Make no mistake, innovative learning experiences like Genius Hour are not always unicorns and rainbows. In fact, this type of learning can get really messy and feel uncomfortable for both teachers and students. You see, passion-based learning requires everyone to assume different roles in the classroom and the reality is that that is much easier said than done. Teachers must become facilitators and give learners the opportunity to learn by doing, experience real struggle, and figure things out on their own. Learners must be willing to drive their own learning, ask questions, and push through their struggle in order to figure things out on their own.
I was super stoked to hear that Flipgrid has made augmented reality available on their platform! Yes, you heard me correctly...FlipgridAR is a thing and I can't stop thinking of ways that this will enhance the learning experience for so many students!
In order to use FlipgridAR, you just need to make sure that you have updated the app and that you are using a device that supports augmented reality.
I'm sure that you can think of so many ways that this can work in your classroom but just in case you need a few ideas to get started, here ya go...
Okay, obviously I'm obsessed with Book Creator right now. Today I sat down to create a Book of Wonders.
I often recommend Wonderopolis for educators that need something for early finishers or those that have already mastered what is being learned. I've also suggested that they implement Wonder Wednesdays and give students an opportunity to explore Wonderopolis and learn based on their curiosity.
If you haven't seen Wonderopolis before, let me introduce you. I am such a fan of their work and used it in my own classroom almost every single day. I love that students can learn new vocabulary, practice comprehension, and dive deep into a topic of their choice all on this one platform.
After coming home from ISTE, I was looking through several of my notes and realized that I hadn't spent much time in Book Creator. Sure, I share it sometimes with educators and talk about how it can be used as a product creation tool for students, but I hadn't considered how it might be used for students to document their experience throughout Genius Hour.
Then, I was tagged in a tweet in which Krystle Bassett shared her ISTE takeaways. She used Book Creator to share her thoughts and I LOVED it. I couldn't help but begin to think about how this amazing resource could be used to organize and document the 6 Ps of Genius Hour, so I got to work right away.
80% of the world's oceans are unexplored. We have no idea what exists, what's possible, and what might be beneath the surface of the unexplored waters. Because of the difficulty, risk, and cost associated with exploration, we are unaware of the potential that lies beneath.
What if the same is true for student learning? What if we have only scratched the surface of our learners' potential because of our unwillingness to be uncomfortable, fear of taking risks, and inability to see what's possible?
If you haven't heard of Waco, Texas, you might not be a fan of Fixer Upper on HGTV. Chip and Joanna Gaines have created quite the stir in our little town and have created an experience unlike any other. They are a local couple that take older homes and remodel, redesign them into beautiful living spaces that people are going crazy for right now. They also own Magnolia Market, a place for others to find home decor similar to that used on the show.
As I drove by the Silos (a shopping experience created by Magnolia) the other day and saw people walking around with smiles on their faces, excited to be part of the Magnolia experience, I couldn't help but wonder what we need to do to make school a similar experience. What if our students came into school looking forward to what would happen, wondering what they might see, and willing to spend time exploring, investing, and ultimately learning?
So, it's no secret that I think reflection is not just important but imperative for every learner. Finding time to reflect and ensuring that the reflection is meaningful is not always easy. I think the first thing that has to be considered is the difference between reflection and remembering. We have asked students in our classrooms to remember...remember a fact, remember a strategy, or remember a deadline. But what if we began to focus on reflection and what's the difference. I think it's fairly simple. Remembering is what I did and how, reflection is what I learned and why.
Creating a reflection grid on Flipgrid is a great way to make reflection meaningful and manageable. I'm a huge fan of the Reflection QR Code from Tony Vincent. This is a randomized code, which means that students can scan the same code and receive different questions. I talk about it all the time as I used it in my own classroom to help my students learn to move from simply remembering to reflecting. I wish I had known about Flipgrid because by smashing these two things together, you can create a really cool reflection opportunity for your learners.
Here's how I created my Reflection Grid and it was super easy!
I have exciting news and I absolutely can't keep it in any longer! The 6 Ps of Genius Hour are going global! When talking about Genius Hour, we often talk about the importance of an authentic audience. While it sounds like a great idea, finding ways to connect our learners is not always easy and can often seem like more work.
Because I'm no longer in the classroom, I miss being able to give feedback, share ideas, and help learners make connections through their Genius Hour projects. I was recently trying to think of a way to solve both of these issues. I realized that while I've been encouraging educators to create their own Flipgrids for Genius Hour, it would be more beneficial to have a Global Grid for students to share ideas, give each other feedback, and connect with other learners all over the world.
The 6 Ps of Genius Hour is a process that I created to help Genius Hour make sense to my learners. Throughout the process, my students would identify their passion(s), plan their project, pitch their idea to their peers, work on a project to develop a product, and then give a presentation.
CLICK HERE for a PDF with links to the tech tools.
Within the grid, there is a permission slip to send home to parents, instructions on how to use the grid, and videos for students to watch to understand what they need to do in order to share their ideas, reflections, and thoughts. In each of the topics, I have recorded to a video sharing encouraging words and what needs to be posted.
My hope is that this grid will help our learners practice life-ready skills such as collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, and reflection while pursuing their passions. I hope that it impacts educators and learners all over the world and gives us all an opportunity to work together to make a difference in the world. Selfishly, it will give me an opportunity to connect with learners and help them with their projects just as I did with my own students while I was in the classroom. I miss seeing those lightbulb moments and watching my students light up when they were successful or persevere when they experienced failure or frustration.
If you would like to learn more about the 6 Ps of Genius Hour, you can check out my book, Genius Hour: Passion Projects that Ignite Innovation and Student Inquiry or the 6 Ps of Genius Hour Online Course. Both resources are a deep dive into the process and will help you as an educator find ways to weave the standards and life-ready skills into your Genius Hour time with your learners.
Access the Genius Hour Global Grid HERE!
It's almost time. The first day of school is almost here! I know that this is a busy time and there is lots of PD and prep work happening for educators right now. However, I want to encourage you to take some time do something that will drive and influence your entire year...identify your core beliefs. You see, your core beliefs about education, students, learning, and relationships are already impacting what you do and how you teach. They are your "why", the reason that you do what you do. But have you ever taken time to really stop and name those core beliefs?
Identifying your core beliefs and sharing them with others help to make them a reality. So, how do you know what they are? How can you share them and why should they be top priority? I think it's best to start with what you believe that every student deserves. I like to think of them as targets that I was aiming for with every experience that was designed, every tool that was used, and every relationship that was built. Now don't get me wrong, there were many times that I missed the mark. But when I did, I knew it and was able to regain focus and aim more carefully with the next attempt.
As you think about your core beliefs, don't think about standardized testing, standards, or lesson plans. Just focus on what you truly believe that every single learner needs and deserves from you and your classroom this year.
Let me share my core beliefs...
So I have to admit...I definitely have #flipgridfever right now. I have been reading so much about how teachers are using it to creatively give opportunities for reflection, connection, and collaboration. The more that I read, the more I realize how powerful this tool can be for learners.
Just yesterday, Ethan Silva (a 6th grade Social Studies teacher at China Spring ISD), shared on Voxer how he was hoping to use Flipgrid as he starts Genius Hour in his classroom. After listening and thinking about the role Flipgrid could play in Genius Hour, I thought I might share some of the ideas that I had.
I couldn't help but think about the huge role that reflection plays in Genius Hour and how powerful video reflection is for our learners. What a perfect fit! I instantly thought about the 6 P's of Genius Hour and how educators could set up a Flipgrid to use throughout the entire process.
If you haven't heard of the 6 P's, this was a process that I used in my classroom to make Genius Hour manageable for and meaningful for my students. Each one of the 6 P's is an important part of the process and gives students a kind of roadmap to follow so that they don't become lost or overwhelmed by the openness of such a project.
When I thought about the potential that Flipgrid has to make this process even more manageable and more meaningful, I was pumped!
So, I jumped onto Flipgrid and created a Genius Hour Grid, just to see what it might look like and how easy it might be to create. I created the grid in about 10 minutes and could not wait to share how I thought this could be done to create a place for students share and reflect throughout the Genius Hour process.
As you can see in the image above, I created one grid and a topic within that grid for each of the 6 P's. In the topic description, I asked questions that students might answer when they posted their video to the grid.
Passion - What do you want to learn about? What do you think is interesting? What can you get excited about?
Students could also share their Thrively results here or even post a picture of their Passion Bracket.
Plan - Who will be your outside expert? What materials will you need to complete the project? What will you need to do each day to reach your goals? How much time will need?
Pitch - How will you share your idea with the class? How will you get us on board?
What do you know? What do you want to know? How will you find out? (KWH)
Project - What did you learn today? What connections did you make and what would you like to share?
You might include the link to the Reflection QR code here so that students can respond to the question that they randomly receive. You could also attach the QR code as an image and students could scan to receive their question.
Product - What did you create? What can you show us to demonstrate your learning? If you were unable to create a product, what could you have done differently?
Presentation - How do you plan to share your learning? Can you share your idea or project with others? What tools will you use to make your presentation engaging for the audience?
What did you learn? What action did you take? What questions do you still have? (LAQ)
In creating the Flipgrid, I realized that it's important to put the 6 P's in backward so that they will be in the correct order. In other words, when creating the grid, create Presentation as the first topic and Passion as the last topic. This way, when it's complete, Passion will be on top with Presentation at the bottom.
As students move through the process, they can post their thoughts, reflections, and responses on the grid. This gives them the ability to pitch, present, and reflect any time from anywhere. This takes away the need for the teacher to always keep up with who needs to pitch and who needs to present. They can simply do so on Flipgrid whenever they are ready instead of waiting for a time in class that works for everyone.
Using Flipgrid also gives everyone an opportunity to respond and give feedback on Genius Hour projects. It allows us to share pitches and presentations beyond the walls of the classroom, giving students an authentic audience.
In my classroom, the QR codes on the image above linked to the website that walked them through what to do for each of the 6 P's. I had to create a website, add all of the content, and then link the QR code to the different pages within the website. Using Flipgrid, you can simply put all of this information in the Grid by clicking Actions, Share Topic, and choosing QR code. Copy the QR code, paste it onto cardstock, create the bulletin board, and it's done! Crazy cool!
I cannot express how excited I am about sharing this. Please let me know if you have any questions. Every student deserves an opportunity to pursue their passion and Flipgrid makes Genius Hour even more manageable for teachers and more meaningful for students.
If you'd like to know more about the 6 ps of Genius Hour, please feel free to check out my book, Genius Hour: Passion Projects that Ignite Innovation and Student Inquiry or the ONLINE COURSE!
© 2018 Andi McNair