10 Easy Instagram Photo Book Challenge

Lately, I've grown fascinated with the Instagram #BookChallenge and the #BookBento photo technique.  So, here's my rendition, see above graphic or make a copy of my GoogleDoc. Feel free to take, use, share, & make it yours! (With attribution please)

Confession: I'm kinda lazy, some book challenges are 30 or 31 days...I chose 10 pictures just to make it doable and easy. 

Have you heard of these? Have you ever participated in one? For the past 6 months, I've been working on a new presentation for a keynote appearance in Ohio and it's making me more thoughtful about the potential of Instagram. More clever ways to interact with Libraries, literacy, books, reading, kids, and our community.

UPDATE: October 5. I changed number 5 in the graphic & challenge above to #BookSelfie. 

I have an announcement [taps mic] I am an idiot.

Here's why. I've always LOVED the term #Shelfie cause it's fun to say, where kids & people hold up a book next to their fa…

Drawing for Your Future Self

Here's a getting to know you idea to use with the kiddos. I'm going to try this next week. So, if it flops bad, I will be sure to let you know. Oh, and I'm NOT a great artist. So no salty comments. But I also think it's important for the kids to see that to do this you do NOT have to be a gifted artist to be successful. It's all about visualization.

Please open this up in GoogleDocs & go to File > Make a copy. Make it your own!

Hope this works out for you! I think activities like these can and should be done throughout the year and not just at the beginning of the school year! What do you think?

Here's my kinda lame (but funny) example -- wry grins & some eye rolls expected

Here's also a Google Form that I got from somewhere...unlike on a Doc I can't see who made it! Ack! So for full transparency, this someone shared with me and I made a copy. Was it you? Do you know how I can find out? I'm a Google Certified Teacher / Innovator and sti…

It's So Grape To Have YOU Here!

First day of school activity idea inspired by Cotton Candy Grapes!

“It’s so 🍇 GRAPE to have you here!” First day of school greeting and little surprise grape for my students! We’re going to do a taste test to see if they can figure out the cotton candy grape flavor without being told! I will ask the kids before we start “is anyone allergic to fruit or grapes? If so, pass it to your neighbor.” And I have cotton candy scratch and sniff bookmarks instead.

All washed & ready to go with the cupcake paper baking cups to hold 2-3 grapes. Cotton Candy grapes first discovered at Wegmans and kinda spendy. The cheapest I've found these sinfully candy sweet grapes is $5.49 a lb at the G&E grocery store in Bethany Beach. Shop around - but they're worth it! I ate some of the ugly grapes as I was washing them....because, quality control.

These Cotton Candy grapes were fromThe Grapery and are Sustainably Grown & Non GMO.

Download FREE PDF Worksheet or Here's the GSuite Goog…

Back to School Special

A decade or so ago I started a series of Back to Special webinars with wonderful partners like my sweet friend Shannon Miller and for several years my two favorite mentees (who have since surpassed me!) Tiffany Whitehead and Jennifer LaGarde on the now defunct TLChat Cafe ....but even before that, I've been creating BTSN PowePoints and also Google Presentation templates for my teachers for Back to School Night.

(2013) Just a little something to make the start of the year easier for them and here's this year's deck. I'd tell you to see my Wikipage with all the files going back 10 years or more but...le sigh. You know that's not possible.

Here was my Tweet about it.
FREE Downloadable & Customizable Back to School Night Slidedeck Template for Teachers --Share w/ your staff & save your teachers some time! @SlideShare
and GSuite - File > Make a copy

What's Up with TikTok?

What do you get when you mash together Instagram, Vine, Flipagram, and


My middle school students introduced me to TikTok this past school year when I noticed that my 6th grade girls were glued to it during recess.  Fifteen second videos that you can add music plus filters, stickers, text, and more.

Here's what the Heavy says about TikTok - it's a: "global music and video platform, it was created in 2016 by Chinese internet technology company ByteDance. TikTok is known in China as Douyin. The video-sharing app has 150 million active daily users and the global app has three times that many subscribers. Most of the videos feature lip-syncing, lots of pets especially cats doing fun stuff, lots of pretty girls, many young, and parkour or other thrill-seeking clips among myriad other short clips. When YouTube crashed (last fall), TikTok was quick to swoop in. "

TikTok is also unusual because it has a reaction feature (Video). "See a video you thi…

Summer Reading Suggestions from Social Media

Sometimes I just want a trashy summer read. 
Something light. Something sassy.

A cozy coastal mystery.
A true Beach Read.
Nothing heavy. Not WWII.
No cancer, no conflict, no causes. 
No political or social commentary.

Growing up outside DC I've had a lifetime of political. Don't get me wrong. I have passionate beliefs but when you have lived your life both inside and outside the beltway, see scandals and politicians come and go, and both parties sling mud -- AND you also teach Middle School? Enough..... You sometimes just want some mind candy. Something sweet. Summer reading is made for this.

And since I've read almost all of Elin Hildebrand (some hits and some misses there), the Low Country boil series, Rosamunde Pilcher, Crazy Rich Asian series, all Charlaine Harris (natch), and of course my beloved Inspector Gamache (though he's more my winter binge) So, I needed some new suggestions. NOT YA. Love YA. I'm a YA Librarian for goodness sake! I also read the &qu…

Summer Reading 2019

The Summer Reading List is Here!
Where does the time fly? I can't believe it's that time of year again! Time to share our Summer

Reading List with you! It's my 27th year in HCPSS and 22nd year here at Murray Hill Middle School! W00t! A lot of things have changed but some thing stay the same. Like still LOVING to read. Every day. Especially, in the Summer time! There's nothing better to sit outside, on the beach, under an umbrella, or in a screened in porch and just read. For hours and hours! Where do you like to read? Any verified official Murray Hill kid who answers that in the comments will get a surprise next year! Sorry, Svetlana in Vladivostok, you are not eligible to win, but I still appreciate you reading this blog!

We Invite you to view & download the Middle School Summer Reading List Jpeg Page 1 and Page 2 or 2019SR_MSfinal- PDF 

Thanks to our our A+ partner Librarians at the Howard County Library and two of our local HCPSS Middle School Teacher-Libraria…