For my summer grad class, we have a Genius Hour Project which is an opportunity for us to research, plan, and implement any project of our choosing. This fit very well with my goals for next school year, as it has given me the perfect chance to plan out a new Genius Hour course I will start this fall. This GH class will be an elective class for any 6th grade students and will last one semester. The class will meet every other day and will be 45 minutes. Below are my first steps of planning out the project.
(Link to GH Planning Template and Goal Sheet)
Now it’s time for some research! Here is some of the great information I found out so far about Genius Hour classes.
I was lucky enough to connect with some great experts via Twitter like @JoyKirr who shared me a Genius Hour Live Binder (https://t.co/rmH6P9tf8Q) with several different resources from a wide variety of teachers who had created GH classes or projects. The first link I went to was a Standards-Based Genius Hour (http://www.teachergoals.org/genius-hour.html). This was a great blog post that went through how to first spark excitement from students, then have them create their Driving Questions, which is similar to project-based learning. The main idea behind this style Genius Hour was that they took their core subject standards and had students focus their genius hour project around a simplified version of that standard. What is unique with my course, is that I have the freedom to not have any standards, but will incorporate the ISTE standards found here (http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/standards-for-students). One final take away I had from this source was that the teacher did not allow any poster presentations, powerpoints, or any other traditional projects. This is a great way to incorporate some of the digital literacy skills.
Another great tip - Stayed organized and create a tracking system of student-teacher feedback!
Other great information I collected from the Genius Hour Live Binder.
Genius Hour Fair - http://www.geniushourfair.com/8-12yoprojects
- I love this idea and believe I can make it happen for my first semester class. All submissions are due September 30th for the 2016 fair. This might be a nice first half of the semester project.
- This site also shared a great resource for students, “Googleable vs Non-Googleable” questions. (Link: http://notosh.com/lab/googleable-vs-non-googleable-questions/)
Quarter 4 Genius Hour - http://scholarsrm239.weebly.com/genius-hour-celebrations
This was another awesome website that shared many useful tips and their experience with having students focus an entire quarter on one genius hour project. Below were my take-aways:
- Proposals - students needed to create a pitch under 30 seconds and explain why they wanted to do their GH project and sell it to the audience.
- End Product - the result of the genius hour needed to be a product of some sort, whether it was a book, a new invention, or a documentary. The teacher felt this would help motivate students to spend time moving from the idea phase to producing phase nicely.
- Blog - Students blogged their progress weekly.
- Final Presentation - At end of class, students gave a 5 minute presentation to community, teachers, and parents) with parent permission.
- Assessment - This was directly taken from the teacher’s blog (Rubric Here).
- The Proposal (Is the proposal on-time, and does it address the required questions appropriately?)
- The Blog (Does the post address the required topic? Do you post each week?)
- The Product (Did you successfully move from idea phase to production phase, and do you have something to show at the end of the year?)
- Productivity (Are you spending your Genius Hour time by actively and passionately working on your project? If not, we need to quickly adjust the project so you are working on something that is intrinsically motivating. This is less objective, but if I see students not being productive, I will intervene.)
- Final Presentation (Does your presentation meet all of the required elements? There will be a rubric - ask for it two weeks before you present.)
All of the above are very very helpful for me and I will use them to shape my course. Seeing all of the wonderful examples of excited and empowered students really reinforces the reason behind create this opportunity for students and I’m looking forward to the next phase - planning!