So, I received some very exciting news this morning from Wonderopolis and I couldn't wait to share. Immersive Reader is now available with every wonder, making Wonderopolis even more accessible for today's learners.
Thinking before doing is not a strength of mine. I like to try new things, take risks, and jump in with both feet. Innovation is often my first thought and details tend to come later. Because of this, I'm a big fan of the thought partner concept. My thought partner, Kari Espin, often changes my perspective, helps me reflect in order to improve, and encourages me to take things to the next level by thinking beyond my comfort zone. I was recently thinking about how beneficial this is for me and how much more beneficial it might be in the classroom. Kari talks often about how much she enjoys being a thought partner and she is passionate about helping others take their thoughts, ideas, and even their careers to another level.
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!
© 2018 Andi McNair