At six o’clock Friday night my principal walked in my classroom to return Brown Girl Dreaming. “Jackie Woodson speaks to me! How did I not know about her!?” she gushed. We go on to talk about the book and about all the good that happened this week. I’m so fortunate to be in a school with passionate colleagues that are energized by books and education. After that conversation, more celebrations for the week were clear.
This week students reached the end of a five-week Genius Hour/Passion Project Cycle. My only constraint in this work is that students stay within the week’s theme.
We started the year with an hour once a week. Due to scheduling problems, the time started to move from an hour once a week to shorter segments across the whole week. Now genius “time” happens in 10 to 15 minutes segments at the end of each day. Many stay to continue working during recess or after school so the time stretches out even longer. At this point, with this group of students, I like the change. They need to get to work quickly and they don’t loose touch with their work.
Students love genius time. They can’t wait. As a teacher you are a consultant, an observer, and a supporter of their learning. Students work in teams of their own creation, on work they direct, completely. They find like minded souls and talk. During all the noise you might wonder: is this time well spent?
After this week of presentations, I am sold on the power of this work. Students created their own questions, they read content they found, they wrote and planned their presentations. They clearly demonstrated learning and more importantly the process of learning.
There was a lively debate between two students on who was the better soccer player Ronaldo or Messi. They went back and forth with reasons and evidence and at the end they turned to the students saying you decide!
I learned a lot about the history of basketball. Who knew women played in 1892. Less than a year after it was invented!
Three students inspired by Alex’s Lemonade Stand raised $60 over President’s Day weekend for kids with cancer.
This week I celebrate students’ learning. I celebrate the process and their agency. I celebrate their abilities. I celebrate genius time that allows students to find and use their genius.
Thanks to Ruth Ayers Saturday link up that provides the wonderful practice of celebrating the week! Read more celebrations here.