Once the children had a plan we quickly realized that organization of materials was going to be of paramount concern. We needed a place to store individual and group project materials such as wool, lego, science equipment, papers ... in inexpensive, readily accessible containers. Ikea provided the perfect solution- The GLES box. A plastic, stacking container that costs only $1.75. We quickly bought 30 of them and labeled them with student names. They store easily in our classrooms and help to keep students organized :)
An issue that we wrestled with was how to keep the student's voice and choice and a constructivist model while still ensuring that students were using their time wisely. We decided to have a planning page that helped the children plan, focus on competencies and enable them to reflect on their learning. We have the 4 C's posted in our room so the children are familiar with the language and know that they are an important part of any project. The star box is for any aha moments that come up in their work. The reflection piece is based on a coaching model that we use at our school for students and staff from the Roy Group http://www.roygroup.net. So far the form has worked well for some students and not so well for others. We quickly realized that students wouldn't take the time to do this on their own so built in a 5 min reflection and next steps time into each Genius Hour. Since we only meet once a week it is important for students to plan their next steps and make arrangements to bring in needed materials. Some of our teachers feel that it is too constricting for some groups that don't seem to need the support and have chosen not to use it, but overall I think it helps the students to keep a focus.