Over the course of this trimester I assigned a special topic/genius hour/20% project for my students. In our class, Modern Communications: Social Media, we blog every day about topics such as: current events, technology, free form, professional and special topic (as aforementioned).
One student is writing about writing a book, another about making anime more commercial and many of them are writing about the NBA (this is totally expected because they love the NBA)! I opened up this can of worms during the 3rd week of the trimester to see what they were made of and I wish I did this last year because many students are rising to the occasion.
My process was simple. I did the following:
- Introduced Genius Hour as 20% Time (and elaborated on the inception and what it means to the students)
- Had the students choose 5 topics that they were interested in researching if they had the time
- Had the students choose one of the five topics (with heavy emphasis on making the commitment)
- Created questions the students must answer in a formal proposal: Genius Hour Proposal Qs
The students have been blogging every Friday about their special topic. Sure there are bumps along the way but generally most students are on task. I will create a similar slide show and rubric for the final output of their research. I will also follow-up with a list of the final presentation for the world to see how creative they are.