Thoughts about Genius Hour

 

What is education all about? What am I trying to achieve? What do I want my children to take away from my classes?

 

I have been thinking a lot about this. I have been reading other teachers blogs, as well as reading books and watching videos. 

 

I want to have interested, curious, thinking children with a love of learning- lofty goals.

 

Ken Robinson has had a big impact on me. His original TED talk ‘Schools kill creativity’ inspired me.

In his book The Element he says that everyone has creative potential. This gets better with practice. People need to find their personal passion.

Then I started hearing about Google 20% time and Dan Pink. 

 

 

Other teachers introduced Genius Hour / Adventure Time / Passion Time.I thought this was a great idea I’d like to try. I found teachers who had already tried it.

Mr Avery 

Angela Maiers 

Gallit Zvi 

Denise Krebs

 

 

So, I gave it a go. I was prepared for things to go wrong but I was not giving up. To my surprise, the first session was a success. The children were engaged, collaborating, risk taking and thoroughly enjoying the experience.


Genius Hour #1 from janetm on Vimeo.

I have now had three genius hours, not all as successful as the first. A few children had difficulty finding their passion so I came up with a poster to help them.

 

 

I am constantly assessing myself. I will have time with these children, perhaps by narrowing their choices they will come up with an idea. The children are very keen to continue.

 

Here are some of the passions they worked on.

Make a video of your own at Animoto.

 

 

Designing outfits – one mother even made a singlet top that her daughter had designed

Building electrical circuits

Making an arcade game

Making cards

Scrapbooking

Creating a sculpture

Writing a play with a view to filming 

Writing a story

Creating a character

Designing and building an environmentally friendly house using lego

Folding origami

Coding a website

Blogging

Creating artworks

 

Genius Hour

Today was my first attempt at genius hour. Dan Pink talks about this idea in business.

I had been reading other teachers blog posts and showed the kids videos that were suggested.
http://geniushour.wikispaces.com/Resources
http://inquiryblog.wordpress.com/2012/10/28/introducing-genius-hour-passion-based-inquiry-projects/
http://hughtheteacher.wordpress.com/2012/07/09/1-genius-thing-we-did-in-our-class-this-year/
http://www.gallitzvi.com/2/post/2012/10/introducing-genius-hour.html

I was prepared for some things to go wrong but was pleasantly surprised at how well it did go. The kids were very engaged and were collaborating, referring to web pages or just focussed on what they were doing. Here is a sample of their projects. They are very keen to have genius hour again and seem concerned that it was a one off. I heard them sharing what they did with other students in the playground.