Share Your Genius (Hour) Ideas for the Coming School Year!
By Gallit Zvi & Denise Krebs
Summertime is for relaxing and reconnecting with family and friends. It is a time to hit the beach, go hiking or do whatever it is that you do to clear your mind and energize your spirit. But it is also a great time to read books on education, catch up on some blogs (reading and writing), and connect with folks on Twitter about educational topics of interest to you.
Hopefully you have been getting in some great R&R, but you probably have also been doing some learning. Right? So have we! We love reading new books over the summer, and of course, we are always keen to check out new posts about what folks have been doing with Genius Hour and what their plans for next year’s Genius Hour blocks are.
Since together we are smarter, we thought it would be a good time of year to compile some of our learning into one space. Please join in by answering the following in a comment below:
- What are the best ideas you have learned this summer that you will use during Genius Hour this upcoming school year?
Please share your learning and any links that you think would benefit the Genius Hour community, especially if you have any recent Genius Hour blog posts you’ve written. If you have a twitter ID, please add that too so that we can credit you if we bring up your idea(s) in one of our future #geniushour chats (our next chat is on Thursday, August 3rd at 6 pm pacific/8 pm central/9 pm eastern).
Thank you in advance for sharing your ideas with the Genius Hour community. And don’t be shy with your ideas! Remember, what is obvious to you may be amazing to others.
Last year, I used one science period each week for genius hour. This year, I’m going to alternate my times. One week, we will carve out some time during math, and focus on the mathematics of the projects. If genius hour time is during ELA, we will read and write and talk. I want students to create projects that are diverse and well-rounded, and I think changing the focus often will help foster that.
Ashley, this is an interesting idea! Do you mean each week they will work on the same project, but look at a different aspect of it–math or science or a focus on the reading, writing and speaking on the ELA weeks? It is a really interesting premise I haven’t heard of yet. I can picture students making a concerted effort to learn about the math involved in knitting, cooking, Minecraft or whatever. I look forward to hearing more as you go through the year! Thanks so much for sharing.
That’s my plan! I’m hoping the first few weeks will be general brainstorming and planning, but then continue to look at the project though a different lens each week. I’m excited to try!
This year we will be doing our brainstorming on Padlet. I have set up a template for my students to add their ideas for everyone to see. They may like what someone else has and choose to learn more about it. It also puts them up in front where we can discuss their thinking.
Laurie, that sounds great. I like Padlet. I think that would be a nice easy collaboration tool for Genius Hour. I like it!
I just am going for the gold and implementing Genius Hour with my 3/4 grade students. We will spend every Wednesday for an hour each morning. I am so excited!! We will spend the 1st 6 weeks figuring out our passions and then we’re off to projects and professionals!!
Yeah, Andrea! Go for the gold, is right. Check out Robyn Thiessen‘s Global Genius Hour Project to share and connect.
I’m interested in starting genius hour with my first graders but I don’t know a lot about it. Can anyone share resources that would help me get started?
Yes, Elizabeth. Stand by as we’ll be sharing a new post with these and other resources, but in the meantime, follow Renee White at https://twitter.com/RaRaPenguin. Then check out her blog–lots of Genius Hour posts: http://whites1stgrade.weebly.com/blog
I am also new to Genius Hour and a 1st grade teacher in Texas.
I’m a kindergarten teacher in Missouri. This is my first year attempting something that sort-of resembles genius hour. I’m calling it “Wonder Workshop”. At the beginning of the year, I’m going to interview my kids to see what kinds of projects they want to learn about and explore this year and make a list on our class website. Once a month, I’m going to get a handful of volunteers to come into the classroom to facilitate some off these projects with small groups of kids. I’ll utilize family members, staff members, and partners in education. Each volunteer will facilitate a different project and the kids will get to choose which of the available projects they want to explore. My hope is that the volunteers will be able to help the kindergartners dig deeper by acting as “experts” and guiding the kids to research resources. After Wonder Workshop, each group of kids will help make a blog post about their experiences and projects as a way to share their learning with others.
This execution isn’t as free as traditional Genius Hour, but I want to give my non-readers access to information and the support they need to explore ideas and projects (like cooking) they may not be ready to execute independently. I’m excited to see how this works. I think I’ve got the foundation of Genius Hour, but with a lot of extra supports to accommodate my young learners.
Theresa, thank so much for sharing your great idea with all the details. I love that family members and other stake holders will be involved in mentoring the students in their topics of interest. As we both know, the facilitators of Wonder Workshop will be learning plenty from the kindergarten experts, as well.
Thanks to all who posted here. We have shared your summer advice on another blog post here on this blog: Listen to Your Summer Tribe: Genius Hour Ideas for the Upcoming School Year