Mac and his classmates are participating in the Genius Hour, an initiative Mrs. Hutchinson and Mrs. Anguilla introduced to the second grade this year. For sixty minutes each week, the students are able to explore topics and pursue projects based on their individual interests and passion. While the children enjoy reading about topics they love, they are also refining their research and organizational skills, learning how to formulate questions, and writing presentations. They don’t realize it, but they are also practicing skills key to lifelong learning.
So how does Genius Hour work? The students start by selecting a topic of interest to them. Next, using a graphic organizer, they answer a list of ten questions that guide their research. The students have been using iPads and books as research tools, closely monitored by their teachers. The final product will be an iBook of their creation, highlighting what they have learned. They are enhancing their presentations by embedding images, audio, and video into their book.
Mrs. Hutchinson is pleased with the enthusiastic response from her students. “Genius Hour has been such a positive addition to our curriculum this year! All of my students love it and are self – motivated to do their best because they are directing their own learning.” She noted, “Instead of me telling them what and how they will learn, they decide this for themselves. This is very powerful!”