Well, today was the day! It has been three weeks since I decided to hold #geniushour with the junior highers. (I’m spelling it like the Twitter hashtag–join us by sharing on Twitter your #geniushour comments, resources, and activities.)
Over the past three weeks, I gradually introduced the students to the idea of #geniushour, and they began to let their ideas percolate. Finally, this week, I suggested students get a pretty sound idea ready. I wanted them to get right to work when it was time. I’m not sure if that was the right thing to do or not. I was surprised that about three students told me this morning that they didn’t know what they were going to do yet. That didn’t last long, though. With a little discussion, each one soon had an idea or a partner to join.
I took Nancy’s advice and allowed them to choose partners based on interests. It certainly made more sense like that. The way I initially envisioned it was to put them into random groups of three on the morning of #geniushour. The day would have been totally different that way. As it turned out, on Monday some of them had already recruited a partner and decided what supplies to bring. I hadn’t thought of supplies–time wouldn’t have allowed us to wait until #geniushour started to gather supplies.
Students and I had created this Rubric of Creativity a couple days ago, so they would be able to prepare for and later evaluate their #geniushour work. I promised them that no grades were going to be recorded for their work today, but in future #geniushours we might need to record grades. If so, I will definitely let them grade themselves using the rubric, for honest self-reflection is a characteristic of creative genius.
We had about 1.25 hours scheduled for #geniushour and we could have used more! We even dipped into our sharing time to finish up some of the videos and other presentations, so we actually went about 1.5 hours. One thing is true, #geniushour was exhausting. We were energized with learning, but we were tired afterwards.
I warned students before they started reporting that they were not to say any version of “Huh?” or “That’s not genius” or anything that remotely resembled disrespect! As soon as they started sharing, though, I could tell that it hadn’t been necessary. The students were nothing but respectful and engaged during the sharing process. They loved seeing what their classmates chose to do. We ran out of time, though, so they will finish sharing on Monday because we are now on a long holiday weekend. (Another post later on the products of their labor.)
Comments from teachers who were involved:
- One group of kids changed their idea after re-reading the rubric.
- They continued to talk about their project with other students after their presentation was done. They were still talking when they went into the lunchroom.
- They were able to decide what they were going to be “learners” of instead of us.
- I saw engagement and student-centered learning. I saw excited students holding themselves accountable! (from our principal)