Saturday, October 19, 2013

Genius Hour -Questions Asked, Planning Begins

How GREAT was it to walk into my classroom Friday afternoon (had Prof Devel training in the morning) and have the kids say "Is it time for Genius Hour?"!!!
"How 'bout now, is it time?"
The anticipation was building all day (add to that full moon-itis).
Then the time FINALLY came.
We discussed our anchor chart from the week before... talked about how some of our questions could be answered too quickly... was there a way to tweak the questions to fit our Passion Project?
After much discussion (I actually did this before the actual Genius Hour time of the day)... I went over the planning sheet the kids had to fill out... and turned them loose.
Now, mind you, we were just planning...and boy there were lots of questions! Some kids just weren't getting the concept. They weren't thinking deeply and needed lots of guidance.

As a "newbie" to this whole process, I'm not even sure if *I'M* doing it right!
Some projects are not what I envisioned for Genius Hour... but, I think I'm going to approve all the projects hoping the ideas will grow as the students grow throughout the year. I don't want to sway or crush the very first idea.

Here are some of the ideas the 3rd graders came up with...
The Titanic Sinking (my thoughts were-we already know that it sunk...but the student wants to show what could have been done to prevent sinking using plastic bottles with a gash in them)
How do I make a pop-out solar system?
How is Mac-n-Cheese made?
How does a body grow? (I feel like this will be tricky because puberty--- and these are 3rd graders)
All about cats. (I tried helping this student narrow it down...student didn't get it)
Has my drawing gotten better? (I told this student that of course her drawing would get better, we are not here to student came up with...) How do I make Fan Art?
What are Mars and Jupiter made of?
How can I make a starburst rubberband bracelet?
How do I draw Luigi?
How are puppies made? (another yikes for 3rd grade)
How was Earth made?
How were planets discovered?
How are diamonds made? (end project is to make a diamond - I WISH)
What was the Earth like 50 billion years ago?
How was Minecraft created?
What is it like on the other side of the world?
How is metal made?
How do I learn to do a handstand?
What was Jackie Robinson like as a kid? (his original question was What is it like to stand on a Professional Baseball field?...WHICH I LOVED because I have some resources I could put to use...but for some reason, he wouldn't go back to it)

We've already hit some bumps...I let them use computers and iPads to do a quick search to see if the questions were too easy to answer in one search...
And You Tube is blocked in our district. Students need You Tube for the bracelet making, handstand, Mac-n-Cheese...etc.

The kids were excited! Some found it difficult to fill out the Planning sheet... Which, in my opinion, is good! That tells me they had to THINK.

Here's the form I had them fill out...
Here are two forms filled out:

My questions for my #Geniushour #PLC
How does blogging in the class work for this?
How do the kids use blogging and why?
Am I on the right track with #Geniushour?
Is there anything I need to change or fix at this point in my journey?
Is there any other advice you can offer me?

I appreciate all your help!


  1. Advice? Keep tweaking so that it works for you and for your students. I think your tweaking will happen with individual students even more. There is no "right" answer. Some teachers have students blog, and some don't. Reflection of some sort is really valuable for students and teachers, however. Good luck, and have tons of fun learning along with your students!

  2. I've just started this as well with a Grade 3 class and some of the topics my students came up with I was not expecting at all! I've got students wanting to know about the royal family, others wanting to learn origami, and even someone who wants to know how to be an animal rescuer! Youtube is blocked for us too but a lot of my students are so excited that they're just watching some of them at home rather than school.
    It's so exciting to hear my students say that want lunch to be finished so they can work on their projects.

  3. I'm starting this with my 3rd graders and I am excited about it, thank you for all the input and valuable information you are sharing, makes me less anxious. I can't wait to find out what my students will want to research about. It will be interesting to find out what their wonderings are.