Genius Hour: The Finale

Since my last post which dealt with the death of my friend, LaRie, I have not been in the mood to write about anything.  I just haven’t been able to motivate myself to get back to my blog.  Today is my first attempt to get back into the swing of things.  Life must go on, and I must try to make each day better than the day before.  So, I will begin by writing about my students’ Genius Hour presentations from two weeks ago.

On Friday, April 4th, my students presented their learning from Genius Hour.  Each one of my students selected a topic of interest that they wanted to learn more about.  We had everything from how to make a blueberry pancake to coding.  This was my first attempt at Genius Hour, and I have to admit I was very nervous.  No, make that afraid of what might happen.  I am slowly learning that this is actually a good feeling.  🙂  In any case, my students worked diligently every week doing research.  They blogged about their ideas and commented on other people’s ideas.  Some of them brought their own device every week to help them with their research.  Parents were involved in supporting their child.  Volunteers came to my classroom each week to help us during Genius Hour.  It was amazing.

On the day of the presentations, you could literally feel the energy and excitement as my students walked through the door.  Some came with posters, models, and props.  Others handed me their thumb drives so I could be ready to plug them into the computer when it was their turn to present.  Here are some pictures of the projects.

GH 1
Learning About Lasers

GH 5
Bunny Facts

GH 6
A Lesson in Robotics

GH 8
Acoustic Guitars

During the presentations, I had my students take notes.  After the presentations, they had to reflect on what they learned about.  They also had to write about how they felt after they were done.  Did they feel like geniuses?  Many of my students enjoyed the experience.  Most of them talked about how nervous they were at the beginning.  They realized that presenting in front of the class was not as bad as they thought.  Parents were invited to watch and listen.  After the presentations many of them told me Genius Hour was a wonderful experience for them, too.

I learned that this kind of activity has many benefits.  It was scary for me, but I was so happy at the end.  I realized that learning is messy.  It’s okay if things don’t work out the first time.  I learned that I don’t have all the answers.  Like the students, I relied on research and talking to an expert who would help steer me in the right direction and motivated me to keep moving forward (Thanks Kriscia!).

I am sad Genius Hour is over for now.  But, I am still trying to incorporate that inquiry into other parts of my day.  My students are asking for another Genius Hour.  I am not sure if there is time.  The end of the year is fast approaching.  Before I know it, it will be June!  We shall see what we can do.

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6 thoughts on “Genius Hour: The Finale

  1. Bravo for taking the plunge and finding the value in Genius Hour. I’m wondering if there’s a way to incorporate some version of genius hour into your regular teaching/learning routine. Glad you are back on the blog!

  2. It’s so exciting to hear about your students researching their interests and learning even more about how to learn and love learning. Great job, Judy. And call me any time you want to talk about LaRie. My heart is still sad too.

  3. Thank you for inviting me in to watch the presentations. I was so impressed by your students – both the presenters and the audience. The enthusiasm and excitement for learning was so evident – Genius Hour (and you) inspired them!

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