This genius hour project was overall a wonderful experience for me. The timeline of the course with reading the book, the Innovator’s Mindset (by George Couros) fit well with the goals of this summer course. Reading the book opened my mind to other ways to empowering students, and how as teachers, we can shape the way we teach our classes and improve the way students are taught in school.
With my genius hour project of creating a genius hour class, I was able to spend the time that I needed to focus on my individual goals. Instead of doing “busy work” with forced reading, I was able to take control of what I needed to accomplish. Researching all about genius hour, connecting with other experts on twitter, and spending the time planning what helped me create a plan for my GH class and complete this summer project.
Obviously, I see the value in letting students do something like this, because I planned an entire elective course focussing on this very topic. Being able to go through the process myself helped a lot because I was able to see firsthand where students might struggle with the amount of freedom given. And if I struggled to focus at some points along the way, I know that my 6th graders definitely might face this same challenge. Knowing this I was able to plan in some extra meeting times with them, and create more structure in terms of their researching and journaling.
Reflection is a large part of learning that I am working more on in my professional life. As I go through the semester with my genius hour class, my goal is to blog along the way, or at least keep track of successes and failures. I love experimenting and know that this first year of elective courses will definitely be an experiment but I am looking forward to the challenges and seeing what solutions can be made! Just knowing all of the awesome student projects that will be created from this class is really exciting for me and I can’t wait for the school year to see what happens!