Monday, May 19, 2014

How many standards are covered by Genius Hour?

So I did a little research this weekend about Genius Hour and the standards that it hits. 

 I have had numerous people ask me,  "How do you justify that you are meeting standards when implementing Genius Hour in the classroom?"  
I have had numerous people say, "I don't have time to have Genius Hour, because I have so many standards to teach." 
I have had numerous people say, "What standards are you hitting when you have the students work on Genius Hour?" 

I haven't literally sat down and pulled out every standard that it hits until this weekend. I made a google doc that documents all of the standards that I know the students have learned this year by participating  in 2 Genius Hour rotations. It was beneficial to do this after a couple of rotations because I am familiar with all of the learning that goes on during this process. I have conferenced with kids, helped them with research, conducted mini-lessons, witnessed the production of products, and seen amazing presentations. As with everything...I can always improve my craft. I will be tweaking many things with Genius Hour before the start of next school year. 

But for now, take a look at the 27 standards that were covered this year with Genius Hour.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

EdCamp #classroomstyle

EdCamp Schedule

So EdCamps are the new thing! You hear about them all the time! You attend a conference or rather an "unconference" and set the agenda for learning THAT day! The facilitators build the agenda that day based on what the attendees want to learn. People raise their hands and make suggestions for what they are interested in learning. The topic is placed into a slot on the schedule and someone from the crowd then raises their hand and bravely says, "I can help faciliate that topic or I can teach people about that or I could talk about that with some help from other people." And then the process just keeps repeating itself until the schedule is full! The energy in the room was pretty exciting.

Before I attended my first EdCamp in the Twin Cities, I held my own in my classroom. My students have been working hard this year on Genius Hour and completing their passion projects. They have been obsessed with trying out new ways to show their learning and they had some real interests in learning things like Google Sites, Google Presentations, Scratch, Book Creator...just to name a few.  It was starting to get the point that some of the students who were "experts" in these areas were getting hounded for help on a daily basis. This was very affirming for them, but it also took away from THEIR work time. I asked the class if they would be interested in this "edcamp idea" and they overwhelmingly said YES! 

I decided to set the schedule on Monday, so that the students would be prepared for EdCampMosaic on Friday. I asked students what they wanted to learn, students made suggestions, other students volunteered to teach the topic and the schedule was set. Students then signed up for one session in each time slot. I broke the schedule up into 2 half hour sessions...but I ended up needing 45 minutes for each session.  THE STUDENTS LOVED IT!!! I could not even believe their engagement and I was blown away by what great instructors they were!

I had students who had planned lessons for their group, students who rotated among the group members to help each person, students who had prepared presentations for their group, students who exhibited extreme patience with their group members,  and students who loved the chance to be a leader in the classroom! It was just AMAZING! 

The students had a chance to learn about Google Sites, Google Presentations, Scratch, Google Drive organization, iMovie, Book Creator, Explain Everything, and Prezi! When we were done with the EdCamp, I asked for written feedback on the afternoon. This is a sample of what I received...

"EdCamp was so much fun! My favorite part was when kids I was teaching said 'awesome' or 'cool' after something I taught them!  It felt so good that they liked it."-Jonathan

"I liked how I got to share my knowledge with other."-Piper

"This was really fun and I liked how we all got to go at our own pace with our fellow student teacher. Thanks for letting us do this today."-Laurel

"Prezi was great because of how Saket taught it.  He taught the basics and would walk around and help you understand it." -Yash

"I learned how to see how many views looked on my website and he also taught me how to change the template and the size of the picture." -Rohit

Overall, EdCamp was a huge success and I will definitely do it again in my classroom! The students are even more excited to do it again! 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Student Book Awards

My class loves to read! I mean...LOVES to read! Borderline obsessed with reading! It's great! I have those students that I have to TELL to put their books away during math, writing, science, social studies, etc. It's a good problem to have...I realize this! When I tell my students to line up for library, they freak out. It's like they are in line for Space Mountain at Disneyland! Reading is their thing!!!

Because of their innate love of reading, I decided to have end of the year book awards! I told the students about this and they FREAKED out! They want it to be just like the Kids Choice awards. :-) Okay, we can try. So a student named the awards, "The MOSAIC Kids Choice Bookworm Awards."
We then collaboratively came up with the award categories. We came up with the following...
-Best Character in a Book
-Best Poetry Book
-Best Graphic Novel
-Best of the Best Award
-Best Chapter Book Series
-Best Fantasy Book
-Best Informative Nonfiction Book
-Best Surprise Ending
-Best Read Aloud
-Best Life Lesson Learned
-Lifetime Achievement Award(for a book that is over 20 years old)

I then posted nomination forms up on my cabinets. I let the students write down 4 nominations after they thought about the books that they wanted to nominate for a couple of days. We had great lists and collected the titles from our school library and our class library. The students have been looking through the books all week and reading as many as they can to become familiar with the titles if they aren't already. We will be voting late next week via Google Forms. They insist on having a podium, envelopes with the winner inside, and acceptance speeches! I can't wait to announce the winners and see the excitement in the classroom! A great way to end a great year of reading!