When you’ve left the classroom, but still want to share your passion you need to let go and listen to voices other than yours. Towards the end of my teaching career I discovered geniushour and the incredible educators who were most kind in reaching out on Twitter sharing their work about geniushour. Many participants in the #geniushour chat and @geniushour ask questions and share their students’ experiences in this open platform. And I am so fortunate that I can still share my passions with my colleagues. They welcome me and my ideas. My former teaching partner, Roger and I met to introduce this approach to student focused learning with Rachel, his new teaching partner. We talked about some of our geniushour experiences these past four years; how we introduced it, how it was set up and designed. We discussed how the kinders’ questions on the Wonder Wall often guided their geniushour time. I shared with Rachel many links that were tweeted this month on the geniushour chat. She asked questions and Roger and I talked some more. My main point, one that I felt worked for us, was the open ended approach to this learning. There was no one way or right way. Introductions whether with Caine’s Arcade, books and their curiosity often laid the ground work. Kindergarteners love to play, explore and discover. Stepping out of the way once they got started let them learn about collaboration and iteration when attempts at creating or building were not successful the first few times. In our discussion I did have some points that I felt were important when undertaking any new curriculum.
1. Make it your own.
2. We talk about students finding their passion, teachers need to as well.
3. Listen to your students questions and wonders to help guide the exploration.
4. Allow time to find your way (and your students’).
5. The importance of your students’ reflections and then yours can’t be overstated.
6. See where to go next.
And then my ah ha moment when I realized that this was no longer my call. I could share, discuss and encourage, but I was no longer in charge. However geniushour was going to be defined (in my conversation with Roger and Rachel, the idea of looking at geniushour as a time for “tinkering” was developed.) was not up to me. I was happy to be given the opportunity to voice my excitement and passion to educators that valued my ideas and experience.
I saw a tweet about making time in our classrooms (and I would dare say, in life) for what we value. It really struck home. Leaving that up for each of us to see where we want our learning and teaching to head. Has this idea impacted your teaching priorities?