Digital Teaching Resources, Genius Hour, Personalized Learning, Uncategorized

Genius Hour: Part II

In my previous post, I talked about how we started Genius Hour and some struggles we have faced. Here’s how the following weeks progressed.

Week 4: The procedures were the same (50 minutes research time and a short presentation with your findings) but we were getting bored to tears during the student presentations. During week 2, one group had researched “How many licks it would take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop?” and gave away a piece of candy by asking a trivia question. Since then, everyone wanted to give “prizes” and do trivia, and some of the presentations lost their focus. We (the teachers and the students) were also tired of watching the back of classmates’ heads as they read information off their Google Slides presentation that they had copied and pasted from a website. They were stumbling trying to pronounce words they didn’t know and it was getting awkward. So we had a discussion about what good presentations looked like and everyone gave feedback (in the form of a shared Google Doc). CCSD employees can grab it here. The presenters would receive immediate feedback, and wouldn’t have to wait days while I graded a rubric.

It was as simple as:



Week 5: We have been struggling with Growth Mindset lately. Many of my students are so afraid to fail, the don’t attempt a task that they see as difficult or they give up. I did a quick search and found this website about famous failures. I created a Google Doc and listed these famous people on the left and a blank column on the right. When I posted it to Google Classroom, the instructions were as follows:

With a partner, small group, or by yourself, select a name off of the list attached. ((This was a collaborative Google Doc and if a student typed their name in the box, no one else could)). Each person on the list is highly “successful” yet has had a major failure in their career. Research the person, their failure, and be prepared to present to the class how this figure’s failure actually contributed to their later success in life. Be a real risk-taker and pick a name of someone you’ve never actually heard of before!

Here are some student work examples. We saw everything from TED talks to Disney clips, and a student even received an email back from his figure…. Stan Smith (the tennis pro).

Walt Disney (CCSD here)


James Dyson (CCSD here)


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