On Monday, I mentioned to the class that I had a big surprise in store for them.
On Tuesday, it arrived. 4R is going to join in on the learning experiment known at Genius Hour or sometimes, 20% Time.
Students walking in the door were put into groups of 3 or 4. They were instructed to choose a table, get a laptop, turn in on, then close it. I told them “I’ve heard of something new. It’s exciting, it’s being done in schools around the world, it’s all about inspiration and I think we’re ready for it.” Then we watched this video from the awesome Kid President:
I wrote on the board: What is Genius Hour? What is 20% time? “Take 15 minutes to find out as much as you can about these ideas, then be ready to share with us what you’ve learned.”
Groups got down to business.
They found a ton of sites, videos and descriptions of what Genius Hour has looked like in other classrooms across grades and around the world. These are a few of the videos they looked at and eventually shared with the rest of us:
After their quick inquiry, students returned to share findings, clarify understandings and pose questions. The first question was “Can we start today?”
The answer, was “Yes.”
Before we can throw ourselves into our projects students will need time to thoughtfully consider which of their passions they might like to explore. What sorts of questions and inquiry might support them to deepen their skills and understanding? This would be a good week for students to speak with their families about what ideas they have in mind.
Here’s what students can expect:
- 1.5 to 2 hours to work on their project per week at school.
- It can be worked on as much as they like at home as well
- Any passion might qualify. It can be a topic to learn about, a skill to acquire, a problem to solve, a product to produce and likely many others…
- Most passions should be expressed as questions
- Each passion proposal will need to be teacher-approved
- Each student will develop and follow a learning plan
- Each student will be expected to share in a reasonable time frame, preferably in a way that can be shared globally through our blog
- The assessment will mostly focus on attitudes and self-regulation in inquiry
When developing questions on your passion, try this thinking routine:
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many hats by Jamie Raskin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.