Genius hour is for students to learn about any topic they want, teachers do not choose or guide students (unless it’s brainstorming - but no predetermined topics). Explain that “it is not a day off for your students, nor a day off from your students. It is a time for them to develop and investigate their initial idea. It can last 1 session or over the course of multiple sessions depending upon the student’s project. Genius Hour should take place at least one hour per week. Allow students to develop questions based on the content they are currently learning or simply their interests. Genius hour is said to give students purpose towards learning and we know excitement about a topic creates intrinsic motivation. (Inquiry and Innovation in the Classroom, Juliani)
Strategies for the Elementary Classroom
During the first week of school, being learning about your student's interests. Naturally we begin to build a classroom community, we learn about each other's talents, interests and how unique our students are. When beginning to implement, our nonficiton units are a strong connection to gradual release and students developing skills needed to successfully partake in genius hour. Once you have exposed students to nonfiction texts, Genius Hour can be introduced.
Primary List ten things they are good at, ten things you love to learn, ten things you love to do, or ten things you wonder.
Intermediate Begin by asking students to create a list of what they’d rather be doing right now than being in school? Then ask to write a list of what they are interested about in this world?
Students as Inquirers - Asking Questions
Students think of a topic based on their interest inventory and then simply generate questions. Prompt students by asking them what they wonder about a topic? What do you want to know? What .. (insert prompts here) As they start to read and find information about a topic, it is imperative that they continue asking questions. How has their thinking changed? What new questions do you have? What do you need to find out more about? Another great tool we found is posted in the next image titled "The Inquiry Process." The reading and questioning can take place during your literacy block and with continued practice, students will develop/master skills to do this thinking and processing on their own.
Which leads us to the next big idea about implementation - modeling research. Even from Kindergarten student should continously be exposed to thinking strategies for research. Imagine a teacher modeling research on the topic of ___________
How can students explore their interests further? Is Genius Hour developmentally appropriate in the primary grades? Does Genius Hour look different in the primary grades versus the intermediate grades?