It didn’t take long for me to stumble upon Genius Hour (20% time) after I became active on twitter. Genius Hour is simply the incredible potential of your students, unleashed in the form of Project Based Learning.
As a 1st Grade teacher I thought, “my kids are too young for this.” Then I connected with people like @joykirr who shared amazing resources with me. There are many incredible Genius Hour projects done by kids younger than mine! If you are looking for places to look, its easy! Livebinders and Pinterest have more than enough examples.
What has it done for my class? In the short time I have attempted this it has helped me and my class in some very important ways.
-They try harder on this than anything else. Students work above their “level”.
– It has integrated STEAM and ELA within one daily 45 minute time frame (I know its called genius hour, but my kids like it so much they don’t care if it’s an hour, twenty minutes or whatever, they just want to do it!)
– It has helped kids to understand more about the culture of FAIL (First Attempt In Learning). For kids who started the year afraid to use pen because they might make mistakes, this opened up the idea that mistakes guide us toward success! They are becoming problem solvers for the first time!
– Finally, and we are only just starting Genius Hour- it has solved my most frustrating struggle all year… They care! They are interested in learning new things. Not only are they now interested in learning about their projects, but they seem to realize for the first time (in a way that nothing else has) that they can teach themselves!
Genius Hour helped me to get a better foundation for one of the most important goals I have for my class. They love learning and exploring so much more than they have throughout the rest if the year.