‘Genius Hour’ at West Elementary

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West Elementary students participate in “Genius Hour” on May 7, 2024. (Miranda Gunter)

CULLMAN, Ala. – West Elementary fourth and sixth graders participated in a “Genius Hour” program this year.

“Mrs. Regan Caldwell, West Elementary School’s counselor, and I hosted what we call a ‘Genius Hour’ for grades four and six this year (one in the fall and one in the spring),” said West Elementary Gifted Education Teacher Miranda Gunter. “The purpose of this hour is to expose students to hobbies, careers and talents that they can pursue further if desired. We invite community members and some faculty members to share with students.”

On May 7, sixth-grade students participated in the Genius Hour.

“They were able to pick their favorite class out of nine different sessions that were offered,” Gunter said. “Each session lasted one hour. Students were able to do hands-on activities and many of them created a product they could take with them.”

The sessions and the guest presenters included:

  • Salt Art – Mrs. Tere Kelly (WES librarian)
  • Beekeeping – Mrs. Kelly Hayes (WES sixth-grade teacher and owner of Urban Farm and Forage)
  • Drums – Mr. Bo Hardy (former band director and Mrs. Caldwell’s father)
  • Farm Animals – Mrs. Rachel Dawsey (executive director of the North Alabama Agriplex and a WES parent)
  • Bookmaking – Mrs. Caroline Burress (longtime WES library assistant/paraprofessional)
  • Construction – Mr. Cliff Harris (Engineer and owner of C.H. Harris, Inc.)
  • Stop Motion Animation – Mrs. Misty Waldrop (Cullman City Schools Technology Integration Specialist)
  • Calligraphy – Mrs. Geraldine Hendrix (retired CCS teacher)
  • Police Work/Helicopter Tour – Mr. Billy Randall (State Trooper and WES parent)

Presenters in the fall included:

  • Sewing –  Mrs. Holly Jennings (owner of newly-opened Widlocher’s and WES parent)
  • Sign Language – Mrs. Amy Sessions (Special Education Teacher at WES)
  • Crafts – Mrs. Kathy Hacker (longtime supporter of WES and current substitute)
  • Woodworking – Mr. Wesley Dawsey (Engineer and WES parent)
  • Calligraphy – Mrs. Jamie Weathersby (retired educator), Mrs. Doris Patterson (retired educator) and Mrs. Luanne Reid (retired nurse from Cullman City Schools)

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