My Genius Hour Plan of Attack: Part II

The date has been set, October 1st my students will get a chance to get their genius on. I have spent the month scouring through materials and talking to colleagues about how to best make this work and I think I have come up with a plan that I am excited about and comfortable with too.

Here is what our first day will look like:


I am planning to begin with the Marshmallow Challenge. A big thanks to my partner in crime Carolyn (@cdurley) for passing this my way because I think it hits the nail on the head as being a great initial activity. In this activity students are given the task of building the highest structure they can with some basic materials to support a marshmallow. What excites me about this task is that it will help activate the ‘maker’ in students, reveal assumptions that marshmallows aren’t as lite as students thought, and help students understand that assumptions can sometimes be the number one factor inhibiting success. BTW, I create the sweetest playlist ever to play during the competition, pretty excited about that!!!

After this activity I have a series of videos I plan to show to help inspire (keep in mind at this point students still have no idea where this is going. I have kept them in the dark only telling them that we are about to begin something amazing this week):

  1. A Pep Talk from Kid President
  2. Cain’s Arcade
  3. Video highlighting the recent work of Ann Makosinski, a BC student who is helping to change the world.

It was important for me to end off with a video that had a local element. I want students to know that they too can create change, can be inventive, and can inspire. Lastly, I plan to talk to students about how I have been working hard to be a change agent over the last two plus years in the Flipped Classroom world. I also plan to show them a recent video I created which includes interactivity so students can see that I am taking risks myself and continuing to learn and play.

Finally, I will introduce GeniusHour to my students. Perhaps I should call it Geniusweek because that is how I have decided to run it:

  • Tuesday – Launch of GeniusHour.
    • Students learn about my expectations
    • We co-create criteria for the projects
    • Bad Idea Factory – Thx to Karl (@LS_Karl) for passing on this fabulous idea from Kevin (@brookhouser) of getting students to come up with ideas for their geniushour projects.
    • Research / making begins
  • Thursday – Checking in / more research / initial reflections
  • Following Wednesday  – Class Presentations

I choose to structure first geniushour attempt a little differently than most do. I want to do a number of these projects this semester, rather than just one big one. I have heard of teachers struggling to keep their students eye on the prize when the final project due date is so far away. This way there is a definitive endpoint. So, there it is, a rough outline of my game plan. I am planning to video most of it so stay tuned for a mash-up of all of our learning shenanigans and a blog post where I will look at what worked and what I will change for next time.


About flippingmath

Math Teacher, Flipper, Blue Jays Fan
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3 Responses to My Genius Hour Plan of Attack: Part II

  1. Matt says:

    Good luck! I can’t wait to see how it works out for you.

  2. alethia says:

    Hi here for some inspiration. I started out this year teaching just regular flipped model. Then I saw it just wasn’t enough so I went to flipped mastery model. Sure it was crazy work but I thought to myself it’s the first year this is how it’ll be. Well now 9 weeks into the school year my administrators have brought it to my attention that they don’t want me to do flipped mastery. I can do flipped but not flipped mastery. I am the only person in my school trying flipped model. My district is barely trying to get the word out there of what the model consists of. I guess I am feeling discouraged. They say it’s too disorganized to have different people doing different things and how manage them. You must know this is only my 4th yr teaching and the v youngest of my whole school. I am teaching 7th graders. What are your thoughts? Any words of advice? I am being forced to change which sucks, but I don’t even know if I should be thinking of going to another school to try it there you know? Did you encounter any administration problems? Or lack of support from parents or students? Thanks for your blog. It is very insightful. Mainly it inspired me to try flipped mastery. Also quick question. Do you let kids sit in groups dependinh on where they’re at our do they have assigned groups? And if so how do you keep the kids that just want to sit with their friends from doing so? How do you handle the students that love to talk and can’t handle you turning your back to help another?

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