Innovation Hour

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The curtain has fallen. The stage has cleared. Our first year of 20 time projects has closed. This week marked our 20 time showcase event, Innovation Hour. Students have been viewing TED talks, discussing public speaking styles, and preparing their final presentations of their yearlong journey with their 20 time projects. It has been eye-opening for me to see how they feel about their project progress and what they want to say about it. I noticed that similar comments kept cropping up. The theme was “this was not what I originally planned, but I am happy with how it turned out.” No matter what the outcome, students learned something about themselves, collaboration and long-term planning along the way.

Here are some of my lessons learned:

1. Make the time span for the actual project shorter and the presentation planning time span longer.

2. Practice more- in class, on stage and with technology.

3. Be more clear about the blog purpose early on.

4. Show the video feedback from this year about failure and end games.

5. Bring more community members in and facilitate more mentorship.

6. Require a research element.

7. Require more frequent status updates and opportunities for progress sharing with wider audiences.

8. Keep schedule of one full class period every other week for 20 time.

9. Enlist HELP with evening showcase event.

10. Set a 3-5 minute cap on all final presentations and schedule 3, rather than 2 hours.

11. Start year with Dan Pink TED talk about motivation to set stage for project purpose.

12. Schedule Toastmasters early!

13. Directly instruct about various presentation technologies.

I am sure there are more, and I am sure I will add to this list as I disseminate all the data and student video reflections over the next couple of weeks. I plan to create and post a video montage of our actual Innovation Hour, as well as snippets from the video reflections to help other teachers interested in trying out a project like this. I will also plan to post my own, more complete reflection as I round out my first experiment with a project of this magnitude. I am proud of what my students accomplished and what they taught me about implementing ultimate choice in the classroom!

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