Genius Hour Submission Day and SURPRISE GUEST!!

Since this entire week has been devoted to our crash course in grammar, the students were all planning on a quiz. Though that was on the plan, the arrival of our surprise guest speaker pushed that off until Monday. Miss A. Butler came to speak about her work as an equestrian on track for the Olympics. She took some time to emphasize the importance of presentation in horse jumping and balancing her competition schedule with her 6 AP and being a high school senior.

After Miss Butler’s talk, the students asked questions, participated in a quick grammar review, and signed up for their Genius Hour presentation day.

REMEMBER: Genius Hour reflections and self assessments were due in class today with some evidence of the completion of the project. Any digital evidence of The completion of a project must be submitted on Padlet at the link below. These must be submitted by 11:59 p.m.


  • Read for 60 minutes.
  • Prepare Genius Hour projects for final presentation next week.


Grammar Crash Course: Day 4

Today we finished our lesson on verbals by discussing participles.  Furthermore, we discussed the differences between gerunds (-ing words that act as nouns) and present participles (also -ing words, but these act as adjectives or parts of the verb phrase/predicate).

We also went over the requirements for tomorrow’s Genius Hour submission deadline:

  • Self-assessment and Reflection
  • Evidence of completed project (hard copy or digital copy via Padlet)

The students will sign up for presentation days and times in class tomorrow.  The remaining items for their Genius Hour projects (remaining presentation materials, Genius Hour product, and Presentation Rubric) will be due on the day of their presentation.


  • Read.
  • Finish Genius Hour project for submission tomorrow.


Grammar Crash Course: Day 2

Today, the students took a trip through the world of sentence diagramming…but not in the way one would usually think.

Sentence Diagramming vs Sentence Trees


Today, after watching a brief video outlining how sentence trees are made, the students followed along with me as I created four sentence trees for sentences of varying lengths.  They then set about creating their own.


  • Read for 30 minutes.
  • Complete Genius Hour project (DUE BY FRIDAY of THIS WEEK).


The Final #GeniusHour Work Day

Today marked the last Genius Hour day (for this Fall Semester at the very least).  After completing their Vocabulary from Classical Roots Unit #2 Test, the students worked on wrapping up their Genius Hour assignments.  Since it took some time for all of the students to finish, I waited until everyone was done with the test to discuss a few points about their upcoming Genius Hour Project submissions next week.  The highlights are below:

GH Last Work Day

The students then shared their final reflections via Padlet.


  • Read for 60 minutes.
  • Finish up Genius Hour Project (Due Friday, December 12th, 2014. NO LATE WORK WILL BE ACCEPTED.)


#GeniusHour Day!

We are nearing the end of this exciting and fun project called Genius Hour!  The students have worked for over a month researching a topic of their own interest and creating a product to show what they learned.  In the end they will present their findings to the class.  Bearing in mind our end goals, the students and I spent the majority of today’s class working on our projects.

We first started with a quick review of the vocabulary words.  The students chose a word from lessons 5, 6, 7, and 8 and created an illustration for each word with a kid-friendly definition.  This activity sought not only to reinforce their vocabulary skills, but also to help the students remember the importance of addressing their audience appropriately.

After a small selection of students presented their illustrations, we had a brief Q & A session.  In the five minutes allotted, the students had the opportunity to share any questions, sticking points, or concerns about their projects with the whole class.   We worked together to generate answers, suggestions, feedback, and support as necessary.  When time was up, the students worked diligently upon their Genius Hour projects.  There are only 3 weeks left until these projects are due (Friday, December 12th, 2014)!


  • Genius Hour Projects are due Friday, December 12th, 2014.
  • NO LATE WORK WILL BE ACCEPTED.  Early work will be greatly appreciated starting Monday, December 8th, 2014.


  • Read for 270 minutes (30 minutes per day, including the weekends).
  • Begin completion of Genius Hour Project including product and presentation (see above).


Story Recap and Genius Hour: Friday, November 7th, 2014

Class started with the students taking turns sharing images they created of various vocabulary words from lesson 8 as if they were trying to teach them to an elementary school student.  Thereafter, we delved into a recap of yesterday’s lesson.  We spent the first part of today’s class discussing the differences between the telling of “The Tell-Tale Heart” in a written versus a short film format.  That spawned a very interesting and detailed conversation about some of the liberties taken by the filmmakers in adapting Edgar Allen Poe’s story for the screen.  Why did the filmmakers choose to show this, omit that, or include this?

The last half of class was dedicated to work on the students’ Genius Hour projects.  They are to have their Annotated Bibliographies filled with at least 5 sources by 11:59 p.m. tonight.

I also created a page entitled “Genius Hour” that can be found linked in the tabs at the top of this blog.


  • Read for 60 minutes.
  • Finish whatever was not finished in class.


Genius Hour Work Day! Friday, October 31st, 2014

Courtesy of:
Courtesy of:

Instead of your typical Halloween costumes, today ECMS celebrated this fun holiday with a fundraiser.  For a nominal fee, you could pay to wear pajamas to school!  I could not resist this opportunity to don some of the comfy Christmas gifts I had gotten from my favorite grandmothers.  Needless to say, it was a very laid-back and comfortable day in all classes.


Once class started, I reminded the students of what needed to have been completed up to this point. They were to have:

  • finished brainstorming,
  • identified a topic of study,
  • crafted a driving question, and
  • started (or completed) their research proposal.
    • All research proposals must be done by Monday, November 3rd, 2014.

I then took a moment to show them how to begin work on their annotated bibliographies that will also be posted onto their KidBlog accounts.  The students will need to have started their annotated bibliographies by Friday, November 7th, 2014.

The students had the rest of time in class to work on their Genius Hour projects.  I made sure to consult with as many students as possible to check on their progress.


  • Read for 60 minutes.
  • Continue work on Genius Hour project.
  • Have a safe and happy Halloween!!


Genius Hour Kickoff Day #4: Gratitude

After a few days of front loading, the students had the opportunity to delve into researching for their Genius Hour projects. Some students opted to bring in their own devices, while others were able to use the school laptops and classroom computers.

As a side note, I am grateful that the students are even more excited about this project than I could have imagined! I cannot wait to see what they learn, create, and share with us along the way.

My sincerest gratitude goes out to all of the wonderful parents of my home room students with whom I have been meeting all Conference Week. Your partnership is what makes our school more impactful and effective. Furthermore, I would like to thank the parents who inquired about my Book Fair wish list (which I put up later in the game) and for those who did purchase items off of that list. Your generosity and desire to give has warmed my heart.

Homework: Read for 30 minutes and continue your research.

Genius Hour Kickoff Day 3: Book Fair Visit and Proposal Writing

Today’s class was a hodgepodge of activities with the shortened class periods of Conference Week and the Book Fair being on campus.  After some brief discussion of the students’ desired Genius Hour topics (if they had not already shared this information yesterday), I addressed any concerns that arose regarding the writing of their proposals before our quick jaunt out to the Book Fair.

REMINDER: The Book Fair will be at school until this Friday.  Below are some book trailers for some of their featured texts:



Genius Hour Kickoff Week: Day 2-Driving Questions and Research Proposals

In this second day focused upon the Genius Hour semester project, the students had the opportunity to walk with me through my process of turning my prospective topic ideas into one solid topic. Then, I showed them how I would turn that topic into a up to five driving questions. From those questions, the students will then focus their research on one driving question as they write their research proposals and begin delving into their Genius Hour Projects.

Genius Hour Proposal Template

In education, it is seen as a best practice to do a lot of your writing work alongside the students so that you can have more meaningful conversations about the process since you would be in the same boat with them.  This typically isn’t that feasible in a real-world classroom because there is so much that we teachers must address and juggle.  Even with that in mind, I told the students that I would pledge to do Genius Hour alongside them as well.  For my project I will write and work to publish a book as a part of the NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month taking place this November.  A handful of students also expressed interest in signing up with the official site to embark upon the novel writing experience with me.  All-in-all, Genius Hour will surely be a lot of fun for all of us.

Genius Hour Semester Project Guidelines


  • Read for 30 minutes.
  • Complete up to 5 Driving Questions for Genius Hour Project.
  • Begin work on the rough draft of the Genius Hour Proposal.