Dare to Care

Creating, Contributing, Communicating, Connecting, Collaborating & Curating

November 29, 2011
by Denise Krebs
21 Comments

Student Evaluations of #GeniusHour

#Geniushour was last week. Students products are posted here. The following post has their answers to evaluation questions about their work during #geniushour.

NOTE on 12/6/2011 – The last student finally completed the evaluation, so I am updating the stats below with all the student data. I’m also using a new feature I just learned today–”Show Summary of Responses,” a feature on Google forms. Easy!)

Like Tia’s class is doing this week, we actually ended up with about 100 minutes of genius. When asked to evaluate the time frame, more than half the students thought there was not enough time.




Suggestions for making genius hour better…

  • Have more time (echoed by 9 students)
  • More teachers to help with questions to improve our learning experience
  • More of a heads-up so that we can bring what we need
  • More classrooms so that it isn’t so loud and crowded
  • It might have been better if people knew what they were doing before they started and not have just thought of something last minute.
  • It would be better if people didn’t mess around and just got to work and knew what they were doing.
  • How I think that genius hour would be better is that you could bring in new games for us to play so we learn something new every time.
  • Genius hour would be better if it was on a Monday so we have something to look forward to because usually Mondays are long and boring. I think genius hour should be on Mondays, so Mondays aren’t so long for the class.
  • To be able to have groups of maybe 4 or 5 at the most.
  • It could have been more organized; it was sort of chaotic. (echoed by 2 others)
  • Refreshments
  • Drinks
  • Music

Something I learned or a mistake I learned from…

  • When we made the collage out of our pictures that we had edited, some of the collages would change the way our pictures looked. We worked through it helping each other. Plus when we needed a scanner because one person didn’t have any digital pictures, we used the computer camera to take pictures of her hardcopy pictures.
  • I learned how to film a video while we were acting. My group wanted to have someone else film for us, but we figured out how to do it without anyone filming.
  • I learned that being independent is good. Trying new things is awesome. And I think everything went pretty good.
  • Next time I will plan out what I would say in the video.
  • I would have used 3 desks instead of 2, so it would be more sturdy and my project wouldn’t fall off.
  • I would have used thinner wood for the birdhouse.
  • I learned a lot about how the plane did not fly.
  • Next time I would make something better.

What I enjoyed most…

  • That I was able to learn about what I am interested in, not what we have to know and teachers going cram cram cram. I learned some of my writing limits.
  • Not being told exactly what to do. (echoed in similar words by 6 others)
  • I liked that we were able to do whatever we wanted to try to contribute to the world.
  • Getting to work with your friends, trying new things on the computer, having our own independent time to work. Acting out and filming the video.
  • That we had plenty of time to get everything done.
  • It was fun; we created some really cool things. Thought of things that I might never have thought of writing about.
  • What I like most about genius hour is that you can do whatever you like from videotaping to coloring to learning about a new program. You can always learn something new in genius hour.
  • My favorite part was seeing what everyone did.
  • Being with my friend.
  • Making the bird house and filming it for others to see.
  • I enjoyed Genius Hour. I think it taught us that we as 7th and 8th graders can change the world with our genius.

October 15, 2011
by Denise Krebs
1 Comment

NaNoWriMo YWP – Student Accountability and Benchmarks

Being a winner is better than any grade!

I hate grading! I wish that I could just learn in partnership with my students. I wish that we could connect and contribute in the global world of authentic learning, and that I would never again have to put a grade in the grade book. That’s my hope for an ideal world, and maybe a transformed educational system.

However, today, I still need to record grades. On some level, I must “grade” students’ participation in the Young Writer’s Program of National Novel Writing Month. Here is what I do for grading.

First of all, if I have a student who is having a hard time getting started or becoming engaged, I have numerous individual conferences with him. Once he gets going, then we are both happy.

Next, I have benchmarks that students meet. Each of these are graded, about one a week.

  1. Their profile on the Virtual Classroom is graded for completeness and engagement. They should have an avatar and answer the questions. What I mean by engagement: Are they making their profile interesting to those who have to read it? Do they go in and revise it after the first day?
  2. An interesting novel excerpt is proofread and posted on their profile novel information. This may be the best-written passage of their novel and is usually 300 words or less.
  3. By about the second or third week, I expect a good, proofread synopsis of their novel. Even if they don’t know the ending, they can still write a good book talk about it, something they might use to add to the back cover someday.

Finally, this year, because each student made a goal that I approved, I will also record a small grade based on whether they reach their goal. Remember, this has to be done lightly and not a major grade because really, you aren’t going to be able to know right away if they copied and re-pasted a couple thousand words into the center at the last minute. I would much rather they have an authentic noveling experience than just fake it to get a grade on an inflated assignment.

That’s about it. I record only four grades in the grade book for the month of November, and almost everyone gets a good grade.

Revising and editing is another topic, which proves a little harder. But that’s not for November.

Image by Sean and Lauren, shared with a CC By 2.0 Attribution License.