This week, we finally started developing our #GeniusHour plans in English 10. From last year’s open exploration to this year’s #GenreGenius, the design of this study has evolved. I described our initial ideas in Genre Genius: Our Evolving #GeniusHour Plans, but the basic idea is that students will investigate a literary genre. They will read a range of long, short, and scholarly texts, add in media texts, explore tropes and foundations of the genre, and then synthesize their learning to create something.
Right away, students were interested, forming plans to make a horror movie, write stories, and read from a range of genres. What they read and what they make is totally up to them. Mythology, fantasy, science fiction, and mysteries were popular choices, with some interest in romance, diaries, history, and horror. I’m excited by my students’ choices and passion
We started our study with some brief research investigating their genre choices and creating blogs. I’ve always had students blog throughout #GeniusHour, but wanted to rethink my purpose and goals this year. Today, students completed their first blog posts and turned in links to their blogs on a form. Find them below--we would love your comments and ideas.
When introducing the idea of blogging, I was eager to start with the why. I wanted to show students why and how blogging would be valuable for this project. I had intended always intended to do more blogging in class this year, but it was a goal that never materialized. I wanted to use social media as an authentic way to get started, but wanted a solid plan and purpose, first. I decided to stick with Blogger again this year; it’s simple and Google. Students were set up with blogs in minutes, and there was little learning curve. I made sure to give them time to play, explore, and customize so that had ownership over their work and genius.
Why Blog in #GeniusHour?
In this class we learn together, but with Genius Hour, we will learn with the world. Share your genius, I explained. Instead of turning work in for me or each other, we will publish for the world.
And it all came back to the why: Writing is better with an authentic audience. Writing and collaboration is essential for growth. Becoming a genius takes thought & reflection. All of us are smarter than one of us.
For the first post, students reflected on their passion for their selected genres. Why do you like it? What appeals to you? Share your passion with the reader.
Moving forward, I’ll ask students to respond to one another, to provide suggestions for reading and investigation, and to share their work with the world. We will follow and connect with authors and creators on social media, too, to continue to find new and authentic ways to learn. In the next post, students will research and report back on the influences of their genres. Who are the seminal authors or creators? How did it get started? How has it impacted modern day storytelling?
As my students begin to answer these questions and explore the literature, we will be looking for feedback from real audiences, and I’ll be asking for your feedback, too. Right now the blogs are new, and like good learning, they’re a little messy. But you can find them all below. We would love your comments, recommendations, and ideas to help my students develop their genius.
How do you use blogging with students? What is your why for blogs and passion in the classroom? Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter @MrSchoenbart.
cross posted at www.aschoenbart.com
Adam Schoenbart is a high school English teacher, Google Education Trainer, and EdD candidate in Educational Leadership. He teaches grades 10-12 in a 1:1 Chromebook classroom at Ossining High School in Westchester County, NY and received the 2014 LHRIC Teacher Pioneer Award for innovative uses of technology that change teaching and learning. Read more at The SchoenBlog and connect on Twitter @MrSchoenbart.