Tech Tuesday

Finds and Thoughts about Tech Integration

Genius Hour


I’ve always been a believer in Choice Time. We’re always telling kids what they should be doing at school, and it’s important for them to have some space to pursue their own interests. Making the time for that can be extremely challenging, however, due to curriculum demands. When I was a classroom teacher, my compromise was devoting one Language Arts block per week to academic choice within that subject. I especially encouraged students to plan and form partnerships to accomplish their own projects that often would continue from week to week. The result: kids no longer just looked forward to Fridays because it was the last school day before the weekend. My experience was that Choice Time ignited enthusiasm into even the most reluctant learners.

This year, some colleagues and I are taking a project based learning course. This endeavor has given us the opportunity to explore a concept that reminds me of Choice Time:  “Genius Hour”. Essentially, Genius Hour lets kids explore “passion” projects during their school week. The topics do not have to be tied to their curriculum. Plus, failure is an option. Learn more about Genius Hour here.  CNN also wrote a very good article that you may want to read.

Our version of Genius Hour is bringing two classroom together each Friday afternoon to explore out of the box thinking, creativity and team work. Our goal is for students to build the muscle this fall to be able to undertake their own projects mid-winter and spring 2015. An important part of our preparation is student reflection. One of the classroom teachers and I have been working on the power of metacognition and its impact on student performance (for our Educator Evaluation). Therefore, a Genius Hour blog that  chronicles the students’ journey has been created. Please take a moment to listen and watch the student posts that were created with iPad Minis and two apps, thus far: PicPlayPost and Explain Everything. I have written about the tremendous possibilities with these two apps as a part of the learning process in the past (Game Changer and PicPlayPost Palooza).

Your feedback is greatly appreciated!

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