A genius is defined as a person who is exceptionally intelligent or creative, either generally or in some particular respect. The juniors at North Tama High School accomplished Genius Hour for the first semester ever this fall.
North Tama's English 11 teacher, Levi LaRue came up with Genius Hour by joining a professional learning network online through Twitter. LaRue had seen the idea on many other teacher's profiles over the summer, and thought his English 11 classes should give it a shot. LaRue said, "I am glad North Tama gives teachers the freedom to try new things, so I thought I should give it a shot." LaRue then presented this project in front of his English 11 Students the fall of 2013.
Genius Hour took approximately nine weeks. The first three to four weeks consisted of extensive research. "They couldn't do a project that you could Google in five minutes," said LaRue. The next three to four weeks were designing and creating a product for their genius hour project. The final one to two weeks were to work on a five-minute presentation to give to the class over their findings throughout the nine weeks of Genius Hour.
Pictured above are (left to right): Ziggy Smith, Paul Kaufmann, Dylan Clausen and Noah Kaufmann acting during a scene of Kaufmann’s movie “The Great Escape.”
Students created a range of different projects. Some of the students made items, some accomplished big projects, and not just a few people, but everybody learned at least one thing throughout this project.
A junior, in the English 11 class, Kelon Hansen made a windmill. Hansen said, "I liked genius hour, but I wouldn't want to do it again. I messed up creating my windmill, so had to restart which was a a lot."
Some other projects that were created was a movie by Paul Kaufman. He created a movie about a parody of The Breakfast Club. He got his friends and family together and "remade" the Breakfast Club, and created his very own movie. His movie took over twenty hours to make, which consisted of everything you would see in a movie.
Another project was also creating a coffee bar at North Tama by Alexis Taylor. "I thought genius hour was a great way to be able to express ourselves in school in a positive way," said Taylor. Taylor did a lot of researching to find out what products fit the healthy guidelines here at North Tama. She then went to the North Tama school board, and they approved of it. The coffee bar will be held at the concession stands during school hours.
Many students at North Tama worked hard during Genius Hour, and accomplished their projects. Approximately half of the class wants to do Genius Hour again for second semester, and the other half do not. LaRue told an English 11 student, "You will have to wait and see if we do Genius Hour again second semester. It will be a surprise."