The three questions Gretchen Rubin posed helped me overcome this conundrum. She asked "Do I need it? Do I love it? Do I use it?" The "do I use it?" helps put my mind at ease over the items that we do use but that don't necessarily "spark joy" in me or other family members. I also liked that all three books mentioned that there is no one recipe for tidying that works for everyone and that you have to find strategies that work best for you.
The biggest takeaways for me with this project were personally, overcoming obstacles, and as a group, seeing the wide variety of topics and ways that students can share their learning. I struggled mid-project when I tore the meniscus in my left knee and had to figure out how to adapt my project due to my more limited mobility. I had read two books at that point and The Minimalists had been recommended to me. So I read that book, watched an episode of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, and focused on tidying up digitally. I cleaned out the apps on my phone and organized more apps into folders. I also started cleaning out emails, both personally and professionally. Then I tackled small cleaning projects in areas I see everyday like my dresser, bathroom counter, and kitchen window sill.
I really enjoyed seeing the variety of topics my classmates chose and the different tools and formats they used to share their projects. It's a great reminder of how we as educators can provide structure but still allow students the opportunity to be creative and share their interests. The biggest challenge I ran into with doing a Genius Hour project with the three technology classes I taught first quarter were the internet filters at school since some students were not able to do the project they wanted like wrestling because so much of the information and pictures were restricted. I think my experience overcoming my own obstacles and being willing to take my project in a different direction would benefit my students because I could share that flexibility and work through the problem with the students.
Kondō, M. (2015). The life-changing magic of tidying up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing: Summary and analysis. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
Millburn, J. F., & Nicodemus, R. (2017). Minimalism: Live a meaningful life. Hachette Australia.
Rubin, G. (2019). Outer Order, Inner Calm. Harmony Crown.