One of my goals this year for Genius Hour is to guide the students into creating more dynamic presentations to share what they have learned. If you are a teacher, you have probably experienced the excruciatingly long Powerpoints proudly displayed by students to a mostly disinterested audience of their peers. A couple of my strategies to shake things up this year are to offer the students some digital sandbox time (which I am planning to discuss in a future post) and to give them some “Genius Hour Challenges.” My 5th graders, though, just started planning their first “Missions” and I knew they weren’t in the mood to sit and listen to an excruciatingly long lecture from me about alternative presentations 🙂
I had not gotten my digital sandbox materials together, yet, but I had recently discovered a graphic called, “101 Ways to Show What You Know” from fortheteachers.org that I thought would appeal to them. Of course, at the exact moment I was about to project it on the screen for them, my classroom projector conked out. In desperation, I held up the paper. Despite my low-tech exhibit, there was instant excitement.
“Really?!!! I could do a puppet show?”
“A COMMERCIAL?!!!! YOU WOULD LET US DO A COMMERCIAL?”
What cracked me up about their surprise was that I’ve had them do about half of the activities on the page, at one time or another, to demonstrate their knowledge. But, for some reason or another, whenever they get to choose their own method of presenting, they always default to Power Point.
“I’m totally doing a scavenger hunt. Now I just have to figure out how to do it,” one student announced.
“Hmm. We’ve done scavenger hunts in here before, haven’t we?” I asked him.
“Yea— Oh, WAIT A SECOND! I’M DOING AN AURASMA SCAVENGER HUNT!”
And that is exactly what he decided to put down as his “Format of Mission Report.” So, instead of flashing a bunch of slides about deep-sea fish in front of his half-asleep classmates, this student will be creating an augmented reality activity that will get them out of their seats and help them to learn about his topic.
I wish I had a nickel for every yawn I won’t be seeing the day he presents.
(You can find links to the Genius Hour Mission Report and other resources here. Update: *As of 1/2/14, you can now download all of my current Genius Hour resources in a bundle on Teachers Pay Teachers for $5. Or, you can still download them separately (for free) by clicking on the Genius Hour Resource Page. If you are interested in learning more about augmented reality, click here.)