Genius hour is a classroom movement where teachers create time for their students to follow a passion based project. I really like this idea of genius hour in the elementary school classroom in particular because I think it allows students a degree of unstructured and free learning time in an otherwise structured environment. My driving question for this course has been “how can I implement inquiry based learning in the elementary school classroom?” and also “what will that look like?”. As I have mentioned before I think that however fantastic inquiry can be, the steepest learning curve for teachers in this model is finding the ideal balance between structures and freedoms. When I asked the question “What does structure look like in your classroom” to Trevor Mackenzie, he reflected that his classroom has become more structured since shifting to an inquiry learning model. As far as how all this connects to genius hour, I think that genius hour would be an excellent way to introduce personal freedoms and drive intrinsically motivated learning in the elementary school classroom. Up until now, I have looked most specifically at examples at the highschool level that are working towards personalizing classroom learning. It is my belief that the way personalization be structured in the elementary school class should look different, and vary from grade to grade.
What is Genius Hour??
Genius hour is a movement that allows students to explore their own passions and encourages creativity in the classroom. It provides students a choice in what they learn during a set period of time during school. It’s not easy to determine where the idea was originally created, but there are at least two events that have impacted genius hour.
How did Genius Hour come to be?
The search-engine giant, Google, allows it’s engineers to spend 20% of their time to work on any pet project that they want. The idea is very simple. Allow people to work on something that interests them, and productivity will go up. Google’s policy has worked so well that it has been said that 50% of Google’s projects have been created during this creative time period. Ever heard of Gmail or Google News? These projects are creations by passionate developers that blossomed from their their 20-time projects.
After visiting the genius hour website I also found there is a free course offered to teachers on how to create 20% genius hour time in the classroom. I’m very excited about all this information as a resource. I’d like to take the course and then write out a formulae for how I would like to incorporate genius hour into my own classroom.