Monday, December 29, 2014

Genius Hour

After hearing what Genius Hour was, Mrs. Smeby and I thought we would combine our classes and do this together. We didn't know what to expect, but now with a little practice we're excited to do it again!

We decided that our kiddos needed 'some' direction in what to do instead of just letting them go at it! Here is our outline of introducing Genius Hour:

1.  Planning: We told them that it needed to be about an animal.  We let them decide which animal they wanted to investigate on.  While letting them choose- we told them to:

  •  pick an animal that BOTH buddies have an interest on
  •  be specific with an animal (instead of just "monkey" choose a specific                                           type of monkey)
  •  make sure there is plenty of information on the animal you choose

2.  Investigating:  We gave them several different types of websites and apps to do research on.  Mrs. Smeby created a planning sheet to help guide the kids' research.

3. Presentation:  This is where we let them go on their own.  "You'll have to present your information to us somehow, we don't care how!" The kids were excited about this part!  For the majority, kids chose Keynote to present their information, however, we had several use Explain Everything, too.
We told the students that they had until Christmas to work on their work.  The week before break, we had students Airplay their presentation to the class.

We're excited to try this again!!!

We've embraced our iPads

I haven't posted in awhile, so this post may be long!

We've embraced our iPads by taking one day at time!  My little firsties are learning how to use their iPads so seamlessly!

 Math lessons on the iPad.
It started out as a test but now is the sole way I teach math!  During my plan time in the afternoon, I sit down and record myself giving my math lesson using Quick Player.  I upload the student edition workbook page into Skitch and do a screen recording on how to complete the guided practice.  I also do a screen recording of the Visual Bridge part for the students to watch on their own.  Then I upload the whole movie on Youtube as an unlisted video.  In iTunes UI give the students the link.  

During math time, the students get their manipulatives ready, plug in their headphones and press play.  Having the students get their math lesson on their iPads creates total engagement.  

  • My room is silent and there are minimal distractions for each student.  
  • The students can rewind and pause the video for differentiated instruction. 
  • I can pull students as individuals or groups to give direct instruction or intervention. 
  • If students are absent, I can send them the video link to watch at home. 
  • Students take responsibility for their learning by getting the work done independently. 
  • Reteaching is easy because students go on to re-watch the lesson. 

During my time exploring a 'flipped math lesson', I learned that sometimes the math lessons needed to be accomplished with partners.  Sometimes students need to learn and teach each other.  I decided to keep my math lessons on the iPads, however, the students work by watching and completing together.  We talk about what partner time should look and sound like, and when you add an iPad to the mix the students are so engaged together.