Last term, I trialed the concept of Genius Hour in my classroom. The focus was generating quality, non-google-able questions, and beginning skills in finding out/sorting out information. Students looked at intriguing websites, including Cosmos Magazine and Wondreopolis, as well as some helpful inquiry picture books by Kobi Yamada (see below) to assist in the creating of questions.
We watched many inspirational videos…
- Kath Murdoch – ‘The Power of Umm..’ (watch from 6min 45s to 8min 34s)
- Kid President – ‘A Pep Talk’
- What is Genius Hour?
until students began to deeply understand the purpose, and that learning is definitely not about getting answers right the first time. I think my students came far in terms of the effort they put in, the questions they can now ask about a range of topics, how to seek out quality information, and how to understand what they have read by asking evaluative questions (such as, Is this helpful to my topic? Is this a reputable site? Why/Why not? Do I need to search more information? Do I now have further questions? What have I learnt? How have I learnt it? What do I need to work on next time?)
I was amazed that during Genius Hour times, that all students were highly engaged and incredibly motivated – including my students who usually struggle behaviourally (!!!) Amazing!