Genius Hour is over for second grade. I have some mixed feelings about how it went and things I would do in the future.
What our time looked like: We had 30(ish) minutes 3-4 days a week for about 5 weeks, meeting only about 14 times. Looking back, this is not ideal. We were slightly displaced because we had about 3 different rooms we worked in depending on the day because the 2nd grade classes do not have student devices. They would come in from recess and we would make it to a room. By then, we would have 20-25 minutes of work time. Mini-lessons were rushed and didn't feel very good. I would prefer one really solid hour of time per week to work, then allow students time when they are done with other work, to continue inquiring on their own.
What the structure looked like: Students were usually 2:1 with computers, researching. Students unable to research online were to use books or confer with the teacher. So, this is the part I feel needed help. Students had had such inexperience researching, that they didn't know how to do this piece on their own. The mini-lesson on this happened, but again, due to time, it felt rushed and not strong. This showed in their own time for researching because they depended heavily on the teachers, and rightly so. This left little time for conferring with students.
By the end of this project, I had to shift gears a little, and be okay with the students who were not delving in and going totally inquiry-based. I mean, really, many of them had never been able to just research something they liked. This was an important piece for many of them. The students took the projects and made them their own. Researching a meaningful topic kept them engaged and excited when they came into the room. Genius Hour was their time to show who they were as a person, and they took a lot from that.
One of my biggest disappointments was how quickly it ended. Students did not get enough time to finish their projects. That's the trouble with the position I am in sometimes, I am not on my own schedule, I am on someone else's. The opportunity to take the projects up a notch didn't happen for all of them, even though some had some great ideas. Even the slideshows created did not all get to be completed because, well, time. That was rough for me to accept because I wanted them to have a finished product. I am proud of what they accomplished though, and hope to do something like this in the future with another group.
Click here to see them working on their projects.
Click here to see some of the finished products.
Fifth grade teacher in a 1:1 iPad classroom, sharing my journey with technology in the classroom