Monday, September 23, 2013

Contest time!

I like contests. I don't enter many, and when I do, I never seem to win. However, I have discovered kids LOVE contests even if the prize is small and cheap. I enjoy using contests as a way to hook students into learning something different and new. Last year I created weekly Wordle contests. A Wordle is a word cloud that auto-generates into a neat mishmash of chosen words in various sizes and colors. My Wordles contained plot, setting, and characters from a certain book and students had to identify the title of the book to win. It was pretty popular and many students played the entire year. It served as a way for me to see if the kids knew some popular books and classics that are referenced later in life. I also got an idea as to their reading habits.

This year, despite the Wordle popularity, I decided to focus on research. I constantly ask students to evaluate the information they receive whether the form is visual, physical, or audio. With so much information streaming at us on a constant basis, it is important to verify sources, know if they are reliable and, if not, how to check that. Although I hammer this at them year round, I feel I could do better, hence a contest! At the entrance to the library I put up a "Question of the Week." Students answer the question AND have to tell me the source. We have gone over, that perhaps, they know the answer due to prior knowledge or looking it up on the web, in a book or just asking a teacher, family member, or friend. Each week I draw 3 names and if they have answered correctly and provided a source that I feel is legitimate ( most kids cannot tell me the temperature of Venus without researching it so answering "prior knowledge" wouldn't apply), they get something from the prize box. In addition to this, I put up a weekly mini poster showing something entertaining or thought provoking having to do with libraries, books, or reading.

We have also continued with word of the week (WOW). This is a great way to introduce new vocabulary words and remind students the purpose of the parts of speech. Students in K-8 are exposed to WOW and the younger students love rolling the new words around on their tongues. Sometimes the pronunciation is quite comical and even I can get tongue tied.

Below are the questions of the week and the WOW's so far. Unfortunately, I cannot show you the weekly mini posters, but if you visit the school feel free to take a glance. Sorry, I am not giving prizes for correct answers off the blog.

Question of the Week: (QW)
What is the largest frog in the United States?
How long is the NH coastline? (There are a couple of acceptable answers. Ask your child why.)
What is the name of the group of islands belonging to NH?

Vague-adj definition: not clear
Compliment- noun definition: expression of praise
Lament-adj definition: to feel or express sorrow or sadness

Keep reading!
The Noisy Librarian

Friday, September 13, 2013

Pecha Kucha....whaaat???

Pecha Kucha? What is that?? Nevermind what it is, how do you pronounce it? Try the Youtube link below.

I learned about this during Library Camp this summer. Yes, hip librarians go to camp during the summer and learn about more than books. Pecha Kucha ( don't feel bad, I had to watch the video 7 times and ignore the non- phonetic spelling to be able to say it), is a style of presentation developed in Japan by some architects. The goal was to make their presentations shorter yet remain informative.  The format is composed of 20 slides, using Power Point, and each slide is displayed for 20 seconds. The speaker has a total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds to capitivate, educate, and excite the listener using the slides. Examples of Pecha Kucha were held during camp and I immediately begin to think of how I could use this with the students. What a great way to present a topic. This is better than a poster, more dynamic than a regular memorized speech and deals with technology, public speaking, organization,depth of knowledge AND is fun! Not only all that, it hits a lot of the CCSS (Common Core State Standards) that are heading down the pike.

So,  I excitedly showed a  fellow teacher the possibilities of this technique and BAM, we are going to start this with my older students.  I will go over techniques, examine what a good Pecha Kucha looks like, how to begin the process, and design a graphic organizer/check list with the students to make this smoother. There is a lot of visual literacy, research, and organization involved in this large project. Although this will encompass most of the trimester, we are estatic over the endless possibilities this will have for all students. Kids will have to be concise, know the topic in depth, be able to improvise, have fun, and share what they have learned in a known format. What better way to get them ready for the real world than to pilot this? We are very excited and can't wait to see the results. Perhaps with parent and student permission, we can post some of the Pecha Kuchas on the blog. I'll keep you informed.

Do, do, dododo....pecha kucha.....
The Noisy Librarian

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Annnndd..... we're off!

I LOVE going back to school. I deem myself a life long learner and my teachers are my colleagues, the kids, and animals all in various settings. I love learning. Coming back to teach in the fall is rejuvenating. I spend some of my summer in classes and workshops, reading, investigating, and discussing new ideas, thoughts, and trends. Teaching gives me the opportunity to share what I have learned.

The first few weeks are both boring and exciting. It is important to go over basic rules and expectations ( the boring part). Exciting because the kids can't wait to tell me what they have read, where they have gone, and what they have done. I love hearing all about what has gone on in their lives over this seemingly short period of time. In turn I can't wait to tell them about infographs, petcha kucha, the NH award nominees, Google and the "new" research button and automatic citing source, Easybib, and what CCSS (Common Core State Standard) means to them. We discuss the new contest for the year, Word of the Week, writing about our pets from pictures and the possibility of having a super hero day ( which may include mask making in the library). I tell them about my new texting tool that I am sharing (check the newsletter), BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) class,library lunch on Wednesdays,  my website, book whips, and perhaps letting each class take a turn blogging on this very site. We tour the library and examine the new playaways, magazines, NOOKS, movies, citing sources papers, and graphic organizers.

By the time the day is over, I am exhausted. I have spent the day listening to their enthusiastic sharing and have kicked it up a notch with my own. I love it. In my mind, this is what education is about. Next week we'll discuss more books, and how to use the online catalog system which I have revamped and will allow them to review books as well as many other cool features.

Keep reading and if you are stuck and need a good book, well, I have read over 100 during the summer and am sure I can recommend something for you!

Needing sleep...
The Noisy Librarian