Social Media & Genius Hour

Each Friday our 5th-Graders participate in Genius Hour. This year, there is a large group of students that either create slime – in order to sell – or draw. They hop on either Google Images or YouTube to hone their skills. I have encouraged them to create a website to showcase their work. Silly me, no one wants to do that. BUT, showcasing their work on their Instagram accounts, that’s another story.

Yes, I am aware that Instagram is for 13-year-olds and older. Each time a student tells me they have an account I remind them of this and ask if their parents are aware of their account and do they have the password. If their parents are okay with it the best I can do is teach them how to be responsible: no locations, birthdates, first or last names, etc.

IMG_0013When we were cleaning up on Friday, I watched one student pull out his phone, snap a pic, tag people, and post to one of his Instagram accounts. I thought this was a brilliant way to document and share his work! Now I need to work with the district’s IT department to unblock Instagram so my class can have an account and document our work.

‘Homework’ Reimagined Update 1

A little over a month ago I shared out my (and my Partner Teacher’s) latest idea of ‘Homework’. Get a copy

Each Friday during Genius Hour I meet with students to review their ‘Homework’. This week I had 4 students that were able to present. Some took a different approach to the homework than I had intended. The results? Amazing!

One student created jewelry from ribbons, beads, and old hair decorations and fastened them with a barrette. This student is thinking of creating more and selling them. Another made a ‘sculpture’ that had a live plant! My students are amazing!

Presenting Genius Hour Projects

Genius Hour


I have had my class participating in Genius Hour for the past 4 years. I love it. Admittedly, I struggle with aspects of it. One aspect that I have struggled with for a while now is the presenting part. They have no problem creating but, have some ‘issues’ listening to one another when it comes time to present. They all want to present, just not listen. Frustrating!

I Am A Genius!

And when I say ‘I’, I really mean Jon Corippo. In one of his presentations, he explained how he had students giving scores to one another during presentations – American Idol style. So this year when Genius Hour began, the same issues were occurring. Then this past week, I implemented the scoring system (albeit tweaked to better meet my needs).


I am using a dual scoring approach. Based on our school’s Speaking & Listening Rubric (a work in progress), I have 5 small whiteboards we use as score cards. 4 score cards are in the audience and 1 is left with the presenters. The 4 audience score cards are – Volume, Eye Contact, Vocabulary, and Clarity. These circulate around the room (1 person scores per presentation per card) so that several students have the opportunity to score after a presentation. The presenter’s score card is Listening.

Did It Make A Difference?

Yes! When a score card came back with a lower score, the ‘judge’ explained what skill the presenter (or audience) needs to practice. There was definitely more ownership on both sides this week.