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Welcome to my math blog! The purpose of this blog is to help you stay informed about our learning and experiences that have taken place during our math class. I have also included links your child (and you) may want to use in order to supplement math learning in 5th grade.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Genius Hour - Introduction

Oh my.... was this a hit!  My kids jumped right into the idea of focusing on a passion and I heard them discussing their passion projects in the hall between classes!  I cannot wait to see how this progresses over the next few weeks!

For those of you who may not know what a Genius Hour is:

To begin, let me just say that my version of the Genius Hour project comes from looking through different web sites and blogs.  There are four different web sites/blogs that I used the most,  however there are a plethora of sites to visit and learn from:

  1. For overall information:  http://www.geniushour.com/ 
  2. For Day 1/Intro lesson: (Runde's Room)  http://www.rundesroom.com/2013/11/passion-projects-in-classroom.html
  3. For Do's and Don'ts: (Teaching in Room 6)  http://goo.gl/SXzETi
  4. For an amazing example of technology being used effortlessly with Genius Hour:  https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1lKa0k0ZuRCHVcC5F_AUVZdpobZf8iOXqzO99t0V-QzE/edit#gid=0 
I began by showing a short video from Kid President


After watching the video, I asked my classes to close their eyes and think about their favorite thing to do.  Something they would do all the time if they had a choice.  When they had their idea, we wrote it on a sticky note and put it on my board around the question "What are you passionate about?"  This is just a starting point, a passion project may evolve from this, but something else may step into place.

For my Genius Hour, I used a unit I found on Teacher's Pay Teachers called:

We began by using the power point presentation that comes as part of this bundle and is a quick way to grab their attention.  Next, I used a YouTube video from geniushour.com to fill in some of the pieces:

I liked including this piece, because it reminds the students of a type of presentation that they might be interested in using to showcase their Passion Project... Powtoons.

At this point, we began to get to the meat of the project.  I explained the calendar, the process, and the final outcome.
  • Students will be given 1 hour per week to work on their Passion Project.  However, they can work on it at home.
  • Projects must have a research component.
  • There must be a product:  design, build, make, write, collect, etc.
I gave students a folder that will be used to house various items.  Today, we added:
  • Calendar - showing days we will work on Genius Hour
  • How Might I - page with some guiding question examples
Then we came back to our first question:

What are you passionate about?

Students are to fill out a proposal for me to approve before next Friday.  The most important part of the proposal is the guiding question.  It must be something that can be researched.  I also want an idea of what type of product they think they would like to create to show their learning.

Since this is our first time to attempt a Genius Hour project, I located some resources that had student idea examples.  I only wanted students to look through these if they were stuck on how to write a guiding question, or, if they were having a difficult time coming up with a passion.

My hope is that I will be able to approve proposals all week long, so that we can move into our research stage next Friday.  Their proposals will also be kept in their Genius Hour folder.

So, for homework, (1) students were asked to give their parents a Genius Hour Parent Letter that explains what is happening in class, and (2) they are to complete their proposal to get it approved before class next Friday.

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