As documented in my previous post, Escaping Education’s Cave of Apathy With Genius Hour, my World Literature and Composition classes have committed one hour per week to explore our individual passions. We launched our mission with a challenge to attack the destructive apathy that spreads throughout a high school—especially following the first semester of a school year. During our most recent genius hour, I created a simple Google form to collect feedback from my students. Their responses to seven weeks of genius hours are overwhelmingly positive. Student voices are considerably more powerful than reading an educator’s observations, so I have decided not to write this post. Instead, I am going to let my junior geniuses do the work (despite the anxiety of the ACT test looming at the end of their chaotic week).
I think that genius hour is awesome, it’s a nice break and escape of the regular school schedule of just sitting in class and continuously learning about subjects you have no say in partaking. It’s great to be able to choose what you want to learn about and research.
I really enjoy this time!
I think this is a great idea.
I enjoy genius hour.
Genius hour is awesome.
Enough said…but there’s more.
NEVER ENOUGH TIME IN OUR BUSY LIVES
Genius hour gives us a fun hour to help explore what we want to explore. The trouble with today is that there are never enough hours in the day, and by having this hour once a week gives us a little time to get to find what we really want. Genius hour is very helpful once a week.
I think it’s a great idea. It gives me time to do the things I love to do, even when I don’t have the time on my own, and to even increase my skill in what I love to do.
I like genius hour a lot. I think it gives students the ability to work on their projects for this class. I also think that more teachers should start doing this because sports nowadays seem to take up more and more of our time outside of school. It seems to me like all teachers would suggest/require a minimum of 30+ minutes of work on that subject every night. Some classes prefer even more than that! With golf currently lasting until around 6:00 every night, I have found myself all of a sudden staying up until around midnight and sometimes beyond. I can understand why teachers would like us to work hard on all 6 or 7 subjects every night, but there are times where that is not physically possible. I really respect genius hour and I am proud to say that I use it to its fullest extent.
A STRESS-FREE ENVIRONMENT IS VITAL FOR MENTAL HEALTH & WELL BEING
I really enjoy Genius Hour and I think it really helps me relax about the stressors in life and it lets me do what I want and look up things that interest me and make me happy in life, which is a pleasure that I don’t get very often.
I really appreciate Genius Hour. Not only do I have valuable time to research something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but it is relaxing and stress relieving as well.
It is relaxing and calming. It’s nice to have some time to ourselves during the school day.
I really enjoy Genius hour. Good way to end the week in a more relaxed, independent way, researching topics of interest.
RESPECT = AUTONOMY TO PURSUE PASSIONS
I really like genius hour, as it gives us a chance to learn about something that we never had a chance to in any other class. It gives us complete freedom over learning about what really interests us.
I think this is a great opportunity for us to learn about something we are interested in. It is also nice to be able to learn about what I want.
I think it’s nice to finally learn about something I want to learn about.
I have enjoyed Genius Hour and I like working on my own and doing my own thing. I can work at my own pace doing what I want to accomplish for my blog.
I really enjoy doing genius hour because it gives us a chance to do what we are interested in and finding ways to help around the community and future generations.
I think it is a good “project” to do. It gives us the ability to do what we want and be free and if people don’t take advantage of that freedom it is a very successful activity.
I’ve really enjoyed and looked forward the class period each week where I get to explore something that interests me. It is a nice break from school and all the pressure to do what is expected/required of us. It can get so tiresome being forced to do things that don’t interest me at all.
I love it!! I look forward to having time to study things I want instead of being told what I have to study like every other class.
STUDENTS APPRECIATE LEARNING & DISCOVERY THROUGH INDEPENDENT EXPLORATION
I very much enjoy the independent learning opportunity. It is very interesting and inspiring.
I enjoy having an hour to myself to research topics that spark my interest.
I feel that this has helped me improve my overall knowledge.
I think it’s amazing to learn about musicians and bands because music is a very important piece of my life.
It is fun to go through Tumbler and build a fan base! I really enjoy the website, even though GHS has decided to block it, I am getting around that by going through my Data Plan even though it takes up a lot of data… I am willing to sacrifice that to further this project!
Personally, I think this is what everyone needs. A lot of people I feel are looking to focus on what they want to do in the future career wise. Also, giving kids the option to study, explore, practice, and work on what THEY find interest in can show their work potential. My overall opinion on Genius Hour is it’s genius. I think this was a great idea and maybe see it as evolving into something bigger for kids to further explore their future career or an interest of some sort. I suppose my view of it is from the career and future aspect of Genius Hour but none the less, it’s a fantastic idea.
Genius hour is a genius idea.
Thank you for the opportunity to do this!
I loved the idea. It gave everyone an incentive to study something they truly care about in class periods. I wish we did this more often because I think students would enjoy school more often if we continually did things like this.
And there you have it. Kids these days…
- are creative, passionate, and worthy of respect
- share their inner genius when given time and opportunity
- continue to impress and inspire me
*Part 3 of my Genius Hour posts will address specific projects. Prepare for mind-blowing awesomeness.
I recently completed a post about going paperless in my Foundations of College Writing course. As I continue to experience the benefits and efficiency of the Google Apps in the classroom, I want to share a simple strategy for formative assessment using Google Forms. The spreadsheet creates a visual model of every student’s research paper thesis statement. I provide meaningful, specific feedback (by color) to my seniors simply by reading one column of sentences and highlighting according to the standards on our writing rubric. Students immediately locate and compare their work to that of their peers, creating conversations before I start teaching.
RED=BEGINNING, ORANGE=DEVELOPING, YELLOW=PROFICIENT, GREEN=ADVANCED
Obviously, modeling is a best practice in the classroom. If you spend hours preparing writing lessons, which may or may not leave a lasting impact on learning, consider using the spreadsheets created by student responses to Google Forms. I use similar strategies to formatively assess samples of student work, including: effective introduction paragraphs, conclusions, organization of an argument, quote integration, word choice, and any other writing standards I wish to address. I insert comments to explain the rationale behind each writer’s assessment, but students often know the reasoning before I unveil the feedback.
This instant feedback teaches more in a mini-lesson than I can model or attempt to explain (especially for struggling writers). Students in Foundations need to see their words removed from the computer screen and hear their sentences read out loud. Immediately, they want to make adjustments before I even have a chance to comment or suggest improvements–so I let them. This promotes independent and critical thought. Writers gain confidence as they make minor revisions to attain proficiency, and beam with pride if their work is already green; they are not accustomed to receiving positive feedback–a major cause of their writing inhibitions. As revisions are completed, I change the color of highlighting for all to witness–simple, authentic, and lasting.