Sunday, September 20, 2015

21st Century Media Center Extraordinaire

Last week, I got to do something that I rarely get an opportunity to do, but is one of my favorite things!  A big thanks to my colleague, Kris, my tour guide.  Visit a neighboring school district.  What a treat!  Wow!  Super Wow!  Triple Wow! Words can't express enough wow factor for Medlock Bridge's Elementary School Media Center. Personalized Learning, Genius Hour, MakerSpace, oh my!  Are just the tip of the iceberg in this media center's digital toolbox. A huge shout out to Mrs. Hutchens, MBES Principal, a strong advocate of transforming today's digital learners.

Ms. Martin, the master mind behind the media center, goes to great lengths to ensure learning for all students. And it doesn't stop there, she ensures teachers are plugged into learning at its fullest potential.  Her mission:  transformational learning.  How?  Glad you asked.  A few of my highlights:

1.  Personalized Learning Spaces
The circle pads were purchased via Scholastic.  Search for carpet squares.

2.  Read Across America Garden
In honor of Dr.Suess's Read Across Amercia Day, MBES hosts Read Across Medlock Day. Utlizing the one book one school concept.  One year they did Tales of Despereaux.  Another year "The World According to Humphrey".  Complete with the media center's very own hamster.  The hamster had his own blog.  Check his blog out on their website.  Ms. Martin, started a Truffula garden. Each student who completed their reading log was given a seed.  Look at their beautiful garden. Look real close and you can see the rocks the book club painted.  Ms. Martin leaves no stone unturned.

3.  Digital Citizenship Station - Jenga Blocks
Before students are able to use the iPads they must complete 2.5 hours of digital citizenship coursework to earn their digital passport.  This station has students trying not to knock the Jenga wall down while carefully taking out a block.  Some blocks have questions about digital citizenship. Some questions are turn and talks, others are tips.  Every so often a brain break video.

4.  Digital Citizenship Station - Graffiti Wall
Students write what they have learned about being safe online.  Each grade will have their graffitti walls displayed in the hallway.

5.  Genius Hour
The entire school participates in the genius hour.  This is during their NBI time each day.  Each grade level has their own variation.  For example, the younger grades may focus on a theme.  One grade focused on character traits.  The first trait:  kindness.  The class brainstormed ways they could show kindness.  With help from various site and resources engaging students in developing deep questions, inquiry based learning and Wondertropolis aided teachers.  Their kindness project,  designing and hiding bookmarks for other students to find in the media center.  Another class used chalk to write positive words on the 4th grade playground.  Older students work on passion projects. Such as learning to knit or one student learned how to shoot a slingshot in hockey just to name a few. A free guide to the first 20 days of Genius Hour with interactives.

The vegetable garden is the product of the 2nd grade genius hour. They researched various gardens, including a sound garden, made with real instruments.  The final step included designing a presentation to the governing PTA board for funding. And this year, the project is underway.

6.  MakerSpace Center

Ms. Martin thinks of everything.  She has a table set up in the media center for students to create. When they finish their lesson and checking out books while in the media center or when finished with class assignments, this space is open for tinkering and creating.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Additions to Bingo Baker - Change Grid Size and Adding Images

New Additions to Bingo Baker

A few posts ago, Bingo Baker was mentioned.  After working with a few primary teachers the topic came up of creating smaller boards and adding images for our "littles."  Mr. Bingo Baker developer was awesome, he heard our request and went to work.  Guess what?  A week later, the option of a 5x5 grid or 3x3 and inserting images.  How's that for customer service?

Here's a board with images and smaller grid size:

It's free and easy to use.  Make a board for your class today!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

TKES TAP Performance Standard 8: Academically Challenging Environment

TKES TAPS Performance Standards

As part of the Race to the Top Initiative (RT3), Georgia, in collaboration with RT3 Districts, educational partners, and the Evaluation Task Force Committee, developed a new effectiveness system for teacher evaluation and professional growth.  It was piloted in 2012 and currently has been launched.

The TAPS consists of five domains and ten standards.  Standard eight, Academically Challenging Environments, characterizes the teacher created a student-centered, academic environment in which teaching and learning occur at high levels and students are self directed learners.  An example, the teacher conveys the message that mistakes should be embraced as a valuable part of learning.  Other wise known in twitter circles, as growth mindsets.  Growth mindsets teach students to persevere through a problem.  These statements are helpful for parents, too.  Thank you, @Primary_Ed for the awesome presentation of self statements.

Larry Ferlazzo's Blog, Websites of the Day, contains movie clips featuring Growth Mindsets.  What relief a student might gain from watching characters find their struggles and failures are okay and of value to the finished product.

We as teachers offer more than education, we offer hope to struggling learners.