It’s a movement, not a moment
Every teacher should consider making time for Genius Hour (sometimes called 20% time or Passion Projects). We know that when students are given the opportunity to explore their own topics, they gain skills in self-direction.
But I’ve come to believe that the ideal Genius Hour involves as much of the school as possible. Here’s what it could look like.
Practice Makes Proficient
What’s special about a proficiency-based environment? Practice, that’s what.
I know, it sounded weird to me too. As a former math teacher, I thought of practice as the mind-numbing repetitive stuff that students had to do in order to attain fluency. Practice was for straightforward procedural skills.
But Sam Nelson, a social studies teacher at Shelburne Community School, has broadened my perspective on practice to encompass all formative assessment, including complex skills and concepts.
3 ways Schoology supports sustainable Proficiency-Based Learning
A learning management system (LMS) can be used to manage classroom workflow, create self-paced differentiated units, and collaborate within or across classrooms and schools.
As teachers in Vermont and elsewhere grapple with how to create proficiency-based learning environments, they are looking for new strategies and routines. Let’s explore some of the features of the Schoology LMS particularly suited to proficiency-based learning.
Strategies for starting a research project
Whether the inspiring teacher examples from my last post roused your inner researcher, or you’re just one of those continuous improvement people (as most teachers are), it’s exciting to think that we could have some potential new knowledge creators out there.
So let’s take a look at how to make this work.
5 benefits of doing action research in the classroom
Teachers are constantly tinkering, creating, learning, and growing. Action research is a slightly formalized version of what skilled teachers do every day.
By honoring action research as systematic professional inquiry, we empower teachers to improve their practice. It’s easy to get started undertaking a small, powerful action research project in your classroom. Let’s see what it can look like.
Student-led conferences are for students
Student-led conferences are a key strategy in personalized, student-centered educational practices.
And they’re even more important and potentially powerful in a proficiency-based system.
Getting started assessing proficiency
School systems in Vermont and elsewhere are in the midst of a shift to proficiency-based learning. At the early stages, this transformation can feel overwhelming even for educators, even if they’re excited by the idea.
Where to start?
Start with scales for assessment.
1% teacher inspiration & 99% student-led
Genius Hour is a leap of faith in which educators set aside their most precious resource, time, for students to pursue their passions. It doesn’t get much more student-centered than that.
But there are actually several aspects of Genius Hour where students can be involved as partners to amp up the genius quotient.
Whose Makerspace is it, anyway?
A Makerspace can take many forms, but fundamentally it should be a locus of student engagement and creativity.
So engage them from the start by turning over as much of the design and operation of your Makerspace as possible. Continue reading
An experiment in student-directed, open-ended project-based learning
What if an entire school set out to maximize student engagement?
What if there were a school-wide commitment to loosening control and trusting students to do great things?
What if students were told that they could work for an hour a week on whatever they want with one simple rule: you must share something?