Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Genius Hour - Presenting our Genius to ...

Keeping track of what is happening in my class is hectic at this moment. My class are firing on all cylinders and I am really having to work hard to keep up - it is FANTASTIC!

Here is a link to my grades blog that I have just created and will updated as my students keep presenting. I am really excited by what my class is doing. The skills that they are learning and the resilience some are having to develop due to bumps and road blocks they hit as they go is so great to be part of.


Click here to be transported to my class blog

Friday, 14 August 2015

Genius Hour - Learning Independence

Independence when it comes to learning in a Jr School Classroom is an interesting phenomenon. The ability to take the investigative questions and to use the skills that they have been taught in order to follow the 3 Rules of Genius Hour is freeing for some, but I am learning that for others the freedom and independence can be paralysing.

Ss choosing own learning space
The majority of my students are travelling along just fine, if not better. They have engaged with the concept, love the freedom and the ability to learn, as well as teach, about something they are passionate about. They are using the knowledge of how they learn best and each lesson set themselves up for success in a learning space that they deem fit for the task. To read more about learning spaces in my class click here (coming soon).

However, there are some students who desire to be told exactly what they have to do at each moment of each day. They do want to learn but they want to learn what they "have to".

The freedom and use of the skills, not the knowledge is hard and they just want to be told what they need to know. I guess I feel that what I am promoting and working toward with my students is now a skills based learning experience where they will gain content knowledge, however, the focus are the skills of learning. Some questions that I keep asking myself include; Does my assessment procedure reflect this? Can it? Should it?

These students are the ones that Genius Hour can have an even greater impact on. These are the students that I can spend my time with and foster the 21st Century Skills of critical thinking and problem solving skills, then onto communication skills for the presentation.

Genius Hour is definitely for everyone, however, it is important to keep questioning how and why. The voice of reason that keeps me grounded at the moment is my current boss. He makes sure that the big questions of "How is this benefiting the students? How do you know?" remain in the forefront of my mind. For this I am thankful, most of the time. For this reason as educators we must keep documenting and creating the data to prove these different methods and practices in the classroom are beneficial.

Look carefully at the exciting stuff you are doing in your learning experiences and ask yourself:

"How is this benefiting the students?"
"How do you know?"

We will be better educators if we keep questioning too.

Students Remain Ultra Keen about Genius Hour

Genius Hour Week 3 and 4 

(This is a repost from my other page so that all Genius Hour work is together.)

You know that your students are engaged in a task when they even do it well when you are not there.

Last week I was not able to be in class with them during Genius Hour, however, true to its concept the students quickly accepted the challenge to share their genius with the world.  The teacher on my class did not have to concern themselves with management strategies. She said that it was Genius Hour time and they all scurried off to work. 

This week they were much the same. Keen to get going, excitedly heading to the classroom after Wednesday lunch ready to find their space and get working. These work spaces are all different for each student. Some choose the regular desks. While others lay on the floor sit outside with their chromebooks and other texts, some are finding the cosiest spot possible and building a fort to work in...they are choosing or trying to find the learning space that best suits their task.

I had one student come and ask if he could listen to music while he was reading about democracy. My response was, "Sure, if that allows you to focus." He quickly disappeared eager to try it. Interestingly, he came back 10 min later and said,"Mr Hosking, I think I need silence to understand what I am reading, can I go outside instead?"

He is learning how he learns best. I could not have been prouder. Obviously, not all are cruising along as well as others. Some have asked for more structure, others have asked if I can just set the task. These are all things that we are working through.

I now have a couple of students who are finalising their presentations ready to show their chosen audience in the next few weeks. I have another student who is at the stage of filming his video for his presentation. All are working and learning.

My students confidence and eagerness is inspiring. Genius Hour is definitely worth a look at and a try. What could you loose other than some control? But is that so bad?

Education, it is changing and I am so excited to be part of it. Why not jump on the ride?