Thursday, October 2, 2014

Implementing Genius Hour in my Classroom

I first learned about Genius Hour this summer. And, OOOH WEEEH, I was hooked on the idea! But how do you get a classroom full of third graders, still very timid about independence in the classroom, to use the time in a productive manner?

It took me a while of hard thinking to come up with a solution for implementing Genius Hour. What was my solution? I had none. My plan was much along the lines of sink or swim. Genius right? I introduced the idea with a video, explaining what Genius Hour was, and then went over the expectations. Basically their potential would be limitless. As I looked around the classroom, I saw glassy stares, intimidation, and slowly that little spark of excitement creep into my students. One brave soul, raised his hand and asked, "You mean, we can pick whatever we want to do during this time?" The answer was, basically, yes. I explained to them, that during Genius Hour, I expect them to create, build, or improve something. They would have to decide what it was that they really, really, really, wanted to learn more about before they could start. It would require research, and driving questions. And in the end, they should be able to share their journey through Genius Hour in some form of a culminating project.

I will admit, it was hard for them to come up with their topics. I found I had to sit with each of them to help them figure out what they really wanted to do. Many kept thinking about the final project as being the "thing" to focus on.

In the end, my kids have definitely begun to get the swing of things. I have combined Genius Hour with STEAM and my class is doing great.


Teresa Thomassen said...

Can't wait to see the results!


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