Genius Day was a HUGE success! As we started the day, students streamed down the hall carrying posterboard, large trifolds, books, clay, marbles and all sorts of assorted materials. You could feel the excitement in the air.
After our interventions (we never mess with the reading/math interventions or related arts!), the students moved to the areas they had signed up to use. I expected to do a bit of redirecting, motivating, pushing, etc to get things going, but there was no need. I quickly found myself just staying out of the way while students got busy.
We offered the following locations for students to use: an art supply room (a series of three rooms with the walls folded back to give plenty of space), a computer lab, a science lab, a food lab and two classrooms. A couple days prior, we had students sign up for the different locations they thought they would need in half hour blocks. We also had them use their planner as their schedule and write down where they were supposed to be at each time segment.
As the half hour marks approached, I gave a 5 minute warning, in case students were moving to another location. Some students used the same room for multiple time slots, others moved around, it all depended on what they were working on.
We did find, as the day went on, students found they needed to change their locations, based on what they accomplished. For instance, some students finished their computer research more quickly than expected and needed to work in the art rooms sooner. Luckily, we had planned for this and reserved some extra spots in each location.
By the afternoon, things were taking shape. Almost every student was fully engaged throughout the day. We did have a few students (they are sixth graders, after all!) who got confused about where they had signed up and were in the wrong spots, requiring us to do some tracking down. However, once they were found, they were working, just in the wrong location.
The quote of the day was when I told three boys who were standing together chatting that they needed to get going on their project. One young man, who usually never says a word, turned and said “We’re bouncing ideas off each other.” That MADE MY DAY! The fact that he was able to articulate what they were doing was the best example of why this was a good idea!
During the final half hour, the fifth graders were invited to come and see the projects. It was very interesting to see the students proudly standing with their displays. I walked around making notes so I could grade their participation and each student eagerly explained what they had learned that day.
how chemicals react to each other
what is the Higgs Boson?
Can you power a lightbulb with produce?
solar system models
rocks and minerals
a model of the Sears Tower
building an app
what jobs are available with video games
All day long, students asked me if it was going well enough to be able to do it again. This was an easy question to answer: YES!
If you haven’t tried a Genius Hour/Day, I encourage you to do so. The students loved it!