So, throughout this series we've talked about what thought partners are, why they are important, and how they can be used to help learners address and practice the life-ready skills (4Cs + 1R). In this post, I wanted to share how to use thought partnership throughout Genius Hour to encourage learners to think through the process while practicing collaboration and communication with their peers.
I'm most excited about thinking about thought partners through this lens as I believe it has to be potential to take Genius Hour to the next level and cause learners to be even more intentional and purposeful as they move through the 6 Ps of Genius Hour.
The first thing that needs to be done in order to make thought partnership a priority throughout Genius Hour is to make some decisions. Do you want your learners to have the same thought partner throughout the process? Do you want to switch the partners up? How will you decide who the partners are?
The reality is that if you always let your students choose their partners, they will often choose the same partner. That partner will likely be a friend who may or may be willing to be honest and challenge their thinking. I almost like the idea of this being random. You could use a tool like The Random Name Picker from Flippity to partner students up without giving it much thought.
If your students are older (middle school or high school), you could use the results from the DIRT Temperament Survey to group them each time. In other words, you might say, "If you are an Influencer, you need to partner up with a Doer today." You might also say, "If you are a Thinker, find a thought partner that is a Relater." This could be done in a variety of ways so that learners are being given the opportunity to work with different types of thinkers throughout the process. There are so many different ways that you could make this work. I think partnering learners with someone that thinks differently than them is a good idea and something that could be considered as well.
Once they have found their partners, you might want to use the Thought Partner Cards below to encourage learners to begin their conversation. These will help them know how to collaborate and communicate ideas as they learn to work together and understand why thought partnership is important throughout the process.
Graphics created using Canva.com
After using the cards for a while, learners will become familiar with this idea and what they are looking for while collaborating. While the cards might not be necessary for long, they are a great springboard to help them get started.
While students are working with their thought partners, walk around and listen to their conversations. Sit in on some of the collaboration and use any opportunity you can to help them work on life-ready skills and make important connections.
Thought partnership throughout Genius Hour will help students realize that they are not alone and will help create a culture of collaboration in your classroom. This is a powerful way to take Genius Hour to the next level and shake things up a bit.
After giving this a try, please feel free to ask questions or share your experiences below. I'd love to hear how it goes and look forward to seeing how this changes the experience as well as the culture of the classroom.
Want to learn more about Genius Hour? Check out the 6 Ps of Genius Hour Online Course or the book, Genius Hour: Passion Projects that Ignite Innovation and Student Inquiry! You can also learn more on the Genius Hour page of my website.