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Gr. 7 Genius Hour Guest Speaker Amy Ziede

Gr. 7 Genius Hour Guest Speaker Amy Ziede

Grade 7 students took part in a video chat with Amy Ziede this week to learn about her company, and how it all began when she was 12 years old.

Her organization, Creating Connected Communities started as part of her bat mitzvah project and was called Amy’s Holiday Party with a budget of only $400 to help underprivileged youth celebrate the holidays in December. The idea came to her after hearing a story of gifts being stolen from a youth shelter just before Christmas.

She chose to be an agent of change and her company today now engages over 800 volunteers and helps over 5000 underprivileged kids in Atlanta with a budget of over $650 000. The company trains Jewish teenagers to help communities in Atlanta with homelessness, foster care, refugees, and children living in poverty.

Students learned about Amy’s failures along the way, how she needed to come up with strategic plans to overcome these obstacles along the way to keep the company going and growing. The company had to start from scratch and start over 4 times before becoming the thriving, independent non-profit company it is today.

For more information or donate to Amy’s company, please visit her website

Genius Hour & STEAM Info, Rubric, Tracking Sheets

Genius Hour & STEAM Info, Rubric, Tracking Sheets

Welcome to Genius Hour! This is a project that encourages students to follow their passions as they develop their research and inquiry skills by learning about a topic of their choice, making, designing, or building a product based on their learning, and then presenting what they have learned and made.

While students will continue to practice the timeless skills of researching, testing, analyzing, and presenting to an audience like a traditional Science fair project, Genius Hour opens the door to amplify student learning. Along with the previously mentioned skills, students will also be practicing digital citizenship, heutagogy or self-directed learning as they work towards short and long term goals, media literacies, network literacies, and divergent thinking as they think creatively to generate innovative ideas, products, or solutions to problems that interest them.

As students make their own thinking visible by sharing their process, they will also be documenting for others to learn from, and practice metacognitive techniques as they document and reflect on their own process. The autonomy, and self-directed learning that genius hour encourages is student-centered, personalized, curiosity driven, and builds skills that are relevant in today’s rapidly changing world.  

Passion driven projects like genius hour provide learners the challenge to be creative, to design and build, to follow their interests, and to give their work a sense of purpose. Every teacher should strive to create students who are lifelong learners and Genius Hour is big step in that direction!

What will YOU learn and create with the time?

Grade 7 Biospheres

Grade 7 Biospheres

Grade 7 students learned about biotic and abiotic elements that affect ecosystems by creating self contained biospheres inside mason jars. They had to collaboratively research all materials they wanted to put in their jar to design their self contained ecosystems.

In an effort to move towards a creation over consumption learning environment, these students will continue to learn from their designs as we discuss the exchange of energy and matter within the biosphere.

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