There were six different teachers presenting during this session, but no disrespect to the other presenters, I want to focus on a couple things that one teacher said. (If you want to know more about Genius Hour, check out this LiveBinder by @joykirr.) Don Wettrick (@DonWettrick) spoke about his experience with Genius Hour in his school. There were a couple of great ideas that I plan on incorporating into my Genius Hour projects next year.
100 Point...Let the Students Decide How They Earn Them
Don talked about how student have to earn 100 points for their Genius Hour projects during the course. These points can be divided up based on the magnitude of the project. The students will sit down with their teacher to pitch their project proposal and also to determine how many points it will be worth. This give the student autonomy, but still allows the teacher to have control. When the students are done with the projects, they have the ability to challenge for more points if their project exceeded their expectations. I love this idea.
Student Created List of Standards
Along with their project proposal, the students must create a list of standards their project is going to be measured by. The teacher can work with the student to embed other standards, but I really like the idea of students thinking about what separates a successful result from a poor result before they start working. Again, I like the collaborative nature of this element between the teacher and student.
Create a Timeline and Stick to It
This was one of my mistakes this past year. I gave them an end date, but students never really knew on a weekly basis how they were progressing. This will take some effort, but the students should practice the skill of setting benchmarks and then holding themselves accountable for reaching them. Great idea!
Find an Outside Resource
Now this was not a new idea to me. I tried to do this with my students. The idea is that students need to find and connect with somebody outside of class to act as a resource or mentor for their project. The goal is for students to find somebody with a stronger understanding of their topic and help guide them through their project. As I said, I told students to do this, but I didn't followup and therefore feel that we all missed out on a great experience.
We will be doing the Genius Hour project again this fall, but I will be incorporating these ideas into the project. I didn't expect to get it 100% right the first time, but with continual reflection and discussion, I believe we can get closer.
Tomorrow - I Want to Make a MakerSpace