Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How to share Genius Hour

During one of the monthly Genius Hour Twitter chats, we discussed ideas on how to share Genius Hour with those outside the school. Here is a small list of some of the ways we share at my school as well as some really creative ideas posted during the chat.

Learning Lunches: Pair up older students with younger students during lunch and have a question and answer session about GH projects. We are doing this with our 7-8 th graders and 1st graders.

Blogging: Start a GH blog for staff, parents, and community members to read and keep up to date.

Newsletter: Provide a small paragraph updating everyone on student progress.

Twitter: Start a GH Twitter account.

Email list: Send out notifications via email to parents and staff.

GH Website: Best as a GH project!

Staff presentations: Schedule a time for kids to present to staff members

GH info night: Invite neighboring schools and community members to attend a "science fair" like format. We will put a donation bucket out for this to use for funding GH projects.

Create GH t-shirts advertising Genius Hour which will get people talking. We have a student created (GH project) logo for this. Any funds raised will, again, go into a GH project fund. 

YouTube video: showcasing projects.

Have students present to School Board: We will be arranging this for the end of the year. 

Skype: Share with others around the world. 

BYOD: This came off the chat and we can't wait to try it. Bring Your Own Dinner night for parents and have kids share their "Genius".

I am sure there are may other methods of sharing GH and we look forward to discovering and trying them out together!

Keep reading and stay warm!
The Noisy Librarian

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A One Man Band Becomes An Orchestra

When I first began to investigate Genius Hour, I was excited at the prospects this PBL project could have in our small school. Like a one man band strumming a tune, I began to share my research and that drew in colleagues. We met, planned, and then developed the process we wanted to follow. Starting with two grades, 7th and 8th, we enlisted more members in Genius Hour, enlarging our band into a small orchestra. This month 6th grade eagerly joined the "orchestra" Genius Hour.  Last week younger students walked through the library and observed GH kids engrossed in their projects and stopped to watch. Soon, I was bombarded by 1st and 4th graders wanting to know what the kids were doing. On elf the projects, the building of a Minecraft server, has drawn in a lot of boys!

Excitement and curiosity throughout the school is building. Students are coming to us and asking when they, too, can participate in Genius Hour. The ultimate goal is to move Genius Hour into the classrooms in each grade. To foster the curiosity, creativity, life-skills, and intrinsic motivation, we have invited the 4th grader to lunch with the GH students and learn from them while they continue to experiment. The first grade teacher and myself have begun to schedule times when GH kids can go eat lunch with first graders and share their ideas, thoughts, and successes as well as answer questions. 

Genius Hour in our small K-8 school is proving to be beneficial even to students who are not yet participating. We are seeing kids learn how to persevere, share, ask hard questions, discover the freedom of curiosity, research and want to learn in a positive and supportive environment. 

Here are some of our cool projects that students are working on. 

Coding to the next level by Will

Building and learning to play a ukulele

Keep reading,
The Noisy Librarian