[This post was originally posted on the home page on August 14, 2013]
Last year I read Drive by Daniel Pink and my previous ideas regarding motivation were stretched and new ideas were generated. Last year I gave students opportunities to pursue their passions, but only pertaining to math. This year I wanted to expand it allowing for more content and freedom, hence Genius Hour. I searched the internet and put my questions out in the Twitter world and found some great resources and ideas. You may be asking what is this, below is a great explanation I found from Chris Kesler on his website
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 sch14ool. It’s not easy to determine where the idea was originally created, but there are at least two events that have impacted genius hour.
Genius Hour Origins
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 20-time projects.
Genius Hour in Education
The same genius hour principles apply in the classroom as they do in the corporate environment. The teacher provides a set amount of time for the students to work on their passion projects. Students are then challenged to explore something to do a project over that they want to learn about. They spend several weeks researching the topic before they start creating a product that will be shared with the class/school/world. Deadlines are limited and creativity is encouraged. Throughout the process the teacher facilitates the student projects to ensure that they are on task. A goal of every teacher should be to create lifelong learners. Genius hour projects are a huge step towards that goal.
The students were so delighted to finally find out what Genius Hour is. I gave one clue a day since the last week and allowed students to guess. They were not expecting to get to learn anything they want. We already have some great, creative, and challenging questions to search for. I'm excited to see where students go on this learning journey.