I think that I should show my students that they may grab more listeners by approaching exhibitions of their work as described in #9, “It’s not a presentation. It’s a performance.”
The other 9 suggestions are also well worth a view. In addition to the SlideShare, you can get more explanation for each piece of advice at Hubspot in this post by Marta Kagan.
In retrospect, I think I could stand to brush up on my own presentation skills as well!
“rvl.io (pronounced reveal) is an online editor and platform for the popular open-source presentation framework reveal.js. The original framework requires content to be written as HTML but rvl.io aims to simplify that by providing a visual editor.”
To be honest, I don’t really understand all of the above, which is a quote from the rvl.io website. What I do know is that this is my new, favorite presentation tool, it’s extremely easy to use, and the presentations can be viewed on any web browser – even on mobile devices.
I love the simplicity of this tool, and its unique look. Another pro is that, though it requires registration, you can use your Google I.D., which means that you can register without an e-mail address, as long as the site is not blocked.
A creative teacher could find a way to make this into a differentiation tool, adding slides for each level horizontally with vertical slides of activities underneath.
Reveal is currently in beta, so there are a few kinks. One is that, if you choose to upload an image, the image is currently hosted on imgur.com. This was a problem for me since our district blocks imgur. However, I found a workaround by uploading images to my Teacher “Web Locker”, and then loading the images from that URL. Also, I got an instant reply from Hakim, one of the creators of Reveal, who assured me that they are working on a solution to this issue.
Hakim also mentioned that they are planning to add an option for sharing a private link, which is not available right now. This, and the image hosting issue, should be fixed within the next few weeks.
Another problem, which is probably more of a problem on my end than Reveal’s, is that the embed code won’t work on this blog. So, I am going to have to give you a link to my sample presentation on Genius Hour (be sure to watch the arrows in the bottom right; they will show you the directions in which you can navigate the presentation): http://www.rvl.io/teichh/genius-hour
For almost two years, I have been implementing a “Genius Hour” with my gifted 5th graders. I periodically post about this, but I thought it might be nice to collect all of the posts and resources on one page for reference. You can now access this page by clicking on “Genius Hour Resources” at the top of this blog, or you can click here.
Even though I teach gifted students, many of the resources on my new page are evidence that Genius Hour can work in any classroom. It won’t look exactly the same, but that’s the point! As teachers, we can be innovative about how we encourage innovation in our students. During Genius Hour, students learn how to pursue and communicate their passions – and isn’t that why we really teach?
Infinite Thinking Machine “is a high-energy Internet TV show that inspires creativity and innovation in education.” The episodes are produced every two weeks, and you can find the archives here. The episode that I am featuring in this post is, “If You Build It, They Will Learn”, which was produced near the end of last season. Last week, I posted about the surge of “maker studios”, (by the way, my daughter and her friend LOVED the Marshmallow Shooter project) and when I found this video, I knew that it would make a great resource. Not only do the ITM folks do a good job of discussing different examples of “making” around the U.S., but they also post a nice list with links to the featured entities. I also like their challenge issued at the end of the short video. Although the deadline for their contest was last summer, I think that it still would be a fun project to offer students, particularly near the end of the school year.
For some reason, the ITM site cut off the episode in the middle the first time I watched it (probably my computer), but you can also access the entire show at http://youtu.be/cQMKvQ-0B64. And, if you are lucky enough to not have YouTube blocked, I have also embedded it below.
Yesterday, I gave a partial update of how Genius Hour has been working in my classroom this school year. (I also included links to my other Genius Hours posts yesterday.) Some of you may not have heard of Genius Hour before. I assure you that I did not originate this idea. It was inspired by Google’s “20% Time”, and other educators who have pioneered this, including Denise Krebs and AJ Juliani.
At this point of the year, our Genius Hour usually begins with any students who are ready to present their finished projects. (You can view an example of one student’s “Glog” on our class blog.) After each presentation, we do a quick class critique of what we liked about the presentation and what could be improved. Then, the students who presented get new planning sheets, and begin looking for their next topics. The rest of the students continue working on their own projects.
It can be pretty chaotic. I have 16 students, so I can certainly see how a regular classroom of 22 or more might need a bit more structure than my GT classroom. However, I often remind myself that chaos is not necessarily a bad thing. Despite the noise and constant troubleshooting (my computer won’t load, my website is blocked, etc…) the students are all completely engaged. I rarely (and I mean like once every two months) have a discipline issue.
At the end of our hour, if time permits, the students complete reflection sheets, and I have some of them share their responses. Then they let me know if they are ready to present the next week (we only meet once a week), and our day continues.
I know that this model would not work for every classroom, but I ask you to think about a couple of variations on this:
Could you modify this to allow students who have already mastered your curriculum to work on this type of project?
Could you set aside 20 minutes each day to allow a small group of students to work on a project, and rotate the groups so all can participate?
Could you get a volunteer to help you with “crowd control”?
Could you narrow the parameters, and maybe ask students to create Genius Projects stemming from your curriculum?
You might feel completely worn out after the 60 minutes are up, but the rewards are great.
Last year, I posted a few times about the concept of Genius Hour, and how I was implementing it with my 5th grade gifted class. As is usually the case when I try something new, I always find places where adjustments need to be made. Sometimes, I end up realizing that even some adjustments aren’t going to help, and I abandon the project for the following year. Fortunately, the latter was not the case with my Genius Hour experience.
One of my major goals for this year’s Genius Hour was to start at the beginning of the year instead of later. This allows the students to work at their own pace. They can present when they finish a project, and begin another project. So, there is really no deadline for completing a project – though I do have one student who has been working on his first one for 5 months, and probably needs to move on.
One of the hardest parts about Genius Hour seems to be getting started. When you ask 5th graders what they are interested in, they will often reply, “I don’t know.” When you ask them, “Well, what are you curious about?” you will usually get the same answer – or possibly a wisecrack, depending on the student. Give them permission to study whatever they would like seems to be more daunting than freeing. I came up with a couple of sites to guide my students to so that they can jumpstart their ideas: Wonderopolis and DIY.org seem to be very popular with them.
Here is the planning sheet that they use, and must get approved by me before they begin. Although these projects are not for grades, I do want them to learn something new, and to be able to share that with the rest of the class. Last year, one of my goals was to spice this planning sheet up a bit so it would inspire the kids to be more creative. I haven’t done that (other than change the font), so I guess that is something I will make a top goal next year.
Some of their projects this year, so far, have been: Gamestar Mechanic (the most popular topic, by far), The Best Type of Shelter, The Oak Island Money Pit, and The Wind-Up Car.
Tomorrow, I will showcase some of their finished projects, their reflection sheets, and talk about what I plan to keep and throw away for next year’s Genius Hour.
Here are the links to my previous Genius Hour posts (please read :
100 Minutes of Genius (this will explain where the idea of Genius Hour originated)
For our Fun Friday post this week, I am sharing with you two videos recommended to me by some of my colleagues. The first video was created by a 7th grader for a Science Fair project in which she sent a rocket equipped with cameras (and a “Hello Kitty” doll who just happened to “fit perfectly”) very high. The second video, which you can visit here, is an interview with the young lady from ABC news. Quite honestly, I thought the first video was a fake until I saw the interview. This 7th grader is very mature, and I think your students might find her pretty inspiring. Here is a quietube link to the first video in case you would like to show it without all of the YouTube distractions.
The 2013 Google Science Fair is open for entries, and its theme is, “It’s Your Turn to Change the World.” Before you get too excited, please be aware that you must be between the ages of 13-18 in order to enter. According to the Google Science Fair site, “This is a great opportunity for teenagers to explore ideas they’re passionate about, learn about science, and maybe produce a world-changing idea.”
Don’t despair, though, if your child/student does not meet the age requirements. Visiting the site to see the past winners and their projects can be very inspiring. One part of the site exhibits “Science Heroes”, such as Alexander Graham Bell and Ada Lovelace. I think it’s great to see a good representation of women on the page. In addition, there are downloadable posters for the Science Heroes. I also love the video featured on the main page of the Google Science Fair site. This video is very uplifting and motivational, and I have embedded it below.