Saturday, February 8, 2014

Genius Hour Development

Well, I must say, this Genius Hour concept has really taken off in my room! The students are LOVING it and they ask everyday if they can work on "Genius Hour." At this time, we are working on it 3 days a week for about 30-60 minutes each day. 

The students have all developed their open-ended questions and have tweaked them to meet their needs after starting their research. A few students have decided to pair up with another student and collaborate.  This has created a lot of great energy in the classroom. Those collaborating are getting together outside of school to work together, collaborating via google docs, and bouncing ideas back and forth between "Genius Hour playdates."

Collaborating about "What is dark energy?"

The most important thing thus far has been making time to conference with the students. It has been important to confer with them in order to help them narrow down their choices of products that they wish to create, help them organize their research on Google Drive and cite their sources, and to make sure that they are on task while given this gift of time. Surprisingly, they are all on task and working diligently.  Many are even working on this at home in their free time. 

The students have been experimenting with iMovies, iMovie trailers, Explain Everything, and Educreations for product choices on their iPad. I've been very impressed so far with their iMovie trailers about their topics and they LOVE making them! I mean check this one out on snow crystals...

Impressive, right? 

When I asked the students this week, what their initial thoughts were on Genius Hour, this was some of the feedback that I received...

"I love this because I get to research what I want."
"I love this because I have a choice on the products that I make for my topic."
"I get to be creative!"

"I created a folder in my Google Drive called, 'Yay I get to do this' because I'm so excited to do this!"-I's true! 
"I get to use critical thinking skills AND be creative."
"You can pick your own topic!"

"Besides time, there are very few barriers with this project."
"You are free to do your project in any order." 
"You can take any path...there are no barriers to your learning." 

Yep...they really did say all of that "stuff." I was a little shocked too! It just reaffirmed my decision to do this project. Hoping we will soon have some answers to "What exactly are black holes? What is the science behind snowboarding? Why are all snowflakes different? How do people acquire mind powers?" :-) They certainly have a lot to research in order to find out! 

Quietly working and very engaged learners!

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