I was so excited to start this idea because there is NEVER enough time in the school day for every child to research what they are passionate about. I also love how this movement incorporates ideas from Leader in Me and lets kids share what makes them excited!
Then, we came up with some ground rules as a class. We decided the project topics must be broad enough to research for the remaining weeks of the year, that the topics must be approved by me first, and that they must be presented in some way (video, PowerPoint, note card presentation etc.). Then, we came up with some work time guidelines on this anchor chart.
So how was the end result? In a word...FANTASTIC! I have NEVER seen students more motivated to research and discover things about the world around them! They had to cite their sources for their research, and I was amazed at how much they learned about credible sources...and mostly on their own! This was a great motivator during the last quarter of the school year when moods can be low and students need a little push to succeed! Some more facts about Genius Hour...
How Did You Find the Time?
We did Genius Hour first thing Monday morning, in place of our class meeting. At my school, we have interventions Tuesday-Friday. Students could also work on their Genius Hour project when they had finished their work, which was a much more rewarding assignment than a crossword puzzle or other random filler assignment!
What Topics Did Your Students Choose?
We had a wide range of topics from:
- How did YouTube begin and how is it evolving?
- How can you build the perfect model rocket?
- A Beginner's Guide to Minecraft (which included some fantastic research)
- What steps should you take to become a paleontologist?
- And many others!
How Did The School and Parents Respond?
Genius Hour was a great way to instill the values of Common Core research in the classroom, and my school and parent community were excited to see students excited about research. It was truly win-win!
Did Everyone Finish On Time?
Yes! Students even worked on their projects at home, which made the process even more rewarding!
Overall, Genius Hour was one of the BEST things I did this year! I would recommend starting something similar in your classrooms to help inspire your students! Try it out, and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!