We came back to school on Monday, January 6th, 2014 after a two week winter break. Part of my Morning Message on the SMARTBOARD: This afternoon we will have #geniushour. The excitement was palpable as the children “turned and talked” sharing ideas and discussing the recyclables they would use. (The children have seen us bring in recyclable materials and some have contributed their own.) We decided to begin this round of #geniushour by discussing what they might like to make. We brainstormed the idea of designing and making things to help people. They discussed making things their family might use; from kitchen utensils, to storage places for toys.
We let them decide if they wanted to pair up, work in small groups or work by themselves. Sharing is a BIG word and concept whenever we have #geniushour. It works smoothly and efficiently when they take turns, share and work cooperatively. Each time we have had this activity our Kinders have been incredibly supportive and collaborative. Listening to their conversations as they brainstorm ideas and problem solve is the BEST! We had some children stay at their one “maker project” the whole period as well as some who “tinkered” with one idea for a short while and then moved on. They moved around the room gathering their materials then quickly started. When they reached a stumbling block they often times asked their friends for help. If they needed a teacher to help them, it was wonderful to listen to their explanations of what they were making and what kind of assistance they needed (punching holes in hard plastic lids, building platforms, taping objects together) to work on their invention.
The time ended too quickly for some; others were ready to be done. The class quickly learned that they were all part of the clean up crew and they were able to sort what we could use for our next #geniushour Those who wanted, were able to discuss their “invention”: what, how and why. As we reflected and discussed #geniushour, they said they had fun making “stuff.” Some decided to make cooking utensils and storage for pots and pans. Some made musical instruments, toys and hats. Other children designed vehicles and tracks for their cars. Many of the boys and girls thought it would be a good idea to make storage places for their Legos and their siblings’ toys.
Their big question: WHEN IS THE NEXT “Tinker Time” #GeniusHour