Genius Hour

Last term, I trialed the concept of Genius Hour in my classroom. The focus was generating quality, non-google-able questions, and beginning skills in finding out/sorting out information. Students looked at intriguing websites, including Cosmos Magazine and Wondreopolis, as well as some helpful inquiry picture books by Kobi Yamada (see below) to assist in the creating of questions.

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We watched many inspirational videos…

until students began to deeply understand the purpose, and that learning is definitely not about getting answers right the first time. I think my students came far in terms of the effort they put in, the questions they can now ask about a range of topics, how to seek out quality information, and how to understand what they have read by asking evaluative questions (such as, Is this helpful to my topic? Is this a reputable site? Why/Why not? Do I need to search more information? Do I now have further questions? What have I learnt? How have I learnt it? What do I need to work on next time?)

I was amazed that during Genius Hour times, that all students were highly engaged and incredibly motivated – including my students who usually struggle behaviourally (!!!) Amazing!

 

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Positive Education Workshop

Today I completed an online workshop focusing on positive education and it was thoroughly interesting and excellent. I am feeling quite motivated to implement some ideas into my teaching practice, as well as continue to wonder further.

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Here are my top 10 points from the workshop:

  1. Aim to create a “high flourishing” classroom that examines links between positive emotions and well being influenced by relationships, grit, accomplishment, character strengths, goal setting, mindfulness, flow, mindset, gratitude, genetics, physical activities and social networks
  2. P.E.R.M.A – Positive emotion / Engagement / Relationships / Meaning / Accomplishment
  3. We don’t allow our students to fail. The opposite of success is not continuing to try.
  4. The physical space of your classroom matters
    1. Are your students eager to enter your classroom?
    2. How does your classroom space set up your students to succeed?
  5. The purpose is to create positive educational experiences for all students, regardless of their behaviour/needs/etc
  6. Use professional networks to improve your practice in regard to disability and inclusion (peer observations, video yourself and self reflect, collegial discussions)
  7. Self-compassion, mindfulness and self-care are highly important for teachers. You cannot keep giving if you don’t have it – ie, if we do not self-care, it limits what we can give to our students.
  8. B.O.L.D – Breath deeply and slow down / Observe your thoughts / Listen to your values / Decide on actions and do them
  9. Unhelpful thinking includes:
    1. Predicative thinking
    2. Personalisation
    3. Catastrophising
  10. Listen to more TED Talks, continuing being informed, continuing asking questions, continue wondering so you can grow in best teaching practice!

calm down tip sheet

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