Genius Hour Projects

Woowww!  It’s been awhile.  I know I have posted much this year, but I promise we’ve been learning this year! 😉

For the past month, students have been working so hard on their inquiry-based projects.  For one hour a week, students planned, researched, and created.

Below are the questions our little geniuses inquired and mastered:


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Check out this padlet below to view some of the presentations:

Made with Padlet

I am beyond amazed on how well they all worked on these projects and how professional they presented themselves today.  This just goes to show what these little humans of capable of doing.  They may only be eight, but are capable of so much more than we think.

Keep inspiring!

Wax Museum 2019

To celebrate Black History Month, second grade students hosted a living wax museum. The students spent a month researching about a famous historical African-American figure to create a poster with the information they learned.  On the day of the museum, students dressed up as their figure and pretended to be the real-life wax figure! Parents and classes were able to visit the the museum and interact with the “wax figure” by pressing a red button on the students’ hands.  When the red button was pressed, students had to a recite a short summary about the life and achievement of their historical African-American figures.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This was truly an awe-inspiring event!  I am beyond proud of all the hard work they put into not only researching for their projects, but reciting what they learned in front of a live audience.  Everyone did such an amazing job!!


Morning Meeting

In order for learning to take place in the classroom, students must feel safe.  They must feel a sense of belonging.  Research has shown that when students feel psychological safety, it has a positive impact on their learning and optimizes their interaction in the classroom.  This is part of building classroom community.  One way I do this is by taking the time out to let my students share positive “bucket fillers” to their classmates and recite positive affirmations.  I am a firm believer that thinking positive thoughts will reap positive outcomes.

In a threatening, or unsafe environment, students are more focused on protecting themselves from humiliating situations than on actual learning.  My goal is to optimize learning by building a safe environment for my students.  I want to have deeper discussions and see more participation in the classroom.  I want my students to feel confident in not only themselves, but also confident in the fact that they will not be ridiculed by their classmates.  When we trust one another to be kind, we are more free to share out thoughts and take more risks.

For this reason, we express bucket fillers and give shout-outs or compliments to our friends.  Then, we recite our affirmations to build inner confidence and start our day with a positive mind.  Last, we finish off with a few minutes of mindful meditation to calm down and re-center before beginning our academic lessons.

Below are the affirmations we recite:


STEM Friday: Saving Sam!

This is our traditional beginning-of-year STEM Friday activity: Saving Sam! This activity not only promotes teamwork, but requires critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

This Week’s Challenge

Use the materials provided to put life jacket on Sam, the gummy worm, without him falling into the water.

Materials (per partner/group)

  1. One gummy worm
  2. One gummy lifesaver
  3. One clear, plastic cup
  4. Large paper clips (2-3)


  1. Students will be in pairs.
  2. Students may NOT touch “Sam,” the “life jacket,” or the “boat.”
  3. Students may only touch the paper clips. They are allowed to bend them.
  4. Students are NOT to poke “Sam” with the paper clips.
  5. Set up: Place gummy lifesaver under cup (the cup is flipped over) and place gummy worm on top.
  6. The goal: Students want to get the “life jacket” from under the “boat” and onto him using only the paperclips.

For our very first cooperative learning activity, teams worked really well together sharing ideas and not giving up.  Dylan and Maddie were the first to figure out how to get the life jacket on Sam, but struggled with actually getting him in.  After many unsuccessful trials, I decided to make it a little easier by letting the pairs work in table groups and giving the groups 2 more paperclips.  This was the result:


Great job, friends!