Click HERE to Vote for the Best Librarian Blog - Please Look & Vote for The Daring Librarian
Voting Ends Midnight December 14th.
Thank you for your inspiration & support!

Ms. Gwyneth Jones - aka The Daring Librarian of MHMS Media for the past 14 years has also been nominated for an unprecedented 4 different awards -quick voting links below - your support & votes would be gratefully appreciated. Having Fun Voting? Ms. Jones is also nominated fro these AWARDS!

Only one vote per IP address counts - so voting from home is key! No registration is necessary and voting - using the quick links below - only takes a few minutes!

Click HERE to Vote for the Best Use of Video/Visual Blog - - Please Look & Vote for The Daring Librarian

Click HERE to Vote for the Best Webinar Series - Please Look & Vote for the TL Virtual Cafe
Ms. Jones is the TL Virtual Cafe Coordinator that provides FREE webinars to librarians & teachers worldwide on her own time.

Click HERE to Vote for the Best Use of a Virtual Network - Please Look & Vote for ISTE SIGMS
Ms. Jones assisted with the creation of the 21st Century Library Media Center Playground in Second Life on her own time.

Thank you again! YAY!

Friday, December 03, 2010

MHTV Celebrates the Maccabeats & Chanuka!

or...It's a Maccabeats Chanuka!

Our middle school kids really got into the Maccabeats Candlelight (lyrics) video this morning on MHTV- our live TV news broadcast. In fact, people were singing it all over the school! I just had to share the Maccabeats because they are a bucket full of AWEsome! This music video re-mix mash-up teaches diversity, history, and pure potato latkes love! A great video to show your school to celebrate Haunnukah & teach multiculturalism Oh and FUN! YAY!

Our Lead Story Intro Script:
In our continuing celebration of Chanuka, the festival of lights, we bring you a special music video created by the Maccabeats, an a capella group from Yeshiva University.
Strongly committed to the "integration of traditional and non-traditional wisdom, the Maccabeats perform remixes of an array of Jewish, American, and Israeli songs." Here is their Chanuka mixup titled Candlelight. - (show video)

We couldn't help filming our TV studio kids as they spontaneously started dancing as we were playing this to the whole school (of course they were extra silly when we pulled out the flip cam!) But I think you can see that in this DC Metro school, kids of every race & religion enjoyed the infectious joy of this music video. Flip video footage by my MHTV Co-Executive producer, Gifted & Talented teacher, and fellow Geek Tribe member, Elizabeth Singleton.

The Maccabeats bring peace, joy, love, tolerance, and infectiously danceable songs & videos! Think of the Warblers on Glee but with a Yarmulke! - Gwyneth Jones (heh heh in case you wanna quote me!) the Candlelight song on iTunes

Thank you Maccabeats & Uri Westrich!

ps. because Youtube is blocked in most schools could you please upload all your positive school-friendly & educational music videos to TeacherTube? Thanks!

UPDATES! From an email:


Re: Murray Hill Middle School says THANKS!

Thanks so much Gwyneth! It's really nice to hear things like that. I'll have to look into this TeacherTube. I never heard of it before.

Sent to: gwynethanne

YouTube UPDATE: We've had an amazing 490 views of the video above! Don't forget to leave your comments! : -) ~ms. jones

Related articles:
Hanukkah video helps Jews sing new tune
'Dynamite' Hanukkah Remix: Maccabeats Spoof Taio Cruz

Maccabeats's Hanukkah Song Becomes Online Hit

We're not the only ones talking about this awesome viral video! From Just Jared-

"A capella group The Maccabeats covering Taio Cruz’s song “Dynamite” with a Jewish spin on it!

“I flip my latkes in the air sometimes, singing ay-oh, spin the dreidel,” the group sings about Hanukkah. “Just want to celebrate for all eight nights, singing ay-oh light the candles.”

The Maccabeats, an all-male a capella group from NYC’s Yeshiva University, have already racked up more than 300,000 YouTube views for the video!

Last month, The Today Show anchors also recorded their version of “Dynamite” complete with beatboxing! -

Read more from Just Jared

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Livescribe Pencast Book Reviews & More!

Or...Craft Time with the Daring Librarian!
Ms. Jones loves gadgets! I've been talking about the Livescribe pen on my Gadget-A-Go-Go wiki & in presos at conferences for years now! Finally, I got one! Woohoo! to do with it? Hmmmm SO many ideas!

Background information: the Livescribe pen will record audio and writing/drawing and can play back with just a tap of the pen. You can also send out the "Pencasts" as both audio and video recreation as you can see & hear in the example below.

How to Create a Pencast Book Review!
Now, I gotta say...this is a really cool idea but... it ain't that pretty! Any suggestions on how to neaten up the process would be appreciated.
How it works - you'll need:
1. Livescribe pen - I have a 4g (buying information)
2. Livescribe paper
3. Scissors & Tape
4. Created bookmarks or shelf-talkers (you can make your own or download mine from my wiki)

Think up a quick book review or read the blurb as you click the Record button on the Livescribe paper and write the word "HERE!" on the same special paper - Read out your review then click Stop when you're done. I had to try this a few times before I got it right. Cut out that piece of paper and write the other words around "Tap the pen (HERE!) to hear the Pencast Book Review" around it. As you can see my handwriting sucks...isn't all that pretty. I cut out the playback buttons on the Livescribe paper except for the RECORD button (I was born at night, but not last night!) and tape the direction sheet to the inside front of the book. I also tape a Pencast Book Review bookmark to the inside back cover (so I can see which books have the reviews and which don't!) The pictures to the left are of the really cool graphic novel by Barry Deutsch called Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword - about yet another Troll fighting 11 year old Orthodox Jewish girl! A present from dear new Geek Tribe buddy & fellow Teacher Librarian Mr. John Schumacher of Brook Forest Elementary School in Naperville, Illinois! Nice!
I also taped a shelf talker to the book rack so when a book comes back that has the Pencast Book Review I can plop it there... the Bookmark says:

How it Works:
The student signs out the pen then wanders around our Library Media Center and when they see the bookmark they can tap & listen to a book review! The cool part is that the computer built into the pen remembers each diff piece of that special Livescribe paper and goes directly to the right review! But the not so cool part is that it's a lot of paper taped to a book with my funky handwriting! So far, the coolness part has won over my kids and I joke off my handwriting saying "I'm still practicing" or that because of keyboarding for the last 19 years I've slacked off with the legible penmanship.

I'm gonna have kids start recording these but I had to do a few as a practice...the fourth one is a blooper! No laughing! LOL Ok....snickering is fine.

Listen to the Pencast Book Review:

Other Livescribe Library Ideas:
  • TV Studio Equipment! Record directions on the Livescribe paper and tape to different equipment pieces in the TV Studio!
  • Livescribe Library Treasure hunt! Research, follow the clues, tap and learn!
  • Walking Tour of the School! Tape these around on index cards with the student ambassadors describing that area or room - visitors or new kids can get a map of the school with the Livescribe Walking & Talking Points Tour© and listen as they explore the building!
  • Science & History Day fair exhibits... Can't give up the Trifold? I blogged about it a few weeks ago but how cool would it be if the student doing the research could explain each part of the display in their own words with a tap of the pen?
So for an investment of as little as $99.00 for the 2G to $159.00 you can get an interactive tool that literally speaks volumes for transliteracy!

(Two of my MHTV girls wearing our new MHTV hoodies!)