83 Good Kids take great pride in their "Genius Hour" research journal

Published: Mar. 14, 2019 at 11:29 PM CDT
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83 Seaman High School freshman students are being honored as our Good Kids over this spring break week, after they recently published a research journal featuring essays varying from cars to mental health to time travel. The essays are from the students’ “Genius Hour” projects where they chose a topic they wanted to learn more about and presented their research to peers and guests.

“Student publishing has been on my mind since the summer of 2017,” said Seaman Freshman Center Language Arts Teacher Andrea Marshbank.

“When I did a professional development project with the Flint Hills Writing Project on how to provide more opportunities for authentic audience through student publishing, I was intrigued. I am constantly questioning how our English classrooms are preparing our students for the real world, and adding the excitement, and pressures, of publishing helps students see the effect their writing has on people. Writing is such a critical skill for today’s successful student and professional, so I want my students to be extremely aware of the impact of their writing.”

The entire "Genius Hour" project deals closely with the standards of reading and understanding nonfiction text. The aspect of publishing student work via the capabilities of the internet hits another standard: "Use technology, including the internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.”

“The physical copy came out incredibly well,” said Marshbank. “It looks and feels like a professional journal someone might use at their career or to research at the collegiate level. With that in mind, I did put in a disclaimer at the front to clarify that this was made by 9th graders and should be read with that in mind, so it might not be the best idea to cite this in your research, expect some errors, etc…”

Nevertheless, they're awfully proud of it.

The Freshman Language Arts department plans to expand this project to every ninth grade student in the future. The Seaman High School Library will keep a journal from each year that will be available for checkout.

“I hope this opportunity for our students to become published authors as freshmen is viewed as a sort of legacy they leave,” said Marshbank. “Tradition can be an exciting part of a classroom.”