Thursday, March 19, 2015

Innovation: You Need a Mantra

With mere hours left before Spring Break, I hopped on YouTube.  I meant to go to Don Wettrick's school's innovation channel, but I landed on this great video instead.

I'm fairly certain that Guy Kawaski wasn't thinking of Genius Hour and Innovation Class when he gave this talk, but so much of it was directly applicable to what I plan to do with my new classes next year.

One idea I'm messing around with is creating a mantra.  Not a 50 word mission statement, but a 2-4 word mantra.  How can I sum up what we are doing with this class in a couple words?


  • Create New Things Now
  • Show Your Genius
  • Think Outside the Box
  • Flip the Script
I'm still messing around with ideas, but I'm getting to be comfortable with putting my thoughts out there before they're perfected.

Of course, this could be a good exercise for the students as well.  Once they create a personal mantra, they can put a voice on their passion. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Now Announcing: Two Innovation Courses for 2015-16

Inspired by Don Wettrick's book Pure Genius and my J-Term Innovation Class, I sent a new course proposal to my principal that I wasn't sure would actually fly.  It's not that my principal is afraid to try new things, it's just that I pitch new ideas to her frequently. It is my job. I really didn't think this one would get past the proposal stage.

So, you  might say I was a bit surprised when I got an email last week asking for course descriptions for middle and high school technology courses.  And, yes, I was given permission to go outside the box this time around.

After writing my dream scenarios, we had to bring it back down to earth a bit.  She wanted to see some more structure, and I had to write up syllabi to go with the courses.  What we ended up with might not be Genius Hour in its purest form, but I'm happy with the results for the first year.

This is going to put me completely out of my comfort zone.  For one, I am an elementary teacher with some middle school experience. I am not a high school teacher, but I'll be guiding high school students through some rigorous learning experiences.  I also realize that I'll be asked to do a lot of personal interactions with students (I'm so much better with digital interaction) and will have to have passable knowledge on many topics.  So, you might say that I'm on my own Genius Hour experience.

Overall, I'm thrilled to have this chance to bring innovation to our school and give students the chance to show off what they can do.

Right now, I have the bare skeleton of what the courses will look like, but I will post more as I develop them down the road.

Feel free to borrow from the following documents and ask me if you have questions.
Class Descriptions
Middle School Innovation Class Schedule
Middle School Innovation Class Syllabus
High School Innovation Class Syllabus