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

Friday, February 5, 2016

Global Play Day

Students participated in Global Play Day for over an hour in the Library Learning Commons on Feb. 3rd. This is a day where students play without the direction of adults and the toys, crafts, games, may not be electronic. There are pictures on my other blog,, but here is a video that highlights the day. I hope it will make you smile.

Keep reading,
The Noisy Librarian

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Process and Learning

When arriving in the Library Learning Commons during Genius Hour, it may appear that chaos has reined but nothing could be further from the truth. The place has transformed into a learner-centered, inquiry-based arena full of participants. These are some of the outcomes that have been observed during the first half of the school year.

Beginning process:
           Students learned patience, perseverance, and independence: by using the red cup-blue cup method, kids had to learn to:
                        -wait for assistance
                        -while waiting continue to work and figure things out for themselves
                        -collaborate and assist each other 
                        -begin editing notes by learning to write things down first and, if necessary, go back and revise. 
Waiting is hard and figuring out when to ask for help is harder, but a balance of autonomy and questioning is beginning to occur. Students learned that, at the beginning, writing down the information they think is pertinent is first and foremost. Adults were often "red cupped" for spelling questions. The emphasis, at this point, was to gather information and allow that excitement to flow without interruption. Students were directed to do their best and to make sure they could read their notes. When released from the perfections of writing, the amount of notes being taken was amazing. One of the most incredible moments, for me, was to see students that struggle with reading taking notes from videos. Writing covered pages and when asked if it could be read back, students eagerly were able to do so.

Half-way thorough the process students were
                        -collaborating, sharing, and giving feedback to each other
                        - pursuing ideas for projects
                        - beginning to organize their ideas, notes, and take suggestions
                        - creating lists of things needed for the next step

Students were excited to begin their projects.  Several tech tools such as Chatterpix and Tellegami were demonstrated and posters, games, and speeches were mentioned as culminating ideas. This not only allowed for creativity but diversity as well. 


Finally some of the students reached the point of executing their plans. We observed students:
                       - organizing and synthesizing information
                       - rewriting notes into readable formats
                       - practicing reading their notes aloud to become fluent for presentations and recordings
                       - rethinking final projects to meet their individual needs
                       - learning how to work with tech tools (sometimes redoing the final project several times)
                       - sharing with the class.

This is Sara's project on ice skating. Video and audio were combined with the assistance of a Genius Hour 8th grader to produce this informational film by Sara. This took several weeks to complete demonstrating perseverance.

What makes Genius Hour special is that everyone works at his/her own pace. Some students are moving onto a second investigation while others are continuing work on the initial task. 

The goals for this next phase include showing the students how to take succinct formatted notes and begin to implement citing sources. One of the things I love best about Genius Hour is that research is on-going throughout the year and is diversified. Rather than spend one or two classes targeting a skill such as how to take notes, or cite, skills are implemented weekly throughout the year and incorporated into every project. Creating a meaning-centered environment with scaffolded skill building can only prepare our students for what lies ahead

The week's presenters.

Come watch us grow!
The Noisy Librarian

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Creating Projects to Share with Others... Introducing ChatterKid

This was an exciting week in 2nd Grade Genius Hour!  Many students are motivated to get their projects to a place where they are ready to share with others.  Some students were cutting projects out of boxes, some were working on posters, while others were using apps such as ChatterKid to get their information to sharing status.  Below you will see some of the ChatterKid projects students completed this week.

Below is Annella's ChatterKid creation about dogs.

Below is Audrey's ChatterKid creation about colors.

Below is Clara's ChatterKid creation about horses.

As you can see, students have been busy taking notes and practicing reading information they've researched along the way.  Students who chose ChatterKid as their way of presenting had to learn the app, take the photo of their backgrounds, practice (and practice some more!) reading their info into the recorder in the allotted time.  Thank you for taking the time to see our projects and stay tuned for more sharing with a variety of other methods in the upcoming weeks!

The Never-Ending Learning Mrs. Lee