Sunday, November 17, 2013

Wonderwall Wednesday Our Last One For A Bit

I have sat on this picture for over a week. I was afraid to post it, because it means the end of something that the students have enjoyed and I have as well since August, our Wonderwall Wednesday time. It has to be put on pause for at least four months while my time slot that I was doing that in (First Grade Math) is evolving into 3-5 RTI.  I am very sad. Truly I felt posting it would be the very thing that seals the deal and I didn't want to post. I had been on top of the Wonderwall postings with joy and this one, did not bring joy to post. Endings are hard.

All I needed was time. Time to see what the students were telling me. Our wonder for the week two weeks ago was, "How big is the sky?"  We started off by sectioning off a piece of paper to draw our sky.  As you can see, students were kind of making choices based on only the daylight, but as we talked, we realized that the night sky holds another set of beauty. We even looked up nebulas and added them to our section of the sky.  The answer is that the sky is trillions and trillions and trillions of miles wide and high.

Pretty much, that was kind of our Wonderwall. However it extends beyond the Wonderwall for me now. I want to take a moment to comment on #geniushour. If it were not for this time set aside or anytime set aside whatsoever to cultivate curiosity with the students, I don't know how I could go to work every day, every week, every month, every year and emotionally deal with all the directives and mandates and testing. It is really important that we do this in our classrooms. I am not giving up on #geniushour, I just need to find another way to express it that will best suit our new situation...and I am working on it.

The students deserve this time set aside for them to wonder at the world, to pause and to think deeper than a grade level standard would have them to. The students deserve opportunities to own their own learning.

The possibilities for the effectiveness of #geniushour in the classroom has the same answer as, "How big is the sky." And just as each student designed their perspective of the sky below, so #geniushour, when done in a true and pure form (not graded, not driven by a rubric) is a beautiful reflection of each student. Even below, if you see a mess, they see themselves. That is learning.

I love #geniushour because it breathes new life into learning, into the classroom, into the students and into me. I am grieved to see it have to take a back seat...but that is only fuel to a fire within me to find a new way to incorporate it. I love a good challenge.