Friday, January 13, 2017

Dr. King: a True Servant Leader


I was touched by this timeless Huffington Post article from Mr. James Perry, once mayoral candidate and the the Executive Director of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center:
"Among the most important lessons I've learned from Dr. King is the example of servant leadership. A servant leader is one who offers an inclusive vision; listens carefully to others; persuades through reason; and heals divisions while building community.
It is easy to spot servant leaders. In a room where others are jockeying for attention, they are the ones listening to someone others might consider unimportant. When faced with a problem, they look for solutions that benefit everyone. When something goes wrong, they take the blame. When things go well, they share the credit. They tell everyone the same story, even when it is inconvenient or difficult. They know that they don't have all the answers, so they seek advice from others. They work hard and inspire others to do the same.
Martin Luther King, Jr. is an example of a servant leader. His life shows the extraordinary power of servant leadership to radically transform a nation. Our communities and our country need servant leadership more than ever. Deepening economic woes threaten the American dream for far too many working people. Racial divisions are embarrassingly persistent in too many aspects of our economic and social lives. Political despair is battering the uniquely American optimism that has made us a great nation.
There are precious few servant leaders in our current political environment. Many elected officials are more interested in personal power, individual legacy, and financial gain than in the sacrifice and commitment that servant leadership requires."
@JamesHPerry  
Powerful words. 
As educators, we have the honor to teach the next generation of servant leaders. It is our job, duty, and privilege to instill in them the passion to effect change and the empathy to think outside themselves. To inspire them to think not of the "me" but of the"we."

I passionately believe that we also must be a model for these values and these practices for our students. So that the kids can see that we, as teachers, administrators, and all staff, follow these values and give of ourselves for the betterment of others and the world. To take responsibility for our own actions and mistakes. We're human. We stumble, we fail, we make mistakes and we fall on our face. Show the kids that we pick ourselves up,
acknowledge our fails, apologize, and move on. How can we ask them to be accountable and take responsibility if we don't do that, too? I knew a teacher once (now, thankfully retired) who said he would NEVER apologize to a kid or a class even if he was wrong because he would lose "power." I heartily disagree! I think we are seen as more powerful when we say, "Wow, I was wrong about that, I'm so sorry!" Or try the classic "You were right and was wrong" [you can also add a pretend heart attack] to a kid or a class. But do we always remember or take that high road? Nope. 

   
It's OK To Make Mistakes! 
I do it all the time!  

Case in point. This morning, I was a blockhead and messed up part of our daily #MHTVNews program by forgetting to queue up and show an inspiring video (embedded above) that our Principal Mr. Wilson shared with us last Sunday for today's Friday show. After the show, when he asked me about why it wasn't shown, I drew a blank for a few seconds then I totally threw Mr. Dunbar under the bus ('cause it was his show today & he forgot, too!) I was mortified! Is it just old age? GAH! How did I, or we, forget that!? (See? how humans try to make excuses and push the blame around?)
But Mr. Wilson, was SO kind and understanding, and said we could show it on Tuesday. Whew! Sorry Mr. Wilson! Sorry Mr. Dunbar! It's on me! It was my fault! See? Even when we know it's the right thing to do, or forget, taking responsibility for a gaffe is difficult. Especially with a boss (or a parent!) It's a lifelong struggle to be a good person and do the right thing! But it's SO worth it! Let's share that with our kiddos and admit our occasional (or, in my case, daily) foibles and move on, lesson learned. Again. 



Model Charity and Good Works  

Our students should also see us as being charitable with our community, helping others, giving of time, effort, or funds to support those that need it. Not in a flashy or "look at me" kind of way, but just to help get things done because it's the right and good thing to do.  

Over the years I've seen our students rally to raise funds for the Hurricane Katrina victims, Haiti relief, and yearly for crisis intervention in our community by supporting Grassroots of Howard County. I am SO proud of our kiddos, we've done well...but we can always do better!


 
This is why I posted the words from page 333 of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secret on our library wall:

"It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities"
~ Albus Dumbledore

Let's be inspired by the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr not just on his birthday - but every day - throughout the year!

More inspiring words on responsibility:
“Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will – his personal responsibility.” ~ Albert Einstein
“It is a painful thing to look at your own trouble and know that you yourself and no one else has made it.” ~ Sophocles
“A sign of wisdom and maturity is when you come to terms with the realization that your decisions cause your rewards and consequences. You are responsible for your life, and your ultimate success depends on the choices you make.” ~ Denis Waitley
from 7 Timeless Thoughts on Taking Responsibility for Your Life

Full disclosure: I've been writing about this since 2010. First, in my old school blog, then my Edublog, then here.  Why? Because, it's an ongoing challenge for change, growth, learning, and leadership. I pray every day to be a better person, daughter, teacher, and leader to my kiddos. It....the journey and the challenge,  never ends, and that's pretty amazing. Blessings to you all. 

Your turn! 
What are your thoughts on this topic? Hit me up on the comments to give your challenges, fails, successes, and hopes for the future in teaching, education, and life. (Nothing too big, right?)


Resources: 

Teaching & Learning Resources to Remember the Life of MLK

NEA - Classroom Resources for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Commemorate the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. | Scholastic

Lesson Plans & Teacher Guides - Martin Luther King Jr

Resources for Martin Luther King Jr. Day | Edutopia

 

Friday, December 30, 2016

4 Fun FREE Apps to Win The Instagram Game



There are a lot of cool FREE Apps out there that can add functionality and sparkle to the number one picture and video App Instagram, but I'm going to share my favorite four! And yeah, I'm still mourning the loss of Vine. But, finding these new Apps has helped me get past the it... a little!

 

1. Flipagram 

With Vine going away I really needed something to combine video, filters, drawing, still pics, and music all together and I found that in Flipagram!  Easy to learn & upload to Instagram with a not too obnoxious watermark. 

Tech Tip: It's easier to create the video and pictures first, THEN bring them into Flipagram. Also, make sure all the still pics and/ or the videos are shot either landscape or portrait, mixing them up looks super awkward or sideways.  Read more about Flipagram: Oh Baby, Please Don't Go! including how to embed.

Here's an example:



2. Pic Collage - Photo Collage Maker & Picture Editor

"PicCollage has everything you need to create amazing collages with your photos. With our new layout and clean design, it’s even easier to unleash your creativity. This holiday play with our seasonal stickers, backgrounds, and templates. "

Here's an example:   
and here's what it looks like on Instagram 
PS. I paid the $1.99 to remove the insta Watermark. There are also more in-app features. Haven't gone there, yet. But tempting! 



3. Pic Stitch
 If you enjoy making collages of your photos and applying cool effects while you do it, Pic Stitch just might just float your boat. It's available FREE for iOS on the App Store. There is a pro version, but try the FREE first! 
What they're sayin: "Best rated &  One of the Top 7 photo apps of ALL TIME according to Mashable"



4. Frame Swagg

FREE and super easy to use collage maker. Select template design, pictures, background color, send to IG or camera roll and Booyah! Done!


Bonus:  This also works with Twitter! Save collage to camera roll & upload to Twitter.
Here's an example:
A photo posted by Gwyneth Jones (@thedaringlibrarian) on





BONUS: InstaSize 
I haven't had time to play with this myself, but in my research for this post, it came highly recommended! Do you use it?
"Easily create a designer photo collage from your pics then send it to Instagram.  Quickly combine your photos into your choice of frame layouts and send to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and more, right from your iPhone."

What they're sayin: "With over 200 million downloads, next generation premium filters, and advanced editing tools, InstaSize is the #1 must have editor app for anyone who creates pictures, collages, or videos."


Your turn!  
What are your favorite INSTAGRAM friendly Apps? Please feel free share in the comments what you think are Fun FREE Apps \\FTW!//  (Pssst. spammers are instantly deleted!) 

By the way....Here's a side note: 



Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Always Be Thankful For Thanks!

Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive.
Because this is the time of the year when I reflect on being thankful, I'd like to share a simple thing you can do that will help you get through the hard times in teaching. As with any profession, there are awesome days and there are difficult days. During those down days, it's good to have something to remind you why we do this thing called teaching, librarianship, & education. 

It's Handy to Keep The Thanks Handy
I still love a manila folder!  I keep the thank you notes from kiddos in a folder in my desk and it's labeled, Stuff from KIDS. But I also found it helpful to take a digital picture of the Thank you notes. too! Just in case of age, fire, zombies, you know....the usual. And to be able to look at them anytime I needed an emotional pick-me-up. That folder, on my Flickr gallery is called...Happy

And Then BuzzFeed Found It


So, how cool is that? 
11 Ways To Thank A Teacher 
(Without Using An Apple) 
BuzzFeed musta been searching around the Flickr Creative Commons and found my Happy Note and used it in an article

Happy Emails
This whole topic of being grateful and thankful came back to my thoughts recently because of a wonderful email I got from my outstanding neighborhood Teen's Instructor, Sarah Cooke from our Lovely Savage branch Howard County Public Library

WOW! This was so out of the blue unexpectedly Squee-worthy that I forwarded it to my Admin, my Media & Tech Supervisors,  and my Mom! 

Srsly, when you get something this important, this personally and professionally meaningful, don't be shy & humble, share it! Because this means as much or even more to me than a magazine or blog award! 

Screenshot Those Happy Tweets!
Also, when you get a Happy Tweet, screenshot and save it! 


When a Former Student Becomes a Teacher
Another amazing thing, is having your former students become teachers and contact you later. That is the BEST! 

Above is a Tweet that made my eyes leak a bit and brought a big smile to my face! I taught the lovely and smart Erin for years in Guilford Elementary school (my first job!) then later in Middle School (her mom was our Admin secretary) and I got to see her grow up. Now she's a teacher and Tweeting! Does it get any better?
UPDATE: I DM'd her on Twitter about this post and found out that she's left teaching and going back to school for Cyber Forensics! I told her that All I have EVER wanted for her was to be happy & fulfilled. And that I will always be unconditionally proud of her no matter the position or profession. Either way, I was so lucky to have watched her grow up! 


Erin's brother, Peter, is also a teacher in my district and the poor guy had me as his Librarian for 8 years! Elem AND Middle!
Sophia Berruz, I also taught for 5 years in Elementary School and is now a Technology teacher in my school district! Like Erin, Peter, and Ashleigh, she was one of those bright, whip-smart, unique students who are always remembered fondly.  She is basically Amazing! 

Hearing a kid, (now a grownup!) who you taught say that you helped inspire them to become a teacher? Does it get better than that?
Ashleigh is another amazing student, and a former MHTV producer, who got in touch with me via Twitter and now she's a Special Ed teacher in Montgomery County!  I'm so proud of her! After she Tweeted me, I found her 8th grade school picture that I had kept for 14 years, took a pic of it, and made the graphic above. She was so thrilled and surprised that I still had it. Of course I did, because it makes me Happy!

When you get a nice message on YouTube - screenshot that, too!

Basically, all those wonderful scribbled notes, letters, presents,
cards, Tweets, comments online, and emails - all which are fleeting and splendid, could be forgotten if you don't save them. I know this is a simple idea and one that you may have already thought of, but I want to encourage you to expand it, re-visit it, and celebrate it.  I'm also risking sounding exceedingly self-congratulatory, but when it comes to thanks from kids and colleagues, this is not a time to be humble. Save them, savor them, and share them!

Consider for your future professional happiness - to always be thankful for the Thanks you get from your kiddos! And don't be shy sharing them with a principal, and your Mom & Dad. Consider also sharing this simple idea with new teachers...or anyone who needs a pick me up.  Because some days will be daunting, it's remembering the kids whose lives you touched that will help you keep going! Remembering those days that are triumphant and thrilling that will give you the energy to smile and keep going. Why? 'Cause we have the BEST job in the world! 


Being compared to Miss Frizzle on Instagram ain't so bad, either! LOL
-----
Now It's Your Turn!
What was the best Thank You that you ever received? 
What do you do to keep your spirits up during times that we're testing and tested? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

PS. Thanks to YOU!
Before I say goodbye for now and click UPDATE: Let me take time to thank you dear reader!  I am also very grateful and humbled by your readership. In the early days of my blogging, really for years and years,  I was writing to seemingly the aethernets, to the air,....and now anyone who visits and spends their valuable time here is truly appreciated.  Thank you.

Have a great week friends! 

Related:

5 Ways to Reflect, & Not Regret, Teaching!

14 Fabulous Finds - A Daringly Geeky Gift Guide

The Daring Librarian: Be a Daring Defender, Part 1

The Daring Librarian: Be a Daring Defender, Part 2  

7 Scientifically Proven Benefits Of Gratitude That Will Motivate You To Give Thanks Year

The 31 Benefits of Gratitude You Didn't Know About

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Oh Baby, Please Don't Go!


It hurts when something you love dearly goes away. Remember, how I said you didn't have to MARRY New Technology - you can just date it and drop it if you don't get along?


Well,  sometimes your favorite new technology that you've developed strong feelings for, gone steady with, and kinda loved - just up and LEAVES you! Goes poof, outta the blue! Leaving you to pick up the digital pieces and find a new love & replacement. 

Dying on the Vine & Instagram Invention
For example, I just heard last week that Vine is going away - and I was all like what the heck!? Which then leaves me to wail plaintively, "Now what!?"  

I wasn't an avid Viner, but I LOVED the app for easy Vine Video Book Trailers, Persuasive ELA Reading Projects, Science Experiments, and snazzy, musically enhanced, Library and school culture promotion.
They're saying that Vine is going away because Instagram added Video a while back and because of the growing popularity of Snapchat and YouTube. Innovation & competition happens.

How Instagram Got a Video Facelift
Three years ago Instagram, added 15 second video, hoping to squash the 6 second looping Vine sensation.  Now Instagram video allows you to record up to 60 seconds, and in bursts, for Stop Action Animation (VERY IMPT!) but it doesn't have music. 


You can even grab the EMBED Code to slap videos up on your blog, wiki, or website! (That was something they added later that I really liked in Vine...[sniffs sadly] Poor Vine.)

Flipping over Flipagram!

Like music AND video? Have you met my new friend Flipagram, yet?  Flipagram is a FREE APP (with an in-app $1.99 purchase option to take away the watermark) that can use your photos and videos or take video through your phone and add cool filters AND current music of all kinds. It works very nicely with Instagram and you can cross post, too! AND you can also Embed.


How PicMonkey Dried My Tears!
So, what other websites have you loved only to be left stranded, alone, sad and sniffy? For me, that was Picnik! 



Thank goodness PicMonkey came my way! 

Picmonkey is really, IMHO, the BEST online photo editing, touch-up, enhancement, & digital creation tool that's out there! And...it's super Easy Peasy! (There are even YouTube videos on how to do everything!)

It's FREE but there are Royale features that are totally worth the upgrade! I mean, for a girl who is semi-addicted to digital design and Photoshop, Pickmonkey is my online (& APP, too!) faster go-to for all things gorgeous and graphic. 




Tasty templates and terrific tutorials! 
(Ahh! My Alliteration Addiciton Rears is Corny Head Yet Again! Muuwaaa!)


Projects like greeting cards, Facebook covers, Pinterest Squares, and more! 

So, sometimes your most beloved APP or site goes away and sure enough, you'll move on and find something better. Or, just get some Gelato, cue up Midsomer Murders, and get over it! 

Now, it's your turn!
Which APP or website did you love that left you hanging and listening to Taylor Swift songs? Which site left that never was replaced by better? (I'm thinking of you iGoogle!) Which site could go away and you would't give a tinkers darn? (I'm thinking of you FB!) Share your thoughts please in the comments! 
---
Resources:

10 Tips for Digital Photo Editing & Fun

PicMonkey is Pretty & Pretty Free for ISTE!

Digital Image Factory & Cue Tips

7 Day Digital Detox Challenge

10 Free Fonts Pic Monkey by The Daring Librarian, via Flickr - Pinterest

 

 



Sunday, September 25, 2016

Pokemon Go QR Code Library Scavenger Hunt

I've been Tweeting about this idea for a few weeks now, promising to post about it,  but I've been just a wee bit busy with the start of school this year. (This year? Every year! LOL) 

Oh, and this is NOT an apology for not posting!  I've always said about blogging, and went into greater detail in 11 Reflective Blogging Tips & Ideas - post when you can and never apologize. Real life and family is important, blogs can wait. But you're important, too - so let's get going!


Aww, aren't my students adorable?


OK!  I wanted to engage my kiddos with a new kind of
QR Code scavenger hunt involving, of course, PokémonGo! First, I took pictures of 10 different locations around our Library Media Center, then using a Photoshop template I super-imposed 10  Pokémon (some VERY RARE!) as if they were crouching, hiding, or sleeping there, and then created a QR code using Google URL Shortener that linked to that photo on Flickr that they would scan and "capture" with their BYOD devices and five of my own.  


Objective: Capitalizing on the engagement of the PokemonGo App game, students will use digital devices and QR Codes to explore the Library Media Center and discover important sections, features, and resources and reveal hidden and very rare Pokémon.  

You can grab, make a copy, and modify for yourself on my Google Drive, download the Photoshop Elements PSD template or the PDF on my Wiki. Includes 3 printable worksheets, QR codes in 2 different sizes, and more! 
Here's the first Tweet I shared about this:

Feel free to take, use, & share this lesson. It would be nice if you kept my name at the bottom, but this is all Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share-Alike Attribution and I’m not really going to lose sleep any over it! But, if you do adapt it and change it, I’d LOVE if you would share your version with me and the world! That would be super cool! W00t!  @GwynethJones 

Printable Pokemon scavenger hunt worksheets are below. 3 versions: One blank for kids to discover the Pokemon and write down their names & CP points, one with the names listed already for faster playing, and one just a checklist of the location clues for a super quick activity.

When doing the lesson with the kiddos, I found out that, with all the orientation information I had to share with my kiddos and only 45 min, I was short on time to do the whole sheet activity so I made a quick checklist of location clues that was still fun, had the kiddos running around the library on task, and worked great! 

Modifications: You can add the names of the Pokemon at the bottom of the blank list if you’re worried kiddos would have trouble spelling them. 
NON QR Code or Mobile Device Variation:  You could print out the Pokémons from my Flickr gallery, laminate them,  and hide them around the Library Media Center with the CP points written on the front or back.  
You could also forgo all the Photoshop and add the Pokémon name and CP points onto the Pokémon using my favorite FREE photo editing website Picmonkey. Kiddos search for the hidden Pokémons, write the name and CP points down on their worksheet and voila! 

Here are the photos I took from the activity with my awesome kids!

Pokemon Go Scavenger Hunt

Resources & Related Posts:

QR Code Quest Scavenger Hunt- Part Deux!

10 Things to do with QR Codes On Back to School Night

QR Code Scanning for Parents

 







Bonus!

Can You Catch Pikachu In "Pokemon Go"? Only If You Have The Know How 

This is what happens when I can't decide on a header graphic! Bless my dithering heeart! 

 

 

 

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