We are getting ever closer to our first ever Genius Day!
Last week, we had the students create a plan. We had them fill out a form with three ideas they would like to pursue (trying to push them to think beyond the first idea that pops into their head). Each student was asked to list the big question they are trying to answer, the reason they would like to learn about that subject, the planned final product and the materials they will need.
This was a very interesting exercise. Helping students generate a “big question” was not easy. They have gotten very used to those standardized, multiple choice test questions which have one right answer. Opening their minds to the idea that a question can have multiple answers and lead to more questions was not easy for some of our students (some took to it like a duck to water!) In fact, I’ll be revisiting some of their plans after spring break to help them reframe their ideas.
Asking them to explain why they would like to learn about this topic was also a new task for many of our students. I work with a gifted and talented program during our intervention time, and during that time, I have pushed them to do this sort of thing for the past year. For those students, this was not too difficult, but for the rest of the students, we might as well have asked them to pull out their own teeth! I definitely enjoyed seeing some of their reasons. It gives insight into them as students.
The other place where creativity has taken a definite nosedive is the final product spot. They pretty much filled in the uniform answer: a poster. This is another area that I’ll need to push them on. While a poster is a fine way to display your work, it’s not the only way. Hopefully, I can convince them of that.
We invited our fifth grade students, as well as the principal and superintendent to view the results on our Genius Day. We hesitated to invite the school board, media, etc, since we’re not sure how everything will turn out (this will take some doing for the students to learn and complete a display in one day). Once we see how it goes, we can expand our guest list.
Check back in a few weeks to see how it all went! And let us know what Genius activities you are doing. We all need to learn from each other!
Here are the forms we have used (and one we plan to use after Genius Day):
We also used several websites – these definitely helped us prepare. Sorting out exactly how we wanted to do this was tough, so these websites are worth checking out!