What is Genius Hour?
What is Genius Hour?
Ever hear of Google? Search engine, Google, believed that if they allowed their employees time to be creative and innovate, that productivity would go up. So they created the 80/20 rule. Employees were allowed 20% of their time to be creative and innovative on any idea that was company related. During this time Google Mail (Gmail), Google News, Google Talk, etc. were conceived. Many Fortune 500 companies noticed the success and allowed their employees the same time for creativity, but each called it by another name. Teachers Denise Krebs and Gallit Zvi noticed this trend and thought why not give the same opportunity to students. After unlocking curiosities and inner geniuses in their students, they decided to share with other teachers their success. So they wrote the book, The Genius Hour Guide. Through this book, many teachers are shown ways to give their students the same innovative opportunity to unlock their inner geniuses.
Why are we doing Genius Hour?
Students are diligently working hard on their assignments and assessments that are North Carolina school curriculum based and teacher driven. Students are doing a great job every day. But students’ creativity and sense of wonder are being stifled by curriculum mandates. Students want a say in what they are learning. They want an opportunity to unlock their curiosity and reveal their inner geniuses. Through Genius Hour, they will be heard. Students will be given time each week to expand on learning what interests them, investigate what they wonder about, discover what they excel at and what they are most passionate. This will be their time. Their time to work on a project based learning that is tailored to themselves, their curiosity and their desire to learn.
What will Genius Hour look like in our classroom?
Genius Hour will be one hour every Friday. It will be one hour a week, where the students are in control of their learning and their passion. We will spend the first two weeks, learning about what is Genius Hour. Students will get excited and inspired by watching videos of other students, their age, already participating in Genius Hour. We will read the books What to Do with an Idea? by Kobi Yamada and The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashely Spires. Both books are below. This will lead us to a discussion about what our students are wondering. It will be a time where students ask themselves what am I good at, passionate about, want to learn more about? What am I curious about, what do I want to investigate and what do I want to share with others? We will discuss our wonders and passions and post our ideas on a Wonder Wall Bulletin Board in my classroom. On week three, each student will decide which idea do they want to pursue and do a project. There are three requirements for Genius Hour. (1) All ideas must have an inquiry question. (2) All ideas must be researched by multiple sources. (3) All projects must be shared. And there is one catch. All projects have to be approved by me and must be North Carolina curriculum based. We will work on these projects every week and each student will be in control of their learning. I will only be there for support and guidance. All projects will be due by a date not yet determined but before our next track out. Pictures of our process will be posted on our class website and parents will be invited to our Genius Hour Presentation Day.