In early May I jumped in with both feet and tried the “Twitter-trending” concept of “Genius Hour.” It was a learning process throughout the “pilot.” My students loved it and I can’t wait to share with others the concept of “Genius Hour.”
There are a couple of things I learned in this process:
1. Surprising to me, students struggle already at the age of 8 and 9 to really be able to “brainstorm” things they are passionate about
2. Even with limitless parameters students tend to stay inside the box when presenting learning and more needs to be done to get them to present in unique ways… too much Prezi or Power Point and not enough original creation. Coaching skills are a must!
3. Even though there is plenty of room for growth, students were passionate about the learning that they did and they went deeper with their learning and were deeply connected to the learning that they developed
4. Students recognized the need to be passionate about something, the impact that passion can have on their future and learning is and can be fun
5. Reflection was essential throughout this process and at the end of the initial session “next steps” are essential so that they see this as not a terminal project but an ongoing continuum of learning
6. Next time I will put more emphasis on students determining how their learning and “creation” can be shared to IMPROVE their community, state, country, and/or world
Since completing the school year and dismissal for summer break, I have started a Summer Session Genius Hour that I shared out through email and my neighborhood Facebook page. I have less participants than I had hoped for but the four I have, including my own two children made strides tonight at our initial session for the summer. I did have one student who returned for the summer session and she shared out her presentation from our end of year Symposium. The others were able to see a product and one astutely recognized that even though that was the presentation of learning on that topic at that time, it was an ongoing process and the initial product could continue to evolve and change over time. It was a great session and we plan to meet back together as a group to share, discuss and critique each other in a couple of weeks. I have made myself available in the meantime for coaching sessions and helping to facilitate their pursuit of their learning about their passion.
The students left eager to keep going with their ideas and I can hardly wait until we come together again to share our passions!