*** This post was originally published on profabarostprs.blogspot.com (5/30/2013)***
Who am I?
I'm a first-year teacher ready to spread my wings and fly with my own classroom. I graduated from Boise State University in 2011 with a B.A. in Psychology and Spanish. I earned my teaching certificate and endorsement in secondary Spanish from Northwest Nazarene University at the beginning of this year and am finishing up the last few classes required for an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction. This fall, my husband and I will be moving to Las Vegas, Nevada where I'll be teaching in a K-12 charter school. I simply cannot wait to finally have a classroom of my own - where Genius Hour and 20 Time will be an important part of my curriculum!
What do I teach?
My primary position will be teaching Spanish in middle and high school. This fall, I will only be teaching Spanish 1 and have six classes. I plan to dedicate Monday-Thursday to language instruction and teaching culture on Fridays through Genius Hour and 20 Time. Because my school is in transition, roughly half of my students for the 2013-14 year will be 7th graders and the other half will be a mixture of 8th and 9th graders. Given that all my classes will be mixed, I'm excited about the ability to differentiate and personalize my students' education through Genius Hour/20 Time.
Before I begin my teaching position this fall, however, I have the opportunity to work with the Boise State TRiO Upward Bound program. This program is near and dear to my heart as I spent a summer working with them as an undergrad and was inspired to become a teacher as a direct result. The Upward Bound program is for students who would likely not graduate high school and go on to college. They have an Upward Bound class during during the regular school year, and many elect to join the summer program where they live on-campus in the dorms for six weeks and take classes for high school credit as well as participate in exciting extracurricular activities. I've been asked to teach an elective class titled "Latino Culture" for 1.5 hours each day. It will be a nice and cozy class with around 15 students enrolled. Again, I have a mixed group as the class is open to any students in the program (grades 9-12). Due to the nature of the program and class, I have a lot of flexibility and resources at my disposal, which will allow us to make the most of our 20 Time!
What is my goal for 20 Time?
Before I explain my personal goals for 20 Time, I'd like to share a video from Kevin Brookhouser's class that was and is one of my main inspirations for why I must do 20 Time. It demonstrates the wonderful things students can achieve if we just get out of their way and why it is so important for them to have this opportunity. I particularly love how the passion and pride for their projects simply radiates from each student as they share their accomplishments:
My primary goal in doing 20 Time/Genius Hour with my students is to inspire within them the desire to learn. In order for this to happen, students need to be motivated and encouraged as well as given the tools and skills that will help them succeed. I hope to bring these elements together inside my classroom and inspire students to take what they experience into their lives beyond its walls. If I'm lucky, a few of my students may even discover a passion for something that they'll pursue throughout their lives and careers.
Secondary to my lofty goal of inspiring my students, there are quite a few objectives that students achieve when participating in 20 Time/Genius Hour that administrators like to see and can be connected to various mandated standards (including the Common Core). Each individual 20 Time and Genius Hour experience will address a unique combination of learning objectives and each teacher may chose to emphasize certain items more than others, but this is a general list of what students can achieve during 20 Time/Genius hour - all of which are essential skills that students will need in the "real" world. During 20 Time and/or Genius Hour students will:
NOTE: For specific Common Core standards met during Genius Hour/20 Time, check out this website.
In my case, the circumstances of each of my classes dictate which of the specific objectives listed above I will focus on with my students, though I hope to at least informally touch on each of these. Moreover, because I am using 20 Time and Genius Hour to teach culture, I also want students to develop an understanding of Latino culture. I hope that they'll have a broad and general understanding of the culture through what is presented to them by their peers and what I teach them as well as a (at least somewhat) deeper understanding of the particular topic they chose to focus on.
What will our 20 Time look like?
Due to the various circumstances surrounding each of my classes, things will necessarily look a little different in my summer Latino Culture class compared to my regular Spanish classes starting this fall.
This summer, we have 5 weeks to work with (plus a week-long break for July 4th). Thus, I'm going to start right into 20 Time so we can make the most of our time. I'll explain to students the ideas behind 20 Time (I'll go more into detail about this in my next post) and tell them they are allowed to study anything they would like to related to Latino Culture. Each student will be provided a poster board with which they will create some sort of visual display that represents the most important or interesting thing(s) they learned. I am purposely going to be vague about what this display will look like - my students will be much more creative than I am, but here are a few ideas I came up with:
I can't wait to see the creative ways that students decide to use their posters! At the end of the opportunity, students will have two opportunities to showcase their work: In class, they will present their creation and explain what they learned, why they chose to focus on this, how they chose to represent their learning, and answer questions from their peers. They will also be able to display their at the last event of the program where all the students in the program get to show off their work.
I plan for students to be able to complete their entire projects in-class, though I anticipate some students may want/need to work on them outside of class as well. Throughout the class, I want students to document their learning and progress through journaling in their notebook. Each week, they will write an entry about what they learned (citing resources) and reflect on their learning. As for what they're going to be learning, I'm going to be fairly flexible. Some students may want to learn a little about a lot, while others may want to learn a lot about one thing. That's fine with me. Moreover, because we are on a university campus downtown Boise and students are living on-campus, we have access to more resources and more flexibility than a normal class might allow. (For example, if a student would like to watch a particular foreign film, I can check it out from the university's Modern Language Resource Center.)
Right now, I'm considering two plans for how to approach 20 Time this fall. Luckily, I have all summer and a test-run with my Latino Culture class to figure out what I'm going to do.
My first idea would be to have students spend first semester researching topics they're interested in, including ones related to Spanish-speaking culture, and then do a project related to Spanish-speaking culture during second semester driven by their interests and passions.
While I believe this plan would be very successful and interesting for students, I have a nagging concern that I may deprive some students of the opportunity to complete a project that is truly connected to their interests and passions by requiring that the project be related to Spanish-speaking culture in some way. I'd really like to see what my students can come up with on their own without any restrictions. Thus, I came up with an alternative plan that would allow students to complete two projects - one related to Spanish-speaking culture and the other purely their own:
The only drawback to this plan is that there is less time for students to engage in "Genius Hour" to learn how to engage in inquiry-based learning without the pressure of trying to complete a project. I may have to adjust my timeline some, but I'd really like to make room for it like I had in my original plan.
The next steps for 20 Time...
For the next month or so, I'll be focusing on my Latino Culture class. My next post will be on June 14th when I introduce 20 Time to my students and we get started. I can't wait to share with you how I'll get them started, their reactions, and how our first day goes! Stay tuned!
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