Day 35 – You Are a Genius, Part 1

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There is a genius in all of us, right? The teachers at Thorpe Creek Elementary think so too!  Many TCE classrooms from kindergarten to fourth grade dedicate instructional time to Genius Hour each week. Students inquire, explore, and expand their wonderings and passions. They are given time to wonder and ask questions about their world, research and explore, and then students share their findings with the class and community! And it looks different in every classroom!


Mrs. Eby modeled her own inquiry for her kindergarten class when she shared how she discovered that her broken air conditioner had actually been struck by lightning!  She shared how she asked questions, where she went to seek the answers, and how she shared her findings.  Her students then started asking their own questions.  Some first graders in Mrs. Potter’s class asked questions like, “Why do bees sting you?” and “Why do we have an attic in our house if we never use it.”

Mrs. Gibson’s fourth graders are finding that some of their wonderings are turning into projects!  One group wondered how gluten-free ice cream is made, and now they are making their own and sharing it with the class! Another group of students in her class is learning about robots and attempting to build their own.  Mrs. L. King’s second graders are making informative videos, including one about the dangers of poison ivy!
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What do you wonder about?  How do you find answers to your questions and share the information with others?  We all do this every day!  That’s what HSE21 instruction and Genius Hour is all about…purposely, creatively, and safely navigating our everyday inquiries!

-Submitted by Leslie Hopper, Thorpe Creek Elementary Media Specialist

Day 26 – #Dot Day: @TeamMurch4 Makes Their Mark

murch2After discovering the #Dot Day on Twitter, students from Mrs. Murch’s 4th grade class decided to join the creating, celebrating and, most importantly, the connecting during this day! Students were challenged to think outside the box and create their own unique dots, math games that incorporated concepts using dots, writing activities and goals all around message of the book The Dot by Peter Reynolds. Students and teachers were challenged to think of ways they were “going the make their mark” on the world; they had time to self-reflect and set goals for this school year and for the future.


Dot Day also provided Mrs. Murch’s class with the opportunity to work toward another class goal for the year: 50 states in 180 days via Skype in the Classroom. 50 States in 180 Days challenges students to connect with all 50 states this school year through #Mystery Skype. @TeamMurch was able to add two more United States schools because of Dot Day! They also participated in their first international Skype with a school in Canada! Students read and discussed their perspective of The Dot with 2nd graders in New York, and they shared and explained their “dots” creations with 5th & 6th graders in Canada–they even learned a bit of French during the call! Finally, they shared their writing and ways of making their mark with students in TN. Dot Day was an amazing HSE_21 day for all learners!

-Submitted by Amy Murch, Brooks School Elementary, 4th Grade

Day 18 – Curiosity and “The Blob”

IMG_1937Some Lantern Road Elementary students had their curiosity doubly sparked today, when they entered the Media Center and saw–? A big blue blob! Actually, the big blue blob is Digitarium, a portable Planetarium that will remain at LRE for the entire week. “The students have been learning about non-fiction resources, and this surprise makes the perfect culmination and connection to our unit,” said Media Specialist Lori Silbert. Mrs. Silbert’s parent helper today added that being exposed to the night sky through Digitarium fosters curiosity in the children. “It makes them want to go outside and night and think about the stars.”

Curiosity. It’s inherent in every child. Great teachers foster this natural desire to understand the world — through Blobs and tales of the night sky — and in countless other HSE21 learning experiences every day.

-Submitted on behalf of Lori Silbert, Lantern Road Elementary Media Specialist