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…

The TAO of Ron Swanson: How Ron Swanson Inspires Educators

The TAO of Ron Swanson  or How Ron Swanson Inspires Educators
"We need to talk"
"That has never been true"

"I find these kinds of superficial social interactions awkward and uncomfortable. Please stop telling me about your personal life. Now."

“There’s only one thing I hate more than lying: skim milk. Which is water that’s lying about being milk.”

[forcibly being shown pictures of someone else's kids] "Are these the expensive pets that talk you made to carry on your super ego? Adorable."

"Just because I look at you and nod as you talk does not mean that I agree with you or like you. It means I'm humoring you so that you will hopefully say your piece and then go away and leave me in peace. But really, keep talking"

“The less I know about other people’s affairs, the happier I am. I’m not interested in caring about people. I once worked with a guy for three years and never learned his name. Best friend I ever had. We still neve…

Makerspace for Little or Nothing

Makerspace for Little or Nothing
You don't have to spend thousands of dollars to start a Makerspace area. You don't have to have a designated room or rip out bookcases. You can even have a Makerspace on a cart! When we have testing in our Library, I put all our Makerspace stuff on an AV cart and roll it into our server room.  This post evolved from a previous post called Makerspace Starter Kit Updatedwhere I had some of these idea, but I felt that it deserved it's own expanded post.

You can take baby steps into the Maker Movement.  I've been saying that for 7 years or so....long before I blogged about it, I tried it out. Yeah, sometimes I try things on the sly to see if they are blogworthy for you! Now....having said that.....

WARNING: Controversial Opinion Ahead.  I'm not 100% sold, even after 7 years of talking about the Maker Movement, that it's something that's here to stay and not just a fad. Even though I've (without knowing it!) been using asp…