Monday, January 24, 2011

What's YOUR Genius?

Monday. Back to the real world after my amazing weekend of reflection! I've been feeling the love from all of you fabulous readers for talking the talk... Could I actually walk into that classroom and make all those incredible ramblings work like magic? HA! I teach First Grade! Are you kidding me? Nothing ever goes as planned when working with small children. That halo of happiness and well-being was scrambling my brain...

My first step toward molding my children back to the geniuses they truly are was to tell them to move their own desks anywhere they wanted in the room. The only rules were that they had to be in groups of at least three, they absolutely could not refuse anyone who wanted to be a part of their group, and I wanted enough room in the middle of the class for my document camera to make his home. Then I planned to sit back and watch the collaborative magic happen! (In retrospect, that rumbling sound probably wasn't desks moving... It was God laughing at my naivete.) About three seconds into this auspicious new beginning, all I hear is "OW! You pinched my fingers!" "Mrs. Sigler! She said I can't sit here!" "Mrs. Sigler! He says he's the boss of our group!" "Mrs. Sigler! Mrs. Sigler! MRS. SIGLERRRR!!!"

Oh dear Lord.

We got our issues settled (eventually) and moved on to today's true purpose - telling my kids about their genius! This is where everything started to fall into place. I videotaped myself (as per Angela's request!) and had to laugh when I reviewed the playback. Flip cams are NOT kind to large pregnant women...

We started talking about why I had been gone for several days last week, and I showed the students Angela's website so they could see who had influenced my epiphany. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Angela told me something that just AMAZED me. Do you know what she said?
Kids: NO!
Me: She told me... (insert dramatic pause) that I am a genius! Can you believe it?!
Kids: (Collective gasp!)
Me: I know! Guess what else she told me.
Kids: What? What? What?!
Me: Angela told me that all of the kids in my classroom are geniuses, too!
Kids: (I'm not sure I can even describe the looks on these kids' faces... Priceless! Followed quickly by...)
Student: What's a genius?

Great question! According to my students, a genius was probably a smart, cute, kind scientist, but we couldn't be exactly sure. :) We decided to hop over to Google to check out what the rest of the world defined 'genius' as. We found words like curious, playful, imaginative, joyful and inventive and I asked the kids to tell someone at their new group why they were a genius. There was some fantastic collaboration going on, and I'd like to present to you the final outcome of our day's lesson:

These amazing 7 year olds have identified their genius: Feeding the world, tending to the ill, providing art to the masses... What's YOUR genius? And, most importantly, what will you do about it?


  1. What an amazing post, Kelly! How fun to get to experience this through such young eyes. You have started an amazing blog and I look forward to reading it on a regular basis. : )

  2. Thank you so much Stacy! The looks on their faces when I told them they were geniuses was such a complete mix of disbelief, joy and surprise... It was absolutely the best moment of my teaching career! :) Thanks for reading!

  3. Awesome! I can't wait to see what transforms in the next couple weeks!

  4. Dear Readers,

    Hi! Where are you from? We wish we could meet you! We love you! We are wrestlers and cheerleaders. We are football players and geniuses! We miss you. What are you doing right now? We hope are having fun! Thank you for reading!

    From Mrs. Sigler's class:
    Ryan, Cooper, Jaron, Collin, Alec, Ben, Brooke, Carlee, Sterling, Hailee, Emily, Aleisha, Ella, Emma and Dawsyn

  5. Hi Mrs. Sigler, Alec, Aleisha, Brooke, Carlee, Collin, Cooper, Dawsyn, Ella, Emily, Emma, Hailee, Jaron, Ryan, Sterling,
    I loved looking at your GENIUS essays! You really are geniuses. One of the ways I’m a genius is seeing patterns and making connections. I noticed that your beautiful names were like a lovely ABC book, so I put them in alphabetical order.

    I teach 7th and 8th graders in the same state as you. I met Mrs. Sigler at the conference last week. Do you know what I told my students on Monday? I told them what Angela said, “You are a genius!” Have fun as you create and share your genius with the world! Love, Mrs. Krebs

  6. Hi Mrs Sigler and "geniuses"!=)
    I truly enjoyed reading all about what you have been doing in class. And I LOVED looking at all your beautiful artwork and reading WHY you are all geniuses! You are all SO special. And what an amazing teacher Mrs. Sigler is. I know she will be GREATLY missed while on maternity leave!
    And don't be so hard on yourself "large pregnant woman"- I'm sure you looked beautiful on that camera=) Have a great day cute little 1st graders!
    Jeana Schroeder (Jaron's Mom) =)