What’s the Big Idea?
This book report was one of the most engaging and rewarding assignments I gave throughout the year. It has become a mainstay of my curriculum and can be used across grade levels. I created it with a 3rd grade group in mind and currently use it in 4th grade.
The inspiration for this project came from the idea of Genius Hour. Many of you have heard of that or have used it in your classroom already. Since I teach in a dual curriculum day school, I have anywhere from 2.5-3 hours a day to teach an entire general studies curriculum (math, language arts, and social studies). I simply didn't have time to implement Genius Hour in the way it was meant to be executed, but I still wanted to give my students an enriching experience. That was when I came up with the idea of this Living Geniuses book report. The majority of the project was done at home and the culminating Festival was a huge school event. We also visited the Apple Genius Bar to speak to a “living genius,” took a digital tour through a living museum, and practiced, practiced, practiced in school before the event.
The Festival of Living Geniuses
I centered my students’ research around a “how to” idea. Students can also research topics related to what they want to be when they grow up or anything else they are interested in.
On the day of the Festival of Living Geniuses, the students arrived in a costume related to their topic with a related physical object. Ideas and examples can be found below. Each student had a prop and a button somewhere on their body. They stood throughout the “museum” as statues, and when a visitor came around and pressed their button, they sprang to life and expertly informed on their topic. As soon as the person walked away, the statues became still until they were visited again.
Included are directions, sample topic ideas, and student packet. The student packet contains step-by-step directions, a pacing guide, a rubric, and a Save the Date for the Festival.
As always, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to reach out at my store or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.