Sunday, January 8, 2017

One of the reasons I love Genius Hour

Recently, I changed the GH set -up again. This happens frequently and well into my third year of offering GH, I am finding that to be the norm. GH forces the adult to give up control of traditional student learning and transform into a mentor and learner. When this occurs, the set-up of GH also needs to grow to fit the needs of the population to allow creativity, diversity, engagement, and learning to continue. While GH offers the students a variety of skill sets, I think it offers me even more. I learn so much for watching and interacting with the students on a individual basis. This allows me to assist them in developing the academic and life-skill sets unique to each student. I discover that some students need to work on skills such as collaboration, problem-solving, independent learning, patience, confidence, technology, metacognition, email writing, and so much more.

In starting the New Year, everyone makes wishes, goals, and resolutions. As an educator, it is a timeline to realize what you have not yet accomplished. It can be a defining line of what you still need to do. GH forces me to pause, look at my kids, and see what amazing things they are accomplishing regardless of what is occurring around them. I love watching them in action purely for the selfish reason that it gives me hope for future generations. What, you may ask, are the incredible feats they are achieving? Here are some pictures below that demonstrate the diversity, creativity, and collaboration the next generation is working on. I have learned to examine every activity we are doing and discover the valuable component it showcases that is special to each student. When we slow down and look at education in this light, we are forced to see the child as a whole person and not a component of a system.

Making a pitch to the PE teacher to play a game they created.

Learning how to draw faces and the use of shading techniques.

Playing Minecraft and documenting emotions, thoughts, and ideas while playing to see what the lasting appeal of this game is.

 Teaching Snicket, the LLC rabbit, tricks.

 Working on a script for a murder mystery video.

Keep watching us grow and keep reading!
Noisy Librarian.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

What are we doing?

So much has occurred since the last post. The students have completed the first component of GH by listing questions and then narrowing them down or expanding them into a question that cannot be answered by a simple Google search. This proved challenging and is a skill that we will continue to work on improving. Eventually the goal is to ask more complex questions that require deeper thinking. The picture of our bulletin board below illustrates some of the higher level thinking questions we will be moving towards.

Many of the kids are researching and trying to find information on their topics. We start with library books and then explore the various databases and websites off the LLC site. This helps them to see what reliable resources look like and how to begin to evaluate information. Kids are also encouraged to speak to other students, staff, family and community members that may have knowledge on their topic. They are very busy writing down a lot of information. Some are at the note-taking stage where we start to show them how notes are taken, others are learning how to find pertinent information among text.

Lastly, the sharing piece is far down the road but we have been showing students GH projects from from various students in other grades. Projects range from baking to technology to poster making. We encourage students to think about the best way to showcase their knowledge and choose a tool that will emphasize what they have learned. Upon checking in with all the kids, they are still excited and engaged in the current topic of choice. We are pleased with the growth we are seeing.

Keep watching us grow,
The Noisy Librarian

Monday, October 10, 2016

From dots to ice cream cones

Second graders are moving swiftly into their GH projects. Once they completed the dot idea part of the process, they were given ice cream cone graphic organizers. They prioritized the top 4 ideas they wanted to investigate and chose the one they wanted to pursue. A list of seven or more questions was then generated and the "green approval paper" was given out to be completed. 

We were impressed with the dedication the students showed for the process. This is something required of much older students but these kids took their job very seriously. A variety of topics: batteries, school buses, sea lions, butterflies, baseball and much more are on the docket. We gave the students a glimpse at the types of projects that can be completed and the different tech tools that could be utilized. They left the LLC with comments of eagerness and anticipation for the next class. We are excited with their enthusiasm and can't wait to see what these inquiring intelligent minds share with us. 

Watch us grow,
The Noisy Librarian

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A New Genius Hour Adventure

It has begun! Genius Hour for 2nd grade started last week. This year 2nd grade teacher Mr. L'Heureux (aka Mr. Happy) will be joining me on this journey. Again, we tied the beginning of GH to dot day. Students wrote, drew, and cut pictures out of magazines and placed them on their dots. This was a busy brainstorming session which some completed and others will need more time. That is partially what GH is about, moving at your own pace. Students were energetic and motivated. Some quietly worked independently while others collaborated in noisy groups. Everyone appeared to be excited and engaged.

This week those that have not finished their dots will continue to do so and others can move onto the ice cream graphic organizer to prioritize their choices. Once finished, they will begin the green sheet outlining their question and the process they hope to follow. We encourage creativity and will share the thoughts of our newest geniuses.

Moving forward,
The Noisy Librarian

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Exploring New Computer Skills

Some of the best lessons in schools are never planned out ahead of time.

This week during Genius Hour, the 2nd graders organically developed new computer skills.  We had a student interested in making a Power Point to share her information.  Knowing someone else was just finishing creating a Power Point presentation, we had the two girls sit together and share skills.  The idea spread quickly and we discovered that our students could benefit from learning how to create slide shows on Google so they can be accessed from any computer.  We created a classroom account and will show kids how to navigate, create, and edit each other's documents.

Other children were learning basic, useful, practical computer skills that were needed to progress in their projects.  Students learned how to print photographs, navigate two websites at a time in order to identify the members of the Olympic Gymnastics teams, watch videos of snakes catching prey, and type facts for presentations.

None of these skills had formal lesson plans prepared and taught ahead of time.  The skills were much more meaningful to students to discover as needed to support their projects.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Genius Hour BYODinner

Last week we held our first 2nd grade Genius Hour BYODinner in the Library Learning Commons. Students prepared for the evening by organizing their folders of work that included notes, graphic organizers, pictures, and various other items. We have encouraged the children to focus on process and not necessarily product. Since Genius Hour is a self-paced learning experience, we have students on their first, second and third questions. Some students had elaborate products while others had something simple. However, all were successful and learned the skills necessary to answer their original question.

For BYODinner,  parents were asked to bring food and sit down and listen to their child inform them about his/her Genius Hour topic. The turn-out was amazing and the kids were well-behaved, eloquent, and knowledgable. The feedback we received from students and families was positive and encouraging.  Prior to the evening, we explained to the students the skills they were learning and they were in awe that some were high school and college level skills. We feel it is important for children to understand what they are learning on a deeper level so they are part of their own learning process. Below is a list of Common Core Standards that Genius Hour addresses as well as other skills that we personally work to achieve. Since the kids worked so hard, we felt a cake was deserved and we are fortunate to have a school employee make " the best cakes in the world" according to our kids.

Our next event will be in April and we will an Educator's/Community Evening in science fair format for those that want to come chat with our amazing kids.

Keep reading,
The Noisy Librarian


Friday, March 4, 2016

Mystery Skype

Our second grade mysteryskype made the news in Canada. We didn't know we were being filmed by a TV crew while playing. This is a wonderful explanation of why mysteryskype is a great learning tool.

Keep reading,

The Noisy Librarian