In my week and a bit of immersing my class in Genius Hour (Genius Time as we call it) I’ve learned surprisingly much more about it then I initially thought I would just this far in. Some of the things are shocking to me. First of all it’s really taken a life of its own. Many of my students are living and breathing it. It’s what they talk and think about. I even had one student ask me today if when she was done eating her lunch if she could work on planning out her project. Two other students asked the teacher librarian if they could have time next week to come down to the library to do some research, they did this own their own! My most reluctant students are doing it without hesitation. They’ve come up with some fantastic ideas like “how can I make a driving lego car”, and “I want to make cupcakes.” Genius Time is by far our favourite time of the day they are invested already and the real fun hasn’t totally begun!
I also didn’t expect to be so passionate and invested in it so early into the process either. I mean look at my last 3 blog posts they’ve been about GT. I’ve spent hours following and asking questions and even answering a few on the #geniushour feed on twitter. Watched youtube videos to inspire the students and help us hone our ideas. I think I can feel this way about it because already, based on the student reaction I know it’s going to be great. Really it’s a total game changer when it comes to my teaching practice.
You know what I also know? And this is going to be so hard for my “everything has it’s place” personality. It’s going to be messy. Like stuff piled on the back counter, scraps and bits all over the floor kind of mess. I’m dreading it. There I said it. I’m an organization freak and GT is creative chaos. But I think maybe it’ll be therapeutic for me and teach me that sometimes I need to relax a bit.
Today we continued on with our Genius Time Journey. I read the students the book “Lego Man in Space a True Story” by Mara Shaughnessy http://littlemonster.ca/legoman/. Before I read the story I asked the students to predict who they thought could send a Lego Man into space. The answers were as I expected, “Astronauts”, “NASA”, “Engineers”, “The Government”, “Pilots” and then one student, Muhammad said “I think it was kids”. The room was quiet and I said to Muhammad, “Hmm I don’t know really? A kid? Do you really think kids could do something like that?” Of course that set the kids off and they argued with me that of course kids could do it “remember what Kid President said Ms. Lewis-Young?” It was the EXACT reaction I hoped they would have. I smiled and told them that Muhammad was totally right and it was kids. I gave them a little bit of history but not too much to give it away. If you are unfamiliar with the story basically two highschool boys, Matthew Ho and Muhammad Asad created a space ship and sent a lego man successfully into near space and were able to retrieve it and have video footage. It’s one of the coolest stories I’ve heard and if it doesn’t embody the point of Genius Hour then really I do not know what does! http://www.legomaninspace.com/
The kids were desperate to know more. So we emailed Matthew and Asad our list of 22 questions! Yes we started with a few but it grew and grew and as they asked more questions the more sophisticated they became. I don’t know if we will get a response from Matthew and Asad but I really hope we do!
Can’t wait for our next Genius Time adventure
Want to know more about Genius Hour? Follow the hastag #geniushour I’ve learned so much from these awesome educators!
It was this video that sold me on the idea of using Genius Time in my grade 3 classroom. It makes sense get the students working on a topic that they are passionate about and see productivity go up!
“What will you create that will make the world more awesome” – Kid President
I used this video to launch and get the kids fired up about Genius Time. Thanks to the amazing website http://www.geniushour.com for the suggestion. The kids LOVED!