Thank you to Mr. Krause for submitting this blog post!
Currently three classrooms at Westview School are working through genius or passion hour and both students and teachers are finding out how engaging this type of inquiry- based learning can be. Mrs. Cericola's 5th grade class started 3 weeks ago and Mrs Papanicolaou's 5th grade class have been working for a couple months. In Mr. Halverson's 4th grade classroom, the students have been working for 6 weeks on their genius hour projects.
One hour is scheduled each week for students to explore what they are passionate about and to creatively present what they are learning to their classmates. Teachers started by having each student write about their passions. After that, the rest of the class commented on each other's passions using their Google Chromebooks. On the Chromebooks the kids are able to share their articles with each other and respond to each other in real time! That gives the students effective, timely feedback. Next, the class discussed the rubric, which explained to the students exactly how they were going to be evaluated. They decided to use key words from Angela Maiers' Habitudes rubric. Habitudes are the habits and attitudes needed to be successful in the 21st century. The six Habitudes include imagination, curiosity, perseverance, self- awareness, courage and adaptability. The students were divided into groups and each group presented one of the Habitudes to the rest of the class. Students were able to chose various presentation formats which allowed for creativity and collaboration. Here are a few Habitude presentations:
The kids are enthusiastic about genius hour. This hour combines many skills from the Common Core such as writing, reading, speaking, and in many cases math and science. Student feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
Student and Teacher Testimonials:
Evelyn said, “This is a fun experience because I have always wanted to try to make a business and I can see what it will be like for real. I want to create a math playground where you answer math questions to get to the next obstacle, It will be fun.”
Marcelo remarked, “I like it because there is a lot of learning. Each time it is different as you work on the project.”
Mr. Halverson has enjoyed the process as well, He said, “We have been working 6 weeks and 6 hours and everyone is totally engaged and learning - that's epic."
Mrs. Acord has assisted with projects and said, "It is wonderful to go into the classrooms and see all the great ideas they are coming up with!"
Mrs. Wagner's class will be the first class to be doing Genius Hour at Oakbrook in the upcoming weeks and it will interesting and exciting to see the great ideas the 2nd graders come up with. Genius hour is off and running in Wood Dale District #7!