As I mentioned in a previous post a student teacher and I have started doing a modified "Genius Hour" with a second grade group. I say modified because they are getting more than the hour a week to work. It is more like 2.5 hours on an average week. We have lovingly started calling it their "Passion Projects".
Yesterday was the first day of them really exploring their passions. They got to sit down and web out their thoughts and put down what they were passionate about, no matter what it was. The students were so excited by this simple activity! Moans and groans came from the crowd when it was time to stop for the day. It was music to my ears because that signaled PASSION for their thoughts!
Here's the plan, Stan! For today we have a lot to get done. Students are going to come in and share their passions with a couple of friends and then will get a chance to revisit their sheets. After that, we are turning to Wonderopolis to show students how topics can be narrowed down. I am hoping for some "AHA" moments today! Before we leave, students are going to generate some "I wonders" about their passions.
All of this leads into students making their Wonder Walls tomorrow (yes, pics to follow!) and getting their decisions made to start their project proposal! EEEK! So excited! Follow our progress on Twitter @nschwartztech!
This week I am working with a student teacher to get started with Genius Hour. Now, I am going to preface this with stating that this is NOT a traditional Genius Hour. Where students typically get an hour/week, these students are getting about 30 minutes/day. I have been calling this their "Passion Project" instead.
Yesterday we started by talking about what Genius Hour is by sharing this video.
Throughout the video, we paused and discussed it, and the kids' excitement grew. We then talked about the 3 requirements to our time: research, creating, and presenting. Lastly, students worked together to come up with our "Passion Project Guidelines". These are kind of the rules to working each day. They came up with some great ones: focus on your project, keep voices at a level 1.5 (good for collaborating, but not enough to distract someone), and listen to each other and the teachers were just a few.
I can't wait to talk today about what a passion is and allow them to start brainstorming! So excited!
One thing I would like educators to look at for next year is Genius Hour, or the 20% Initiative. I know, I know, how are you going to fit another thing into your day? I get it, we are busy. Good news, you only have to commit to 1 hour a week. A WEEK!
What is Genius Hour? Think about something you are passionate about or want to know more about. Then imagine that you get time set aside in your week to learn more about it, create a presentation, and share it. That's Genius Hour.
I have seen this project modified for lower grades, even as low as 1st or 2nd. This project is also great for high school. We had a teacher work on this in her ELA class this year, and it went over great!
Check out my Pinterest board for more about Genius Hour. Interested in getting started? I will send out more information at the beginning of the year to see who is interested so we can have a support group!
There were some great projects I saw throughout the year. Teachers would have students submit their information to a Google Form, including a link to their blog where they would put their proposals and updates. This allowed for their teacher to send the link out via Twitter to get outside feedback. It was so awesome to see teachers from around the world comment and give feedback. It made their projects even more important and relevant to the students.
Great resources to start
Genius Hour website
20% Time in Education
Engage Their Minds
2014 Genius Hour Projects - cool video on projects students are doing
Fifth grade teacher in a 1:1 iPad classroom, sharing my journey with technology in the classroom