Yule Blog Challenge – Day 7

A Moment that Challenged me as a Teacher

& How I Handled It

The moment I’ve decided to share occurred less than a year ago and it supports a pattern within my Yule Blog responses.

The Moment

The 6th grade teachers at my 2 schools teach an exploratory class. This was my opportunity to introduce Genius Hour. I first approached one team.  They were intrigued with the concept and ran with it.  Word got around and more teachers wanted in.  In the end, 8 teachers ran some version of Genius Hour during spring semester of 2015.  I documented the experiment in my blog.

Being a math coach, jump starting a project such as Genius Hour wasn’t in my job description, but I didn’t care.  I had personally experienced and benefited from 20%time aka Genius Hour and knew this idea needed to be in schools (see blog post).

The aha moment happened while running the Genius Hour Project Proposal lesson. The student’s honesty hit me like a brick.  The profoundness of their words inspired me record the moment in print.

Here’s the excerpt:

The Brainstorming Lesson

vvOn this particular day, I was following up on my Genius Hour introduction with the brainstorming/project proposal lesson.  The students filled out their list of Terrible Topic Ideas and shared with a small group. They repeated the process when brainstorming Possible Project Ideas.  Due to the small size of the class, I asked students to share out loud their ideas while I recorded them on the board.  We started with the Terrible Topics first.  Here’s their list:

Terrible Topic Ideas

  • School
  • Math
  • English
  • Social Studies
  • Science
  • Homework
  • Tests
  • Teachers
  • Principals
  • Police
  • The Law
  • Reading
  • Learning
  • Writing
  • Making fried chicken
  • Ducks

Their dislike of school, authority and poultry was quite clear – message received!

Here’s their list of Potential Project Ideas:

  • Making a Starburst tower
  • Making a volcano that spurts Gatorade
  • Skateboarding
  • Soccer
  • Inventing things
  • Learning sign language
  • Learning Japanese
  • Gardening (flowers not veggies)
  • Food
  • Cooking
  • Baking
  • Sewing clothes
  • Writing a book
  • Something to do with being outside
  • Making a house out of chocolate
  • Building something

I asked the question:  “Do you see a common theme in this list?”             One girl raised her hand and said, “We’re creative!”  Others agreed.



You can find the full post here:  A Genius Hour Brainstorming Session – A Wake Up Call



About jgvadnais

Instructional Technology Coach. Desmos Fellow. Google Level 1 Certified. SoCal transplant. New Englander at heart. Lover of yoga, dogs, green smoothies and coffee creamer
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5 Responses to Yule Blog Challenge – Day 7

  1. Pingback: Yule Blog Challenge – Day 8 | Communicating Mathematically

  2. Pingback: Yule Blog Challenge – Day 9 | Communicating Mathematically

  3. Pingback: Yule Blog Challenge – Day 10 | Communicating Mathematically

  4. Pingback: Yule Blog Challenge – Day 11 | Communicating Mathematically

  5. Pingback: Yule Blog Challenge – Day 12 | Communicating Mathematically

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