Saturday, February 21, 2015

Genius area

This is a new management piece incorporated this year.  The Weekly Genius'.  This seriously has helped with managing a large class, motivated hard work weekly, and rewarded students for excellent behavior.

As you can tell it is not very high tech and it took me about 10 minutes to set up the system.  I used an old graphing pocket chart, wrote out the different chunks of our day and placed it to the left.  Then wrote out each child's name on a little piece of card stock. Seriously 10 minutes and it has REALLY changed the classroom environment.

I learned about this first from a friend with the great idea (The same one who made the video at the bottom of this post.)  I tried it out by "interviewing" students for positions and they stayed the same each week.  It really didn't have the desired effect that I was going for... Then I discovered a teacher at my school who has 1 genius but changes them weekly.  She said it worked well.  I thought- "hey why not?"

We have been using this since after winter break and it has worked so well BEYOND what I even thought would be possible.

How it works:

  • Each week I "watch" students during the work chunks and determine someone that is really good at following the directions, working hard, and problem solving issues.  I tell students that I am looking for a good leader to be the Genius for the following week.
  • Each Friday we make a GIANT production out of announcing the next weeks' Genius people. I really take the time to say, "This person is someone who I noticed...."  This way the allure of being chosen doesn't wear off.  My students get excited, cheer and congratulate their friends. 
  • I secretly keep a class list that I check off each time they have been a Genius.  I don't even mark what area they were- I just mark that they were a Genius.  This way I know to try to find a way to choose some students that haven't been a Genius much.  I still really choose students by who did well.  Some students have been a Genius 8 times, while some have only been twice.  I really do rely on these students to do their job so that I can do mine without interruptions.
  • My students know when to go to their Genius "job" without me telling them.  Their shift is anywhere between 15-30 minutes.  If students in the class have a question or need assistance- they go to the Genius.  The Genius assists them.  
  • The Genius is still responsible for doing their work as well.
  • Two weeks ago we added a "The Genius is on Break" sign.  Under it says, "Ask 3 other friends for help.  If they can't figure it out- then complete a quiet choice."  The Genius can put this up if there have been too many questions or they need to finish their work.
  • As an added bonus our Genius' have their own little office.  We share the office with some word study materials etc.  During their shift, they sit in the office.  Clipboards are hanging on the wall for their convenience.  

I HIGHLY recommend implementing this into your classroom.  It really takes little preparation for the HUGE amount of positives that come from it.  

Just a reminder as a PAY IT FORWARD- all (well I think at least 18) of my common core math items are free until tomorrow!  My entire store is also 20 percent off as well.  :)

A little off topic but wanted to share a really cool video my very talented friend made for our district: CLICK HERE.

Here is hoping that it inspires voters!  :)  LOVE my district!!!


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