It’s a cool thing when new students have heard what has gone on in the past in my classroom and ask if they’ll be doing the same thing. As great as whatever it may have been previously, I have to give an honest, unspecific answer of, “Oh, great things are ahead! You’ll have to wait and see!” The reality is, each year is unique and special. If every year played out the same, it would lose its individuality and specialness. I need to read each year as the pages turn and look for any opportunity that presents itself for amazing learning – myself included!
There are only a couple of things that are exactly the same about Genius Hour from my first year implementing it to the next one. One, it’s got a place carved into our weekly schedule, and two, the initial brainstorming and planning were the starting places for both years. After that point, those student minds take off with creativity and exploration each to their own. That is actually one of the places I’m still learning to “let go” because it’s not any plan of mine for my students. I’ve mentioned to my teammates that it’s a bit uncomfortable because this is a time when the reins are not in my hands, as has by and large been traditional teaching. It’s completely confirming though when I see what the kids are choosing to learn on their own and the excitement that surfaces with this free choice. How cool is that? Excited students, excited learning, excited sharing!
Here are some pics of the year so far: the planning sticky note wall charts, just a few shots of GH in process in class time, and pictures of our first presentation (still in progress!).
My goal at this point in the year is to take students where they are learning, what they are discovering, and help them to extend with it as an outreach of some sort. While this may happen in baby steps with 9 and 10-year-olds, I know there are possibilities….
I’d love for Lauren’s blanket and pillow making become a pet donation to Operation Kindness, a local pet shelter. It would be great for Kyle’s information that he’s gathering on bully-words to become posters in our school hallway. Maybe Kate’s learning to make cookies will expand if she can make her own cookie recipe and share with grandparents and families at Grandparents Day or as package as Christmas gifts and give at stops on the school choir tour. Peyton is learning and developing his coding skills on Scratch. I don’t know where that could go… but I’ll keep watching and reading him to tap in to his talents.
Genius Hour, genius dreams. Keep on learning, teachers. There’s much more to be discovered in our students!