So we have two days of four done for our year end Genius Hour projects in 6th grade. This is usually my absolutely favorite time of the year. I love seeing what the kids come up with and how far they push themselves.
However, this year has been different.
I have had a few AMAZING projects but I have also had a lot of very disappointing projects. It really has me thinking about what was different about this year?
Was it the kids? Not gonna lie, we have a tough crew this year but some of my best projects have come from students who have fought me on most things throughout the year. My "middle of the pack" kids seem to be the one who are letting me down.
Was it the time frame? I briefly introduced the project 4 weeks ago, while they were working on clay. The next week we did the full lesson intro while they were painting the clay. Last week they spent a lot of time collaborating and researching. I think excessive collaboration might have started the downfall (too many projects that are way to much the same - origami animals and melting crayons - without much learning). I also think that their attention was firmly rooted in clay work and not listening the first two weeks.
Was it my failure to teach the lesson? Let's be honest, this is the hardest one to face but is probably the biggest part. In the past I have spent a lot of time walking the room and checking that students had their concepts down. This year I spent a lot of class time/work time catching students up on missing work and handing back artwork. One of the reasons I dislike teaching a lesson more than one year is that teaching it a second or third time can have you getting a little too comfortable and forgetting that just because you have taught it before doesn't' mean they have done the project before.
I still have two more days worth of work to see. I am hoping that things start to look up...