We started our own version Genius Hour in our classroom this week. Kids can learn whatever they want every morning from 9:05-9:30. I realized that I had slowly taken too much control in the classroom and it wasn't working. I don't teach that way and I know that. Not sure exactly how it happened but it did. Seems to take me a while to find my way when I start a new grade level. Anyway, we started Genius Hour (along with other things--changed up a few routines that weren't making sense to me) and it's been great! My favorite celebration was after 3 days, we were chatting as a class about what they liked about starting the day this way and one child said, "I didn't know I could help people. I always just thought I needed help." A big message for me and so glad I followed my gut about what wasn't working in the classroom.
I shared #nerdlution with my kids and told them that I had started the year with the intention of reading a picture book every day--just because. I read lots of picture books throughout each day but they all tie into something we are learning about. I have let go of the habit of just sharing great books on a daily basis, just because. So I told them my classroom #nerdlution was for me to do that, every day after lunch. And from their reaction, they will hold me accountable to this! On Thursday, I pulled out Guess Again! by Mac Barnett and Adam Rex. I had meant to share this book earlier but had forgotten. The kids made me read it twice because it CRACKED THEM UP! They laughed and laughed. Even my kids who try not to laugh out loud, couldn't help it. Great fun!
And JoEllen shared a new title with us at NCTE called Winter is for Snow . I shared it with kids this week in Writing Workshop and we had an amazing workshop. I thought the book might be too simple for workshop but I was amazed at how many craft decisions the kids noticed in the book and how many they wanted to play with in their own writing. And it was the perfect week for a snow book, right?
We had a Snow Day!