A couple of months ago, I mentioned that I would be trying a “Genius Hour” with my 5th grade GT students. You can read this post and this post to find out about the origins of this idea. In the next few posts, I would like to share with you the results of this “pilot run”.
First – a little background. I teach 13 5th grade Gifted and Talented students once a week from 8:45-1:30. Many of these students have been in my GT class since Kindergarten, so they know me and the other students fairly well. All of these factors might make it a bit easier for them to take risks than students in a regular classroom.
When I first introduced the idea of a “Genius Hour”, the students were excited, and eagerly brainstormed possible projects to work on. This occurred independently and in groups. My only caveats were: they had to learn something new during the process, it had to be appropriate for school, and they would have to present what they learned at the end.
After brainstorming and selecting topics, the students worked on planning their projects, then viewing some videos I had selected on internet safety and doing internet research. Once they completed these preliminary requirements, they were permitted to plunge into their projects.
Before each hour started, I usually gave them a 5-10 minute “lesson” on various things, from possible Web 2.0 tools that might be useful to how they should plan their time. After each hour, we had a debriefing about what did or did not work during the hour.
What I Did Right: worked in a lot of brainstorming of possible topics, required students to watch videos on internet safety and research, gave them short lessons before each hour, elicited feedback after each session
What I Would Change: I would probably change the planning sheet layout so that it inspires more creativity, and I would probably start this near the beginning of the year so that there is no “deadline” and students can work on a series of projects throughout the year
Join me again on Monday to find out more about our progress!