Tomorrow is my students’ Genius Hour Expo. The day we’ve been talking about since we returned to school in January has arrived.
After our first round of Genius Hour last semester, I realized something needed to change. My students spent a lot of time and energy on something that only I saw. The “share out” element of the Genius Hour process was clearly missing. Unsure I could manage filming videos to post online and unclear of how blogs might work for us, I decided to create the Genius Hour Expo.
In my initial vision, students would be presenting something related to their projects to other students at our school. I wanted them to research something that could “change the world” and share outside of our classroom walls.
Since we launched in January, students have written argumentative research papers related to their topics, and then later decided how to take their project forward.
For many students, this just meant preparing a tri-fold poster with the information they already researched for their papers. Others did additional research to add information or pictures to what they were sharing out.
Some students created projects that they implemented prior to Expo day. I had two students sell raffle tickets to raise money for an animal shelter. Another student documented random acts of kindness she did around town. Another student created a mini softball camp for students in our life skills class.
Others have created videos to embed in their projects; some have created interactive components, like surveys, to their Expo presentations. I was purposely vague in my expectations because I didn’t want to limit them. For some, that was a challenge – for others it became an opportunity.
So now, Expo day is here. Some students were not as prepared as I would have liked when they left class today.
All students at our school will have the opportunity to attend at least one of the Expo presentations. A schedule has been created, but I still have a lot of unknowns. How exactly will we set up in the library? Should I have gotten some additional tables? Will I get to everyone’s stations during our class times? Is there enough time for the visiting classes to see enough of the presentations?
I have asked my students to work through adversity and deal with challenges during this project, so I have to expect the same from myself.
If nothing else, I had a student say to me today, “I am so excited for Expo tomorrow. Like, I have never been this excited for something at school before.”
And that makes it all worth it.