Innovation Time: Importance of Mentors

I am new to the #GeniusHour concept, but I have fully embraced it and its powerful impact in the classroom. I introduced the concept to my 6th graders, and they were hooked! Students jumped on the chance to customize their learning.  We brainstormed possible projects and created an Innovation Journal to help curate ideas throughout the year. One period each Wednesday and Friday is designated for Innovation Time. Teams formed immediately and project creation was underway.  A few weeks later we even took our first steps with our class Twitter account (@imsknights210) and sent tweets to possible mentors.

The first four weeks were great! The following week, however, I noticed that the energy began to wane and frustration began to trickle into our room. Teams dissolved. Project ideas changed multiple times. This was not a shock to me.  I did not expect everything to progress perfectly. I did not give up. Instead, I sent out a text to my mentor Jody Green (@peerlessgreen).

Mentors are an important component of the #GeniusHour concept. Jody provided a fresh voice and was able to help the students work through their obstacles.  She showed them the power of collaboration, and reinvigorated my class.

Today she returned to work my class on using the power of blogs to extend collaboration beyond our classroom and school.  I had been wanting to blog with my students for a while, but never did. After spending the summer collaborating with others on Twitter, I knew that I had to incorporate it this year!

Thanks for getting the ball rolling, Jody!  Soon our class blog will be live, and we look forward to collaborating with others throughout the year.

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