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Top 10 Posts of 2022 and What I’m Planning For 2023

Happy New Year! Someone asked me for my New Year’s Resolution, and I said that I’m not making any — because I truly do try to improve every day. That may sound a bit braggy, but what I actually mean is that I am interested in accomplishing so many things that it’s impossible for me to narrow them down to one goal, or even a few. I’m not really proud of the fact that I can’t focus my curiosity. I even asked Canva’s Magic Write tool to help me come up with a better way to describe this shortcoming, hoping for a more flattering descriptor, but this is what I got:

I kind of like #13, “Jack-of-all-trades, mediocre-at-all,” but, frankly, even that one is a bit generous.

Anyway, I’m doing the standard looking back at the year to see what went well and what direction(s) I should go moving forward. It’s interesting to look at my top 10 posts for 2022. Some of the posts that did well are surprising to me. See what you think:

  1. Fourword Word Ladder Game
  2. Genius Hour Resources
  3. AI Generated Poetry
  4. Name Picker Tools
  5. Getting to Know You Hexagons for Back to School
  6. Blackout Poetry Maker
  7. Let’s Talk About Twos Day
  8. Gifts for the Gifted
  9. Interactive Google Slides Templates
  10. One Pager for Genius Hour in Kindergarten and First Grades

Coming up for 2023 I’ve planned a new self-paced course on Hexagonal Thinking that should be available soon. Based on feedback from workshops I’ve done, this is one of the most useful and flexible tools to elicit deep thinking teachers can use, so seeing that blog post in my top 10 isn’t surprising. In fact, Kelly Hincks recently referenced the post in an article she wrote for the American Library Association about doing Hexagonal Thinking with her students.

I’m also revamping the website to include my own marketplace, where you can download freebies as well as purchase some things I’ve personally designed. The freebies have always been available, but you kind of have to hunt for them on my site, so now they’ll be in one place. (Want to know my most downloaded freebie? Click here to see it!)

I’m also scheduled to present at TCEA in San Antonio with Amy Chandler (Assistant Director of Gifted and Talented in North East Independent School District) on January 30th, 2023, on Digital Differentiation. Come see us at 1:00 that day if you are attending(not sure of the room, yet).

Speaking of North East Independent School District, current teachers will have another opportunity to take the self-paced Genius Hour class we offered last fall for free. Since it was so popular, it’s been arranged to offer it again during the March Super Saturday weekend, and you can earn 4 credit hours! If you are not in NEISD, and would like to take the course on your own, I recommend the Course Bundle I have here. All participants also get invited to our private Genius Hour Facebook Group.

If you want to keep updated on all of these upcoming events and more, be sure you’ve signed up for the weekly newsletter — where you’ll also receive content not posted on the blog and special discounts!

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K-12

Getting to Know You Hexagons for Back to School

Longtime readers of this blog will know that I am a HUGE, TREMENDOUS FAN of Hexagonal Thinking. I do blog posts on it, PD’s on it, and pretty much recommend it to everyone I meet professionally.

One way you can use Hexagonal Thinking is to get to know students at the beginning of the school year. Give them each a hexagon to design where they reveal some things about themselves. Then see if they can connect their hexagons to each other’s based on similar sides. For example, I put some of my “favorites” in the hexagon below. If someone else has a hexagon with pizza as a favorite, they can put their hexagon next to mine with those two sides touching. You could put this on a bulletin board, so you have the whole class displayed on the board, where there is at least one connection for everyone, and some of them may have multiple connections.

I love to use Canva because I can set up frames to drag photos into easily, as I did with the triangle frames within the hexagon. If you use Canva, here is the template. Or, if you prefer to have students draw or write on a physical hexagon, here is a blank PDF version.

Either way, the hexagons will need to be printed and cut out so that students can try to match sides.

You can just have students put a favorite in each section, or give them prompts like: something that makes you smile, something that challenges you, something that is easy for you, etc… I wouldn’t go too deep as this is a beginning of the year activity so students need to develop some trust first.

I’ll be adding this post to my Back to School Wakelet. And here is one of my posts about using Hexagonal Learning in case the concept is new to you.