WHAT IS SEM?
SEM is the School Wide Enrichment Model. Mr. Joe Krause and I serve as the SEM Consultants for Oakbrook School. SEM is implemented as an enrichment approach for all schools interested in high-end learning and developing the strengths and talents of all students. SEM provides enriched learning experiences and higher learning standards for all children through three goals; developing talents in all children, providing a broad range of advanced-level enrichment experiences for all students, and providing advanced follow-up opportunities for young people based on their strengths and interests. At Oakbrook, Mr. Krause and I work together to assist students and teachers. Our guiding principles include integrating SEM in all subject areas, building capacity in staff to enrich or replace curriculum and focus on inquiry/problem and project based learning. This type of learning offers students choices and a chance to think critically to complete the projects. These projects have proven to be very effective in motivating and exciting learners at all grade levels and include use of technology to promote 21st century learning skills.
GENIUS HOUR IN 2ND GRADE
What is Genius Hour? In 2nd grade, students at Oakbrook School get a chance to explore their passions during Genius Hour, once a week with Mr. Krause and Mrs. Karolczak. Mr. Krause is our district-wide SEM Consultant. I am our school librarian and building SEM Consultant. Genius hour offers students a regular time each week to tackle projects that reflect their personal interests and passions. During this exciting time, students learn about the qualities of a genius, such as creativity, adaptability, curiosity, imagination, courage, self-awareness, and perseverance. Students then brainstorm topics they are passionate about, and ultimately select one passion to create a project proposal. Some examples of second grade projects this year include: developing a training regimen to improve soccer performance, creating a loom bracelet retail shop, creating a plan to improve math performance, developing an animal behavior website, planning a friendship club, and making a cardboard car retail business.
This photo is of a second grader in Mrs. Wagner’s class named Aiden, who has just begun his project proposal for his retail skateboard business. You can follow the 2nd graders as they move along this journey in Genius Hour! Currently, Mrs. Wagner’s class, Ms. Davis’ class, and Mrs. Jackson’s class have begun the Genius Hour process. Mrs. Ehrhardt’s class, Mrs. Hirsig’s class, and Ms. Macias’ class will begin during February.
Follow us on Twitter @OB_LMC or follow our Storify, which is an online record of our Twitter posts and comments throughout this process.
Here is the Genius Hour Storify: