Today I finished the trifecta of “yes geniushour is worth it” thinking!
The first win started during spring break when I was reading Paul Solarz new book “Learn like a pirate” http://www.amazon.ca/Learn-Like-PIRATE-Students-Collaborate-ebook/dp/B00UZTLRJY/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1427853806&sr=1-1&keywords=Learn+like+a+pirate which I loved – admittedly because the classroom experiences he share have largely mirrored my own – but specifically his use of 20% time aka geniushour aka passion projects etc etc
I have used “geniushour” with various names for over a decade (yikes – I remember when I was perannually the youngest-on-staff!) and found it empowering to “swap” the controls of the classroom. Paul’s reflections and sharing helped remind me how powerful of a community-builder passion projects can be and how I accidentally arrived at one of my favourite statements: we are collaboratively personalizing education. This along with words I throw around like technologization have had more than a few colleagues roll their eyes when I get going!
His book also reminded me of the powerful work by Don Wettrick and his books Pure Genius – http://www.amazon.ca/Pure-Genius-Building-Culture-Innovation-ebook/dp/B00NCS3M2A/ref=pd_sim_b_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=01JWJJK3R5ZX6XHPJ2SX – another great read for developing a “let it go” culture and getting ready to “embrace chaos” – both phrases I used when first putting my foot into the geniushour water – with the regular reminder of the implementation dip and things might be sucky before they are sweet!
(Image from the EDifier)
My second win came via some reinforcement from my #83learns colleague Reid Findlay who started to share part of his spring break adventure that had home meeting and talki (all unplanned of course) with two amazing people: one was the documentarian of a volcano film that he had his girls watch a day before this chance meeting before they explored the big volcano in Hawaii – a non-curricular learning project that his family intrinsically wanted to do and was then unexpectedly rewarded with a meeting with a leading expert! Secondly was a meeting and chat with a leader from Google and he started to share some neat connections between what they were doing and what I’ve been encouraging – but then the meeting started and our conversation was paused…..but still made me feel I was on the right track!
And then the third big win came to me a couple of ways:
– a tweet from some talented teachers in another district talking about an Epic day one of her anxious learners had (I imagine almost every day is epic in her classroom but….) and a genius-ish-hour project a grade 2 anxiety boy in my school finally felt brave enough to share a YouTube channel he had created – that’s not connected to any prescribed learning objectives but definitely shows a lot of learning: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG9gODS6q0iF2BE77ERmPug
AND then one of my classroom (teaching principal) students with direct evidence of what geniushour can do: she and friends have been working on “pony paradise” and today gave me a “thank you” for ‘giving’ them time to explore a passion:
And of course hearing about others feeling empowered to let go of the power of who is in charge of the learning! The past couple of days have really made me feel good about the learning pathway that I have set many students (kids & adults) on! Looking forward to seein what happens next!!