So we have been doing genius hour for the past tho months now and though I had reservations about it, it truly has been an amazing experience for me and my students. For this that do not know what genius hour is, it is basically a moment in our week where students can explore their passions. We do it every day 4, right after technology. My students have been in love with it. In fact many of them have been finishing projects at home.
Now when we first started it, it was a little tough for some of my lover students, they just didn’t know where to go or even how to start. Many of them haven’t even been encouraged to think or explore their own passions (which is unfortunate). It was also a struggle because many of my students didn’t have the research skills to get started. This being said, with open learning goals, constructive feedback and ongoing discussion I would say all of my students have been working hard, learning and having fun.
Some things that I have learned implementing genius hour in the primary grades:
1) it is a slow process and may not look perfect 1 try, or two or three. Patients it eventually comes together
2) make your students reflect on what they learned and how it went. This was a big aha moment for me. Since making them reflect the students have begun to understand that it is about the learning and the journey not so much the final outcome.
3) genius hour helps with so many other strands and skills. Part of our curriculum is do learn about celebrations around the world. This can be hard when the majority of the school is from one culture and not very wise about other cultures. It is hard to be interested in other cultures or have inquiry when you don’t know where to start. Because of genius hour, I have been able to introduce how to question, how to wonder and the RAN model for reading non fiction. It has help with this project and I think many more
4) Introduce a Wonder wall. This has been a. New learning for me but when kids can post wonders even if they aren’t answered by them they can see what else to explore and help others in the classroom. Many of my students have started other peoples wonders.
5) have technology ready for students to use. In my classroom we have a set of net books and iPads. Students collaborate, talk and work together to get it done.
Anyways these are just some thoughts on implementing genius hour. If you want more help or just someone to talk to about it just email me or tweet.