What are you passionate about? If you were given the chance to direct your own learning, what topics would you explore? These are the essential questions that students are faced with when starting their own Genius Hour project. Genius hour is an initiative that gives students the power 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.
Each week, the students in fourth grade have a double-block assigned for Genius Hour. They began their projects by making lists of their interests and prioritizing their passions. Then, they selected a topic to explore and began to research, both online and in our library, to find the answers to their questions. As essential component of the project is that students must create something to share what they have learned with others. Some students chose to make their own book, some created a video that was posted to the group’s YouTube channel, and others decided to document their learning through a multimedia slideshow.
On December 13th, the students hosted a Genius Hour showcase at CIS’s Idea Lab. They welcomed parents, staff, teaching faculty, and other students to check out their unique creations and were able to explain the key features of their project to visiting guests. Because students were self-directing all aspects of their learning, the engagement level throughout the project was much higher and all the artifacts that were created represented each student’s unique learning journey.