This week was our 4th week of genius hour. Most of the students are still excited about their projects, but some of them are running into some roadblocks.
The major roadblock that we had this week was that the wi-fi in school was crawling today. We’re still in the research phase of our projects, and it was frustrating for everyone. I had mentioned previously that our science department had received a set of Chromebooks, so there may be some wi-fi growing pains associated with that. Our regular computer labs were busy yesterday, so that wasn’t an option for us. As a class we discussed that the project life-cycle is not a straight path to the finish line. There will be bumps along the way.
There were a few students in each class that realized that they weren’t going to be able to do the project that they had originally come up with. Some of the reasons were because they simply couldn’t find good information, and other reasons were because they saw what others were doing and realized that their ideas simply wasn’t as good as they could have been. I allowed these students to change topics, but as of yesterday everyone is locked into their original idea. Many students will begin the actual creation process starting next week.
The majority of genius hour teachers/bloggers seem to have a student reflection component to their projects. I was certainly planning on doing this at the end of the project, but to date I have only been having oral reflections with each student. I ask them 3 questions at the end of each genius hour period.
- What did you accomplish today?
- What do you plan to accomplish next week?
- What does the final project look like in your head?
The answers to these questions have allowed me to gauge where each student is and makes them accountable for their progress. I could certainly have them blog the answers to these questions, but my class periods are less than 45 minutes and I want to give them every opportunity to work on their projects during that time. Most of them do not have access at home.
I received another blow this week when I found out that this website is actually blocked by our district. I sent a request to have it unblocked but it was denied for reasons that make no sense to me. It’s not the end of the world, but I really wanted students and other district teachers to access my reflections. At this point, I’m over it and have moved forward. If I worried about our district tech policies all the time I would never sleep. Onward, Ho! Nothing worth doing is easy.