Skip to main content


Showing posts from January, 2018

Genius Hour: Day 2 - "Show Me"

Day two of "Genius Hour" is in the books, and what a day it has been! I began class with the request that I wanted the students to "Show me something." I wanted to see a first iteration of what they were building, learning or creating. I clarified that it might be rough, it might be ugly, it might be simple but I wanted to see where they were by the end of the class. Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect, and from the standpoint of a teacher, that can be extremely unnerving. I have around 150 students , tackling around 130 projects that they have created. They're managing the projects, setting the goals and running them all by themselves. The only deadline I provided was a presentation of what they had accomplished, which is currently seven weeks away. My goal for today was to check on their progress, provide minor course corrections, and most of all, provide encouragement and praise .  That last part was the most important; It was also the easiest

Genius Hour: Day 1 - "The Before Shot"

The beginning of each new year brings with it a lot of the same old traditions. Everyone is setting new goals, and declaring new resolutions to better themselves -- one of the most common, is getting into shape. It seems like almost every other radio commercial is offering special deals on gym memberships and every other ad on social media features "before and after" pictures of some miraculous weight loss success. The trick, is sticking to the resolution. Genius Hour (day 2) As we kicked off our first working day for "Genius Hour" (which some kids have elected to call the "Power Hour" which I kinda like), I told the students that today was a big day. Today is their "Before" picture. I reiterated that they will spend the last 10 minutes of class documenting their progress, and as they write their journal, or record their vlog today they should describe their starting point; where they are now, so that we can compare that to the dramatic progre

Kicking Off Genius Hour

Learning to speak Korean, illustrating how car engines work, learning desktop publishing software, and demonstrating how to pilot a plane; these are just a few examples of what students will be learning in my first period class for the next nine Friday's. And that's just the first of seven classes that are exploding with dozens of wildly different projects and ideas. Friday's Are About to Get Brilliant Today we kicked off "Genius Hour" in each of my classes, which includes Graphic Design and Advanced Graphic Design for grades 9-11. Genius Hour is based off Google's 20% time. Google had the theory that if they granted their employees 20% of their time to work on projects they were passionate about that productivity would go up, stress would go down, and Google might just get some cool products out of the deal. Apparently, Google was right. As a result of Google-time, products like Gmail, Google News, Google AdSense, and Google Translate were all brough

Making the Impossible -- Possible

Want to put your students in the mindset that nothing is impossible? Try this quick, simple activity (the earlier in the year, the better). Step 1: Create Your Impossible Banner Print out the image below as a large banner. You'll estimate the required size after reading the rest of this post. Click here to download the full sized banner as a jpg. If you don't have a printer large enough at school, you might want to try office supply stores.  Most have a service that can print paper banners. You could even tile several 8.5" x 11" sheets of paper with tape to get the job done. It needs to be printed on cheap, non-photo, non-glossy paper that is easy to write on and accepts ink (from a marker) well. If you have multiple types of paper you might want to run some quick tests with a wide tipped marker. I know what you're thinking, "The word 'impossible' really isn't something I want to emphasize in my classroom." Just bear with me a