You are a genius and the world needs your contribution.
Two powerful words followed by an equally powerful and true declaration.
Angela Maiers’ words have been ringing in my head since I’ve heard them and I’ve been itching to do something about it since.
Moreover, I’ve been hearing more and more about Genius Hour on Twitter and absolutely loved the premise behind it. Genius Hour in a nutshell: Give the kids control over their passions, their learning, their products and they will change the world.
Having a classroom of thirty diverse little grade twos, I was unsure of what to expect. How would they react? Would they feel this was too open of a concept and be unable to choose a project? Would they choose something they were passionate about? Would they be able to articulate these ideas in a project proposal? Will they be able to create a product to benefit others?
Too much wondering. Too much waiting. Today was the day.
First I role-played some Oprah “You matter! You matter! And you matter!” (It was better than giving away cars, I swear!) Then I introduced students to Genius Hour using the following visuals. (Don’t worry, I didn’t stand there and read the slides)
A Genius Hour proposal was shared with students via their Drive. They had about a half hour to brainstorm and begin filling in their proposals. Students goal for today was to choose their passion/project and explain why that project was worthwhile. Learning about fables earlier this morning, I feel like some of them could have learned a tad more from the moral “Easier said than done”. However, I’m excited to see THEM excited about their learning. Even if we need to edit their project/product, it will be inspiring and amazing to see what these seven-year-olds are able to accomplish.
Students will continue working on their proposals next week but here’s what some students have started with:
Anne is going to use her love of art to make the classroom beautiful.
Crisitian will use his passion for basketball to create a program for kids to play basketball at our school.
Ashton will create a project to prevent forest fires.
Jadyn will create a project about people who abuse animals.
Jaina will create a project to help endangered animals.
Jalen is going to make a project to teach other’s to respect the earth.
Jordan is extremely passionate about sharks and will make a project to stop people from hunting and killing sharks.
Llani was saddened when her baby cousin had to have open heart surgery. She will create a book for children who are about to have surgery.
Makaleigh will create a project about her love of dancing.
Mariah will create a project about pets who are abused.
Patrick is passionate about cancer after a classmate battled cancer and finally went into remission. He plans to stop cancer. (If you knew him, you’d know that while he probably won’t do this is second grade, but most likely will someday.)
Payten will create a movie about bullying because she doesn’t like seeing people getting hurt.
Reonna will create a movie about endangered animals that live in oceans because she doesn’t like seeing animals die.
Roselyn will create a project teaching people to properly take care of their pets.
Most of the students were at least able to select a passion during our short work time today. I believe that with a little guidance, every student will be able to create an impactful, meaningful product that will make the world more awesome.
I feel that today I popped the cork. There has been so much potential bottled up inside these little creative beings, and finally I wised up (thanks to many scary smart educators on Twitter) and decided to release it.
I’m certain each session after today will get even messier, but I feel that this Genius Hour will become my most favorite sixty minutes of the week.
A final note: As I continue to reflect today’s Genius Hour introduction, I’m amazed by how unwilling students were to accept the fact they were geniuses. All the more reason to pursue Genius Hour so students can prove to themselves how awesome they are and that they are each able to make a difference in the world in which they live.
Be sure to click here for more information and resources about Genius Hour.