Genius hour gives students a chance to explore a project under the guidance of an instructor. This is different than an independent learning project they might do on their own time because it allows them to get feedback on their process and work. Teachers guide students through a systematic process from choosing a topic based on their interests and passions to helping them create a plan for learning, students learn and report on their learning in a way that plays to their own strengths. If you are really serious about eventually incorporating genius hour into your daily plan, start early by keeping track of student interests.
Besides encouraging students to explore their interests genius hour provides many benefits and helps them develop skills that will benefit them for a life-long of self-directed learning.
Teaching Students about Accountability
Accountability is defined as a person’s ability to own up with the consequences of their own actions whether good or bad. It is something a person learns while they grow up, and is one of the hallmarks to being a great leader. Making use of this time in the classroom can help your students learn not only what they can do to solve a societal problem but realize how much their actions can cause a ripple effect towards society in general. As they are working on their project they will go through different emotions. Genius hour is a great time to teach about accountability, motivation, and perseverance.
Change to a Student-Focused Learning Model
A student-focused learning model not only involves the student learning from the teacher but involves the educator learning more about the students. This is because Genius Hour focuses on letting the students use their own creativity and problem-solving skills while the teacher gives helpful advice on resource selection and guidance to make sure their projects get completed.
Increased Student-Educator Engagement
Genius hour projects allow students and educators a more personal connection by increasing meaningful communication. Students will blossom and you will get a glimpse into students as they really are. Genius hour, done right, really sparks students.
Apply their Skills in Real-life Scenarios
We mentioned before that students should work on a topic they want to pursue as one of the many projects during genius hour. This topic should be based on a real-life need that they can see in their community. While they are doing the project, they will have to encounter people both old and new to help them finish it. That way, they are already changing the world around them in their own little way while using the lessons you taught them.
Letting Students “Play”
Genius hour naturally allows for student creativity. For example, if your students choose to bring awareness to global hunger, they can opt to have a virtual charity concert or post infographics on social media about it. Your students design and choose whichever method they want to implement their project and report back in the classroom on how well it did or not. This flexibility allows them to showcase their natural talents and strengths.
The five genius hour benefits listed are only some of the many benefits of genius hour. Overall, introducing this method will help your students apply the lessons you teach them in class while you learn more about who they are as a person.
This is a 3 part series. If you missed part one, you can go back and read about what genius hour is.
Have you implemented genius hour in your classroom? What take-aways did your students have that will put them on the road for life-long learning? Drop them in the comments below!