Of the 34 children, all produced a project, most had an idea in week 1 and stuck with it, adapting it along the way. Some started with one idea and totally changed it to suit their learning - this is fine as long as they do not constantly change their mind. Very few struggled to think of anything and if they did I asked them to talk to others, find out what they were doing, watch them, ask questions then think again about their own project - this worked, the other children's enthusiasm and thoughts inspired those around them.
One of the standout things for me as a teacher was how little I actually had to do after the initial input, children were independently learning. If they needed some advice they would ask, but that was very rare, the only stumbling block was their own inhibitions e.g. Jimmy wanted to make his own superhero costume but was unsure if it was possible, did we have the materials he needed? I promised him and others that if we didn't have them in class we would get them, I wanted children to feel their were no barriers to their projects, they could design and create whatever they wanted.
During Genius Hour I would walk around asking children about their projects, they were so enthusiastic to share, during this time the children became the educators, I learnt:
How to make Loom bands.
The names of the Mario characters and what year each game was made.
The name of the new Batman video game.
The words to 'Let it Go' (several times)
How to make a daisy chain.
How to make a milkshake.
My Year 2 colleague took Genius Hour for one week, she had her reservations but afterwards said what a brilliant hour she had, the children were on task, creating and so willing to share their projects with her.
This for me says it all, the only negative thing about Genius Hour will be if the teacher is not fully behind it, take it, enjoy it and your students will benefit in so many ways.
As a last note, the children presented their projects finished and unfinished at the end of the term. One young lady, Chloe created dresses for Elsa from Frozen (see previous posts for pictures) I loved the process that Chloe had gone through, her designs were detailed and beautiful and when she recreated them to fit on a paper model of Elsa she copied them exactly, every small detail was included. I sent Chloe to present her project to her previous teacher, who now works in reception. I spoke to Mrs Simpson at the end of the day and asked about Chloe, "I couldn't believe it" she said " Chloe would hardly speak to me last year, let alone get up in front of a class of younger children and show her ideas, she was so enthusiastic about her creations and it really shone through."
That to me is Genius Hour in a nutshell, if it can have that effect on just one of your students over the six weeks then it is surely worth giving it a go.
My next blog entry will be about the future of Genius Hour for me and the possibility of a Genius curriculum.