Sunday, March 26, 2017

Game On!

When I introduced Genius Hour to the kids, several decided to do something with video games. They tossed ideas around including creating video games, blogging about video games, and reviewing video games. Jon decided that he wanted to create a video game. His work began by sifting through the numerous online video game makers until he found one that he liked. He explored several and decided that he would create his using one of his favorites. As he developed his game, and other students took a look at it, he became more encouraged to develop it. Now, whenever he has some spare time on a computer, he is working on his game.

Jon and Emmanuel troubleshoot an aspect of Jon's game

Other students offer advice and recommendations. Maybe a part of the game didn't provide enough challenge, or too much challenge. Maybe the order of progression should be tweaked. All of these are decisions that Jon must make in order to improve his game. The learning in Genius Hour is awesome because the burden of creating rests on the students. They are the ones making the decisions, testing those decisions, and further tweaking their product. Each student develops their own process for learning. This type of learning environment is completely individual.

Not only is Jon learning about video game making, he is also learning about marketing, troubleshooting, persistence, progression of thought, and grit. Jon is learning both content, process, and how to stand on his own two feet.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Cool Projects!

As kids get deeper into their Genius Hour project work, they keep discovering new problems and new solutions to those problems. The most pressing problems for kids so far is accumulating the materials to build their project ideas. Some thought initially that they would be able to get their hands on material and have since had to change their approach. These are problems that they will solve in time. Other kiddos are moving right ahead.

Gladys decided to do a project centered around her artistic ability. We have a couple of kids showcasing their art, photography or music talents during our Genius Hour project time. Gladys is creating art and other students at school are buying it. At this point, she may build an Etsy site or continue to create and display at school, allowing kids to see and purchase her creations. Gladys is also creating specific designs for kids who request them. Art commissions in their infancy at ENMS :)

Carina loves animals and wanted to center her project around helping animals. She has been working on a project to become more involved with a local animal shelter and organize events to get other students involved as well. Carina is publicizing her project in school and was creating a graphic design using She will produce these flyers to try to gin up interest at school. 

Rodolph is still working on the design of his mechanism that will guide a basketball player's wrist while shooting. Many beginning basketball players, he has noticed, do not have the proper form. His project, Flick That Wrist, will aid beginners in developing the proper form. Rodolph is ready to begin building the first iteration of his design. 

Things do not always go smoothly for the kids during Genius Hour work. They hit a lot of roadblocks. These roadblocks are learning opportunities. They find solutions to the problems that they encounter and become more confident in themselves as independent learners when they do. These kiddos are learning the benefits of persistence and grit. It will be one of the best things that they learn this year.