Thursday, July 6, 2017

Genius Hour???

As my planning for the upcoming school year continues I have taken inventory on what I would like to implement in my classroom.  Since I get the privilege of having Chromebooks in my classroom, the world is my oyster.  I love doing Project Based Learning but that is usually what I believe the students should be learning about, then the idea of Genius Hour was introduced to me by a colleague at the end of the last school year and I was intrigued.  So, I decided to do a little research on the topic and educate myself before resolved to implement it as part of my curriculum.  Needless to say, I am hooked!!

Genius Hour is a product of Google who allows their employees to use 20% of their workweek to research and learn about something they are passionate about as long as the result benefits the company.  This thinking has found its way into the classroom and is igniting an excitement for learning in many students around the nation and the world.  Why wouldn't I want to implement this in my classroom?  One of my goals every year is to have my students promote to their next grade feeling they learned what they needed to be successful in my class and had fun at the same time.  I want to make our school year together one of their most memorable educational experiences.

There are 3 key instructions that need to be followed during Genius Hour, or as many others have coined it Passion Projects.

1.     It must use a driving question.  
·        It cannot be what are Giant Pandas?  But, instead, why are Giant Pandas endangered and what are we as people doing to help them out?
2.     It must involve research.
·        This can be either with technology, books, resources, video, or any other reliable source for which information can be obtained to learn about the topic in question.
3.     The product/end result or other compelling artifact from the project must be shared/published.
·        This will usually be shared with classmates but, maybe use one project and host a Gallery Walk and share the students' work with the school, parents, and community.

Throughout learning about Genius Hour I came across a few YouTube videos which helped sway me to wanting to have this as part of my learning community.  Take a moment to watch each of them and you will be persuaded as well to find a way to allow this great opportunity to find its way into your planning as well.  Again, it is only 1 hour per week is all you have to allow for a more learning and engaging classroom rich with inquiry and student ownership.

With all this creativity, inquiry and learning demonstrated how could you not be motivated to change the learning for your students if the resources and curriculum planning is available.

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