Sunday, September 11, 2016

Are You The Genius Hunter In Your Classroom?

If you work in an inner city public school, and even some who don’t, know that one teacher per 30 or more students is difficult at best. Fortunately, innovative educators have figured out that while they may be experts in pedagogy, they have a whole class full of experts in technology.  We all enjoy being recognized for our talents. Figuring out who your classroom geniuses are during the first 30 days of school is an inspiring activity for all grade levels.

Innovative educators already know that it is best to give students options in showing what they know by giving choice of creation and platform. Students often know how to use apps and sites educators may never have heard of. When teachers take on the role of genius hunter they are intentional when they discover which students are great at using various resources and they chart it. Do you have a student who made an excellent story in Snapchat? List them as the Snapchat expert. Is there a student who rocked Piktochart to explain a concept? Boom. They’re the expert in Piktochart. Maybe you have a student who created something they learned in history using Minecraft. Share their expertise!

When teachers celebrate student genius, the focus in class moves to student strengths and the ongoing internal conversation with your students and external conversation in the class, is to think about what their particular genius is.
Angela Maiers is at the forefront of helping educators seek out the genius in their students. Read her blog here.

You can create the chart by listing student names along the left side of the chart. As areas of expertise present themselves, place them on the top of the chart. Then put stars in the boxes indicating who has expertise in that area.

While the teacher may start as the lead genius detector, it becomes even better when students join in acknowledging peers for their expertise. Encourage your students to find the genius in themselves and others.  

Naming expertise not only benefits students, it also benefits the teacher. No longer is she the main person in the room that students can learn from. As expertise across a class is identified, when students get to work, they know which peers they can collaborate with for help and support.  

So what do you think? Is this something you might want to try in your classroom? Are you already doing something like this? Please share your thoughts in the comments...