This is a professional development blog for Nottingham Elementary. We'll be discussing books we have read as a group. Our discussions will be focused on gifted children.
After reading this chapter, my views have been confirmed and changed about genius hour. In the past, I have done problem-based learning with JChoy. It took a tremendous amount of planning on our part but once the project was launched, the kids did lots of work. We guided the students to the problem from reading Time for Kids articles and they came up with many different solutions. For example, the students were trying to be humanitarians and had to come up with the different problems and the different solutions. One group researched how Somalia was lacking clean water and thus build awareness with their peers. Students created a physical challenge of carrying gallons of water across the field to build empathy for the children of Somalia. Their solution was to not waste clean water in their community so they'll be more clean water for everybody. My view has changed because I now see we could do a long-term problem base learning as a weekly routine of 20% for a genius hour (Kindle location 742). Instead of devoting a whole nine weeks to the PBL, the 20% genius hour could be more focused for the students since the time is limited.
I agree with Annie Mitchell's response on June 14th. The genius hours that we've had are different from what was in Pure Genius. Page 44 talked about " tying in academic rigor to real world aspects of project completion and to research on personal topics." During Science animal research on adaptions, students really became "innovative" in finding facts and information pertaining to their animals.
@Annie 6/14 what wonderful ideas! I love the physical challenge of lugging gallons of water across the field!
I agree I loved the idea of making a personal connection and now they have background knowledge of this experience. They can actually relate the a situation that is real and happening. Great and creative thinking!
@Melanie Marshall They came together in the end and wrote this song with our AMAZING music teacher. Do you see Spencer as the drummer? http://terracehumanitarianexpo.blogspot.com/
Yes, I see Spencer, the fantastic drummer, and noted the amazing music teacher. Super cool
I found it sad that working within the larger school system was too confining with all the red tape, even though it was immediately present. The coffee shop idea was on school grounds and was quickly implemented, so that tells me to stay within school walls. I am sold that smaller projects are best to start with to gain competence in the PBL system. I learned that "forcing a cool mentor on my students creates dependency, and might sway their choice on projects, ultimately reducing student freedom and voice." pg 43. For our Power Hour, we gave the students 4-5 choices. That was somewhat based on our expertise. This author is saying for Genius Hour, to wait until the students voices are heard, and then move forward. Last year I kept a list of problems students unfolded, but we never dealt with them. I need to keep a list again, but also provide time to delve into solutions.
I agree with Marshall. I think we need to problem solve within school walls. Elementary age children are not developed abstract thinkers or reasoners. They need to "see" their solution in real time. After all, we are trying to help "them" grow and learn.
Power Hour was really hard for us this year because we had 5 choices for the kids, but it was like y'all said based on teacher's likes/skills. The kids fought us a lot because they didn't like everything that was offered, but unfortunately they needed to be placed some where. Now that we have it under our belts I think it will be a little easier for the kids to have more of an input on what classes we offer. I like the idea of an Innovation Idea Journal they talk about on pages 37-38. When we see things that peek their interests and such we can write it down and build from it. I agree with Melanie as well when she says we actually have to go back and use what we write down.
I agree with Breidenthal, students need to have input. When doing genius hour we might need to have a written mission or purpose that states this and other things we think will make the program successful.
Of the three real-world examples of genius hour that Don shared, the one about getting a project based on passion really struck a cord with me. (page 30). I like his ideas on genius hour being "a passion based project that brings students to learn how to love learning." Page 31. I confirm my thoughts with him on genius hour. I believe that genius hour should be "opportunities for students to explain what they learned," be innovative thinkers, and get student involvement and be student driven. From students "finding their own mentors (Page 34) to "bringing meaning to the class and their learning." Page 50. I completely agree with Don's writing on page 30 that "the misconception of innovation class is a free period is quite the opposite." Page 30.
The "Special Needs Coffee Shop" on p. 41, is a great idea that deserves to be emulated. I am very familiar with genius hour as libraries birthed the concept and program. The coffee shop idea was successful because it dealt with a problem that could be solved in the student's immediate or nuclear environment, added value to the entire school community and did not require a large amount of resources, research and implementation. Also, they got immediate positive feedback before the implementation of anything. I agree with the author on p. 42, when he warns against "big" projects. You have to keep it short and simple as students lack project management skills and the endurance required. Also, they lose interest because they want immediate results.
Reflection is an important part of these projects as stated on location 741 of the kindle. But it's also important at the end of each class period to allow students to reflect daily on the things they learned or on tasks completed, so they can see how they can improve for the next day.I think when introducing something like this, students will become really excited and may have grand ideas. But like he said on location 809, it is important for them to start small to learn the systems and to keep them focused.
Before reading this chapter, what I assumed was "Genius Hour" I related to our school's Power Hour. However, they are two totally different ideas. Our Power Hour is by grade level with 4 different ideas/topics to choose from. While we are giving our students choice, it was unlike the Genius Hour choices given in this chapter. I love this idea that "the students have freedom to choose a passion or topic of interest for the course". (pg. 30) I do believe that for younger students, especially Kindergartners, it would be done in a different way than older elementary students. I can see this as a whole group activity where we explore a question together that the students have, doing all the research together. I think that this would be fun and very powerful for my Kindergartners!
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While genius hour may be defined by some as an amount of time within which individuals pursue a passion, I believe that it is also a time to make as many mistakes as possible (and please let me specify, within reason and in regards to pursuing knowledge for the project) to see what is or is not working, without the burden of anxiousness typically associated with making mistakes.It is an opportunity for students to be able to experience some elements of real-word expectations (e.g. time lines, asking for help, finding experts, presenting findings/research, etc.) (pg. 29) while also bolstering the mindset that failure can in fact lead to great things. It is this mentality that will ultimately propel society in the future.