Sunday, January 5, 2014

Genius Hour - A First Time Reflection

My students and I have officially completed round one of Genius Hour!


When I learned about Genius Hour this past summer, I was excited and nervous. Excited about the possibilities, and yet nervous about the chaos and/lack of participation.

Silly, right?

I couldn't have been more pleased, impressed, and simply wowed by my students research and passion. I learned about dogs, saddles, a variety of sports and athletes, as well as building your own iPhone, and the reasons behind why celebrities don't have the same consequences as we "regular" folks. I was truly inspired!

After all projects had been shared and questions were answered, I gave my students an evaluation and reflection to complete. Students were incredibly thoughtful and forthcoming. Students mentioned what they could improve on, what they felt they did well, and even suggestions for me to make Genius Hour even better. Some suggestions included a time limit on presentations and to use a web-based program to access their presentations faster (Google Docs, anyone?). What surprised me most was that all students truly enjoyed the project and wanted to do it again next semester. 

Now THAT is pretty genius. 

Now that we have completed a round of Genius Hour, I now have questions and concerns for the next Genius Hour.

Although students had plenty of time to research, plan, and create; many switched their projects at least once and others focused on the lacidazical task of finding pictures for their presentations even before they had their material complete. So how do I keep my students engaged throughout the process?

Additionally, I had hoped for more in depth research and questions. Many students simply did expository research, the history of something, who created this or that, or all about this or that. For our next Genius Hour project, I'd like to see students asking deeper questions, looking for creative answers, or creating answers on their own. How do I go about encouraging my students to think beyond the history of "insert a topic here"? 

All I do know is that my students LOVED Genius Hour. Loved it so much they are asking for more. I also know my students will be blogging their process this next semester, so please follow the Duck Pond and give them (and me) some feedback.

Thank you to all who have inspired me and my students to take this venture on. It will be one that continues in my classroom for some time.

Check out some Genius Hour highlights below!

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