Embrace Change in the New Year with Genius Hour

Genius Hour is a powerful movement popping up in classrooms everywhere. The idea encourages students to explore and develop their own passions and creativity. 
Genius Hour is based on a business practice used by Google’s development team. Google allows their designers to spend 20% of their time on projects that interest them, as long as the work might possibly lead to something that could be developed. Gmail was the result of Genius Hour.
Watch this video and read more on GettingSmart.com

Class Badges to Promote Digital Literacy

Badge – I Teach Above the Line

Class Badges is a free online tool designed to help teachers use digital badges as rewards for accomplishing learning goals. The badges can be a useful tool for teachers to keep track of individual student accomplishments as they help learners focus on making progress.

I really like Class Badges because the badges serve as a useful reminder for teachers to work with students on an individual level to set goals and assess progress. If used appropriately, they can improve students’ self-esteem as they work towards attainable goals. I believe this tool that can help teachers get a little closer to a 1-1  learning environment.

Last year at this time I created a glog to promote digital literacy through the use of ClassBadges. Unfortunately there was not a lot of interest at the time, so I put the idea on hold for a while. Upon revisiting the ClassBadges website, I discovered a feature that allows users to easily create their own badge design so I decided to try it again, one year later. I designed the Teaching Above the Line Badge with some artwork created by my good friend, Janet Barnstable, and awarded it to a few teachers at my school who shared some great examples of Teaching Above the Line at a recent staff meeting. 

Here is the glog I created to promote Digital Literacy with Class Badges. I used MentorMob playlists to create step by step guides for earning the starter badges. My goal for 2014 is to introduce the idea of ClassBadges again and hopefully get some early adopters to join the campaign.

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A Playlist to Guide the Learning


Create your own Playlist on MentorMob!

Uses in the Classroom:

  • Work with individual students and their parents to identify their own specific attainable goals and create a Google Doc for reflection and progress monitoring. Use comments to provide students with feedback.
  • Attach badges to your grading rubrics and hold regular mini-conferences with students at checkpoints as they work towards completion of the assignment to increase their motivation to take their learning to the next level.
  • Reinforce positive behavior and increase students’ self-awareness by focusing on badges designed to reward students for demonstrating specific behaviors that might be useful to increase instructional time. For example: Reward time on task or organizational skills.
  • Make sure the badges are designed to encourage self-improvement rather than competition among students in the class.

Get Started with ClassBadges

Teachers can request a free account to generate a class code for students. Just add your students and design your badges. Try it yourself at ClassBadges.com

Digital Literacy Badge #2 – Curate Your Content

Why Curate?

Collect, organize, store and manage web content in flexible ways to allow for shared resources that are accessible online. Use bookmarklets for efficient one click content collection. Enjoy the social aspect as you are ultimately connected to the ideas of others.

Uses in Education

  • Create packages of content for student research, inquiry and project-based learning.
  • Include content at a variety of reading levels.
  • Provide multimedia resources to meet the diverse learning needs of all students. 
  • Create displays of student work.

Follow the steps in this MentorMob playlist to try some efficient tools and  learn some tips and tricks for curating content and earn a badge.


Create your own Playlist on MentorMob!

Learn more about Bobcat Badges