5th Grade Continues to Tackle Genius Hour Challenges

Today’s blog post is brought to you by Aubrie:

Today in G.T. we focused mainly on Genius Hour. Some of us were even daring enough to try an evil level 3 challenge card, such as: Interview a person outside of G.T., or put a timeline in your final project.

Our main goals for Genius Hour were:

Alex and Kenneth: Create a Lego stop-motion movie

Harrison and Cooper: Learn more about fish and other creatures

Kris and Conner: Create a plane that can fly 25 feet in 10 seconds

Paige: Learn more about albino animals

Alexia: Learn why dogs are important to humans

Anna: Find out about Faberge’s Eggs

Aubrie: Learn about Grover Cleveland

We watched a Kid President video called ‘Your 20 things we should say more often.”

We also read ‘The Giver’, and discussed the community.

Lastly, we beta-tested the game ‘Word’, where two teams try to describe a picture in one word, and place the letters in front of the screen.

Editor’s Note:  We also have some pictures of Aubrie (above) standing at our Genius Bar.  She brought some foreign coins to share with the class.

5th Grade Takes on Genius Hour Challenges!

Today’s blog post is brought to you by Aubrie!

Today we did Genius Hour, where we study a person, place or thing for 1 hour. Mrs. Eichholz made it even more fun by making challenge cards. The challenge cards range from level 1 to level 5. Some of the level 1 and 2 cards are: Write with your non-dominate hand for the entire hour – No talking for the hour – Work with someone new for the time period – Find a song that relates to your project, and even more evil things!

We also read “The Giver”, and discussed all of the things and events humans here do and have that might seem strange to them.

We did Hands on Equations, and learned how to use negative cubes, along with red cubes, blue pawns, and white pawns.

Lastly, we examined Anole, a green anole lizard that Mrs. Eichholz adopted for the week.

We also studied him before, after, and as he shed his skin.

Come back next week to see our updates!

5th Grade Explores Cubelets

The PTA recently granted me an EXCEL grant to start outfitting our Maker Studio next door.  One of the items that will be available in the Studio is a set of Cubelets.  These magnetic cubes can be combined in an endless number of ways to create different types of robots.  The order arrived last night, so I asked the 5th graders to explore them today and give me some feedback.

Even though the set is large (20 Cubelets), we found that it is definitely ideal to have no more than 2 or 3 people using them at a time.  The extra battery Cubelet that I ordered has not arrived, yet, but that will make it easier for a couple more people to work the challenges at the same time.  The kids all agreed that they are awesome, though!

We also worked on Genius Hour today, and the students learned about some “Villains” to avoid (such as “Decoy Boy”, who tries to distract you from your task).  They were offered Genius Hour Challenges, too, which made the time a bit more exciting.  Some had to go the entire hour without talking, one had to switch partners for a day, and another had to use her non-dominant hand for today’s session.  And those were only Level 1 Challenges!  The cards go up to Level 5, so it will be interesting to see who is willing to try the harder ones!

Here are some photos from today:


4th Grade Brainstorms Genius Hour Ideas

I am so thrilled to introduce our first student blogger, Athasi!  The following post was authored by her.  The accompanying photos are examples of some of the student Haiku Deck slides, as well as pictures taken by our student photographers. (Click on each thumbnail to see a larger version.)

Today we used the app Haiku Deck and had a contest of who could create the best example of personification. The top two that we voted on were “The ice cream was calling my name” and “The train screamed in the night”. We also read some more of Tuck Everlasting and worked on hands on equations. Additionally we started to  brainstorm ideas for things we want to research or make during our genius hour time. We also used websites to come up with ideas. one more thing we did was brainstorm and vote for the name of our maker studio in the classroom next door. Some of the names we came up with were The outside of the box, Creativity HQ and Creation Station.

5th Grade Blasts Off into Genius Hour

We spent a lot of time preparing for 5th grade Genius Hour – going over online safety and research skills, brainstorming ideas, and planning.

Today, the students finally got to dig into their various topics.  It was so exciting to see them so engaged in their projects!  Some are collaborating, and some are working on their own.  Some are using technology, and some are going “old school.”  The variety in the projects, and their planned presentations is just as diverse as the students in our class.

Being the first day, I don’t have any final projects to share, yet.  But one group has given me permission to post one of their practice Lego Stop Motion videos, created with the free Lego Movie Making app on the iPad.  Enjoy!

(If the video below does not appear, you can also view it by clicking on this link.

5th Grade Starts Planning Genius Hour Missions

5th grade continued to read The Giver today, and to discuss the effect that too much safety might have on freedom.  They were definitely all in agreement that the fictional community in the story has far too many rules!

They also came up with some great plans for their first Genius Hour projects.  I am hoping that they will take a look at Edmodo after this Friday to play in the “Digital Sandbox” that I plan to post.  This will help them to come up with another way to present their projects, rather than just using Powerpoint.

We had a bit of a technology glitch when we were about to work on Hands-On-Equations and Coding.  So, the back-up plan was to do a S.C.A.M.P.E.R. activity.  Along with pictures of students presenting their drawings, I have posted a couple of examples from students who really included a lot of detail on their “Put to Another Use” pages.  One student decided that a hay wagon could be used to help a hero turtle save a duck from being roasted.  The other one drew a hay wagon turned into a space simulator for animals.  Such imagination!


5th Grade Researches More Genius Hour Topics

The 5th graders will be planning their Genius Hour projects next week, and I wanted to make sure they realize some of the options available to them.  Today, they used QR code bookmarks to scan and find websites that might spark some ideas.  They also discussed projects with each other, and at least two of them found that they had the same interest. That was a great discovery because, although they don’t plan to create the same product, they can learn about their topic together, and help each other if necessary.

We read some more of The Giver, and the students discussed the relationship between freedom and safety.  The community in the book has a lot of rules, but it is very safe.  This connects to many current events, and is very relevant to the students, so it makes for great conversation!

The students also worked on programming using the Kodable app.  Many of them finished the first level, which is usually the only free one.   I am thankful I was able to download Kodable Pro for free today, so I can satisfy their hunger for more!

5th Grade Rocks!

Gosh, it was so hard telling the 5th graders, “Goodbye,” today! We have had such a wonderful year, and I think that all of us have grown and learned from each other. This is a very special group of students, and I will definitely miss them next year.

We finished up our year by sharing a couple more Genius Hour projects (Sierra did a great presentation on html, and a sample webpage, but, unfortunately, I am unable to embed it), and finalizing our music video. We also took some class photos. Since no one seemed to be able to agree on the best one, I decided to share all of the ones we took this morning!

5th Grade Gets TONS Done!

Sometimes it amazes me how 16 students can be working on 10 different projects, and we don’t all implode from the absolute chaos! Today we got so much done that I haven’t even had a chance to upload all of the finished projects to share on this blog. Four Dream Team videos got finished, as well as five Genius Hour projects. A few of the students even found the time to work on the Robotics challenge board that is due next week. Way to go, 5th grade!

I’ve got the Dream Team Projects embedded below. Next week, I will try to include all of the completed Genius Hour projects.

Can you believe we only have two more GT classes left?!!!!

5th Grade Learns More About Robotics

Thanks to Mr. Arteaga, who sponsors the Robotics team at Reagan High School, the students got to see and participate in a demonstration of one of the high school robots. All of the students got to drive the robot for a short period of time. Mr. Arteaga also talked about the value of studying robotics, and the number of diverse careers to which it can lead.

Here are just a few of the pictures that the students took with the iPads today:

We also had a couple of Genius Hour presentations today. Ian did an interesting animation project using Wideo, and Lloyd and Aiden presented a slide show on space. The notes that were used for the slide show are linked below the presentation.

Aiden’s Speech
Lloyd’s Speech