Sunday, November 29, 2015

Patience and perseverance

Holidays tend to force us to reflect upon life and Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for all that we have. My students never fail to teach me something new, make me smile, and show me the good in the world; this happens on a daily basis. I am thankful to be surrounded by such interesting, innovative, caring, and funny kids.

In this post, I decided to share a couple of student projects that are occurring during Genius Hour that exemplify desired traits that are not formally measured in education. Seventh grader, Emma opted to learn how to draw mandalas. She spent time researching and then began attempting some of her own. Below are some examples of her incredible work. Not only did Emma learn this technique, she will CC license her work, and she has shared the mandalas throughout the school. She has placed copies of them in classrooms so when a student is feeling stressed or anxious, s/he may grab a mandala and color. Patience, caring, and attention to detail are valued traits that Emma has demonstrated during the process of this project that will serve her well beyond school boundaries.

Another interesting Genius Hour project has a group of boys attempting to build a small hot air balloon. Originally they wanted to purchase one and place a Go-Pro camera inside of it to see what they could capture on film. In researching all the components they would need, they decided to try and build their own small hot air balloon. One of the many things they have found challenging is working with the wood to build a frame. Below is a picture of the boys holding the current frame they are have built. Perseverance has been the key word for this group. Like the MineCraft server group we had last year, these boys need to learn to work together, communicate, and compromise-all skills they will need later in life. In addition to those traits, their sense of humor to work through the road-blocks they encounter, provides me with a bit of laughter to lighten my day. 

Students-the reason I am in education!
Keep reading,
The Noisy Librarian

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Mysteryskype a whole new world

While at the ISTE 2015 conference, I learned about and participated in a Mysteryskype. I was hooked and was determined to bring this back to my small rural school. This month I am kicking off a bunch of Mysteryskypes with numerous classrooms and grade levels. You may be asking yourself, "Why is the librarian doing this? Shouldn't she be encouraging our kids to read?" Of course, after all we are a "bunchareaders," but as the librarian I take my job as resource person, cultivator of information, trouble-shooter, tech geek, book recommender, and education innovator seriously. My goal is to introduce the concept to the students and staff in hopes that they will continue with the process.

What is Mysteryskyping? You skype with another class somewhere in the world but only the teachers know where each class is located- the kids need to figure that out. It is similar to the game 20 questions where yes-no questions are asked to determine the location. Students can have jobs such as greeter, information finder, questioner, videographer, map checker and so on. The process cultivates organization, quick-thinking skills, map reading, collaboration, public speaking, and furthers our understanding of the world. Almost any curriculum topic can be incorporated into Mysteryskyping: math-time difference, science-biomes, LA-writing, Social Studies-geography and may even further empathy through the exposure to different cultures.

I know, you are still asking, "Where's the reading?" One of my personal goals is to showcase books, both fiction and non, that are about the place we have skyped with and create a list of books about our state for those interested. In reading some of these books, students may gain an understanding of setting, cultural values, and history among other things. So as we set out to "flatten the world," so to speak, think about how you can be innovative and introduce your kids to a whole new world!

Keep reading,
The Noisy Librarian