Howard County Library
Teacher Notes From Howard County Library - Archive for October, 2010
  • Sherlock Holmes Essay Contest

    silhouette of sherlock holmesSherlock Holmes Essay Contest

    All seventh grade students in Howard County.

    Read the Sherlock Holmes story, “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” and write a five-paragraph analytical essay about it.

    It’s fun! It’s interesting! There are prizes awarded to the top three writers! Also, it enhances understanding of the mystery
    and suspense genres, and offers a chance to hone writing skills.

    All entries are due by June 1, 2011.

    More details and contest packets are available online.

    This contest is offered in partnership with Watson’s Tin Box and HCPSS.

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  • Word Up! Poetry Contest

    word up logo - teen poetry contestWalt Whitman wrote:

    What does it all mean poet?
    Well, Your brains beat into rhythm, you tell
    What we felt only; you express’d
    You hold thing beautiful the best
    and pace in them in rhythm so,
    side by side

    Do you know any budding Walt Whitmans? Do you encourage a love of word smithing and playing with language?

    Students in grades 6 – 12 can enter up to three original poems (no more than 60 lines each) in Howard County Library’s Word Up! Poetry Contest. A Word Up! Educators Resource brochure with writing exercises and other resources is available for teachers online.

    Poems are judged by a committee on their originality and language use, among other criteria. Deadline for entries is March 16. All winners will be invited to read their poems on April 28 and will receive cash awards, sponsored by Friends of Howard County Library.

    All winning poems are posted on the Library’s web site. Students may qualify for only one prize in each category.

    Category 1: Grades 6 & 7

    Category 2: Grades 8 & 9

    Category 3: Grades 10 – 12

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  • Conquer the College Essay

    image of college student frustrated

    What is more terrifying than a pop-quiz? More overwhelming than a term paper? More puzzling than the Sphinx? It’s the dreaded college essay that looms menacingly in the lives of college-bound seniors.

    Procrastinating pupils can eliminate the apprehension by attending Conquer the College Essay. Learn what schools really want to know they ask which famous historical figure you’d like to dine with or, given your choice, what animal you would be.  Examine successful sample essays to discover what attracts an admissions officer.  Then, students can stop putting it off until tomorrow and develop a strategy for committing their strengths to paper.

    Students can register for Conquer the College Essay on Thursday, October 21 at 7 pm at Howard County Library Miller Branch.

    Katie George – Administration Offices

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  • Where’s the Wimpy Kid?

    Have you met Greg Heffley? He’s America’s favorite Wimpy Kid, and he is visiting schools across the county.  image of a cutout of wimpy kid character

    He stopped by Mayfield Woods Middle School recently to celebrate the great partnership we have with our schools and teachers! During Greg’s visit with Mr. Grafton and Ms. Melvin, their HCL Liaison met incoming sixth-graders during their Media Center Orientation. Mr. Grafton also coordinates a lunch-time book club through his partner branch.

    Would you like Greg to visit your school? Drop a note to your HCL liason, or put it in the notes section of your A+ Assignment Alert. Greg would love to visit your school next!



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  • Where’s the Help: Locating Support for your Student

    image of help key

    Is it interim progress report time already?

    Do you have a student who needs some extra academic or emotional support?

    What can you offer during conferences for parents of struggling students?

    Where is the help?

    Howard County offers many resources for students who need that extra boost, or who have additional needs to be met. Parents can meet many of these experts at Where’s the Help: Locating Support for your Student.  Representatives from Howard County Public School System, Howard County Autism Society, Individual Differences in Learning, Learning Disability Association of Howard County, Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, and Stressless Tests describe the types of students they support. After having a chance to introduce themselves, our experts remain for one-on-one conversations with parents. If an organization describes familiar difficulties, a parent will have an opportunity to speak individually with that expert in a comfortable environment.

    Register to ensure a seat at Where’s the Help: Locating Support for your Student on Tuesday, October 19 at 7 pm at Howard County Library’s East Columbia Branch (in the 50+ Center).

    Katie George – Administration Office

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  • Battle of the Bands – Pass the Book

    pas the book 2011 logoDo you have students who really love music?

    This event is perfect for them to listen as local bands compete for the title of

    The band with the most fans in attendance receives two hours of studio time with Omni1productions! Best of all, your students will be able to pick up a copy of the new
    Pass the Book, Pay the Piper.

    Battle of the Bands will be held at the Gary J. Arthur Community Center on
    Friday, October 22 from 7-9 pm
    for students ages 14-17.

    Co-Sponsored by the Gary J. Arthur Community Center and The Western Horizon Council.

    Amy Stephens – Glenwood Branch

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  • Tech Chicks

    image of computer circuit board

    Technology is already a major force in the lives of today’s girls. Just think how most girls are connected through their laptops and cell phones, not to mention MP3 players, DVDs and countless other devices with embedded chips.

    In this club, girls can learn even more about the technology they already use from Department of Defense robotics engineer Dr. Terri Kamm. They’ll even have hands-on experience with the latest in technology. How cool is that?

    The club meets on the 3rd Sundays of each month from 3 – 4:30 pm at Central Branch, for girls ages 11-15. Registration is required for each session. The next two meeting will be held October 17 and November 21.

    Amy Stephens-  Glenwood Branch


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  • For Fifth Grade: Battle of the Books

    image of kids participating in battle of the books

    Want to excite students about reading?

    Encourage them to participate in Battle of the Books! Teams of five fifth graders become experts on 16 pre-determined books, then test their knowledge in a quiz-show style competition in April. They parade into the Atholton High School gymnasium, wearing costumes, and ready to demonstrate their literary skills. Each team needs a coach – so fifth grade teachers can be involved, too.

    During the competition, a moderator will ask a question about a book. Four different types of questions can be asked: a direct quote from one of the book characters; a statement about something that happens in the book; a passage taken directly from the book; details about an illustration or picture. Every team answers every question, and the team with the most correct answers wins.

    Each member of the first place team will receive a gift card from a local bookstore as well as a copy of the team READ poster. Prizes also will be awarded to the second and third place teams, as well as for other categories such as best team name, best team spirit wear, etc. Everyone who participates will receive a small prize and certificate of participation.

    Upcoming important dates:

    October 19 – Information Meeting: Miller Branch at 7 pm

    October 25 – November 5: Registration occurs at

    November 16 & 17 – Mandatory Coach Meetings (attend one date): Miller Branch at 7 pm

    April 8 – Battle of the Books!

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  • Pass the Book 2011 – Pay the Piper by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple

    pas the book 2011 logoWelcome to second year of Howard County Library’s Pass the Book initiative. Beginning October 18, students can pick up specially marked copies of Pay the Piper by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple, our 2011 Pass the Book selection. When they encounter one of these books, students should:

    1. Register the book’s number at
    2. Read the book
    3. Pass the book to another friend who will register the book again.

    Pay the Piper tells the story of Callie McCallan, contributor to the school newspaper in Northampton, Massachusetts. When the band Brass Rat schedules a local Halloween concert, Callie is over the moon. She’s even more excited to attend the concert with a backstage pass so she can interview the band. The musicians are beautiful, cool, and hypnotically engaging. Something isn’t right, though. They use words that seem too old, and they tell stories that come from an earlier time. What will Callie do when the time comes for her community to Pay the Piper?

    Students can return to the web site throughout the year to track where these books have traveled, and to participate in online book discussions, quizzes, and other activities. This year we have passed copies of The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld to China, England, Ireland, Kamchatka, and Norway, among other places, and we’re excited to see where Pay the Piper will travel in 2011.

    Pass the book 2009 logo

    Pass the Book launches in Teen Read Week in October 2010 with a series of events:

    Specially-marked copies of Pay the Piper will be available at all of these events, and we look forward to seeing middle and high school students throughout Teen Read Week to launch Pass the Book 2011!


    John Jewitt -  Savage Branch

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  • Destination Graduation…and Beyond

    image of a man carrying a question mark on his back trying decided which path to take

    High school students can be under a lot of pressure–from school, parents, peers, and coaches.  They’re working through issues with body image, substance abuse, and relationships. For some reason,they all seem sleep-deprived. Then, we start lecturing them to think about their futures…

    Sometimes, it’s just too much.

    Know a student who’s feeling the pressure?  Encourage them to register for Destination Graduation…and Beyond!  On Monday, October 4 at 7 pm at Howard County Library East Columbia Branch, Life Coach Kathy Norton teaches how to manage stress, define dreams, and develop a plan for reaching goals such as getting into college and choosing the best career path.

    Let’s give them the tools to stay on the right path.

    Katie George – Administration Office

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