Genius Hour Blog – Controlled Chaos Has Arrived

We took our last state test yesterday.   Today my classes moved beyond standardization and back into the the autonomous realm of genius hour. It’s good to be back.

Each student in my classroom is at a different stage of the project life-cycle.  If someone where to walk in my room they would probably think that I had lost my mind.  It all looks very unorganized, but based on my observations learning is happening.

This week we talked about the end game and what that looks like, how long it’s going to take to get there, and what we need to do to make our deadline.  There are only about 6 more weeks of school and I would classify the project as a failure if most students aren’t completed and presented by the time summer rolls around.  I do have a couple of students that are ready to present next week.  Their projects aren’t what I would call top-notch, but they are presentable.  The actual presentation may be better than what I’ve seen in passing.  I made the decision to allow them to present because I think that they will be able to reflect and complete a better project by the end of school.

I had a few students ask if they could change topics today and I had to shut that down.  Most of them were just stuck and needed a little nudge in the right direction.  Disaster averted.

I was working on my own genius hour project in the front of the class today by creating a presentation that I’m going to give at #edcampwaller this weekend about genius hour.  I think the students found it neat that I was working along side of them.  Hopefully it was a lesson that we are always learning, sharing and teaching.

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FREE Genius Hour Workshop

Want to start Genius Hour in your classroom but not sure where and how to begin? Already started Genius Hour and need a bit more guidance? A.J. Juliani and I are hosting a FREE webinar to jumpstart Genius Hour in your classroom. Click to grab a virtual seat now.

I am an 8th grade science teacher that is passionate about Genius Hour in the classroom. I blog about genius hour, ed tech, and ways to make learning more engaging and fun.

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7 comments on “Genius Hour Blog – Controlled Chaos Has Arrived
  1. Kay says:

    I love reading about what you are doing with Genius Hour. It is something I want to try next year with my 8th graders.

  2. Valerie lees says:

    Hi Joy,
    Had a great first time Google hangout with @karenklores and @mslhall discussing our genius hour process, ups and downs and discussed these same topics of whether to let kids switch topics or not and whether a project is a failure if it isn’t complete. Regarding the first topic- We agreed there are times to allow switches in topics and times to insist students persist to follow through with original ideas. Both will involve learning that can be shared in the reflective process. We also talked about how sometimes it is good to have kids present when they find out their idea won’t work as learning doesn’t stop just because we fail. Sometimes it’s the failures that provide the most memorable and valuable learning of all.
    I love that you were preparing your presentation alongside the kids during genius hour. I did something similar today-had release time to prepare for workshop and told kids I was trying first time Google Hangout-kids thought it was cool and wished me luck as I left them with my TOC. I think they like knowing we are trying new things too and taking risks.
    I will share my presentation on slideshare when done and maybe you will too -good luck at the edcamp Joy! Do share the # with us.
    Thanks for the continued inspiration and generating/archiving the Geniushour Livebinder. I’m going to do my best to join the geniushour chat next week. (Feel free to edit comment-rambled on a bit 😉

    • Thanks for the comments Valerie! Although Joy has her fingerprints over most genius hour sites and is a game-changer in genius hour, this blog series is from Chris Kesler (@iamkesler). 🙂

      I really appreciate the comments.

  3. Vicky says:

    I would like more information on genius hour. Does anyone already have the start-up docs for the kids, how to get started, a plan of action, etc???? If so, would you mind sharing? Thanks

  4. Mary Chris says:

    very interesting

  5. Mary Chris says:

    good information