— Denise Krebs (@mrsdkrebs) February 12, 2016
It’s hard to come up with ideas for blogging. That’s why I provide students with a March Slice Challenge prompts beyond our notebook lists of ideas [like/hate,favorites, fun/have to, ordinary/extraordinary]. Today’s prompt is “Write a Quote from a Friend.”
And today, Sunday, is a day I check on my Twitter friends, especially those involved in Genius Hour. Two of them [Gallit Zvi and Denise Krebs] have even co-written a book on Genius Hour: The Genius Hour Guidebook: Fostering Passion, Wonder, and Inquiry in the Classroom (Eye on Education Books). They also sponsor a #geniushour Twitter chat on the first Thursday of the month at 6 PM Pacific.
That means I missed it last Thursday. But my search for a friend’s quote was then easy to find. Denise’s tweet above resonated with me. This year I’m focusing on helping my students own their learning — and decide their own assessment of their achievement towards our essential questions and standards. Some students recognize their quality work’s characteristics without much guidance; others need the scaffolding of checklists; all of them benefit from the feedback that comments in our Google Docs allow. The result is that grades are not a reward or punishment, but rather part of the learning process — and students learn to revise and improve their work, either in the current project or the next one, knowing that their best representation will be shown in that grade report, not just an average.
On Mondays my students spend part of their class time on Independent Reading or project learning. The rest of Monday is choice: Code, Genius Hour, or Media Making. Students dig in and learn, helping and collaborating on projects or coding — not for a grade, but for their learning. It’s a busy, chattery, and sharing period that students ask for daily, but know that the next Monday is waiting for them.
So, if you’re considering Genius Hour, then also consider the amazing effect that “Just Learning” has on the passion and enthusiasm of students: the goal is learning, without a thought or worry of grades.
And, if you need an idea for blogging, just look to the quotes from your Professional Learning Network/Neighborhood [PLN].