Project Nerdfigher GeniusHour Update

photoI have been absent from updating my Project Nerdfighter GeniusHour website, and after having an emotional self-analysis the past few days, dealing with the guilt of not doing enough for my students because of stress from outside-of-the-classroom factors, I am finally able to resurface and put my energies in the right realm.  I try to instill a philosophy of Acknowledge, Accept, and Adjust.  It’s time to be the model that Emerson encourages all educators to be for their students (I’m not really that smart; I’ve just been reading and preparing for my AP Lang class).  NOW!  This is not an introspective blog; it’s all about

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This past week, my students were able to have a their Genius Hour workday in the Media Center.  Because of retesting students, administering the PSAT, and other logistical issues, we have not been able to access computers for the past two weeks.  I have been encouraging my students to complete their weekly blog entries at home or on their WordPress mobile apps.  Thankfully the WordPress app is very user-friendly and this last of Media Center time has not hurt them.  I prefer to “be in the moment” with my students so that I can support them, refocus them when they lose their way, and to become inspired myself.

Observations:

  • Having students complete blog entries on WordPress has been wonderful.  First, requiring all students to use one platform that I am familiar with is a blessing and a choice that I am continually grateful for.  Also, it is a way for me to safely observe the students.  I’m over their shoulder, but they are very independent through this process.
  • Feedly has been an invaluable tool.  If you are going to require blog entries from your students, for whatever project, I highly recommend finding an RSS Reader program or website.  I use Feedly because it’s user-friendly and free.  It updates me when students post a new blog, saving me time from running around the internet.
  • Most students are getting it.  I am having two of my three English III classes participate in this activity, which is about 40 students.  I would conservatively estimate that 2/3 of the class is on board, choosing projects that are important to them, and appreciate the time provided to them.  I would say that of those 25 students who are engaged, at least 10 are VERY enthusiastic about the project and are embodying the vision that I had for it.
  • So what about that 1/3 who is out of the Nerdfighter Genius Hour loop?  Some are absent a lot and haven’t been able to fully understand what it is that we’re doing.  I am working to help them see this as more than ” a research project.”  I have three distinct students who are just being that student who enjoy being a spectacle and who enjoy creating chaos.  What do I do about them?  I refocus them as much as possible, and when the behavior gets out of control, the school’s discipline system is applied and I have had to ask them to leave the Media Center.  It’s sad that they view school and opportunities in this way, but it is what it is.  I choose to focus on the other 37 students and their projects instead.

Going Forward:

  1. I have successfully booked the Media Center for each Friday in November that we are in school.
  2. I am requiring students to have a Final Product Proposal due before we leave for the Winter/Christmas break.  It needs to outline what their final presentation project is going to look like, format, resources needed, steps required to complete, and what do they need from me?
  3. Final presentations will the last week of the 1st semester- ish.  I am waiting to hear the schedule for final exams from my administration before making the final due date.
  4. I am inspired.  My students are awesome.  They are Geniuses.
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