Apps, Augmented Reality, Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, Depth and Complexity, Education, Independent Study, K-5, Motivation, Research, Student Products, Teaching Tools

Genius Hour – Show What You Know


One of my goals this year for Genius Hour is to guide the students into creating more dynamic presentations to share what they have learned.  If you are a teacher, you have probably experienced the excruciatingly long  Powerpoints proudly displayed by students to a mostly disinterested audience of their peers.  A couple of my strategies to shake things up this year are to offer the students some digital sandbox time (which I am planning to discuss in a future post) and to give them some “Genius Hour Challenges.”  My 5th graders, though, just started planning their first “Missions” and I knew they weren’t in the mood to sit and listen to an excruciatingly long lecture from me about alternative presentations 🙂

I had not gotten my digital sandbox materials together, yet, but I had recently discovered a graphic called, “101 Ways to Show What You Know” from that I thought would appeal to them.  Of course, at the exact moment I was about to project it on the screen for them, my classroom projector conked out.  In desperation, I held up the paper.  Despite my low-tech exhibit, there was instant excitement.

“Really?!!!  I could do a puppet show?”



“Of course.”

What cracked me up about their surprise was that I’ve had them do about half of the activities on the page, at one time or another, to demonstrate their knowledge.  But, for some reason or another, whenever they get to choose their own method of presenting, they always default to Power Point.

Not anymore.

“I’m totally doing a scavenger hunt.  Now I just have to figure out how to do it,” one student announced.

“Hmm.  We’ve done scavenger hunts in here before, haven’t we?” I asked him.


And that is exactly what he decided to put down as his “Format of Mission Report.”  So, instead of flashing a bunch of slides about deep-sea fish in front of his half-asleep classmates, this student will be creating an augmented reality activity that will get them out of their seats and help them to learn about his topic.

I wish I had a nickel for every yawn I won’t be seeing the day he presents.

(You can find links to the Genius Hour Mission Report and other resources here.  Update:  *As of 1/2/14, you can now download all of my current Genius Hour resources in a bundle on Teachers Pay Teachers for $5.  Or, you can still download them separately (for free) by clicking on the Genius Hour Resource Page.  If you are interested in learning more about augmented reality, click here.)

Click here for a blank Mission Report.
Click here for a blank Mission Planner.

4 thoughts on “Genius Hour – Show What You Know”

  1. Reblogged this on Hey Ms. K! and commented:
    Phenomenal. Take a look at this amazing post to give you more ideas on how to individualize instruction and how to give options to your students for dynamic presentations. I have found that the more that we do this in our classrooms, the more amazing presentations we get. This exhaustive list will certainly inspire your students, and give them loads of ideas.

    1. Since I wrote that post, that PDF has become one of the most popular resources in my classroom. Students are constantly asking to look at it for ideas. I should just make it into a poster 🙂

Leave a Reply