I had been meaning to introduce book clubs to my class, but I just hadn’t gotten around to it. This year I wanted them to be an option for students during independent reading time rather than formal literature circles, and I needed to plan.
On Monday, one of my students — a student I have been wanting to engage more fully in class — asked if she could start a book club. Are you kidding me? That’s awesome! Of course!
The next day, she spent most of her Genius Hour considering logistics and inviting classmates to join. She made a special point of trying to include everyone, especially students who aren’t usually that into reading. It. Was. Amazing.
And then I made a mistake. Another student asked if he could start a club too — a board game club. I said a board game club would be great to pursue after school, but during class we’d stick to Genius Hour and book clubs. Wow. Way to think inside the box. Because when students spontaneously want to share their enthusiasm with other, that’s something I should definitely put a stop to, right? What am I doing, channeling Professor Umbridge? 😐
So I’m rethinking. If I allow a board game club and others (there were whispers about a writing club — how awesome is that?), two issues come to mind right away:
- How to keep students accountable for learning
- When to give them time for meetings
Both problems can be solved if student clubs meet during Genius Hour and work toward completing Genius Hour projects. A club could do a joint project, or club meetings could be a time when students working on separate projects could support one another. For example, board game club members could meet and talk about the games they’re creating individually. The focus would be on learning something, making something, and teaching or benefitting others, keeping clubs aligned to our Genius Hour goals.
What do you think? If you’re a Genius Hour teacher, has this come up in your classroom? Would you be willing to try it? What parameters would you set?
Thanks for your input if you have it, and DFTBA!