Today's Newsletter: Making Time for Genius

“Genius Hours” (#GeniusHour)— where students are allowed to explore their own passions for 20% of their time—have proven to be an effective method to inspire students.
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Genius Hours” (#GeniusHour)— where students are allowed to explore their own passions for 20% of their time—have proven to be an effective method to inspire students. Brenda Valencia, a bilingual Southern California educator for 22 years, writes in a recent guest post: “When I took the risk of releasing control of student learning in my class, I realized how I’ve been a hindrance all along.” AJ Juliani ‏(@ajjuliani) tweets: "Really cool seeing @WadeKing7 class doing #geniushour - give kids choice and watch amazing happen!” T&L advisor Adam Schoenbart writes about a Genius Hour idea from one of his students, Lauren Herran, in which she suggested a redesigned learning space. She writes, “Due to the final product that I created, I have improved as a future architect. With these skills and knowledge, Genius Hour is something that will help me in the future.” Schoenbart also reports on the value of reflection in Genius Hours as educators fine-tune its role in their teaching. Despite the many reported successes with this approach, a recent T&L poll found just 25% of our readers said they had tried a Genius Hour, and 34% hadn’t heard of it. In your jam-packed curriculum, have you been able to carve out 20% for open exploration? –Christine Weiser, Executive Editor

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Applying the Genius Hour in the Classroom

In the end, genius hour proves “genius” for motivating students to investigate and take ownership of their learning. It is easy to incorporate Personalized Learning, meeting students at their “just right” level and pace. It also compliments Inquiry Based Learning, as it uses a guiding question to lead the research.