Dear Mr. McDonald, I Will Never Forget Genius Hour

Near the end of this post is an emailed letter I received from a thoughtful grade 7 student the day after our final day of school.  It warmed my heart and brought a tear to my eye.  It will have a deep impact on me, as I move forward in my life.  She didn’t have to write it, but she did.  It was personal.  It was reflective.  It was meaningful.  It was her being reflective, and it will impact the learning of many students in the future.  Our class had a wonderful year this year filled with fun, and a variety of learning experiences for teachers and students.

This letter teaches me that our students are passionate, creative, and thoughtful learners.  We just need to give them the opportunity to ask meaningful questions about topics that are meaningful to them.  Engaging students as active learners and bracing them for the impact they can have in their school, community, and the world is important for them to understand.

Learning can be fun.  Learning can be for them.  Learning is personal.  Learning is collaborative.  Learning is intrinsic.  Learning is reflective.  Learning is transformational.  Learning needs to be modelled.  Learning stories need to be shared, so the why, and how we learned becomes more important than the topic we learned.  This way we set students up to be learners for life instead of slaves to the grade.  We connect life to school because school should be life.  School should never just be school!

Thank you Simran for helping teach these lessons to me!

Hugh McDonald

Here is Simran and Blea’s documentation of their learning during their “Honk if You Love Someone” Genius Hour project.  Be sure to watch and be patient with the little audio issue near the beginning.  It is brief.  This is their learning journey!

Dear Mr.McDonald

First off thanks for my comment box, especially the quote. I’ve been reading it over and over again to see what it means to me, I think it means that if I have a dream than do what I can to make it real.

I will never forget Genius Hour in our class! And thank you so much for your support in our Genius Hour project. It already has 83 views. Its amazing, what I really hope for next year is that you and your class will do this in front of our school again to make people’s day.   Just for fun!

Thank you for being such an amazing teacher. I loved the iPads and how we used them and our blogs. And remember to keep updating twitter and our Website once a week or so. ☺

Remember the 30-hour famine. At like 8:30 we were playing basketball. You and Mr. Jones and me and James. Remember when Ms.Zvi would be making fun of you. Saying I’m sounding like Mr.McDonald now!  All the great times in our classroom.

I will always come and visit so make sure you never leave. I will never forget this year because of all the changes brung into the classrooms. We used iPads and Tables and so much more.

I know you may meet another Simran but make sure you don’t forget me. ( your most likely not going too 😏)

I will try to change things where ever I go. I will try to bring Genius Hour to Frank Hurt or Sullivan.  I will try to make sure we get to express ourselves in the ways we want.

But never ever in life,
No matter how hard I try, I will never get another, amazing grade seven year like this one.

“No matter where I go or where I end up, I will bring change” -Simran

I will make your and Mrs. Zvi’s dream come true. But it may take time. But one day, I’ll promise you, you’ll see that something has changed.

“Dreams are made if people only try. I believe in miracles….. I have to… Because somewhere the hurting must stop” – Terry Fox July 10, 1980

-Sent from my IPod

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7 Responses to Dear Mr. McDonald, I Will Never Forget Genius Hour

  1. Valerie Lees says:

    Thanks for sharing this personal thank you letter Hugh. I have no doubt Simran will be a difference maker partly because of the difference you and your teaching buddies made in her life. I’m sure someone at Frank Hurt will jump on board with Genius Hour 😉

  2. darcymullin says:

    Hugh, what an amazing post. You should be very proud of the work you have done. It’s letters like those that inspire all of us. Keep up the great work next year!

  3. Thank you for your kind words Darcy. I agree completely. I am constantly inspired by words of wisdom from the hearts of the children that are in all of our classes.

  4. @schink10 says:

    Awesome! The power of genius hour or 20-time is so underrated. I have had so many great experiences also. I love the video and letter. It is amazing to think of all of the planning, presenting, technology, and other 21st Century Skills that were developed through that project. Also, it is a project that will stick with them for the rest of their life……unlike all of the facts they learn in school, which they probably already forgot. Most importantly, they were able to show altruism and passion……qualities that I wish everyone could develop.

    Thank you for sharing this. It is very inspirational and helps reconfirm how important this methodology is. It is amazing how many times I hear teachers say “how can you give up time from teaching the content.” I stopped being upset with people that say this, because they honestly just do not get it. It is powerful.

    Awesome!!! Keep up the great work!

    Oliver Schinkten

  5. Pingback: Dear Mr. McDonald, I Will Never Forget Genius Hour | Genius Hour

  6. Kat says:

    This is such a lovely letter. A keeper for those days when nothing seems to be going right. Love hearing that he is going to be a change and a positive force for Surrey. Yay!!

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