Holy cow! Our 5th Graders really blew me away this week with their first ever Genius Hour! There was baking, Minecraft, Eiffel Tower, Goo Making, Robot researching, and much more. This year’s class not only looked forward to Genius Hour, but they really took it seriously.
I saw the good in Genius Hour right away last year. The students were engaged, prepared on their own time, and organized themselves. It was great to see. So upon reflection, I wanted to make this year even more successful. So like any good teacher, I asked myself what I could do better/differently. The other 5th Grade teacher and I agreed; the students needed to do more research and have a plan in place before the actual day of. Our plan worked. The first week we had a group of students researching The Great Wall of China. They wanted to make a model of it. They soon changed their minds and switched to the Eiffel Tower. They created a document – and shared it with everyone in their group – took notes and saved pictures. One student was concerned about using a picture that was Free to Use or Creative Commons. How cool is that? Actively being responsible digital citizens!
Another advantage we had this year, is that this year’s 5th graders watched the previous year as last year’s class participated in Genius Hour. This group of students has been anticipating Genius Hour for almost a year. While they may not have totally understood everything that it entailed, they knew that they would get to learn things that were of interest to them.
I have no idea where this is all going, but if they continue down this path Genius Hour will be an even bigger success than it was last year. I can’t wait to see the model of Paris and the Eiffel Tower, the robot that one student was researching how to build, and all the other various creations!