It was interesting to read blogs this week and I enjoyed reading about all three choices of emerging technologies, but I chose to really focus my attention and time on Genius Hour. I really feel like Genius Hour can be used successfully at any grade level.
It was really interesting to read about Gerald experiencing Genius Hour from a parent’s perspective and his statement, “When my daughter told me she could pick any topic and project to work on in health class, I thought she was mistaken.” really hit home. Especially in the upper grades our students would probably experience similar thoughts, which may prevent them from starting right away. By that time some students may have learned how to “play” school and do just what they need to to get by. Something else I picked up from his post was that we can find experts in the students chosen project field that may be right in our building or town. Of course we can use technology to put our students in touch with experts that aren’t in our geographic location.
Daysha reminded me of how excited primary students are to learn and how we can use that to our advantage with Genius Hour. We shared similar feelings of apprehension when thinking of implementing this in our classrooms. Daysha had a great idea of finding another primary class that has used Genius Hour effectively and using that for ideas and even to show the student examples of finished products. She was interested in hearing how another primary teacher would organize Genius Hour to keep it from unproductive chaos and this really made me sit back and think, how would this really look in my classroom?
I think I would start small—with our independent book reading time and go from there. The next step would probably be to model how Genius Hour looks by doing a project myself. Then I would have students work on their projects during a center time—a time when all the other students are working at independent centers so that the Genius Hour group could receive teacher assistance as needed. With time and practice my students would become more independent. Due to our remote location and no library, I would really rely on technology to help the students research for their chosen project.
Finally, I was discussing this with my husband, a high school CTE teacher, and it was really interesting to reflect on the different concerns about implementing this in a high school room or a elementary room. One of his biggest concerns was assessment and “grading.” We discussed how not everything needs to be graded, but the students final project and presentation would be a great form of authentic assessment.