I've been implementing our Palo Verde fifth grade genius hour for a little over a month and a half now.
So far, I've watched as students have started to create websites, redesign everyday objects, and even try, fail, and try again to find the answers to their essential questions. Yes, many of our students are experiencing failure. Lots of failure.
This past summer, I wrote a blog post about how adults need to allow children to experience losing and failure. I'm finding that genius hour is the perfect, safe environment for students to ask questions, try things out, fail, and then try again. This is not only building resiliency and confidence in our fifth graders, but it is also going to make their ultimate successes that much sweeter.
One of our students shared his failure with the whole class this week:
At the end of every genius hour, our students take five minutes to share out what they did that day and what they plan to do next time. This past Thursday, after a few students shared some successes from the day, one student raised his hand and explained to everyone how he kept unsuccessfully trying to complete his project. He bravely explained how he decided to step away from that project and start a new one. This was a tough decision for him. Instead of the class looking at that as an unfortunate failure, they all started applauding after he spoke. His obvious look of disappointment turned into a huge smile. His decision to share provided all of us with a genuine teaching/learning moment about a huge life lesson that may not have happened otherwise. Next week, I plan to share some famous failures with our students. I'm looking forward to seeing how our students react when they learn that the manuscript for Harry Potter was rejected 12 times!
Sometimes, the smartest, bravest decision is to walk away from something to try something else. The beauty of genius hour is that a student can always decide to walk back and try again.
I simply love the power of genius hour.
|One student is trying to redesign Palo Verde School for his genius hour project.|