Saturday, October 14, 2017

Tips & Tricks: #geniushour Evaluation Template

It's fall!

Students are settling into the school year, parent-teacher conference time is upon us, and everyone is well into the school routine now. In addition to all of this, is anyone kicking off #geniushour projects?

I have been so excited to talk to several teachers in my district who are either working on #geniushour right now, or planning to do so in the future. Although I'm not in the classroom this year, I have found myself pulling up my students' evaluations of our #geniushour last year to share with others. If you are curious, I go into more detail on the results in this blog. Looking at data and real student comments has been incredibly helpful in planning on how to make this time even better in the future - both for myself and for others!

Even though many of us are at the beginning of our #geniushour journeys, I am always looking ahead to how we will evaluate & document our learning at the end. To that end, I've created a template of the Google Forms survey I gave my students at the end of the year. I know there are many great resources out there, but I was very happy with the data I received from it, and if it saves someone a bit of time so that they don't have to reinvent the wheel, that's a win for all of us in education! Make your own copy here & adjust as needed.

#geniushour Evaluation Template


I believe in the power of students engaging in authentic, passion-driven projects. I can't wait to see what they come up with! Please share so we can all benefit!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Tech Doesn't Inspire...Teachers Do!

Can I be honest? I've found myself complaining way too much this week. The weather has been dreary and gray, I've had some long days at work, and I'm just tired. I've been making a conscious effort the past few days to STOP complaining and instead focus on gratitude & the good I see around me. It's an hourly battle & a daily choice, but as I spend less time complaining, I have found it easier to really recognize how many great things are happening right in front of my eyes!

In my role as an ed tech specialist, I spend a lot of time planning PD and training others. Sometimes, this means the very basics, like how to use Google Drive or sharing ideas for improving workflow. Sometimes, it bridges to more instructional uses, like finding the right tool for the desired use or "leveling up" a unit plan based on the SAMR model. What I don't always get to see is the follow-up to these interactions - how things are applied in real life with students.

That's why I have been so excited this week to hear about some awesome things happening in our schools! Teachers really are amazing...they can take an idea and run with it, and turn it into so much more!

This week, I've heard about:

  • Teachers connecting their classes to real-world events (like the recent hurricanes), running a fundraiser via social media, and being able to see the tangible results that their money is bringing via a video chat
  • Teachers embarking on a journey to meet the needs of all students by developing parallel lesson plans/units with similar content, one for students who are English speakers and a scaffolded version for newcomer students who are learning the English language
  • Teachers who are collaborating across three grade levels in elementary to have students engage in research, write a script, film a video with the green screen, and put the final project together to show their learning
These are just a few examples (I know I've forgotten some that I wanted to share, because there's just too much awesomeness going on in our schools right now)! While all of these endeavors use technology, none of them are really about the technology. It's the creativity, expertise, and caring of the teachers that has really brought these lessons to life. The tech tools are simply avenues to build amazing experiences for kids. And THAT is what it should be about. THAT is what gets me excited. THAT is why I am in this job!

Thank you, teachers, for inspiring me this week!