Ed Tech In the SpEd Classroom

Using Technology to Help Bridge the Learning Gap

Flipgrid Introduces Genius Hour!


Howdy, partners!

I know what you’re thinking:  where can I get a cool zebra cowboy hat like that? 😉

I have learned that students really appreciate you looking like a joke from time to time.  They seem to get a kick out of it.

Today, I decided to use Flipgrid with my Resource students for the first time eva.  To them, I was just delivering another “Do Now” (warm up), but in reality, it was a way for them to start thinking about the last big project of the school year they have coming up.  We are going to be starting a Genius Hour after Spring Break, and today’s prompt got them thinking about their passions.

The Do Now consisted of a video that I created, explaining how to download the Flipgrid app or use the website option.  Additionally, I explained that their Flipgrid needed to answer the prompt:  What Are You Passionate About? They had to identify things they enjoyed doing in their spare time or things they would like to learn about, if they could learn about anything they wanted.

While at first it took a LOT of time for them to warm up to the idea of *gasp* recording themselves, they eventually did it.  Nervous giggles were heard throughout the Do Now, as they tried to think about what they were going to say, stumbled over wording during their recordings, and (with some students) realizing they accidentally deleted their video instead of saving it.  I can’t remember how many times I heard the words “I don’t want to show my face!” today, but it was a few (um, isn’t this a selfie generation??).  Anyway, since it was their first one, I did give the option for them to not show their face, as long as they answered the prompt.  Aside from the few students who had technical issues, it was an overall success! Some things I heard students talk about was their passion in drawing, reading, basketball, organizing, and singing.  Some students stated they wanted to learn how to cook, learn Japanese, learn about other countries, and learn how to make shoes.  It was pretty awesome to see! Not to mention, some of their video selfies that they took and decorated were priceless.  It’s a cute little feature that Flipgrid has that makes it a little more fun.

A student gets giggly as he records his Flipgrid.

When we get back from break, students will start thinking more specifically about their passions as we introduce Genius Hour to them. For those who are unfamiliar with Genius Hour, it is where students are given class time to research a topic they are passionate about.  It doesn’t have to be academic at all, unless they choose it to be. Students will research a topic over a span of a few weeks, then create a presentation that they will deliver to their classmates.  The idea behind Genius Hour is that it gives students the chance to explore their passions more in order to increase morale and to help answer a question of some sort.  Students are encouraged to pursue a topic that either is fun for them or that addresses an issue they care about.  For example, some may research how to create a Rube Goldberg machine and why it works (while actually creating one), while another student creates their presentation about how to stop bullying in schools.  It is all left to students with minimal teacher guidance, other than the general guidelines that are given.

For a lot of my students, what they want to do with their lives after high school is unknown.  They know they have to have a plan for what they’re going to do by the time they graduate.  Some even have a career in mind.  However, most don’t know all the training/work that goes into those careers. Or, they don’t know what to pursue at all.  I think a Genius Hour project could help them identify what really matters to them, which could carry over into a future profession.

I’m excited to see what they end up creating.  It’s a chance for me to see a side of them I normally wouldn’t see and learn more about them as people.

I know it’s going to be great.


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