On the plus side, if a student needed more time to allow a project to dry or harden, etc, this allowed them that opportunity. It also gave them a chance to change their project more easily than the one full day kind of plan, as well as giving them more chances to bring in materials they discover they need as they work on the project.
Unfortunately, since it was the end of the year, we ran into a few glitches. We had to find time to do a pilot standardized testing in the computer lab for a week. Add that to no school on Memorial Day, our field day, and other assorted issues,and the Genius Hour time got squeezed in where we could fit it. We also had a hard time signing up for the computer lab, since other teachers were trying to do end of the year projects there, as well as exams.
In addition, we needed time to do all of our end of the year assessing, which involved a large test in each of the disciplines. That definitely cut into our time to work on the Genius Hour projects.
The students seemed to take it less seriously this time than they did the first time. That could be due to the time of year, the fact that we were squeezing in time where we could or that the newness of the idea.
For this Genius Hour, we invited the 4th graders, which we really liked, since it gave them a chance to be in the building again (as fifth graders, they are in the middle school and there is always a bit of anxiety when moving to a new building). Since they had come up for a tour and orientation earlier in the spring, this was one more opportunity to be in the building.
I would definitely expect that we will do Genius Hour again. We’re kind of thinking once per trimester. The students definitely enjoyed it and anything that will make them look forward to school is worth trying.
It will be interesting, going forward, to see which version works best: one full day, or a number of days with an hour or so.