Giving students one hour a week to work on any project that they want to.
This strategy is has been developed to foster creative thinking and engage students in their school work.
Genius Hour first emerged from the tech industry, where it had been used to give developers the freedom to be creative. At Google, employees were given one hour per week to pursue a project of their choosing, which they would later share with colleagues.
There are three rules:
There must use a driving question.
It must involve research.
The end result must be shared.
If using Genius Hour with primary-age children, firstly encourage them to come up with a question that they would like to answer. This needs to be the driving force behind their project. "How can I draw the perfect picture?", "How are video games made?" and "How do you make a podcast?" are all examples of suitably broad questions.
After they have developed their driving question, give them space and the time during their genius hour to pursue an answer. During this time the teacher switches role from an instructor, to a facilitator. We are there to foster a positive learning environment and empower them by providing the tools necessary to achieve their goal.
Finally, we should give the students time to share what they have worked on and tell their peers about the learning journey that they have taken.
The approach appeals to children's intrinsic motivations - wanting to learn because you enjoy it. Which is opposed to extrinsic motivations - learning because you have to/supposed to.
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