I had that “kid on the night before Christmas that can’t sleep” feeling last night! The moment that had been evolving since ISTE was finally here. It was Genius Hour Eve, and I was one excited teacher!
Thanks to some incredible resources that were selflessly shared, I was able to quickly put together a Thinglink with videos that could wow and inspire students to take risks, be passionate, and get creative! As I laid in bed, I had to remind myself that this would be a journey. It would take time and may not be the great unveil I had been expecting.
Since I promised full disclosure of my technology journey, I will be honest in saying the technology part of my lesson was a disaster! The students were pumped after the build up to learning freedom pep talk that my co-teaching partner and I delivered. They bustled up to get their laptops and logon. They quickly navigated to the classroom teacher’s page and clicked on the thinglink that was ready to inspire…and…ALL THE LINKS WERE BLOCKED!
I was not going to sweat this. I had just promised these sweet, teacher pleasing students that it was o.k. to take risks. No worries! I had to model this, so my fearless partner and I swiftly began copying links into safeshare.tv. Furiously posting them on her website for all the students to access. Now all would be well again, but no! Still no access!?
We shifted gears again and had kids buddy up with others that had brought devices from home. (Why were those not blocked from the content when they were on the same network with a student login?) Finally, that melodious sound of multiple videos playing at the same time accompanied by kids OOHing and AAHing in harmony at Cain’s Arcade started to take shape. The magic had happened even though the technology glitched!
The students posted responses to videos on a Padlet page. They began to journal lists of what they love to do, interests that are their own, and potential projects they’d like to create. My co-teacher and I had opened the lesson by telling them that Genius Hour was our Genius Hour project. We have never done this, but feel passionate about it. We are taking a risk and putting it all out there to problem solve together in this journey.
The lesson wasn’t technically perfect, but it was the perfect first step. Genius Hour is officially alive, and Thursdays will never be the same. Thanks to my partner for believing in this idea and sharing the classroom with me every day! Let the passion begin and may creativity be ever in our favor!