I told my students when we embarked about our Genius Hour project together that mistakes are okay. It's okay if the whole thing bombs. The tragedy would be not having learned anything in the process. As I reflect upon the mistakes of the last semester, I realize I am grateful for the opportunity to fix those mistakes this next semester. Isn't that one of the greatest parts of being a teacher? There are always new semesters and new school years to wipe a slate clean and start fresh. I'm wiping that proverbial slate, scrubbing it hard, and beginning anew.
Mistake #1: Students need more time to immerse themselves in their topic ideas.
Whelp what did ya learn? : I learned my sophomore and senior year curriculums could use a bit of tweeking. I'm going to clean up the curriculums and teach what I know in my heart of hearts really matters (while still meeting the CC, of course). Some of our material has redundancies. Some activities can be condensed. I need to carve out a bit of time in the beginning of the year for better student buy-in.
Mistake #2: I can't do it all and neither can my students.
Whelp what did ya learn?: I learned I need to reduce my expectations for myself and my students. Checking 140 blogs twice a month in between grading essays and lesson planning and, and, and....is a lot to ask of myself. And then to assume my students are going to be diligent and timely with their own blog posts is unfair. I need to reduce the blog assignments to once a month and use student time - not my weekend - to check in with students. Calling students up to my desk for a 60 second check-in / check-up will send the message that I'm still keeping up and that students should be also.