Creative Thinking, Education, K-12, Parenting, Student Products, Teaching Tools, Videos, Websites

The Blockbuster Boredom Buster – Movie Making


It seems that many students have access to tools for recording videos.  Summer is a great time for them to develop their inner director/producer/writer.  Here are some resources to inspire the future Oscar winners in your home or classroom:

Need some inspiring examples that were created by students?  Check out the White House Student Film Festival!

(I’ve dedicated this week to offering suggestions for creative ways to spend the summer.  Click here to see Monday’s post on Camp Wonderopolis.  And click here for Tuesday’s Maker Camp 2014 post.)

Behavior, Creative Thinking, Education, Independent Study, K-12, Motivation, QR Codes, Reading, Research, Student Products, Teaching Tools

Blast Off to Genius Hour!

For many of you, today may be your first day of the new school year.  If so, I hope it’s a great one!  My goal is to make it an unforgettably fabulous year for my students.  In the immortal words of Kid President,

Kid President - Awesome Year

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

That’s my plan, and one of my strategies for achieving this is to offer Genius Hour to my 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade GT students.  (In the past, I’ve only offered it to my 5th graders.)

Over the summer, I developed some new resources to use during Genius Hour.  I’ve already shared some with you, but I just created some more:  Suggested Genius Hour Mission Sequence, Genius Hour Mission Planner, and Genius Hour Mission Log.  Each of these can be found, along with the other resources, on my Genius Hour Resources Page.  You can also find links to explanatory articles and some outstanding resources (that are definitely not mine!) on that page.

Here is a breakdown of the new pieces I just added:

Suggested Genius Hour Mission Sequence – this page is a very abbreviated list of recommendations for the teacher on how to conduct Genius Hour using the resources provided

Genius Hour Mission Planner – this is a planning sheet for students to fill out before each Genius Hour project

Genius Hour Mission Log – this is a reflection sheet to be completed at the end of each Genius Hour

If you’re new to this blog, you don’t want to miss out on the Genius Hour Trailer, Genius Hour Bookmarks (QR Codes), and Challenge Cards (which also include QR codes) – plus a bunch of other supporting materials.

Make this year awesome for your students by including Genius Hour in your lesson plans!  They will never forget it!

partial screen shot of Genius Hour Mission Planner
partial screen shot of Genius Hour Mission Planner
Creative Thinking, Education, K-12, Parenting, Research, Student Products, Teaching Tools, Websites


"Ice Cube Crayons" project by Jennifer Perkins
“Ice Cube Crayons” project by Jennifer Perkins

You have probably noticed the “maker” trend is gaining headway.  With 3D printers becoming more affordable, and new inventions like the 3Doodler, this trend is beginning to find its way into the schools and libraries – and I welcome it wholeheartedly.  But you don’t have to wait until you have access to a public “Maker Space” to become a “Maker”.  And, you don’t need fancy technology, either.  Last October, I posted about the DIY site (which is also an app), and its wealth of hands-on projects.  Another resource you might enjoy is the “Kids and Family” section of Make’s online magazine.  From designing your own Marshmallow Shooter to making a 10-Rail Model Rocket Mega-Launcher, you can find all kinds of ideas for projects.  The projects are rated in difficulty:  easy, moderate, and difficult.  Parents could find some great ideas for rainy days or weekends here.  And, if you are a teacher, you might offer this site as another reference for students planning Genius Hour projects.