Genius Hour – Where Passions come alive


Genius Hour – Where Passions come alive

Each week we have approximately an hour dedicated for student personal inquiry through Genius Hour.  Genius Hour is time given during the school day to allow students to follow their passions and learn about topics that interest them concluding with a presentation of their learning. Sometime action!


Our first step was to develop an essential question.  One that can’t be answered simply through ‘googling” it.

Some of our genius ideas include…

  • How can you build a house in space?
  • How are gaming characters created?
  • How are we able to understand the code in video games?
  • What is the science behind a chain reaction?
  • How can we draw realistically?
  • Ho do you convince people to buy from animal shelters instead of pet shops?

You might see evidence of these ideas in the photos below.

Of course the question is just the starting point.  Sometimes as the kids get into their inquiry they realise that it might not have been the best question.  Sometimes they begin and their inquiry takes them in a whole new direction.

The first inquiry has been absolute free choice.  Any passion, any project!

The inquiries for the remainder of the year need to be in line with our units.  The students will need to make connections to the central idea or lines of inquiry or key concepts.  It still gives heaps of scope.  They just need to be creative and clever and be able to articulate their connection.  This is going to be great practice leading up to our exhibition.

Last week during Genius Hour I thought out loud, “wow, everyone is so engaged”.  The response from a nearby student… “yes, that’s because we love it so much”.  


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This Wednesday, September 21st, we celebrated INTERNATIONAL PEACE DAY.


Activities included:

  • We viewed Ted Talk to Jeremey Gilley – One Day of Peace
  • We developing word banks about peace to create our own word search…
    • Peace and calm
    • Philosophical words of peace
    • Political words
    • War and peace
    • Bullying and conflict
  • We also used Tagxedo – creator to present key words
  • We made Peace doves hand print
  • We came up with peace slogans
  • Throughout the day we listened to songs related to peace such as
    • Big Yellow Taxi by Counting Crows
    • Imagine by John Lennon
    • Two Tribes by Frankie Goes to Hollywood
    • Heal the World by Michael Jackson
  • We viewed The Butter Battle by Dr. Seuss and The Zax
  • We wrote Poetry
  • We gave and received compliments

We were very peaceful. 


In UOI / Language…

We read a short piece about well known peacemakers… Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, J.F.K, to name a few.  The children made presentations to the class to impart information about why they believed their person was a peacemaker.

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In Maths…

We carried on with mean, median, mode and range.  We also reviewed all our work on data handling to prepare for an assessment task – steps in statistical investigation.  Be warned, they may be looking for people to survey!


UOI – Anti-bullying workshop / Visual Arts

Visual Arts News

  • Reed is posting daily photos & brief descriptions of the day’s visual art focus to his art class Instagram account.
  • His Instagram username is: mr_aaron_reed
  • Reed will also continue to do end-of-unit blogposts with descriptive overviews & photos of the children at work and of their artwork. Also check the local & online art resources (for both parents and students) which are available on this site.
  • Link here:

From the classroom…

Our work inspired by Hokusai has come down and been replaced by “A Bad Hair Day”.  Come up and have look.



  • Writer’s Workshop
  • Onomatopoeia challenge – it was great to see studnets recognising onomatopoeia in our class books.  Thanks for sharing Goki and Taiyo.
  • Word of the week – resilience
  • Spelling practice – tic tac toe

UOI – Anti-bullying workshop

Some things we learnt or were reminded of:

Bullying is…

  • A repeated behaviour
  • Meant to cause fear, upset or harm
  • Physical, verbal & mental
  • By someone or a group stronger and more powerful
  • Against someone weaker and less powerful

We talked about the catastrophe scale and the emotional thermometer and how these are useful when dealing with conflict and our emotions.

Circle Time discussions

  • Is it ok to have a disagreement?
  • Making the right choices.


In data handling we moved on to mean, median, mode and range this week.  This can be confusing for some students so we used the flowing nursery rhyme as a way of remembering.

Some children were up for a some more challenging work and so the work was differentiated accordingly.

Students reflected on the effort (and achievement) they put into their learning.

🙂  😐  🙁







Getting organised for the year ahead

Back to School Night

Thanks to everyone who was able to make it the other night.  It was really great to meet you.

Getting organised:

In week 1 we spent some time discussing our rights and responsibilities in a learning environment.  This week we consolidated some of these ideas into our class essential agreements.  Alongside YIS’ School Wide Values, we have come up with the following to ensure our class runs smoothly, that we learn to the best of our ability in an environment that is comfortable and enjoyable.

  • To learn and extend ourselves as thinkers
  • To have fun (know the boundaries)
  • To be enthusiastic and have a positive attitude
  • To participate fully
  • To listen to others and be respectful
  • To be safe and make good choices
  • To respect our classroom and others as a learning environment

In Maths

We continued to learn about graphing and data handling.  We made some little monsters with various number of eyes (image below).  These formed data for graphing in numerous ways.  We sat in a circle on the floor to form a human pie graph and then successfully formed pie graphs in written and digital form.  Some of us could even work out the percentage of each section of the pie graph.


Language… Flashlight Friday

What a fun way to read a book!


Yamashita Park

What a brilliant day.  Thanks to Liam Claydon for some excellent team building games.  Thanks to all the kids for their participation and great attitudes.



The Significant Events Road’

It was so nice to walk into the class on Monday morning and have that comfortable feeling of knowing each other and getting on with business.

In Maths we looked at the elements of a graph and talked about the importance of accuracy when constructing them.  We were busy collecting data to form bar, column and pictographs. We had a whole lot of noisy fun with dice!  We also had Mr. Matt visit our class to talk through some methods of calculating 2 digit numbers.  We came up with so many ways!

In English our mini lesson was ‘The Significant Events Road’.  Our planning required us to draw a road and signpost the significant events along the way.  These might include meeting a new friend, gaining a younger sibling, falling over etc.  This is a simple strategy to inspire our writing.  We also used the theme ‘uglyness’ (to coincide with the idea of conflict). I’m interested to read how the students reconciled the conflict within their writing to create a positive outcome.

One of our learning engagements in UOI was to create art based on Hokusai’ The Great Wave.  We had discussion and used a Google doc to post our thoughts about how we saw conflict within the original artwork.    The goal was to incorporate conflict within.  This was difficult as we often want our art to look ‘nice’.  Our art will be on display outside our classroom.

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