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

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