Ed Camp: A Teacher Pawn Shop

Posted on August 28, 2014. Filed under: Edcamp, educational, Grade 1 & 2, teaching and learning, Technology |

Looking at my teaching repertoire, I realize that all my best teaching ideas are stolen. I don’t really think there is 1 great thing I do that I didn’t get from someone else.  If this is so, then today’s Edcamp was a complete teacher pawn shop; a space where stolen ideas were being exchanged between many minds.

Teachers are good little thieves this way!  We love stealing ideas, and we are good at it… but most teachers I know also like sharing ideas too, which is great. I had the pleasure of sharing my stolen goods with others at today’s EdcampYQR.  I saw that someone had put up a sticky note wanting to know about Genius Hour. I figured this was a session I could run as it has changed my teaching career this past year.  The first session I signed up to lead filled up pretty fast, so I decided to run another one as well.


All I did was share my journey from this past year.  I talked about how I had learned about Genius Hour from Dave Read, a teacher friend of mine from Warman, Saskatchewan. He led a Genius Hour session last Edcamp, and after talking to him, I knew I needed to try it.  Today, I explained how I “stole” ideas from Joy Kerr’s livebinder and how I got the children set up with their Genius Hour ideas that would eventually turn into Genius Hour projects. These projects were shared with their peers, their parents, and the rest of the world through the live stream.  I explained the path my students took while learning about their passion, and I explained how my own little Genius Hour project developed throughout that time.

Photo cred goes to @MrHExperience

During May and June of 2014, when my students were working on their passion based projects, I found my own little passion project within teaching.  I realized that my favourite part of Genius Hour was that I could step back as “teacher,” and become more of a facilitator or coordinator for my students.  My new passion became finding experts for my student’s Genius Hour projects! Because my students are so young, (grade 1 and 2), their reading skills aren’t always the finest.  I decided that I wanted to find an expert for every group’s topic, and I wanted them to share their expertise by either coming into our classroom, Skyping, or emailing answers.


This became a challenge for me as some of the student’s interests seemed pretty obscure; I had students interested in a specific breed of dog, a dead celebrity, the NASA Hubble telescope, paper airplanes, a Mattel children’s movie etc.  These topics seemed all over the place, but I kind of liked the challenge!  By the end of our two months, I managed to find an expert for every group, and it ended up being the moment they each looked forward to most.  When I was able to break the news to a group that they had a Judo Sensei coming the next day, or that a jewelry designer wanted to help, or that a group of professional cheerleaders were coming in to help them, the kids were ecstatic; especially because the adults were not coming in to teach the class.  They were there solely for that group of students, and it was the STUDENT’S job to learn everything they could from their expert in that time, so that they could eventually share it with the rest of the class during their GH presentation. Talk about autonomy in their learning, and fulfilling involvement for me as an educator!

fashion design

cheer team

To be honest, I really hope I “got mugged” today at EdcampYQR.  I would love to see these ideas stolen and shared among other teaching communities within Regina and beyond. I was happy to engage in conversations around this practice, and I can’t wait to see what people take from it, and what they add. Let the larceny begin!

Class blog: http://mrsmaley.edublogs.org

Twitter: @mrsmaley

Class Twitter: @mrsmaleysclass


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