Friday, December 6, 2013

Publishing Party--Student Authors Welcome!

Mrs. Meacham's classes have been writing and creating mini novels.  They even created illustrated covers for their books.  Today they celebrated their achievements with a publishing party in the library.  Each student author read an excerpt from his book and then answered questions from the audience.  The students are truly gifted writers and it was a joy to hear their stories.  Mr. Pearson and Mr. Bivens stopped by to listen and Officer Ashley visited as well.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you and your family have a safe, happy and joyous Thanksgiving.  I will see you next week!  Gobble! Gobble!

Check out this cool video from National Geographic --wild turkeys!  Way Cool!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanksgiving Fun Facts

Since Thanksgiving is next week, I thought I would list some interesting facts about the holiday.  I found all of these facts in the books, Thanksgiving: Why We Celebrate It The Way We Do by Martin and Kate Hintz and Gobble: The Complete Book of Thanksgiving Words by Lynda Graham-Barber.  You can find these books on display in our library.

  • People all over the world give thanks for the harvest--they just might have a different name for their festival
  • Wild turkeys are only found in North America
  • Sarah Joseph Hale helped to make Thanksgiving a national holiday by writing about it in her magazine
  • Abraham Lincoln officially made the last Thursday in November Thanksgiving Day
  • Canada has Thanksgiving
  • The US Virgin Islands celebrates Hurricane Thanksgiving
  • Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be our national bird
  • The Pilgrims weren't really farmers and didn't plan to farm
  • Plymouth Rock is a breed of chicken
  • Most unusual Pilgrim names:  Remember, Love, Humility, Oceanus, Resolved, Wrestling, Peregrine
  • Squash originally was an insulting word you called someone
  • Cranberries grow in bogs and originally grew wild
  • Pumpkins are one of the fastest growing plants

I hope you have a wonderful holiday filled with family, food and fun!  Happy Turkey Day!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

#Thankful Thursday

In honor of Thankful Thursday, I have created a poem. I want HMS students to see how easy it is to write poetry and also understand that poetry doesn't have to be perfect to be a meaningful way to express yourself. My poem is nothing special but it does tell you a little bit about me and the things I love and enjoy. So I hope my little poem will inspire you to create your own. And be sure to stop by the library because we will be displaying our poetry all around the library.

Yummy!  My favorite!
Salted caramel mochas 
Warm fuzzy slippers
Burnt orange leaves
Crisp autumn air
The feel of the cool breeze
Ruffling my hair.
Hot Chili and soup
Cuddled up on the couch
 With a book and my cat in my lap
Thankful for family, friends and food.
Thankful for all of life’s many blessings too!

My cuddly Ragdoll Monty

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Thankful Thursdays in November

This month the library would like to feature student poetry during Thankful Thursdays in November. Do you love to write poetry? Do you see yourself as the next Emily Dickinson, Shel Silverstein, Maya Angelou or John Ashbery? Are poetic phrases leaping around in your head? If so, then this contest is for you! The library will be conducting "Thankful Thursday" every Thursday in November and if your poem is selected, then you will get a chance to read it on the news on one of the Thankful Thursdays. There are a few rules: Poems must not be too long (about a page at the most), they must be typed with all spelling errors corrected, and they can rhyme or be written in free verse-- haiku and iambic pentameter are welcome! So get those creative juices flowing... Start bringing your entries to Mrs. Jackson in the library today!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Digital Dossiers

It is Digital Citizenship Week, so students need to really be thinking about what it means to be a good digital citizen.  What do you know about digital citizenship?  I taught 6th graders LST this morning, and one of my students talked to me about Google +.  She told me that people she didn't know were trying to friend her and she wasn't sure if she should friend them.  So she decided to ask her friends and thankfully one of her friends told her "no."  But this conversation got me thinking, "What do HMS students know about digital citizenship?" and " do our students know they are building a digital dossier?"

First of all, is your instagram, facebook, vine, etc. set to private?  If not, you will want to make it as private as possible.  No, not everyone can find you easily but you will be able to better control who has access to your information.  Do you really want everyone to know where you are on Friday night?  Secondly, don't friend people you don't know well.  I know--you want to have a million friends but remember if you must friend everyone, then some of these sites have levels so that those "friends" don't see everything.  Again, it isn't safe to friend people you don't know so think carefully before clicking the accept button.  Third, think before you post.  Seriously, what you post now will follow you forever.  Even if you delete a post or pic,  it is always there and someone can find it. 

This third point leads me to a discussion on your digital dossier.  First, dossier is defined as a set of documents about a particular person.  So a digital dossier is all of your digital documents that anyone can find with a simple google search or with a little digging.  Watch this you tube video so you can see what I mean.

This video shows there is a lot to think about before you post a picture, tweet, vine video or instagram pic.  Remember, I am here to help you so stop by and ask if you have a question.  I want you to be a successful student and young adult so you need to be thinking carefully before you post!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Do you Drive?  Google Drive That is!

Homewood Middle School has embraced Google Drive.  I have visited tons of classes and showed students how Google Drive can change their lives.  Gone are the worries that your document may be deleted if you don't save it because Google automatically saves your document continuously.  No more worries about losing that pesky flash drive so that you can type your paper at home and then bring it back to school because Google Drive can be accessed anywhere you have internet access.  And teachers love the fact students can share their documents with group members or even with their teacher. 

Google Drive is awesome so if you haven't tried it, test drive it today! 

Friday, September 20, 2013

I just read a blog post from my new favorite library blog The Adventures of Library Girl.  In this post, Library Girl is discussing teaching students how to make an avatar. While I have always thought avatars were really cool, I never thought of them as educational.  But boy was I ever wrong!  If you think about it, when you create an avatar, you are using a digital tool.  And with all of our increasing interest and emphasis on technology, creating an avatar is definitely educational.  But more than the digital aspect, creating an avatar can help you as a student learn to appreciate the differences in yourself and others.  What better way to express yourself than to create a reflection of yourself with all of your best parts including your interests and your uniqueness.  So thank you, Library Girl for showing me how cool and education can go together.

I created this avatar just to be silly!  As you know, our library is never quiet and I hope I am a bit more fashionable than this!

Try some of these sites and see if you can make your very own avatar!

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Monday, September 9, 2013

What Do Librarians Do Anyway?

When you think of me, your awesome school librarian, your first thoughts may be something like this.  "Mrs. Jackson helps me pick out books I like to read" or "Mrs. Jackson pesters me until I find a book that I might read."  Or you might even think, "Mrs. Jackson is really weird!" But did you know that your trusty librarian can amaze you with even more skills than excellent book recommendations? 

In all seriousness, although some of my job is to help you select great books that you will want to read, my job is also to help you build your knowledge of key skills including information literacy, digital citizenship, and effective researching. Additionally, I want you to learn to think critically and be able to problem solve effectively.  So next time you have a research project or writing assignment, stop by and allow me to make some suggestions to help you.  I promise, I will try not to act too weird!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Have You Tried Overdrive?

It is a new school year and the time to try something new and different and totally cool!  Overdrive is a service provided by Homewood City Schools so that our students have access to e-books and audiobooks for free!  That is right.  It is totally free and very easy to use. 

And thanks to the Homewood City Schools Foundation, we have added tons of new titles and that includes audiobooks. 

Just follow the easy steps on the Overdrive help website and you will be checking out e-books in no time.  Happy Reading!

Overdrive Help

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

#Dream Day

If you aren't aware, today is the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Later today President Obama  will speak regarding Dr. King's dream of equal rights for all. 

NBC has created the #dreamday and is asking people to post their dreams via Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Facebook, etc.  It is really interesting to read the dreams of different people.  There are celebrities as well as everyday people posting. What I noticed is the commonality among all peoples no matter their race, religion or belief system.  Everyone seems to want a better life for their children and a better world in which all people can be treated equally and have equal opportunities to achieve.

What is your dream?  Have you really pondered this question?  Do you  dream of being an NBA basketball star or an Olympic swimmer?  Do you dream of making all A's this first 9 weeks of school?  Do you dream about going to college?  Getting a great job?  Winning a football game?

Most anything you dare to dream can be realized with hard work.  We may not all be NBA stars or Olympic athletes or attend an Ivy League college, but we can all achieve by working hard and being the best individual we can be.  We all have talents and skills that can be used for success.  But we have to remain focused and we have to be diligent.  We can't get lazy or take a day off if we want to be the best we can be. 

But most of all, we should strive to be the best person we can be.   We need to be the best friend, best daughter, best son, best student and best team member we can be.  We need to be kind and loving to others even if they are different from us.  We need to understand everyone comes from a different place and has a different perspective.  Our differences make us stronger when we celebrate them instead of fearing them.  Diversity is what makes Homewood, Alabama different from our surrounding communities. 

Use #Dream Day not only to dream but also to celebrate our community and ourselves.

Post your own dream!

  #Dream Day

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Back to School Book Bag Giveaway 2013

Do you love to read?  Check out TeenReads Book Giveaway.  Sign up for a chance to win some great titles!  Good Luck!

Back to School Book Bag Giveaway 2013

Welcome to the new HMS blog!

Welcome to the new and improved HMS blog.  I am so excited!  I have actually merged my book blog with the library blog so I will be writing book reviews as well as blogging about events in the library.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Great Summer Reads!

One of my best friends texted me yesterday and told me she has been reading everything she can get her hands on lately.  She wanted to know if I could recommend some great YA books that will draw her in.  First of all, YAY!  And second of all, YES!  I live to recommend books to students and BFF's alike. So I started thinking of a list of books that will blow her away and I wanted to share it with you.

Mrs. Jackson's Top  Summer Reading Picks

The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors

The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

The Emerald Atlas and The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Ashes by Ilsa Blick

The Mortal Instruments series

The Maze Runner series

Monday, April 15, 2013

Young Adult Books Made Into Movies

I am a firm believer that books that are made into movies are never as good as reading the book.  After all, books require the author to create vivid settings and character descriptions so that the reader uses his imagination to visualize the story unfolding. Also, when you read a book, you might get a glimpse into the character's motivations and thoughts whereas a movie can't show you a character's internal struggle. 

A great example of this is in The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  I enjoyed this book and imagined the characters in my mind.  I had a definite vision for Peeta including his physical appearance as well as his demeanor.  Well, although I really think the movie was pretty good, I was quite disappointed in the casting choice for Peeta. Josh Hutcherson didn't do a bad job but I had imagined Peeta as a big, tall, and strong young man.  Hutcherson just didn't fit my imaginative interpretation of the character. 

Another example of this is with the Twilight series. I read this series before the movies ever came out.  Again, I had a definite picture of Edward and Bella in my mind and my picture did not include Robert Pattinson or Kristen Stewart.  Now, with all of the movie hype and because I have seen them all, I will always imagine Edward and Bella as these actors instead of the characters born of Stephenie Meyer's character descriptions in the novels. 

The bottom line is enjoy the movies, but read the books too.  So many students miss out on wonderful novels because they have already seen the movie.  I promise most of the time you will always find the book better than any movie interpretation.  After all, the fun of reading is painting pictures in your mind so that you feel like you are experiencing the novel first hand and not through the eyes of a director.  Come on, give it a try!

Below is a list of some popular titles made into movies in the last few years.  Read them!

Catching Fire Trailer

Beautiful Creatures Trailer


Mortal Instruments Trailer