Below, I've linked up three different teacher interview videos, where each teacher explores their use of Genius Hour.
After the link, please find some of my commentary of what I found to be key parts of the interviews. Also, I've tried to save you some time by letting you know where to start the video, when it starts to get into the good parts.
First, I think it’s important to note the chart that Paul has his students use for Genius Hour. It’s a completely re-vamped “KWL” chart, and it’s called a KWHLAQ Chart
The second topic that I felt was vital from this video, is that Paul helps his students develop their “essential question.” The essential question is the question they will try to answer throughout Genius Hour. He helps them develop the question through their own passions and interests. It has to be a question that cannot simply be Googled, or researched within and hour or two. By helping them shape these questions, he helps them form projects that will go somewhere.
He also mentions the hashtags #GeniusHour and #20time in the video. It might be worth a look on Twitter for some more ideas and resources.
Denise has quite a different setup than we have, as she has students for several hours a day. Once we get past that difference, she has some helpful ideas and insight into Genius Hour.
She also uses the KWHLAQ chart.
She has her students blog one time a month to reflect on their projects.
I liked her idea of going cross-curricular, and have the student reflections done in an ELA class, if you’re not an ELA teacher. It would make for some great cross-curricular collaboration and help tie it all together for students. Just an interesting thought!
Joy’s Genius Hour is a bit different than the other’s we’ve heard, although it’s transitioning to be a more traditional Genius Hour. It started off as allowing total and complete freedom on independent reading projects, and then she decided she wanted her students to be inspired by their independent reading, and then she wanted them to take action based off of what they read. This concept was a great introduction to the idea/concept of Genius Hour, and in the 4th quarter, she was going to go full on “Genius Hour” with her students. It’s an interesting interview!
Here’s the deal with these three teachers that I believe is noteworthy. They all started their Genius Hour with no real idea of where it would lead, what it would necessarily look like, or how it would catch on. They simply took a risk. They’ll be the first to tell you that it has its kinks, and it’s a work in progress, but the products that students are creating outweigh the challenges.
It's ok to take a risk into the unknown!
Each of the three teachers also has a different way of evaluating and tracking progress of students. It’s definitely OK to hold students accountable for their time. Each interview gives some examples of how they do that. Something that I read on www.geniushour.com that I think is an important key to keep in mind, is that for every day that you do “Genius Hour,” you need to have a plan and goal for the day. What should the students try to get accomplished by the end of the hour? What sort of “check in” will you have with them? Simply saying, “Work on Genius Hour today” may not be enough to keep them on track and focused.