Sunday, July 24, 2016

Genius Hour Homework

I'd been reading about Genius Hour all over the place and decided I wanted to implement it in my first grade classroom.  As with most things I try in my classroom, I read a bit here and there and then make it my own and run with it!
What I decided to do was "Genius Hour Homework" in place of our normal weekly packet for a three week period.  I'd like to get rid of homework altogether, but that's another post for another time...
My hope for this project was to give kids time to explore something they're passionate about or interested in.  I absolutely LOVED the end result!  It was really fantastic...two of my colleagues tried it after me and loved it as well.  My plan for next year is to do one Genius Hour Homework assignment each trimester.
Here's how it worked:  First, we brainstormed things we were passionate about and things we were interested in learning more about.
Then, students had one week to make a plan and two more weeks to work on the project.  Here is the handout that was sent home that first day to explain the directions to families.

Then, students presented to the class.  I broke it up into four presentation times so students would not have to sit for too long at one time.  Students received a homework "grade" for completing the assignment and a Speaking and Listening grade for their presentation and participation.
We had baked goods (a delicious cake AND some scrumptious cupcakes), an Empire State Building 3-D puzzle, a how-to draw dinosaurs chart, glitter bracelets (one given to each student!) a Hawaiian lei, gymnastics (a model of a gym AND multiple cartwheels across the classroom!!), a model airplane, a handmade pillow, World Trade Center models made of popsicle sticks, singing (via Power Point and LIVE!), a toy car racetrack, Lego structures, and a chart about how to build a skateboard...OH MY!!!

It was even better than I expected!  I know that homework can sometimes become a tedious job at home, even though I try to make mine a quick and fun review.  The best thing about this project was that families were spending time together, reading, having fun, learning, and exploring..."stuff" that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle.
I received a lot of positive feedback from parents who had a great time.  If you're able, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND trying this.  It was definitely one of my favorite days of the school year.  You really get to see your kids in a different light and it lets the kids know that learning can be achieved in so many ways!!  Click here to try Genius Hour Homework in your classroom!!

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