Last June, I posted Summer Passion Projects which since then has morphed into the ideas now in place this school year. This new post “Genius Hour, Take 1” is apropos in that it’s the first stage of production, of experiences, in the year with this new endeavor. I’ve decided that I need Takes as the year goes – re-dos, tweaks, repeats, and continual progression are the story of this life!
I’ve blocked an hour on my weekly schedule as Genius Hour. The question “What’s Genius Hour?” came up at parent night before I could even address it on the schedule. Parents received the information very well, not too many questions, more of a fascination that free choice learning would be happening on a regular basis.
A parent approached me after the meeting and shared her excitement with this plan. It turns out that her office does this. (Perfect!) I asked if she would come and share what it was like and talk to the kids in general about what happens and what comes of it. She agreed. Day 1 had much more promise than before. What a great kick-start! My notes of the beginning days of Genius Hour are as follows.
Day 1: Friday, August 15 – Today we started off with learning about Genius Hour. I showed two video clips from the Google file shared by Laura Rausch, a connection made at EdCampFWTX. Thanks, Laura!
Obvious to you, Amazing to Others
Creativity Requires TIME
Parent share – even better than expected! This parent’s work group had actually been to visit Google in New York not long ago, and she was able to talk about that experience too. She shared some excellent word thoughts to stick in our heads:
After this, the kids wrote responses to a few Genius Hour questions to start the wheels turning: 1) What are some things you like? Love? 2) How do you spend your time outside of school? 3) If you could read/learn about anything in the world, what would it be?
Day 2: Friday, August 22 – Today our Hour was shortened to a generous “Half Hour” because of unforeseen ice cream circumstances after lunch….so here’s what happened. I grabbed Laura Rausch’s poster idea generator plan and used it with the kids.
6 sheets: 1)I would like to learn to create… 2) I would like to learn to do… 3) I would like to learn to test… 4) I would like to learn about… 5) I would like to learn to make… 6) I would like to learn to change..
We discussed what each one meant; one student shared a story to relate to one of these. She has a friend in California that is creating a type of car. That helped boost interest too!
Each got sticky notes to use as they thought of something to write for the prompts. They were busy with their writing and quite involved in their own thoughts. I’m impressed and inspired with the creative thoughts!
Day 3! Friday, August 29
Started off with a great video from Khan Academy. You Can Learn Anything!
We shared the poster sticky notes from last week which then led into Skinny vs Fat Questions. Often the “Skinny” questions (quick answers) can become a “Fat” question (stretch thinking, layers of knowledge & learning to happen) with some change in thought.
This day was cut short because of an assembly….ah! You know, life happens!
- Next week, development of FAT questions (required for Genius Hour projects.)
- Students will plan for a “share” at the end of their work – a product of some kind / a presentation of what has been learned
- “Ready With My Idea” form for students and parents to sign GeniusHourHomeForm
Coming soon….Take 2!