Thursday, August 1, 2013

First Grade Genius Hour

My little geniuses will be walking through the door in less than two weeks.

And as I've been thinking about classroom space, I've also wondered about ways to get students started on projects during our Genius Hour. What kinds of spaces will be inspiring and allow for lots of student creativity, exploration, and innovation? What might inspire students to choose a topic or project? My students are six-year-olds, mostly. They have had little, if any, experience with projects of any kind. They haven't had opportunities to take action, and they likely didn't even do much reading this summer due to access issues (most do not have any books at home.) I'm not sure how much curiosity is a part of their home cultures, either.

After exploring Choose2Matter, and listening to Angela Maier's TED Talk, there's one big idea I want to incorporate into my classroom projects: "You are a genius, and the world needs your contribution." Students may choose to learn more about their topic so that they can make a future contribution to the world of science or technology or art. Or a student might want to make a difference right now by including some kind of service in his/her project. And of course, we will explore different ways to share projects with others in our room, school, and community. Perhaps a student's contribution will be inspiring someone else to learn!

In light of all that, I'm going to start with my favorite thing... books! Before I even introduce the idea of Genius Hour, I will read to my students. We will talk, respond, question, and jot notes. I'm hoping to gather student questions and ideas that we can refer to when it comes time to actually start projects.

I've gathered a selection of books that will work with the themes of making a difference, exploration, collaboration, and innovation. 

Do you have books that would inspire students to begin Genius Hour projects? Please share!






  1. Please update as you move forward. I'm interested in implementing in my own 1st grade class!

  2. Thanks, Shannon! I'll keep you up to date. What ideas do you have for implementing Genius Hour?