Is “pre-flecting” a word? Like something you do before you do something that would necessitate reflection? Teachers do this all the time, right? Am I losing it, or should this be a thing?
As part of our district’s Digital Conversion and Blended Learning Initiative, I have been privy to many a workshop and Skype (excuse me, Zoom) session with the wonderful Marcia Kish. In addition, my connections with the #PersonalizedPD and Teach Like a Pirate (#tlap) movements on Twitter had me doing some hard thinking about why students should do any learning they aren’t interested in. I’m fortunate enough that I teach a course that is about 75% interesting on it’s own, but I often wondered how to convert that last 25% into something really engage my students into making InfoTech class personal.
I’ve been intrigued by idea of Genius Hour for a few years now, but I know what happens when you make things “too” open ended for middle schoolers. Chaos. I’m totally comfortable with chaos (See: picture), but I wasn’t totally sold on how it could work in a class.
In one of our Skype sessions with Marcia Kish she mentioned choice boards as an option for early finishers to keep them engaged. That, combined with this beauty I found on The SuperHERO Teacher’s TPT store and Instagram, gave me a monster of an idea.
Instead of opening up the Wild Wild West of “Computer Lab Free Time” in the lab, I dreamed up 12 different activities that students could really become engaged in as they finished their other class work. My dream is that everyone would complete at least one “project” that would inspire them in some way. Each of these “projects” give a touch of guidance but are still open- ended enough that they could be applied to any variety of interests.
I’m temporarily calling this “Choice Time.” (The name needs a little work still!) I have begun introducing this to my classes, and I’m encouraged by what they are starting to think of!
These are the “Rules” which were presented:
1.Pick something you are passionate about
2.Do something you’re proud of
3.You can accomplish the task any way you want
4.If it’s not working for you- start something new!
5.There’s no prize for doing the most or the least- so work for the prize of your pride!
I posted all of the activities in our Schoology Course as well as on the wall in my classroom.
I built assignments in Schoology where students could submit “artifacts” of their choosing, and it’s my hope that I will build a blog/website to highlight some of these as they start to come in!
I’m excited about the buzz I’m hearing from the kids and others- and I hope to bring you a positive update in a few weeks! Like any new idea, it’s going to take a lot of tweaking and putting procedures in place before I’d consider myself any sort of expert!
If you’re looking for the file I did post it in my TPT store, and my plan is to grow the file as it grows in my classroom! The kids have already given me a few good ideas of things to add! (And I am really hoping my PLN can help me collaborate on a few too!)
Has anyone done any sort of Genius Hour/Choice time in their classes? Does anyone have any advice for me?