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posted Mar 14, 2017, 2:24 PM by Nicole Williams

Genius Hour

posted Apr 19, 2016, 8:12 AM by Nicole Williams   [ updated Apr 19, 2016, 8:13 AM ]

I attended California Teacher's Association Good Teaching Conference. The ideas were very progressive and I was eager to the start the following Monday. My favorite presentation was by teachers Karin Barone and Erin Rosselli. This video gives a quick idea of what Genius Hour is really about.

The presentation and research is based on Drive by Daniel Pink and The Passion Driven Classroom by Amy Sandvold and Angela Maiers. The Genius Hour guidelines state:

  • Teachers allow students one hour a week to work on their own interests and passions.

  • Teacher acts a facilitator and mentor.

  • No deadlines

  • It involves research/writing.

  • Final product to be shared with the world

Self Determination Theory states that people motivated by intrinsically will out perform those motivated extrinsically.

Getting Started:

  1. Practice researching and developing inquiry question on a whole class decided topic.

  2. Use learning contracts, conference forms, expectations for work time.

  3. Ask students what they wonder about: Wonderopolis is a good website for brainstorming.

  4. Have students develop an inquiry question.

  5. Practice citing evidence, research tools, appropriate web researching, virtual field trips

  6. Have students create a product: Vidra, Prezi, Slides, 101 ways to show what you know

  7. Students can organize their thoughts and process on Padlet or Trello.



Getting started in 4th grade

I created this hyperdoc to introduce Genius Hour to students. We spent the first hour introducing and getting students wondering.

By the end of the hour, students had amazing topics- we are still honing in our question.

Don't You Dare

posted Apr 19, 2016, 8:06 AM by Nicole Williams   [ updated Apr 19, 2016, 8:06 AM ]

AJ Juliani's blog addresses how difficult it is to be an innovator even for teachers. It takes some guts to go against the grain to do what you know what your students need.  

Partner Talking Cards

posted Oct 28, 2015, 1:46 PM by Nicole Williams   [ updated Oct 28, 2015, 1:47 PM ]


posted Oct 16, 2015, 11:33 AM by Nicole Williams

Hyperdocs are interactive GoogleDocs that students can access and interact with.

"With one shortened link, students can access a lesson that contains instructions, links, tasks, and many clever ways to get kids thinking. Focusing on creating opportunities for choice, exploration, and ways for kids to apply their knowledge is key to creating a truly innovative HyperDoc."

Here are the steps to create a HyperDoc:

1. Create a document on your drive. 
2. Add directions for your students. Give directions so students can visit specific websites. 
3. Give Accountability. Have students create a slide or write on a blog to show their learning. 
4. Publish on the web. File>Publish on the Web.
5. Link to your website OR create a bit.ly, so students can access the web address more easily.
6. Share with students!

What strategies work best?

posted Sep 1, 2015, 12:33 PM by Nicole Williams   [ updated Sep 1, 2015, 12:33 PM ]

Visible Learning for Teachers draws on the findings of John Hattie’s ground-breaking meta study Visible Learning (2009). Hattie’s follow up book concentrates on the underlying story behind the data and provides many hands on examples for Visible Learning in the classroom. The book provides evidence based answers to the question: How to improve students’ achievement in my own classroom or school. It is a useful resource for future teachers, experienced teachers, head teachers and school administrators alike.

Mistakes are Meant to be Made

posted Aug 30, 2015, 10:20 PM by Nicole Williams   [ updated Aug 30, 2015, 10:22 PM ]

I have become obsessed with implementing a "Growth Mindset." This article is a great way on how to execute this practice with your students.

Excerpt from KQED article, "Growth Mindset: How to Normalize Mistake Making and Struggle in Class" by Katrina Schwartz:

"Now, many school districts are attempting to teach growth mindset to their students. At the core of this practice is the idea of “productive failure” (a concept Dr. Manu Kapur has been studying for over a decade)* and giving students the time and space to work through difficult problems. Another key idea is to praise the process and effort a child puts in, not the final product."

Number Talks

posted Aug 18, 2015, 10:14 AM by Nicole Williams   [ updated Aug 18, 2015, 10:15 AM ]

Number Talks help children build mental math and computation strategies.

School Supplies

posted Aug 2, 2015, 2:56 PM by Nicole Williams

It's that time again!


posted Aug 2, 2015, 2:38 PM by Nicole Williams

I have my own Youtube page! I have been experiementing with screen casting and showing teachers how to access our new math curriculum. It is a great way to show a technology skills while monitoring understanding! I am using a very basic screencasting app called Screencastify. 

YouTube Video

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