Friday, September 18, 2015

Hour of Empower

I have spent the last year involved in several conversations about Maker Spaces, Genius Hour and STEM/STEAM. I had truly become intrigued and began trying to imagine what it would look like in my classroom.
One night this summer it began to take shape. A conversation between Leka DeGroot and I moved from Twitter to a google document. It had taken shape, purpose and for me it had a new name,  Hour of Empower.
My dream is for students to explore their passions with purpose. They will act as scientists, authors, engineers, actors, researchers, teachers...where their hearts, knowledge or curiosity takes them. They will end with a product to share with the class and others.
What better day to launch this then the same day we celebrated Dot Day. They will be making their mark..and see where it takes them...where it takes all of us.

It began with a comparison. Last year in first grade many classrooms, including mine had a Friday fun center time. It was just that, fun. Then I described and talked about my vision for Hour of Empower. Their eyes lit up and I could see their wheels begin to turn.
Next I shared how each project would begin with a plan. I shared the questions they would need to answer in their plan.
 We talked through it a bit and the wheels were turning more and the excitement was growing. They began seeing their visions. It was exciting to watch the empower happen. I wasn't telling them what to do or how to do it...I was opening our classroom to their passion.  The final step was opening up their Google Classroom for the first time. There I had the form assigned to plan their first passion project. 


I loved reading their plans. I have some planning to create a dance, some act, slide shows, writing, posters, and art projects. The topics include animals, weather (even storm chasing after our recent Skype), and some plans are still in the works. I will have to help others discover their passions or write their plans. Some are very use to being told what to do, how to do it and are unsure how to begin this. I look forward to the mistakes, the reflection, the learning and the growth that will occur. Peter H. Reynolds would be proud of these students. I am glad I had his message to launch this off with. I will be back to share our learning and reflection here.

I will end with a few pictures of the rest of our day, and our week. We spent Monday -Thursday at the pool for swim lessons. Of course, this was one of my favorite weeks of school thus far!
Make a mark...and see where it will take you.

AR with Quiver

Creating the dots!

This was safety day!