The Genius Has Begun

Junior+Tristin+Hoffman+tinkers+with+her+junior+evidence+of+progress+sheet.+The+Genius+Project+has+a+new+way+to+keep+track+of+one%E2%80%99s+progress+with+a+redone+and+organized+progress+document.
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The Genius Has Begun

Junior Tristin Hoffman tinkers with her junior evidence of progress sheet. The Genius Project has a new way to keep track of one’s progress with a redone and organized progress document.

Junior Tristin Hoffman tinkers with her junior evidence of progress sheet. The Genius Project has a new way to keep track of one’s progress with a redone and organized progress document.

Photo by Isabella Eiler

Junior Tristin Hoffman tinkers with her junior evidence of progress sheet. The Genius Project has a new way to keep track of one’s progress with a redone and organized progress document.

Photo by Isabella Eiler

Photo by Isabella Eiler

Junior Tristin Hoffman tinkers with her junior evidence of progress sheet. The Genius Project has a new way to keep track of one’s progress with a redone and organized progress document.

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It’s that time of year again, where the juniors have started brainstorming their ideas for the upcoming Genius Project. The whiteboards can be seen filled with designs for those who have a solid plan set in place. Some may have their entire project ready to go while others have just begun.

So far the junior English classes have held five Genius days. One was dedicated to projecting their ideas onto whiteboards while other classmates added opinions or helpful critiques around it, and the other was a speed-dating type activity where the two classes bounced their ideas off of their peers. Since then they have done more self-project based Genius days where they hunkered down and worked solely on advancing their ideas. All of these activities are designed to aid the juniors in perfecting their projects that they will be working on for until graduation.

The Genius Project was originally designed by two of our English teachers, Shannon Alberts and Corrie Myers. They created the idea at a teacher convention called, “Ed Camp.” Teachers from all around California come together on a Saturday to discuss best practice. While at this camp Myers and Alberts heard some other teachers talking about a “genius hour” they held in their classrooms. This was based on the famous Google technique where Google devotes 20 percent of the week to their employees so they would have the opportunity to learn, tinker and take on projects they are passionate about.

“We were dreaming big for our students, and about the possibility to create something new and innovative,” Alberts stated in our interview. They want the students at Sage Creek to have the ability to work on something that intrigues them and was excluded from the everyday high school curriculum.

Since the beginning of the Genius Project three years ago, the students continuously gained more control of how they pursue their projects.

“We originally started with requiring mentors, but we found that there is no one size fits all for the Genius Project,” recalled English teacher George Porter.

This year mentors are not required for students but if you feel as though your project needs one, then get one.

Photo Courtesy from Aryan Pandhare
Aryan Pandhare takes his accountabilibuddy selfie with his accountabilibuddy Mr.Fieberg. Students have an accountabilibuddies to help keep them accountable throughout their project.

“It’s just such an individualized project that you have to allow students license to devise their own accountability for the project and really own it,” Alberts said.

More support has also been added to the Genius Project mix, in the form of progress trackers and accountabilibuddies so every student has a person they can talk to on campus. In addition to this, students who are not in AP Lang now get to get their Genius juices flowing earlier into their junior year. This new change allows students to start their project in English 3-A instead of waiting until 3-B to start.

All of the English teachers love the genius project and each English teacher has their own favorite thing about the project.

“My favorite thing that’s happening right now is the little light bulbs that are going off when a student finally lands on an idea,” Alberts declared.

Porter revealed that his favorite thing about the project is how, “every trimester [he] introduces the Genius Project to [his] juniors, someone always comes up with an incredible idea that has never been seen before,” and that these students, “ have always been inspiring to [him].”

For some students, this is a time to stand out, especially if they haven’t had that chance to shine while participating in sports or clubs. It’s a time to hear the voices of every student and listen closely to what they love to do.

Photo by Isabella Eiler
Junior Audrey Goins smiles as we interview her about her Genius Project. Goins has a solid plan set in motion for her Genius Project and is excited to see where it will take her.

Junior Audrey Goins is one of these juniors who already has an ambitious plan for her project.

“[I am going to] host theatre days at local preschools where [I] will teach them how to do mask work, clowning and puppeting,” Goins explained.

She is also excited to incorporate some other students from her drama class to help her in her endeavors.

“I hope I can make a positive impact on the preschoolers,” Goins said.

Other juniors may not have a solid idea yet but what they will learn through the process of creating one is what truly matters.

“It’s the little lessons they learn along the way that are the most important, and most impactful aspects of the Genius Project,” George Porter expressed.

In the end, it’s the journey to the end goal that matters the most so it’s important to not get discouraged if something you try fails.

They’ve actually owned their own learning”

— Shannon Alberts

“We want the students to grow as people,” George Porter claimed, and that is exactly what they will be working on for the next two years.

“I want them to recognize that they are thinkers and problem solvers and that they have actually done something other than sit in a chair for the last four years. They’ve actually owned their own learning and that as individuals in the world they can do the same,” Alberts’ said as a concluding note.

The Genius project is an exhilarating time period where passions are explored and ideas are molded into reality. It is a time for change and trying new things. The juniors have just begun, who knows what they will create in the future.

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