Sunday, December 18, 2016

Pitch Day 2016

Pitch Day is one of my favorite days of the school year. It is the day when the kiddos pitch their Genius Hour ideas and explain what they hope to accomplish with their project. We hear all kinds of ideas, many of which I had never thought a 13-year-old would be capable of doing. I learned long a go that kids will blow away our expectations when they are given the opportunity to learn what they want. Indeed, we have seen projects that college students would have trouble completing. It all comes down to the students' passions. What is it that motivates them? That passion is what we as teachers must tap into in order to get the most out of our kiddos. Genius Hour does just that.

The presentations overall were pretty good. In the past, the students presented only to a committee of 3-4 adults. This year, because of logistics, the kids pitched to two adults and their classmates. Because students were in the room, it was a bit less formal than in the past. However, that informality did not detract from the ideas that the kids presented. Project ideas ranged from service projects to projects dealing with the arts. Some kids wanted to build and some wanted to code. We have animators, YouTubers and writers. 

Jack, who goes spear fishing every month with his family, wants to design a new propulsion system for a spear gun. He believes that the current system is too difficult and things he can innovate a new way for spear guns to work. Each month when he is fishing with his family, he will test the iterations of his project to see what is working and what needs to be tweaked more. He will post pictures and video to his blog so we can see his progress. 

Halle is an artist, musician and skater. She believes that the price of musical instruments and other items that kids want are way too expensive for the average kid. Her dream is to open a storefront where young artisans can make instruments, create art, make skateboards and other items that they will sell at a low cost to kids. She talked about creating a business plan and raising funds. That is ambitious. Halle may start with an Etsy store while she is working on her bigger dream. 

Destiny had the idea to create jeans that change colors. She will have to learn the science behind that technology and how to work with denim. She may need to learn how to sew. She is fascinated with the idea of customized and personalized clothing and has already talked to Halle about selling her jeans in Halle's store. 

Joaquin is all about shoes. He has lots of shoes and treats them like trophies. His idea is to create a spray that will prevent the shoes from getting dirty without compromising the integrity of the shoe. He knows that there are similar products on the market but no spray is good for all shoes. His will be.

Macy is a musician. She can play music just by hearing it and she plays multiple instruments. She also sings. Her idea is to develop and showcase her talent and create a YouTube channel to document her story. Music is her passion and this project will be a great outlet for her. 

These are a few of the projects that the kids will be doing. In this blog over the next five months, I will be highlighting more of the projects that are in process. As always, kids will be keeping their own blogs to tell the stories of their learning. This promises to be a great crop of Genius Hour projects and I'm excited to see the progress that these kiddos make as the year goes on. 

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