Back to Genius Hour

After a few years away from teaching the Gifted and Talented grade 8 class, I’m happy to have the chance to facilitate Genius Hour again!

Students will complete two Genius Hour projects this year, presenting the first in late February and the second mid June.

Genius Hour is a ‘learn to do’ project rather than a ‘learn about’ project. Students choose their topic, determine what they will learn, decide how they can demonstrate their learning, and plan the steps necessary to get there. Every Wednesday morning students will have a period to work on their project.

Students have the choice of working with a partner on one of the two projects or working solo on both. Regardless of whether or not they have a partner, each student will blog weekly to demonstrate their progress and reflect on their learning. Positive comments and questions are welcome.

After students present their learning, they’ll negotiate with me for their grade. Our decision will be based on use of class time, quality of blogging, evidence of learning, and quality of presentation. Some may not achieve their goals. That’s okay if their blogs demonstrate their efforts and their adaptations to their plans.

What are you passionate about?

We’re in the planning phases of our first genius hour projects. It’s so exciting to hear what my students want to learn about this term. There’s a tremendous amount of variety: learning to knit (why yes, I’ll model that scarf); cake baking and decorating (of course, I’ll be your taste tester); soap-box car building (no, I will not be test driving those!); coding; song writing; video game creation; new languages; small engine repair; bicycle repair; building a desk top computer, and so much more!

Our first steps will involve taking these passions and creating plans. Students are responsible for setting their learning goals, breaking down tasks and creating a timeline. Soon we’ll be reaching out to experts. Students will be presenting their learning November 23rd to 25th and then it will be time for them to negotiate for their project grades.

What will I be learning about while my students are learning all of this? Well, I’m brand new to blogging so setting this up has required some learning. Some of my students have suggested we share pictures of our progress and projects on Instagram, so I guess I’ll be learning about some new-to-me social media platforms. I’m also learning a new role. I won’t be the “sage on the stage” for genius hour. I’m looking forward to coaching genius hour work.

Each week students will be blogging: sharing their progress; reflecting on their learning; asking for advice with obstacles, and more.

Follow this blog and individual student blogs to watch our progress!