Genius Hour

Felix Davila III
RUSH, E. B. (2015). Genius hour in the library. Teacher Librarian, 43(2), 26-30. Retrieved from
In this article, Rush details her approach to developing “Genius Hour” within her school library, noting that approach can be daunting because the purpose of the hour is to allow students to thoroughly research using methods by the librarian for a topic of their choice. The amount of variance may be hefty, but the research time is invaluable for students to become more acclimated to the research process, research methods and progressing through a project with such freedom. Most importantly from this article is Rush’s point that librarians should take care to provide some structure, having at least one physical book pertaining to each topic a student chooses and having a plethora of resources that can advance research goals from a tech perspective too, that way students receive a blended exposure to investigating topics.

This particular article was incredibly important, in my eyes, and it seems to really provide a positive effect on professional goals. During this semester, a class booked the library for a week long project of investigating anxiety, explaining what respectively affects them and how to counteract it or what they do best to handle it. Their research immediately began with running to the stacks, but my library team scrambled together a listing of resources, including websites, apps and community peer support groups that allowed students to supplement their research and find ways to combat their own anxiety. Rush’s explanation is applicable in more ways than just my example, but it goes to show that providing a thin framework from a multitude of sources can go a long way.

Tales of the Undead Learning Theories: The Learning Pyramid

Tales of the Undead Learning Theories: The Learning Pyramid

Jones, Erik


Archer, A. (2014). Tales of the undead learning theories: The learning pyramid. [Blog Post]. Retrieved from:

This particular blog focuses on a learning theory that simply won’t go away no matter how much research is done to disprove its effectiveness and overall uselessness. Appearing in many incarnations since the early 1900s, educational theorists have often speculated that people learn/retain only a portion of the things that we read, hear, look at, or do. The primary flaw with this learning theory is the percentages that people supposedly retain/learn at each level of the pyramid. It doesn’t take into account differing teaching styles that play a significant part in the learning process, not to mention the different learning styles that each students has. Some students are visual learning, while others learn by doing, and others learn better in a group environment. The designers of this pyramid fail to take these differences into account which is a huge issue.


I actually like this particular article as it’s about time people highlight some of the debunked learning theories that are our there that keep students from receiving a proper education. The author of the blog is also a little upbeat and while I would consider this to be more of a rant than anything else, his opinion and research is sound and needed.

‘World’s best teacher’ does not believe in tests and quizzes

Beverly Rupe
CA-Assessment Strategies

Brown, A. (2015, April 29). ‘World’s best teacher’ does not believe in tests and quizzes. [Television broadcast]. Washington, DC: PBS NewsHour Productions, LLC. Retrieved from

This is a transcript of a television interview with Nancie Atwell, who was awarded the $1 million Global Teacher Prize from the Varkey Foundation, which has been called the Nobel Prize for education. Atwell was honored for starting a demonstration school called the Center for Teaching and Learning in Edgecomb, ME, with the purpose of teaching children and training teachers at the same time. Atwell’s basic idea is to give kids choices, and let them follow their passions. The students are evaluated on their portfolios, and the students self-assess. The teachers assess the students daily during discussions. This approach supports favoring formative over summative assessments.

Steve Hargadon, Director of the Web 2.0 Labs and Host of the Future of Education Podcast

Porter, Lea

DiNardo, N., (2014, September 25). Steve Hargadon, Director of the Web 2.0 Labs and Host of the Future of Education Podcast, Podcast retrieved from

This podcast is an interview with Steve Hargadon concerning his Mindshift article Escaping the Education Matrix. In this 46 minute interview, Mr. Hargadon talks about his belief that the education system is all about control  and that society uses to the education system for control. He discusses that we can reclaim education, but that it will take a commitment similar to the civil rights movement. Mr. Hargadon believes that students should be allowed to drive their own education and that true “prosperity comes from individual creativity, hard work, and people working together”. He also believes that individuals should be allowed to be in charge of their own education.

This podcast and the Mr. Hargadon’s Mindshift article  are both very relevant to this class in regards to blended learning, co-construction of knowledge, and encouraging students to be inquirers. 

Blended Learning: Working with only one iPad

Sullivan, Maureen

Weller, K. (2014) Blended Learning: Working with One iPad.
Retrieved from:

Summary: Kristin Weller describes how she used the Show-me App to allow students to teach each other ways to solve math problems by way of podcasting. Although she only has one iPad, she has developed a way for students to use the app that is then accessible to all students. After pairs finish recording their podcasts, she uploads them to her interactive whiteboard to review skills and new standards. This process of recording their thinking in a podcast reinforces the students’ understanding, and also solidifies their thinking as they teach the problem to a peer.

Evaluation: I find it encouraging to see how a teacher continues to integrate technology into her class in meaningful ways, even if she doesn’t have enough devices to go around simultaneously. Many teachers are quick to point out the deficits in their classrooms regarding technology, rather than thinking though how to get around those barriers.

Can Student Driven Learning Happen Under Common Core

Curriculum and Assessment

Julian Zamora

CA-Assessment Strategies
CA-Common Core Assessments

Ratzel, M., (2013). Can Student Driven Learning Happen Under Common Core.  Mindshift.  Retrieved from  

The article talks about how student driven learning begins with an essential question (like our KBCs) and examines whether this type of learning is compatible with Common Core. (Included is a link to an article about Project Based Learning being “worth the trouble.”)

This article brings up good points about how teachers will be able to handle the transition ideas of Common Core, and making sure that curriculum is student-driven, and not just lecture.  This class taught me how to specifically solve this problem through a KBC and the different Transformations.  Likewise, the article also brings up the point that some teachers may be hesitant or just misinformed about ways to properly give students the reins to learn on their own.

Transforming Collaboration: Student Learning – Anytime, Anywhere


Julian Zamora

CA-Student Learning
Jones, S., & Green, L.S. (2012).  Transforming Collaboration: Student Learning – Anytime, Anywhere. Teacher Librarian. Retrieved from PDF Link.
This article discusses the importance of web 2.0 technologies to incorporate collaboration among students and teachers and teacher librarians.

Printed in 2012, the authors of this article definitely understand that to “integrate information literacy skills and instruction into the curriculum” requires collaboration between both parties.  Much like our class discussions, the authors discuss how difficult it can be for those two parties to physically get together and work on shared curriculum.  However, once they do, the results are very effective for students and student learning. 

They have some good resources for librarians and teachers to help students collaborate such as: Diido, Edmodo, Jing, Thinglink, Scribd, Voicethread and other sites that we used in this class for our collaboration lesson plans.