Sunday, April 10, 2016

Starting the Genius Hour Project

As usual, I have bitten off more than I can chew. I have been working as a sub at an international school here in Norway. My husband and I moved to south Norway from northern Norway, thus the URL LifeInTheArctic Circle. Anyway, we moved here without jobs and I am so fortunate to have found a job in my field. Subbing is rough but I have learned so much. Recently, I was offered 2 long-term sub hours in the middle school and I said, YES!

Since the year is almost over and this class only meets for 45 minutes once a week, plus, it is the type of course that is perfect for independent inquiry-based projects because they can easily be tied to the standards. And, so the Genius Hour was birthed. I started my research at While this is a student-led project, it still requires a lot of work from me to ensure that they are responsible with their freedom...and the students only have about 5-6 solid weeks to work on their project so I won´t be surprised if during their "pitches" I will have to reel a lot of them in since there is so little time. I think the lack of time is going to be the biggest obstacle. It is stressing ME out at least!!!

I started out showing this TedTalk, which I had since a couple years ago and love. It inspired me do a type of Genius Hour project last year with my 6th graders at a Norwegian public school, and it was, in general a success.

This is where it really started:

Week 1 was showing this video and explaining "the pitch", which will done "shark tank" style. 4 slides 1) WHAT will you be learning, WHAT will you be producing 2) WHY what is your purpose 3) HOW what is the plan 4) SUCCESS how will it be measured

Week 2 Present pitch. I bet we won´t get through all the students and that will be frustrating to use 2 weeks on this part, because I want them to get started right away- again, because there is so little time! Because of time restraints, I won´t have time to teach students about quality feedback, but I will be attempting to model this type of feedback during the pitches

I must admit, I hope a student comes without a pitch because then I will invite them to help ME in the process and that can be their project. I really need help- as in there are not enough hours in the day to do this the way I want to do it so I could use a little help that way!

I will also show this video and the following list of ideas at the beginning of class because maybe it will help students re-evaluate their pitch even before they give it!

Week 3 NEXT WEEK will be finishing up the pitches and some work time for the students.

Week 4 Work time

Week 5 Share time- report to your group what you`ve been learning, get feedback.

Somewhere in between make a video similar to the one above, but not use class time, so I guess during their recess/lunch???