Friday, May 13, 2016

Five for Friday the 13th!

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Thank you for hosting, Kacey! 

Dr. Jean had some wonderful ideas for gift notes, so we got together and made a packet of them. We made 20 different designs for 17 sayings for our Gift Tag, Gift Card, and Gift Idea Packet.  Each saying is on both a half sheet of paper to use as a gift tag or a full sheet that can be printed, folded, and made into a card that your class can sign.  I made a bunch of cards ready for my class to sign!

The packet has a list of gift ideas to go with each saying- from simple, small tokens to larger gifts, depending on what's perfect for you.  I love to have my class remember the cafeteria ladies, our wonderful aides, our great nurse, special area teachers, any parent volunteers or classroom helpers.   Sometimes I want to give just a little something to let them know we are thinking of them, and other times, we may want to give a gift card or larger gift.

For example, the candy bar card would go great with one candy bar or a beautiful box of candy.  You could bake a loaf of banana bread to go with the banana card- or give the Bananagrams game.

The cards can be used any time of the year- for any occasion or just because.  That's my favorite part.  I printed a lot of the cards out to keep at school with some of the accompanying gifts, just in case. They're not just for school either- you can use them for anyone!

I hope you find some cards you can use and this packet can save you some time during this busy time of year.  

Next- I've found some awesome videos to share.  I know you'll love them all- and they make you think in such a good way.  Get a cup of coffee and relax and enjoy! 

My friend Jen, our tech teacher, did a presentation about Genius Hour.  We heard A.J. Juliani speak a few months ago, and he spoke a lot about Google's "20% Project."  That was the idea that Google employees could spend 20% of their time working on projects that interested them where they could be creative and innovative.  From that project came ideas like Google News, Gmail, AdSense, and Google maps- some of the awesome things we use every day.

The Genius Hour takes this idea into schools.  Students are given time to create, to invent, to pursue their passion.  Not surprisingly, when this time is provided, students are engaged, focused, researching, experimenting, and setting the bar higher than a teacher probably ever would.  Oh, and at the same time are hitting those standards, but in a way that matters to them.  It's so exciting.

We were talking about how to bring this Genius Hour to kindergarten.  What would it look like in early primary grades?  They sure have passions- but it's more like "kittens.  minecraft.  fairies."  

My belief is that education is finally, hopefully, coming full circle in a wonderful, hands-on way, and what young children need is TIME to EXPLORE, CREATE, and PLAY WITH THINGS.  (Do you hear the angels singing?!  Me, too...)

Here is what I believe Genius Hour would look like.  Messy.  Fun.  Creative.  Exciting. I see tables with art supplies- paper, tape, staplers, hole punches, yarn, shoe boxes, toilet paper rolls, oatmeal boxes, glue, wall paper books, old pieces of everything you can think of, straws, plastic spoons- WHATEVER you can imagine- it can be used!  Then...  Ready, Set...  GO!  You have no rules.  Just make something fabulous.

My kids LOVE army guys.  They will make a base for them.  Some of my girls are huge fairy fans- they might make a fairy house from wall paper and a shoebox, some sticks and stones, or moss,  to feel like outside- who know?!   The kids love playing library.  Maybe we need to make scanners for the books.  

A teacher's job will be to be there, listening, encouraging, gently suggesting additional ideas if needed.
When do you fit it in?   Well, it's important.  I know there is so much curriculum already eating up the day- but I am lucky enough to have a set Free Choice time for the kids.  That's when I am working it in.  It's STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math), at it's best.

You can expand it with writing and have the kids write "how-to" books or persuasive writing about their projects if you want to tie it in to literacy.

ANYWAY- enough talking.  Here's what I wanted you to see.  You will love it.  I promise.

OK if you watched that-  you'll  LOVE  this Part 2! 
Just in case you haven't seen this... well, it's awesome. 

HAPPINESS!  It's 12 minutes - and worth every one of them.  

Thank you for stopping by! Have a perfect weekend.


  1. Love your positive outlook! I'm hoping to do Genius Hour next year as a regular part of my week...anything that encourages creativity should be a priority in our schools!

  2. I love this whole post!!! Genius Hours are something I want to start doing and Kid President is THE BEST! And I love all the card ideas! Thank you for sharing!



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