Intentional, Inspiring, & Internalized Learning Through Genius Hour

Students at Indian Peaks are learning for the sake of learning. Have you ever wondered why your feet fall asleep? Or why you have brown eyes? How about wanting to know more about a family member's illness?

These are just some of the topics tackled by 5th graders during self-guided Genius Hour work. Inspired by A.J. Juliani's book, Inquiry and Innovation in the Classroom, several classrooms across grade levels have taken leaps to promote student-generated learning paths. In Macias' class, students worked within their Human Body unit to brainstorm individualized inquiry questions. Keeping in mind that their investigation findings should benefit the broader world, students had to ask themselves, "Why is this important?" Using several multimedia sources and library texts, they organized research while citing sources. Macias was flexible in letting students determine how best to show what they learned, allowing the class to share via Educreations, Blendspace, iMovie, 3D models, and posters.

Throughout the process, students worked collaboratively to dissect and discern information from multiple sources. After presentations, the class gave the student-researchers insights and asked follow-up questions for potential future research.

Teachers are inspired by the amount of ownership students are showing towards their own learning. Many students school-wide are showing evidence of taking learning beyond the classroom; bringing in projects they've accomplished at home with their families. Mrs. Kennelly, 2nd grade, expected high levels of engagement and involvement in learning when she started Genius Hour, but was surprised by the growth mindset instilled this early on. Kennelly says that students are giving her direction in the resources they'll need for the next stage of their projects. The 2nd graders are tapping into their current strengths, but also the tools they'll need to progress to next steps.

With one-two rounds of Genius Hour projects under their belts, teachers are expanding and contracting for the next round. With reflection and coaching, educators are refining the process to meet the needs of their classroom. 

See video presentation HERE.