HSE 21 at Brooks School

Celebrations and Summer time!

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THE POWER OF A PICTURE

by Mrs. Erin Nornberg
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Feature Teacher, Mrs. Erin Nornberg

Erin was kind enough to share some thoughts with us as she wraps up her first year at BSE. When the dust settles, I hope you'll take time to celebrate and reflect on your own journey this year.



The Power of a Picture

by Mrs. Erin Nornberg, Kindergarten Teacher, Brooks School Elementary



“I see lots of smoke.”


“Why is that kid swimming in garbage?"


“Uh, are those animals eating garbage?”


“Why would that lady scoop up dirty water... does that make her want to puke?!”


And then... “Mrs. Nornberg, that turtle is going to drown because of that stuff! Poor turtle... do you think the ducks in the water by my house might get stuck like that? I see litter around there! I can pick it up, but let me ask my mom first!”


And, “Were those trees? Where are all the birds going to live? Did they DIE?! We need to yell at the people who did that! How do we make them stop?”


Which ultimately led to the picture of the goose. We were at a red light on the way to our field trip and it was drinking out of littered rainwater on the side of the road. I hear, “Look, that goose is going to get sick! Tell the bus driver to pull over so we can pick up the land pollution!”.


Provocations Meet Genius Hour

As humans, we are easily pushed and pulled by our emotions. We know that if we want our students to not only learn but take their knowledge to create change in the world, we need to get them passionate about something.


Why is Genius Hour so successful?


They have an emotional connection: excitement, frustration, or even disgust! Students are passionate about what they are doing, guiding the work themselves. We can challenge them to think outside the box and build critical thinkers.


So, how do we get them to buy-in to the science and social studies standards we need to cover and actually build a foundation for future learning that will let them change the world?


In Kindergarten, we have the standard of, “K.3.7 Recommend ways that people can improve their environment at home, in school, and in the neighborhood.” We know this needs to be covered but instead of launching our unit with, “Friends, today we are going to start out by learning about pollution or recycling...” and whip out a never-failing KWL chart, we can start with a simple picture (or 7) and watch the magic happen.


It’s all about the buy-in. In this case, I’ve sucked them in with pictures. They launched themselves into all the things I wanted them to (and then some), all on their own. I was just the facilitator for the unit, giving them QR codes, books, and other resources to answer their high-level questions. They chose to write “how-to” books to help people stop hurting the earth and came up with addition and subtraction problems about garbage. They decided to reuse things from the recycling bin and made “litter critters” and a scarecrow for our garden. Two friends competed in a throwing contest using recycled-paper rockets with the help of Mrs. P’s 4th graders and covered 4th grade force and motion standards!


They also covered 15+ Kindergarten through fourth grade language arts, math, science and social studies standards throughout this time - all at five and six-years old and all because of their emotional reaction to those 7 Google images.


It’s possible to let go and to let them take their learning in places they want to go. Since I’ve integrated these types of provocations, I don’t find a single student telling me they are bored. They aren’t throwing tantrums or avoiding their work; they are emotionally invested and interested and soaring. I believe my students will take what they’ve learned and add onto it throughout their school years, ultimately accomplishing some pretty amazing things in life.


So, what is a standard you have found tricky to create buy-in with students? What is an image or artifact that you could present to cause a reaction in your inquirers? Grab a picture and let the genius begin!

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Technology and Instruction - A message from Mrs. Amy Murch, Tech Advisory Rep

Mrs. Murch is our BSE rep at the district level on the Technology Advisory Board. I've asked her to become a part of this HSE 21 Smore. This platform is a way for Amy to keep us connected to all this technology and instruction. You will find Amy's notes and an article from her attached. Send her any thoughts or questions!
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Dates to Remember for Optional Summer Professional Staff Development

Summer Time!

Teachers need time to unwind and relax! No tired like end of year tired, right!? !


However, many of you will look to find small chunks of times for professional growth. I've included some of those opportunities below.



  • May 30, 31, and June 1 - Reading Units of Study for BSE and GES teachers


Click Here to access the link to Sign Up Genius - Reading Units of Study Optional PD Sessions.


  • June 15th - EDM 102, Modules 4-6, 8:30-11:30 OR 12:30-3:30
  • June 22nd - Susan O'Connell Math in Practice Workshop 12:30-3:30 pm

    Hamilton Southeastern High School

    CCA Cafeteria

  • August 1st - EDM 101 8:30-11:30 and EDM 102 12:30-3:30