Monday, April 13, 2015

Genius Hour...Passion Projects...Being Innovative

What does it mean to be innovative? To me, it means being willing to try new things, even if you don't know if they'll work or not.  It also means being able to reevaluate and tweak things on a moments notice.

One thing I do that I consider innovative is my passion projects.  I don't consider it innovative because it's a new idea.  I consider it innovative because each time we do it, it looks different and unique, depending on my kids.

My students have done 3 different projects so far.  I've found that my kids need to start with a little more structure in order for them to be successful with less structure (did that even make sense?).

For our first project my students all chose a dream job to research.  They were totally into it, and loved sharing what they learned.   For that project they didn't really have to make anything, rather write up their information and share it with the class.

For our second project the kids all chose a famous person or place.  After writing their research report they had to choose the 3 most important facts they learned to share.  Then (and here is where the innovative part comes in), I decided to bring in a giant tub of Lego's from home.  I set them around the room and told the kids to impress me.  They had to make something that represented their project.  While they may not look like much, the kids had a blast and could explain in detail the creations.

Tony Hawk

Abraham Lincoln

Muhammad Ali

For our most recent project the students had to learn how to do something.  This has been the most interesting so far.  I had students learn to do soccer tricks, frost cakes, fold origami, code computer games, do a fishtail braid, and even make these crazy intricate bracelets.  I was SUPER impressed by their work.  The funniest thing was, my project (what I wanted to learn how to do) was an epic failure.  I desperately want to learn how to whistle with 2 know that loud shrilling whistle that some people can do? After weeks of trying, all I ended up doing was successfully spit all over the place!  What was really cool was that my kids taught me some new tricks on how to make my normal whistle louder :)

Soccer Tricks

Learning how to bake cupcakes

Teaching the class how to make origami fingers

Making donut cats

They tasted amazing!

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