Monday, December 28, 2015

We can fly

While Genius Hour has a number of interesting projects, this one seems to grab everyone's attention. A group of 8th grade boys are working on creating a hot air balloon. The original idea was to make a simple balloon and place a Go-Pro inside to video the flight and landing. The idea has morphed into creating a larger balloon from scratch. The process has been interesting and changed directions several times, but I am confident that we will see a balloon flying high in the near future. 

Keep reading,
The Noisy Librarian


Monday, December 7, 2015

#Skypeathon what we learned

December 3rd & 4th were global skypeathon days. Our school participated by joining in 4 mysteryskypes throughout the day on December 3rd. We logged in a total of 11,657.6 virtual miles reaching classrooms in Illinois, Arkansas, Massachusetts, and New Zealand. Students in grades 5-8 conversed with students in grades 4 through High School making global connections by learning, laughing, questioning, and observing.

The point is to beat the other class by discovering their location first, however, everyone had a good time and the end goal transpired from winning to fun. Students not only learned geography but how to ask defining questions that narrowed down the location of the other class. Terms like "near" and "big or large city" were relevant to location so we tried to avoid those words and substituted "North of" and "population bigger than" this was difficult to transition too, but students quickly caught on and rephrased questions. Mapping skills were utilized to narrow down where the other class might be. Another group of students would look, listen, and converse to come up with questions to relay to our speakers and yet two more students back-channeled both questions and answers so we could refresh our memories. All in all it was a huge collaborative effort where our kids worked amazingly well together. At the end, we were serenaded by the New Zealand kids and discussed differences in time zones. It was 4:00pm here and 10:00 am there-the next day. 

One of the biggest take-aways that surprised me, was that students learned more about OUR state. That was not my prediction. Directional questions about Rochester, Laconia, Springfield, Newbury, I89 and I93, and specific bodies of water had our NH mappers scrambling to provide answers. Some places, we hadn't even heard of. We laughed at mispronunciations and they laughed at ours. 

The day concluded with all students asking, "When can we mysteryskype again?" All in all it flattened the globe for us and provided everyone with a different way to view the world.
Keep reading,
The Noisy Librarian