I had the privilege of attending the ITEC Conference on October 13, 2014. Though many of the sessions gave me lots of new ideas, two speakers in particular left me with some “ah-ha” moments!
The first session I attended was presented by two teachers from a small school district in western Iowa. They talked about “Genius Hour,” which is a time in their classroom where students explore things they are interested in, even if it may not be in the curriculum.
The final session I attended at the conference was presented by Scott McLeod. He is one of my favorite presenters, and never fails to motivate me to do more to help my students reach the highest level of success. Scott’s presentation was about getting students to become innovators. I spent a lot of time talking with another educator from central Iowa about his own success with creating innovative students, and my brain began spinning with ideas to incorporate Genius Hour and the idea of creating innovators in my classroom.
When I returned to W-SR, I spent some time planning my own version of Genius Hour. I decided to have the kids think of a “problem,” and then come up with a way to solve it! Of course, there are some boundaries. For example, it can’t be a problem that we can easily fix by just changing the way we do something, but it also can’t be so huge a problem that we don’t have the capabilities to solve it. I presented the idea to my 4th graders, and they loved it! We immediately started brainstorming problems, and they are already generating ideas for solutions! Here are a few of the problems we've come up with so far…
By Katie McGrane- 4th Grade Teacher at Carey