I have been reading a lot about Genius Hour and have been inspired by my own district’s Gallit Zvi and her journey with integrating it in her classroom. The teacher of our Grade Five buddy class went to a workshop that Gallit ironically spoke at and decided to integrate it into her class. Wow, am I ever lucky that our classes are buddies! Her Grade Fives have been doing amazing work during their genius hour time.
So, as January came to a close and we noticed that the kindies in my class were becoming more independent and fully capable of using iPads, we set them to work with their buddies in our first Kindergarten Genius Hour project. Because this was our first time, we had to put some parameters around it. I know, I know, less direction the better when it comes to Genius Hour… but you have to give us some credit for loosening most of the strings!
Our kindies thought of something that they would like to learn about and brainstormed some questions about the topic. The topics and questions that my kindies, yes FIVE year olds, were thinking of were beyond my imagination. They were vibrating with excitement at the possiblity of actually controlling what they were going to learn about. Some of the topics that were decided on were cowboys, cars, dresses, birds, and owls.
Then the magic happened. The Grade Fives paired up with their Kindergarten buddies and off they went. Engagement, conversation, collaboration, and critical thinking just happened… and we, the teachers, were minimally involved. After meeting every Friday morning for a few weeks, the kids were ready to present their finding in a Keynote presentation. I was so proud! Our kindies confidently presented with their big buddies beside them helping them along the way.
I am excited to further explore Genius Hour more in our class, with the assistance of our big buddies. We will now be changing the name of “big buddies time” to “Genius Hour”! I also can’t wait to show the parents how much we are learning, once agian, from playing around in Kindergarten!
If you would like more information on Genius Hour, Gallit Zvi has some excellent posts on her blog here: Integrating Technology: My Journey
Below is a sample of some slides from a priceless presentation on Ninja Turtles.