A Milestone & Genius Hour

Yes, it is official.  I reached a blogging milestone yesterday.  I was so excited to reach the 50 day #nerdlution challenge, that I didn’t notice a message for me from WordPress.  When I finally clicked on the message, it stated that I had reached 100 posts!  🙂  I can’t believe it.  I was happy about that accomplishment.

Last night, I posted about Genius Hour.  I am planning to roll this out in my classroom on Friday.  I have been all over the Internet researching, having my own Genius Hour.  I have watched several videos talking about it.  I have read blog posts from other teachers who have implemented Genius Hour in their classrooms.  I have connected with other teachers on Twitter to see if they had any new tidbits of advice to give me.  Frankly, my brain is on overload.

If I am to be completely honest, I have to say that the whole thing makes me nervous.  I am afraid of the unknown.  I sent an email to my new friend, Kriscia Cabral (@KrisciaCabral) asking for help.

I want to take you up on your offer to get together and talk about genius hour.  I am planning on introducing this to kids on Friday.  I am going to have them pick topics on what they want to learn.  I think that will be easier the first time around.  My problem is that I don’t have ipads or netbooks in my classroom.  So, I am going to try to have a BYOD day in conjunction with my Friday, genius hour.  I have a few questions.  What do you do with the kids who cannot think of anything they would want to learn about?  How do you handle the blogging thing if students don’t have access to a computer?  How do you hold the students accountable during the genius hour?  I know projects aren’t graded, but effort and sharing out of their topic is.  What are consequences for kids who are not cutting it?  How long should I give my kids to produce something?  I think I read 8 to 10 weeks somewhere.  What did you do if students finished their projects early?  Did you let them start something new, even if they wouldn’t finish it?  Sorry for all these questions, but these are the ones that are weighing on my mind.

Kriscia was a big help.  I gave her my phone number so we could talk in real time about all my questions.  She did give me some solutions for kids who are unable to blog.  She suggested we write on paper.  Other kids can respond by placing sticky notes on the paper.  I did manage to get my students set up on kidblog.org this morning when we went to the computer lab.  I hope the site will get utilized.

This morning I enticed my students by telling them they should not be absent on Friday because something exciting was going to be introduced to them.  They were intrigued and my level of excitement drew them in.  I hope they are still excited when I actually tell them what Genius Hour is!  I think the thing I need to remember is that this will be good for the students.  I am, especially, interested in the idea that self-directed learning and inquiry motivates students to want to learn and produce.   In my research I came across a video entitled, The Puzzle of Motivation, by Dan Pink.

The video really got me thinking.  I guess I just have to come to terms with the notion that I may fall flat on my face when I am starting out.  But, like I tell my students, that is when the learning takes place.  I keep saying to them, “There is no learning if it’s too easy.”  I am pretty sure I am going to prove that statement right as I attempt this new way of doing things.  All I know is that I am excited to try.  I will make sure to document my successes and failures here just as my kids will be doing on our classroom blog.  This is going to be fun!  🙂

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