One of my classes is a skill building class. The students don’t really get math. At some point, they just didn’t get what it was all about.
Not too long ago, I decided that they needed to see that there was more to life than our textbooks. So I started talking to them about Genius Hour. They were to choose a topic (not necessarily school related) to study. What I didn’t realized (but soon discovered) was that none of us knew what we were doing. They had never been given that kind of freedom in the classroom. I had never let go like that. I had given classes game day. This was different. They weren’t just supposed to play but to study.
I can’t say it has been easy. But with some assistance from my wonderful PLN on Twitter, I think I am just starting to find out what I need for them to succeed. Let me thank a couple of really great peers–@JustinAion and @PaulSolarz. Gentlemen, you are both inspiration and involuntary collaborators in this project I have started. Justin (http://relearningtoteach.blogspot.com/) turned his class loose about the same time I did. We have skyped with our classes. We both have learned a lot from that experience. Paul (http://psolarz.weebly.com/passion-projects.html) has posted links to his students’ Genius Hour projects that helped my students start to focus. When some of my boys realized they could use MineCraft for their projects, they finally got excited. I was overjoyed. They were focused and intrigued, both excellent by themselves but together is a teacher’s best day!
From Paul’s posts on Twitter, I discovered a #GeniusHour chat. I was able to find and follow the archives (http://geniushour.wikispaces.com/). Gold Mine!
We only have two Fridays left before Winter Break. We will be talking about our projects. Students have started with webbings (will post pictures later). We will also be doing a KWHLAQ (information found here) before our holiday. It may take us a while, but we will get there.
Thanks go to everyone that has ever posted about #GeniusHour. You and your students have created a roadmap that I only have to follow. We may not travel on the exact same roads as others, but we know we are not alone. We promise to fold the map so others can use it, as well.