3-12, Creative Thinking, Education, Independent Study, Motivation, Problem Solving, Research, Student Products

Genius Hour Update, Part III

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.  Click here to read about The Beginning of our project.  And, click here to read about The Middle.
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.  

The Conclusion

The students did a pretty good job with completing their projects by the deadline.  Last week, they presented them to the class.  While one of the pairs was presenting, a student kept whispering my name frantically.  I tried to sign to her to listen to the kids standing up front, but she could not wait.

“I didn’t finish,” she said, desperately.

Several thoughts came to mind, such as saying, “You should have used your time more wisely.”  Instead, I said, “That’s okay.  Just show what you have.”

She had started a website on pet care.   When it was finally her turn, this student, who rarely speaks in class, stood by herself in the front of the room, and showed us what she had done.  As she got deeper into her presentation, she almost seemed to forget that we were there, and clearly showed more confidence and passion about her topic.

When she finished, the other students asked clarifying questions about what she intended to include to complete the site.  I told her that I thought she had done a fabulous job on the portions she had finished.

At the end of the day, when the students were lining up to leave, the student approached me with her research notes from class in hand.  “Can I bring these home?” she asked.  “I want to finish the site before next class.”

This project was not for a grade, and the presentations were done.  Yet, she wanted to finish what she started – on her own time.

That’s what Genius Hour is all about.

(Two other recent posts by fellow bloggers might interest you about this concept:  Educational Technology Guy and Free Technology for Teachers)

7 thoughts on “Genius Hour Update, Part III”

  1. Amen, Terri! Wanting to finish on their own time is what genius hour is all about! It’s about creating space and inviting students to become lifelong learner! I hope you will join us on sharing your #geniushour ideas on Twitter with that hashtag. Several teachers are discussing and practicing genius hour info there! Each first Wednesday of the month at 8:00 p.m. CST, we have a chat about genius hour too.


    1. Thank you for that information! I will definitely try my best to participate. I would love more ideas! You might also want to check out my post tomorrow (June 25th), as it will relate to this too!

  2. I remember the first time I did Genius Hour, the students were so concerned about finishing their projects even though we ran out of time; the irony was many who never worried too much about finishing their homework were worried about having a finished product. I guess that shows when we put the learning in the hands of the students, their caring about something school-related rises and learning becomes their own. Passion, creativity, and enthusiasm showed up that day and the memory of them helped my students see they could be geniuses!

  3. “That’s okay. Just show what you have.” — Well done! It’s good for students, perhaps especially GT students, to survive “failure” and recast it as opportunity. This student learned that even though she didn’t finish during the school year, that’s no reason not to present the work she did and continue on her own time. Education policymakers can talk all day long about creating lifelong learners, but this is the real thing.

    1. That is so true. Life doesn’t really work like most books and movies with beginnings, middles, and ends. When we don’t achieve something, it’s not the end. We just haven’t figured it out YET.

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