Anticipating the genius

You are a genius and the world needs your contribution. –Angela Maiers

It all started this summer on twitter.  I was looking through my feed, and something caught my eye.  I kept on seeing “genius hour” being spoken about.  Naturally, I was curious and decided to find out more.  The more I found out, the more I loved the idea.  This was a concept I could get excited about!  My students could pursue their passions in my classroom and really own the experience.  They will impact themselves, their classmates, and even the world.  

I just finished up my first week of school, three days with my new students, and it was quite an experience.  We started by getting to know each other, exploring our learning environment, discovering how we would find success, and even had some fun!  Monday begins our journey with genius hour, and I can’t wait.

I am looking forward to next week so much – eagerly anticipating what passions my students will pursue.  We are going to start our first session with an explanation of the genius hour concept and then have a brainstorming session.  I am going to provide different prompts for my students on large paper throughout the classroom.  They can add as many ideas as they want, and we will narrow it down later on.  Here are my ideas for the brainstorming posters:

  • What are you passionate about?
  • What do you wonder about?
  • How can you change the world?
  • What breaks your heart?
  • What bothers you?

Once I feel we have exhausted our ideas, it will be time to collaborate and begin to make decisions about topics.  Students will be encouraged to work in small groups, but if there is an individual that would like to work alone that is acceptable.  Throughout the first semester, the focus will be learning about our topics in the realm of Spanish language and/or culture.  We will share out in December our findings and new learning.  The students can choose how to present the information they have learned.  Second semester, I will ask them to take their new learning and figure out how they can change the world with it.

I hope Mondays take on an entirely new reputation in my classroom and become something we look forward to.  I will be blogging about our journey as we make new discoveries, learn language, and explore different cultures.  I will let you know next week how it goes!

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14 Comments

  1. Cecile Laine August 18, 2013 at 10:08 PM - Reply

    I am going to be on the edge of my seat waiting for your posts because I plan to use genius hour in my AP class during second semester. Bonne chance! Buena Suerte!

    • Garnet Hillman August 19, 2013 at 6:04 AM - Reply

      ¡Muchísimas gracias! I will try to post frequently to show our progress. Thanks for reading!

  2. Kasey Taylor August 18, 2013 at 10:25 AM - Reply

    Hi, this is really impressive and I look forward to hearing future updates. Quick question to help me understand how you are rolling this out: is all this preliminary start up being done in English?

    • Garnet Hillman August 19, 2013 at 6:03 AM - Reply

      In level 1, the explanation will be in both Spanish and English as it will be our 4th day of school. In level 2, we will do more in the TL. Thanks for reading and commenting, Kasey!

  3. Gabrielle Smith August 17, 2013 at 11:37 AM - Reply

    Those are some great guiding questions to begin thinking about Genius Hour. I made a “Wonder Wall” to start posting and recording ideas

    • Garnet Hillman August 19, 2013 at 6:02 AM - Reply

      Thanks Gabrielle, appreciate the read and comments. I like the idea of a wonder wall, will have to put that in the idea bank for next year!

  4. Sra. Spanglish August 17, 2013 at 8:23 AM - Reply

    Love “What breaks your heart”! Wish I had though of that when we started exploring!

    • Garnet Hillman August 19, 2013 at 6:01 AM - Reply

      Thank you for your work with genius hour this summer, it is great to read about your experiences on your blog!

  5. Profe August 17, 2013 at 6:45 AM - Reply

    I’m captured by this as well!! This year I am teaching juniors and seniors and it’s going to be a part of my curriculum…just working on how…I love your brainstorming questions!!

    with love,
    Laurie

    • Garnet Hillman August 19, 2013 at 5:59 AM - Reply

      Let me know how it goes for you! It will be great to collaborate and keep improving the process. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  6. Joy Kirr August 17, 2013 at 6:36 AM - Reply

    Garnet, Can you believe the summer is over and you’re starting on this already? I remember when we met and you were so geeked up about all the possibilities! I’m sure your students will catch on to that contagious effervescent attitude you have and run with it!! Enjoy!! (I KNOW Mondays will be your favorite day of the week, as they are mine!)

    • Garnet Hillman August 19, 2013 at 5:58 AM - Reply

      Thanks Joy, you are an inspiration to me as I get going with this. I am eternally thankful for your time and energy spent on all the genius hour resources! It was so wonderful to meet you and talk “shop”, we will have to do it again sometime!

  7. Srta. Graham August 16, 2013 at 9:32 PM - Reply

    Looking forward to hearing more about this. So glad you seem to be having such a great year so far. I hope it’s contagious. My first day with kids is Monday.

    • Garnet Hillman August 19, 2013 at 5:56 AM - Reply

      Thanks so much! I am very excited to see their reaction. Good luck with your first day, hope it is great!

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