Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lead Out Loud!

Tired of saying, "Shhhh"? 
Well, then this Amazon listing is for you! Click Here 

It's now time to throw away the decibel monitor, and buy a bullhorn.  Take it from these librarians below (captured by Sara Kelly Johns) who have turned the page on noise.  

In our new standards paradigm, we are being asked to allow students to collaborate, communicate and create!  How can they do that in silence?  Paul Simon may have been a fan of the Sound of Silence, but librarians need to take up the horn and allow discussion.   

If students are to collaborate and communicate, the library should be a space where creative minds are allowed to discuss.  

(Librarians: Katie St. Laurent; Sue Kowalski; Rebecca Buerkett; Rita Foran) Leading the way...Leading out loud at our NYS Conference! 

Challenge of the week:  Examine your research projects to see where they fall on a scale of 1 to 5: Give yourself a point for each below: 

  1. Have you embraced a "social" element within your research? i.e. - Are you allowing your students to discuss the issue, share their knowledge, or brainstorm together? 
  2. Have you crowd-sourced at the beginning of the "connect" or "hook"  or "focus" stage of the inquiry research project? 
  3. Do you have an electronic bulletin board (blog, discussion space, eThread, etc.) for discussion? 
  4. Do you have a discussion section of your library where the students can share ideas, collaborate, etc? 
  5. Do you and your teachers require an element of "creation" within the research project?  eTools, Webtools, paper posters, tactile art, creation, etc? - Something that can be displayed and discussed publicly (either in eForm or paper)? 
If you scored a 5, then perhaps you should order this: click here 

____________________________________________________________________

Here are some sample standards that encourage collaborative discussion: 

CCSS: ('Just a sampling here...)

Comprehension and Collaboration:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1
Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of
conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2
Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.3
Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4
Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.5
Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

______________________________________________________________

C3 - Social Studies Standards:      (one small example) 


Dimension 4 (Communicating Conclusions and Taking Informed Action) demonstrate, those means include a range of venues and a variety of forms (e.g., discussions, de- bates, policy analyses, video productions, and portfo- lios). Moreover, the manner in which students work to create their solutions can differ. Students need oppor- tunities to work individually, with partners, in small groups, and within whole class settings.  

http://www.socialstudies.org/system/files/c3/C3-Framework-for-Social-Studies.pdf

______________________________________________________________

ISTE: 

2. Communication and collaboration
Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
  1. Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media
  2. Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats
  3. Develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures
  4. Contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems 

_______________________________________________________________
AASL:  ('Just a sample) 


Skills
3.1.1  Conclude an inquiry- based research process by sharing new understandings and reflecting on the learning.
3.1.2  Participate and collaborate as members of a social and intellectual network of learners. 

Share knowledge and
participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society.
3.1.3 Use writing and speaking skills to
communicate new understandings effectively.
3.1.4 Use technology and other information
tools to organize and display knowledge and understanding in ways that others can view, use, and assess.
3.1.5 Connect learning to community issues.
3.1.6 Use information and technology ethically
and responsibly.
3.2 Dispositions in Action
3.2.1 Demonstrate leadership and
confidence by presenting ideas
to others in both formal and informal situations.

3.2.2 Show social responsibility by
participating actively with others in learning situations and by contributing questions and ideas during group discussions.
3.2.3 Demonstrate teamwork by working
productively with others.  
http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/guidelinesandstandards/learningstandards/AASL_LearningStandards.pdf

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Research Bulletin Board Ideas

Since Bulletin Board ideas are some of the top hits on this blog... here are 6 more for you!

PLEASE, PLEASE  remember - Interactive bulletin boards are more engaging for students.  90% of the bulletin boards I see are "teacher delivery" of facts.   Your question should be:  How can I create a bulletin board where student's contribute to the content?  So these ideas reflect this premise.  These are ideas where the kids contribute content...thereby transferring ownership and fostering engagement. 

1 - Wonder Wall - What are you wondering about today?  - Light bulbs templates where kids can post questions that are either related to a deeper content investigation.... or just something random such as, "Why do insects have more legs than humans?"   You could launch this bulletin board by showing them a wonder from "Wonderopolis" - asking what they think on the wonder...and then show them the short video clip answer from Wonderopolis.

2 - Question Stems -- In order to incubate the ability to question, place a major topic-problem-picture-or fact in the center of the bulletin board.   Ask the students to come up with the ?'s about the picture-problem-fact etc.   That way the kids see how one question...leads to many more.  This incubates their questioning ability.  Change the central question weekly.  When students have free time, ask them to brainstorm questions for the central idea.  If you have time, investigate the big idea on Friday for closure and place a new question-picture-problem-or-fact  up for Monday.

3 - Fascinating Facts I Found -  Pre-cut fact "F's" out and have them handy for kids to jot down something new they learned in a book, on a database, or during research.  Contribute those to the FF bulletin board.

4 - Spring Board!  - Dress the empty bulletin board for Spring and then teach a database asking kids to find a great Spring fact for contribution.  Here's an essential Question for the middle:  EQ - Why is Spring important?  Ask them to use the "vocabulary of the discipline" if they can (i.e. vernal, equinox, rotation, etc....)

5 - Seasoning Reasoning - EQ: Which season is the most important?  Find me a fact to support your claim! - Once again, asking kids to contribute to the board builds knowledge.  When their peers post something, they'll be reading other's claims.

6 - Research Beyond Road Signs  - Catch attention at the secondary level by asking them to find more than the "obvious."  This is like research.  We must move beyond the obvious to the why, how, what if, does... Place that statement in the middle of the board! Ask students in your library with nothing to do...to find you these obvious duh signs as below!


Monday, February 9, 2015

Valentine's Day Infographic?


This generation likes to party…or use an excuse to celebrate life.  And, why not?  Anticipating Valentine’s Day, here is an idea to capitalize on a holiday and fold in your library curriculum.  Use this fun activity to teach: Keyword searching; digging for data; speaking with evidence, how to support an idea with “data” or “evidence”; real-life applications of math; writing in the first person; writing to persuade; researching to build an argument; and more. 

Here are sample over-arching Essential Questions to frame the project.  Please note that these EQ’s are wide enough to cover many topics:

EQ:  How does your passion use data or math? 
EQ:  How do we use math in real-life applications?
EQ:  How can we use data to strengthen an argument?
EQ:  How can we represent data visually? 



The expectation for mathematical application should scaffold by grade level, but this Inquiry-based assignment lends students the freedom of choice and voice to delve deeply and go in many directions.  

Suggestions to strengthen the assignment:

  1. Enlist the help of a math teacher to be a covert collaborator—giving students helpful hints, brainstorming mathematical connections and more. 
  2. Get a local business to offer a prize

 

 

http://www.mlssoccer.com/soccer-almanac/news/article/2011/08/26/soccer-almanac-attendance-rise

Remember:  These infographics are now so prolific on the Internet that you'd better insure their assignment wasn't copied and pasted like this soccer one above! 



Friday, January 30, 2015

Skip a Pizza...Feed the World?

While driving this morning, I heard "news" that Pizza Hut expects to have 60,000 drivers on tap Sunday for an expected 2 Million orders.  I said, "Wow. And, that's only a piece of the pie!"  


Pizza Hut is only one American pizza vendor. There's Papa Johns, Dominos, and Little Caesars--to say nothing of the local pizza joints serving up splendid treats.   If we conservatively assume 4 major vendors, each serving 2 million pies, Americans will easily consume over 8 million pizzas this Superbowl Sunday.  That's in addition to the 1.23 Billion Chicken Wings (that's billion with a "B"...) TBC (to be consumed) as reported by USA today.    

Let's look at this through our SS lenses which want us to compel kids to "civic action."  Here's a quick outline for a relevant SS - Civic Action lesson:  Present students with the facts and ask them what they think.  

  • Use this USA Today article as a "seed text." (Or, find a more recent one if you can.) This text comes in at a Fleisch Kincade HS level appropriate for 11th-12th grade. 
  • Hold an "evidence-based discussion" and see what their reaction is.  Do they see this as a national economic shot in the arm?  Do they see this event as a social holiday or dietary travesty?  Your EQ could be:  How does the Superbowl Affect America and Americans? 
  • After the discussion, ask them what other questions they have.  Aggregate the questions and ask them all to choose 2 or 3  to investigate.  Each investigation becomes their own "inquiry path."  
  • Proceed to your library for a short-term research project to look up additional facts, research, and to dig deeper into the affect of the Superbowl upon Americans.  - Make no bones about it: This is a major economic event. Calculate the expenditures for your locality alone.  
  • As a learning concierge, guide the question brainstorming to include other geographic areas that are suffering from famine.  (Have pictures queued-up?)
  • Final knowledge product suggestions: Infographic to inform and advocate in the form of an Evidence-based Claim?  Evidence-based discussion and debate.  Local advocacy: "Skip a pizza - Feed the Poor?"  
  • Let students extrapolate the impact of [4] million homes replacing the cost of one pizza with a donation.  How many hungry people could we feed with that sum? 
I just did it.  I don't need the 300 calories in 1 slice.  I have my Rotel and Velveeta I can munch.  Enjoy the game and... your wings! 

Here are three good links, in case you're convicted.  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Is P the new "Scarlet Letter" ??


From: pleasedontcheat.com 

If you are looking for ideas to combat Plagiarism...look at re-designing your own assignment. At a recent discussion group around Plagiarism, it was acknowledged that most of the plagiarized assignments could benefit from student-centered repackaging. All too often a teacher pre-designs what the students need to investigate and thereby the assignment reflects the teacher, not the student.  This type of assignment is most frequently plagiarized.

Ask the Shadow Scholar:  



His story is unbelievable -- Only we do believe it, because we know it's widespread.  We've seen it. We even empathize with a poorly assigned paper that requires very little synthesis and conclusions.  Here are five first steps or simple suggestions, to help combat Plagiarism:  
You may know this, but perhaps some teachers do not.  Or, in our busy-over-burdened educational paradigm, we have not left enough time for coaching, progress monitoring, and guidance so that we can insure that students are actually doing their work and not copy-pasting.  Embedding an element of choice transfers ownership to the student.  If a teacher has "pre-defined" what the topic is (without an element of choice), it is the teacher's assignment and not the student's work.  We are teaching a self-centered generation that wants to "own" their work and doesn't always like to be told what to do.  I trust this is not a news-flash....

eProducts such as Noodletools and Easybib certainly help a student learn how to paraphrase correctly and provide great opportunities for instruction.  However, we know that there is a huge digital divide in some schools.  Whether in a techy or non-techy environment, our goals should be the same: Originality. Thinking. Synthesis.  Original conclusions.  Deep understanding. 

So, is P the new scarlet "S"?  - No.  This generation doesn't care.  There's no shame in Plagiarism....or so they think.  We know better, and need to model why.  


Friday, January 23, 2015

Wall of Shame? Or, Wall of Fame?

On our collegial listserv, operating as an informal PLC, someone asked for ideas on a 
R-E-S-P-E-C-T  or Dignity character education lesson.  I thought I'd share my response as an example of "repackaging" a lesson into an Inquiry-based Learning adventure.  This is something that might fit our new moniker "Mininiquiry" or a short research project that can be done in a lesson or two -- as compared to a "more sustained" research project.  

The CCSS calls for research to build and present knowledge to be an "anchor standard."  Have your teachers dropped anchor in your domain lately?  Here's one idea for them! 

____________________________________________________________________

Original email request:

"A 6th grade teacher just came to me. She is doing a project on "respect"
and "dignity" with her class and I am trying to help her come up with a
way for her kids to research this. (She originally just wanted the
computer lab where she was going to let her kids loose on the Internet -
until I stepped in and said, "Let me teach the class").

She doesn't even know yet what the final project will be - a paper? a
PSA? a trifold board? So I don't have a lot to go on...."

_________________________________________________________________________
Here are some possible thoughts to digest: 

* Begin with the end in mind —  You are correct that your teacher needs to
determine the final "knowledge product” (I.e. How will they show they have
learned the material - What do you want your students to KNOW or BE ABLE
TO DO)
* Final knowledge products should be linked back to the "big idea" - in  this case respect and dignity.
* She needs an essential question to hook the students into the relevance.
* So with all that in mind here¹s just 1 simple idea:

EQ:  If you were to build a "Wall of Fame"  and a "Wall of Shame" for
respect and dignity, who would be on it and why?   —  Build an EBC.

With an EQ like that, they are beginning with the end in mind.
  • This is student-centered. - They are in control of their search
  • They will think like “historians" - cause and effect  - historical heroes, etc. (You could align this with a historical “era" to hit a SS standard,etc.)
  • This is Inquiry based as they have choice and a voice.
  • It might help for the class to brainstorm together (Wonder) the characteristics of “respectful” or “dignified" people.  You could even activate thinking by having copies of newspapers or TIME magazines and ask them to find people currently who would qualify for either side.  Ask why?  That will incubate the thoughts of characteristics for either side.
  • These characteristics may become some of the keywords for searching.*   This also gives you an opportunity to use either a biography database, a newspaper database, or other resources and teach narrowing your search.
  • It also allows them to build an EBC (evidence-based claim) to support their answers. This correlates to ELA standards. 
  • This allows an easy way to layer technology via many different apps such as collage.com 
  • This is also not technology-dependent, if your school lacks it. 
  • The new C3-SS Standards encourage kids to get to “civic action.”  This is a perfect lesson to incubate that response.
  • Include a slogan for the school? - Create a slogan for “dignity.”  (Have them visit www.sloganizer.net to create one…if it’s not blocked in your school.  Choose the English version not the German.)


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Does Your Ancient Greece Need a ...FACELIFT?

I just responded to an email regarding "repackaging" their Ancient Greece unit.  Since this subject matter is so universal, I thought I'd share my response to others may consider a facelift for Ancient Greece.   
  • With new C3 (College Career and Civic life) Social Studies Standards, we are encouraged to find "authentic connections" and find "real world problems" to relate content to.  
  • With the CCSS, we are encouraged to embrace "research to build and present knowledge" as an Anchor Standard."  - Therefore, we are encouraged to package content via a research learning adventure. 
  • Research can be viewed as a large or small "evidence-based claim." 
With that in mind, what if we repackage our Ancient Greece unit into an EBC with an
Essential Question:      
How has the Ancient Greece survived, even though it has died? 

Examine the Ancient Culture under the SS lenses: 
  • Government - Democracy 
  • Culture, 
  • Values (education, arts, etc..) 
  • Beliefs - (myths) 
If you guide kids by giving them those SS "lenses"  (now called SS 'practices' ) they should examine the past to understand it and hopefully discover that a Ancient Greece had lasting influence on our current culture. 

They could-should - build and EBC (evidence-based claim) to support their findings.  This research could be coupled with a more student-centered knowledge sharing expo such as creating a "living museum" of Ancient Greek influence.   This could include Nike Pegasus Sneakers, Midas Muffler adds, a democracy model, Outdoor Market, statues, etc... etc.    
This example "synthesizes"  the content and is real-life.  

Examine your local learning objectives and insure that your graphic organizer may cover all the "lenses" through which you want students to examine Ancient Greece.  


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hooking the Somebodies...Via a Pronoun


We live in a day and age of somebodies.  Everyone wants to be extraordinary, famous, or extreme--and no one wants to be a nobody.  Nobody.  Nada.  And,  we're not talking about Theodore Geisel's dopey siblings that had to shovel the snow while Mom when shopping downtown. We are not talking "somebody has to, somebody you see.  So, she picked two somebodies:  Sally and Me."  They were the supply. But--we all love a good story, so we read on.

If we are teaching the somebody-wanna-be's, then they have to be in the center of our instruction.  Remember that next time you craft your assignments.  Feed their disease by placing a pronoun into your essential questions:  "If you were in charge of the United Nations, which countries would you recommend to take a look at our Bill of Rights in order to improve the quality of life for their citizens?"   Now that's synthesis with the self-centered  (7th grade) Millennial in mind.

Examine these EQ's for "short term research assignments" and see how critical the pronoun placement is to shifting the ownership of the endeavor to the student:
  • Is your insect a "friend or foe?" (See Think Tank Library for this lesson plan!) 
  • If you were to build a "Wall of fame for local history,"  who would you include? And why... ?
  • If you were living during the 1700's in Europe, would you have chosen to immigrate to America?  Choose a European Country and examine your conditions and options.  Write me a letter (EBC- evidence-based claim) as to why you are emigrating or staying from a first-person point of view.   How will/won't you prepare?  We will hold an auction for boat tickets. 
  • How big is your carbon footprint? 
Some may say we are feeding a self-centered disease, but it works.  This generation wants to see the "relevance" of the assignment.  A pronoun in your assignment EQ will help to transfer the ownership from a "teacher-centered" assignment to a student-centered learning adventure. It's only one small step in teaching the millennial that we should have in our "bag of tricks."



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Think Tank Library - AASL Webinar follow-up

Thanks to all of you who attended our AASL webinar:  Get Thinking!  
(We realize that many got closed out as the virtual room was "full."  The archive will be posted soon.)

EQ:  How will you get your students thinking today?  

It was great to share ideas for elevating thought during library time, research, and collaborative learning adventures!  As promised, here is the 20% off ordering code to be used when ordering a copy of our Think Tank Library: Q41320. 
Available @ ABC Clio  

The K-5 level book was released in December, and the 6-12 level book will be released imminently.  Please email us at thinktanklibrary@yahoo.com with any questions for "repackaging" your lessons to include higher level thought and real world issues.  We'd love to dialogue and brainstorm with you. 

After the webinar, I realized I never advanced the slides to the credits and wanted to include this slide below to insure that librarians Sara Kelly John, Sue Kowalski, and Rebecca Burkett get credit for some of their great photos!  (I'm not sure whether the recorded archive will pick up the last 2 slides that were there but not advanced.) 


Thanks to all and I look forward to our continuing conversation! 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

5 WAYS TO GET THINKING!

“Memorizing facts and faces has failed us.  It’s time to concentrate on thinking and deep understanding.” 
 --S.G. Grant – C3 Contributor, SCDN meeting, 
Albany, NY  Sept 2014. 


Hooray for the C3 Social Studies Standards which concentrate on thinking almost as much as they do on history. They have 65 references to thinking and these are the adjectives they use : 
 

5 Ways to Foster THINKING in your research assignments:
  • Inspire Curiosity – Compelling minds want to know, understand and use this knowledge
  • Identify the “gold” in your content and get STUDENTS to uncover and discover… (rather than you ‘covering’)
  • Ask questions which cannot be answered by mere facts – Get to the WHY, so what, what if, how….
  • Use the LENSES of understanding: Geography, economics, civics, and historical lenses
  • Require a project to assess understanding... How can students demonstrate this understanding?  
While planning an assignment on “local history” I suggested a teacher package the final product as the creation of a Landmark or Historical Marker to denote the significance of a person, event, or place.  (Build an argument or evident-based claim for a marker) Students could even advocate for a real sign, which gets the students to Civic Action.   

What’s funny is that within the C3 actually note there is “dichotomous” thinking that is required in civics.  That’s what fuels politics, as we know all too well.   So, here’s the dichotomous thinking for Landmarks – Could we fold this into our curriculum?  What a hoot.



http://www.funism.com/art/I75project.html