Wonder Wednesdays ~ I Wonder... (genius hour)

 Personalized Learning, Genius Hour, Passion Projects, 21st Century Learning, Inquiry Learning, Differentiated Learning... these are all terms to describe types of learning that are designed to engage the student based on their needs. I have tried my own style of personalized learning and I differentiate learning all the time for students as I know most of you do. I always feel like I can reach a little farther and see where it will take the students in their learning.  WONDER WEDNESDAYS is my journey into Passion Projects.

I began with a discussion about just what having a passion for something is all about. What do you really, really, really like?  What things do you wonder about?  I gave my students a couple of examples like:  Why are there stars in the sky?  The kids volunteered some thoughts and wonder questions too.  Then we got to work! I created these open-ended sheets so they could brain storm their own ideas in a non-formal way.

...and for those students who love to write:

The students really loved doing this!! WOW!  What great questions some of them had!

 I promise I didn't encourage the writing of the second I wonder on this one below!!

Beginning next week, we will be starting our Passion Projects.  We will be working on the actual projects on Fridays afternoons but we will be "wondering" all week and I will be sharing the process on Wednesdays that will lead to our final Passion Projects.  I will be considering topic choice, demonstrations of learning, assessment FOR learning and presentations.  Won't you join our journey?

Next Wednesday, I will be sharing the personalized learning journey that my class embarked on the year before last.  I will also share the next step in this year's passion projects.  Hopefully you will get some ideas for your own students. :)

I would like to thank the ever talented Melonheadz Illustrating, Glitter Meets Glue, KG Fonts and Hello Literacy Fonts for their talents in my printables and Wonder Wednesday button.


  1. I LOVE this idea! I often add "what do you wonder" to the bottom of my response sheets, but I've never just left the question as the only topic. I'm going to give it a try and see what they come up with!
    Whimsy Workshop Teaching

  2. It sure gets them thinking doesn't it Susanna? It's fascinating the students that really can wonder and the ones that are just going through the motions. I'm working on getting those ones to "dig deeper".

  3. Hello! My first grade grade level team and I are piloting Genius Hour for our school. We were wondering if you could give us some advice on how to manage it. There are five teachers and about 18 students per classroom. I was thinking that each one of us could manage an area. Library, computers, creative area, writing area, etc. But any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  4. How exciting Olivia! There are just so many ways you could do it. I would first suggest that as a team you get together and decide how you will get started and get those little ones wondering. I personally think that because you have the rapport with your students that you should stick with your own class first for a while. Spend some time with free exploration of ideas and brain storming as a class of things you might love and want to know more about. Then break off into small groups, then pairs then individually focus on 1 or 2 ideas. Draw your ideas. (When I say individually, I still let kids work in pairs because it's good to have someone to bounce ideas off of but at first to give them time to think and write on their own when they are in the wondering stage.) I would make sure parents are informed so that they can be involved. Parents love sending things to school for their child to work on. Management is a big part of genius hour. It's not that it's hard, it's getting the children into a mindset that THEY are in charge of where their thinking and learning goes and you are there to facilitate. If it is you in charge then you are running around frantically trying to find something for the children to do - all of them as individuals, which would be hard and not be the purpose behind personalized learning. The key is to ask them questions (inquiry questions) and teach them to ask the questions too so that they can keep their project going. I tell my class that their projects "never end". They get a kick out of that! Once you are up and running and kids are working on their projects, then you can divide yourselves as teachers into those areas you talked about and have students go to the area which will help them progress on their projects.
    I don't know if you saw this but here is a post on beginning Genius Hour in your classroom. http://thewritestuffteaching.blogspot.ca/2015/01/genius-hour-first-few-weeks.html It involves the kids getting to know themselves first. (If you think your firsties would like to try the notebooks you can purchase one in my TPT shop and then just buy half price licenses for your colleagues.)
    I hope this helps!

    :) Shelley


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