Coach teachers in and model engagement of students in local and global interdisciplinary units in which technology helps students assume professional roles, research real-world problems, collaborate with others, and produce products that are meaningful and useful to a wide audience
My implementation of genius hour highlights my work with this coaching standard. I first explored the practice of genius hour in my post, ISTE Teaching Standard 1: Aligning a Genius Hour with Curriculum Standards. However, it wasn’t until I chose to implement this practice in my own classroom that I fully understood its power to meet this standard. My class genius hour website and student blogs can be seen at http://geniushouradvancedhumanities.weebly.com/. In the first iteration this past year, I collaborated with my students’ social studies teacher to create a structured genius hour in which students were charged with researching topics from their social studies that interested them personally. This four month project encouraged students to use class time to really become an expert on a topic that wasn’t covered in class. For many students, this was an opportunity to engage in real-world learning of their own design, learning how to build a trebuchet, how to sew medieval clothing, exploring gender roles in medieval societies versus today, or comparing the chemistry of medieval cooking versus today. Students were challenged to be innovative and drive their own learning, while self-reflecting on their process via their blogs. This spring, the second iteration of genius hour asked students to address a real-world problem in the region. Students contacted professionals or experts for interviews in order to learn more before they crafted their potential solutions. Students had communication with the mayor of Seattle and other government officials, Washington State supreme court justices, University of Washington professors, directors of local nonprofits, doctors, and business owners, among others.