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Genius Hour

In an attempt to demonstrate that Genius Hour is possible at the novice level, I became a novice again myself and undertook my own Genius Hour project in Portuguese.

Progress Posts

Why Portuguese?

While Spanish is arguably more foreign to my students than Portuguese is to an adult who has studied a little bit of French and a lot of Spanish, I had to choose something that 1) used the same alphabet system (for analogy’s sake) and 2) offered a comparable abundance of online resources for my inquiry. Also, those 2 years of German in high school would have been cheating, even though mostly all I can still do is count to 1,000 and ask what’s up. I have also dabbled, however, in some Swedish to get a more thorough sense of the alienness my novices experience.

How are you learning?

While I can pick up on a lot from my Genius Hour exploits themselves, I do need practice, and DuoLingo and Busuu are some handy ways to do it. While I believe Busuu is superior for its connection with native speakers and more authentic and useful phrases, DuoLingo is just so easy to play! And though the actual phrases it teaches me are often outright ridiculous (“The boy talks to the shark?”), I can still pick up on some basic pronunciation and grammar rules. I have, however, found it necessary to incorporate some audio input more directly related to my topic to be able to move forward. In short: I envy my students for having a real class and teacher that meet daily.

How’s it going?

Well, with having to keep up with 40+ other Genius Hour projects, I confess my language learning has fallen by the wayside, even my Portuguese pinning addiction. In fact, the students are now ahead of me in their projects, finding people to actually talk to them in their target language and beginning to plan how they will present their findings. However, I do plan to go back to the drawing board before the spring semester, including establishing some interpersonal connections and starting to piece together a presentation of some sort, probably involving some really cool crafty projects!

So how’s this look in your classroom?

Glad you asked. I may not be a novice at implementing independent inquiry projects (it was all the rage in my English ed. program), but I’m muddling around with a few different approaches:
I have tried breaking down the procedure using Trello, but I have since discovered that it tends to confuse more than help. I have, however, broken down the procedure in a series of posts on my Genius Hour Agenda:
Part 5: Share

1 Comment

Anne K · October 4, 2014 at 11:56 pm

I was at your FLANC presentation this morning (front row!) and I wanted to stop by and say thank you. I'm very impressed with your work here and I feel inspired by this project of yours. Ideas are brewing in my mind and that's a good thing, so thanks so much!! Stop by my blog if you have a free moment. –Anne