Education, Independent Study, K-12, Motivation, Student Products, Student Response, Teaching Tools

Genius Hour – Don’t Forget to Reflect


While discussing Genius Hour with some colleagues last week, we all agreed on the value of reflection at the end of each Genius Hour period.  It is vital to guide the students through an evaluation of their work during that time, and to discuss any obstacles  or room for improvement.  It is also important to make goals for the next Genius Hour.

This can get tedious if you don’t “mix it up.”  I offered a Genius Hour reflection page that I plan to incorporate this year, called, “Genius Hour Mission Log,” in my recent post, “Blast off to Genius Hour.”  But, I would not recommend that you use the entire page after every session – otherwise your mission may have a mutiny.

My colleagues and I brainstormed some other ways to do the reflection piece – and these, of course, could be used for many other activities besides Genius Hour.  Some are:

  • Choose One – The students choose one (or a combination of a few) of the statements for response.
  • Turn and Talk (also known as “Think, Pair, Share”)
  • Socrative – Use Socrative, Padlet (formerly Wallwisher), or another student response system as an Exit Ticket.
  • Twitter – Have students compose a tweet (whether real or “faux”) about Genius Hour.
  • Blog Post – The class, or select students, could compose a short blog post about progress made during the hour.

I did some more thinking about it,  and thought of some other possibilities:

  • E-portfolio – If you are using eduClip or Blendspace (formerly known as Edcanvas), then you can have the students select something to represent their work to put in their portfolios.
  • Photo Discussion – If you are taking pics during Genius Hour, then you could go through a slide show of the pics afterward (or Instagram account), and ask the students in each pic if they can talk about what was happening at that time.
  • Mind Map/Sketch – Have students do a mind map or sketch that shows their activity/learning during Genius Hour time.
  • Do a “4 Corners” activity – Ask students to go to different corners in the room that represent their learning, difficulty, engagement, or surprises encountered on a scale of 1-4.  Have them briefly discuss in their corners.

And don’t forget to model.  No, you don’t have to walk down a runway with your fancy clothes on 🙂  – unless you want to.  But, make sure you also give students examples of yourself doing a reflection – perhaps on some learning that you are doing outside of school.  Maybe you’ve been teaching yourself how to refinish a chair, or how to use Google Drive.  Let them hear you talk about problems you encountered or things you realized you could improve.  If you have a group like mine, then it runs the gamut from students who think their work is always perfect to students who think their work is never good enough.  Hearing you do your own, well-balanced reflection can help the kids on those extreme ends to learn what it’s all about.

If you really want to blow their minds, then try reflecting on their reflections some time.  You know, with all of that extra time you have during the school day…


2 thoughts on “Genius Hour – Don’t Forget to Reflect”

  1. Your blog and resources on genius hour have been beyond helpful! I am starting this with a small group of my eighth graders today. We would love it if you can follow our blog at Thank you so much for your wonderful posts and resources to help guide my students and me!

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